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Manoa Faculty Senate CAPP Draft Resolution on Admission Standards

Whereas the University of Hawai'i at Manoa is charged by the Board of Regents to "utilize selective admissions criteria for all colleges and programs" [BOR Policies Section 5- 11a(1)]; and

Whereas the UHM strategic plan includes a commitment to increase academic rigor for Manoa's undergraduates; and

Whereas UHM admissions standards have changed little in three decades; and

Whereas high school and transfer GPAs have a very different meaning now than they used to; and in particular, the 2.8 GPA we require of high school applicants now represents the bottom 40% of high school classes; and

Whereas data we have collected so far clearly indicate that raising the GPA will have no measurable negative impact on the diversity of the student body; and

Whereas the so-called "assured admissions criteria" are meant to be high; and

Whereas Manoa faculty are charged to develop "other admission criteria that are used to determine the admission of students who do not meet the higher, assured admissions criteria" [BOR Policies Section 5-11a(3)(b)]; and

Whereas the continuing problem of underrepresentation of qualified students from the most disadvantaged groups in the UH community seems to be more a problem of outreach, preparation, and mentoring than of formal admission standards; and

Whereas a narrow focus on a few criteria, especially GPA, can have deleterious effects (e.g., promote grade inflation in the high schools and provide an incentive for K-12 students to avoid challenging courses); and

Whereas the admissions office already consider a number of supplemental admissions criteria, though they are not explicitly announced; and

Whereas while "no qualified resident applicant should be denied admission to the University system," [BOR Policies Section 5-11b(2)] this does not mean that Manoa by itself must satisfy this requirement, but is a charge to the system as a whole; therefore

Be it resolved:

That faculty representatives designated by the Manoa Faculty Senate, in conjunction with the office of the VCAA, will constitute a special working group, which will include representatives from the Office of Admissions and Records as well as from appropriate stakeholder groups from the campus, system, and community.

This group, charged with proposing revised admission standards for both transferring community college and baccalaureate students as well as incoming freshmen, will:

a) undertake to recalibrate the numerical components of our current admissions criteria so as to give them the same meaning they had when first adopted, and position them more in line with those of our peer and benchmark institutions;

b) monitor the application and enrollment pools, to ensure that these changes do not have any unintended detrimental effects on the diversity of our student body;

c) determine if there are other criteria, possibly reflecting unique aspects of the local community, which would be appropriate for inclusion in the explicit list of admissions criteria;

d) determine the form and pace with which such criteria will be incorporated; and

e) investigate the feasibility of adopting special outreach or enrichment programs (such as the Law School preadmission programs) to ensure that high-potential local students with correctible academic deficiencies are appropriately directed to Manoa and properly prepared for matriculation here.


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