Two people signing papers
Louise Pagotto, left, and Lui Hokoana signing the memorandum of agreement for the new ABIT program.

About a year ago, Information Technology (IT) faculty at Kapiʻolani Community College discussed the digital dexterity and business acumen of their students. They knew it was time to look beyond the college’s associate in science degree in information technology.

Beginning in fall 2019, students can work toward a new bachelor of applied science degree in applied business and information technology (ABIT) from the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. The curricula for this online degree emphasizes business and stresses the importance of using the skills and knowledge of information technology effectively. The ABIT program also includes an interdisciplinary focus on liberal arts courses in the humanities, social sciences, English, communication and mathematics.

Chancellors Louise Pagotto of Kapiʻolani CC and Lui Hokoana of UH Maui College signed a memorandum of agreement to create the first baccalaureate degree program that integrates the curricula between two community college campuses in the UH System. Under the agreement for the online degree, students who earn an associate in science degree in IT from Kapiʻolani CC transfer to UH Maui College to earn a bachelor of applied science degree in ABIT.

Lori Sakaguchi, a counselor for Kapiʻolani CC’s Business, Legal and Technology Department, said, “We are excited to offer this pathway to a bachelor’s degree for our information technology students! The students have an incredible skill set coming out of our program (including data science and cyber security) and now they’ll add strong business and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills from UH Maui College.”

two students smiling
Students Jaycelyn Ledda, left, and Sean AhLoo are ready for the ABIT program.

Several students have been eagerly awaiting this online program. Sean AhLoo said he’s excited about the opportunities and feels the ABIT will enhance his skills as a specialist in IT and business.

“I am excited and honored to be one of the first few students trying out the online bachelor’s program,” student Jaycelyn Ledda said. “I have been talking to some classmates who were interested in the business side of IT, about the new ABIT program. I’m positive when the word gets out about this new articulation there will be more students who will be willing to try this program out.”

Kapiʻolani CC faculty Steven Singer and Lori Sakaguchi, and Debasis Bhattacharya from UH Maui College were the principal developers of the new degree.

—By Louise Yamamoto