A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa multifaceted campus-wide initiative to develop and implement a cohesive student academic support structure has resulted in unprecedented sustained, multiyear increases in graduation rates.
“These improvements are a result of enacting a strategic priority of building a Mānoa community in support of student success,” said University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman. “The Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs should be commended for leading with a clear vision and in a manner that was inclusive of students and employees at all levels of the university.”
“From 2010 to 2015 our six-year rate has increased from 48.6 percent to 57.1 percent while the four-year rate has increased from 17.5 percent to 27.9 percent, a remarkable accomplishment. In fact, in just this year alone the six-year rate increased by .9 percent, while the four-year rate jumped by 3.2 percent,” added Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Reed Dasenbrock. “The improvement in graduation rates is a significant achievement due to the passionate, collaborative effort of many. The entire campus should celebrate.”
UH Mānoa has moved purposefully in terms of organizing and staffing, policy and technology to improve historically low graduation rates. The initiative has had three core components that integrate and better utilize “high-tech” and “high-touch” academic support delivery, in combination with a four-year degree plan or “student roadmap.”
Improve assessment capacity: The STAR (Student Academic Requirements) degree audit system was implemented. STAR is a user-friendly tool that produces individualized reports that reflect a student’s academic progress toward a specific degree and helps enhance and streamline advising.
Increase student access to academic advisors: Mandatory advising during a student’s first two years improves the student’s understanding and appreciation for advising, by engaging them in academic planning, and to ensure that regular communication is maintained with their respective colleges and schools. Students are now strongly encouraged to declare their academic majors in their sophomore years.
Provide four-year degree plans: The “high-tech” and “high-touch” components, combined, allow every program to prepare a four-year degree plan available on the web that helps every student understand what is needed to graduate in four years and achieve their academic goals.
Central to these components is the covenant that successful student learning begins with students being aware of their options and obligations, and encouraging them to take active roles in planning their academic careers.
As a measure of student response to the initiative, the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the elected undergraduate leadership, commended the administration’s effort in a resolution “for continued excellence in academic achievement and educational effectiveness.”
Information on new student enrollment (fall 2015)
- UH Mānoa enrolled more new students (5,274) than it graduated (4,412).
- New freshmen increased by 3.4 percent compared to fall 2014.
- There was a significant increase in new international freshmen (50+ percent) and new freshmen from Western Undergraduate Exchange or WUE states (30+ percent).
Links to more detailed information