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The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu and Windward Community College are part of 10 institutions nationwide selected for a pilot cohort program that will guide colleges and universities through a strategic planning process to maximize student persistence and completion, and ensure learners acquire the skills necessary for success in today’s workforce.

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced in July that the two UH campuses are among the institutions chosen to participate in its new Learner Success Laboratory (LSL). The LSL is part of a suite of Transformation Labs offered by ACE to guide colleges and universities through a structured strategic planning process to advance critical institutional priorities.

Participants will work over a period of 12–18 months to integrate evidence-based practices for persistence and completion, life design and career exploration, and workforce skills development, ultimately producing a comprehensive strategy for learner success. The pilot cohort will begin work in October and is supported by a grant from the Strada Education Network.

“Providing higher education success, not just access, is critical for serving the needs of our communities, especially in this time. Windward CC is excited to join this cohort of learning institutions to study how we can amplify the good that we do, making student experiences relevant, supported and impactful,” said Ardis Eschenberg, Windward CC chancellor and former ACE fellow (2018–19). Eschenberg personally experienced how the quality and tailored professional development provided by ACE focuses on individual institutions in the context of national educational best practices.

Being selected for the ACE Learner Success Laboratory is a real boon for UH West Oʻahu, said Jeffrey Moniz, vice chancellor for academic affairs at UH West Oʻahu.

“The timing of this opportunity is remarkably fortunate,” Moniz said. “Our selection comes as we are being called to respond strategically to major budget challenges, while thoughtfully planning our university’s contributions to a more sustainable and resilient future for Hawaiʻi.”

Other institutions in the inaugural cohort are:

  • Elon University
  • Iowa State University
  • Labouré College
  • Massasoit Community College
  • Richard Bland College of William & Mary
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • Union Institute & University
  • Western Oregon University

“This is an important time to take action to further learner success, especially for post-traditional and traditionally underserved learners who are our new majority,” said Lindsey Myers, director of the Learner Success Lab. “As higher education reshapes itself in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions in the Learner Success Lab can leverage this opportunity to align their resources and build strategies that center and empower learners.”

Institutions in the cohort serve approximately 67,000 undergraduate learners in total and comprise a diverse range of two- and four-year, public and private institutions, and several current or emerging Hispanic Serving Institutions.

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