Accreditation officials praise progress made throughout UH System

University of Hawaiʻi
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer, External Affairs and University Relations
Posted: Apr 2, 2010

HONOLULU – Leaders of the two accrediting commissions for the 10 University of Hawai‘i campuses told UH Board of Regents members yesterday that they were pleased and impressed with the amount of progress that has been made throughout the university in providing evidence of the quality of student learning and experience.
Ralph Wolff, president and executive director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC Senior), and Barbara Beno, president of WASC’s Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), were in Honolulu to provide a general accreditation briefing and workshop to members of the UH Board of Regents.
“We wanted to be here because there are a lot of new members on the board and brief them about the accreditation process,” said Wolff. “It’s very encouraging to see how this new board has come together and that they are clearly committed to serving the needs of the university and the state of Hawai‘i.”
Wolff noted the recent positive reports from WASC visits to the UH Hilo campus in October 2009 and the UH Mānoa campus in December 2009, both of which showed the campuses have made significant positive changes and considerable progress since previous visits. The self study produced by UH Mānoa was singled out by the commission for its quality and as a model that should be shared with other institutions.
“The progress that all of the campuses have made in improving the quality of their programs and services have been impressive,” said Wolff.
“The UH Community Colleges are in great shape with many positive changes made,” said Beno. “The planning effort has been exemplary, and the steps being taken to collect and use such data as market demand, labor market conditions and student outcomes in the strategic planning process have been impressive.”
Both Wolff and Beno expressed their concern at the university’s budget situation and acknowledged that this is a challenge being faced by colleges and universities throughout the country. As the University of Hawai‘i and other institutions face severe budget cuts that force the elimination of positions and programs, they noted that the issue of when these cuts begin to affect the quality of an institution is one that is among their top priorities to review and address.
Another national higher education issue of concern to the accrediting commissions that they will be paying close attention to is college graduation rates, and the university was commended for taking steps in the right direction with President Greenwood’s Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase the number of college graduates by 25 percent by the year 2015. The Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative will focus on access, affordability, and student success.
“The University of Hawai‘i has an advantage compared to other universities across the country in that you have a unified system to draw people together to work on transferability, acceptance of credits, alignment and other issues that affect graduation rates,” said Wolff.
Wolff and Beno also recognized the university’s representation on both commissions. UH Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy Linda Johnsrud serves as vice chair on the WASC Senior Commission and Honolulu Community College Chancellor Mike Rota serves as vice chair for the ACCJC.
For more information about the accrediting commissions, visit or