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A Mānoa Academy class at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama.

The College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched a multifaceted program as part of its ongoing efforts to engage local high school students, improve college readiness and prepare them for success in a global environment. The innovative approach includes the Mānoa Academy of Social Sciences, a statewide pilot program offering Hawaiʻi’s high school students the opportunity to earn dual credits at their high school and at UH Mānoa, and agreements that provide a gateway to students from Asia and the continental U.S.

“In today’s global environment, success is dependent on an individual’s ability to succeed in a multi-cultural context,” said Denise Eby Konan, dean of the College of Social Sciences. “This initiative by the College of Social Sciences helps to prepare Hawaiʻi’s youth for success as our future leaders. The Mānoa Academy reaches out to high school students, particularly Native Hawaiians, rural communities and other under-served groups statewide, and enables them to experience our dynamic learning environment, while learning more about themselves and connecting with others.

“The articulation agreements ensure that these same students are in classrooms integrated with peers from across the United States and the world. This provides students with access to a more global perspective—both nationally and internationally. This culturally diverse experience will help to transform students into bold, engaged global citizens, who operate and flourish in a multi-cultural environment.”

The Mānoa Academy for Social Sciences

The Mānoa Academy for Social Sciences enables juniors or seniors from participating high schools, who plan to attend UH Mānoa, to earn credit for courses at the university while simultaneously satisfying high school graduation requirements.

The pilot phase of Mānoa Academy launched this summer in partnership with Kamehameha Schools Kapālama (KS). A dozen KS Kapālama students participated in the six-week, dual credit program and earned college credits for two courses—English 100 and Political Science 110.

“The first year of college is a big jump from high school, so we looked for ways to ease the way in for Hawaiʻi students, have early access to credits, and most importantly give these students the experience and exposure to the Mānoa campus,” added Konan.

ʻUmi Perkins, a KS Kapālama and Mānoa Academy faculty member, added, “The Mānoa Academy provides tremendous benefits to the students of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. A large percentage of our students attend UH Mānoa following graduation. Having this opportunity available has been extremely helpful in preparing these students for their freshman year. While a lot of these students already take advanced classes that compare to some university level courses, I can already see the improvement from the students who participated in Mānoa Academy. They are head and shoulders above a typical high school student.”

Academy expansion

The college is also establishing agreements with other educational institutions to bring students in through new pathways. Resulting in a more dynamic learning environment where students experience diverse cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds, the college has streamlined the transfer process for national and international students via agreements involving Kapiʻolani Community College; West Valley College in California (which is the first of its kind between a California community college and an out-of-state institution); Khon Kaen University in Thailand; Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi Province, China; Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan; and the University of Electronic Science and Technology in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

—By Lisa Shirota

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