Achievements and aspirations addressed at UH West Oʻahu Spring Convocation and Professional Development Day

An audience of faculty and staff listening to two speakers.

The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahuʻs faculty and staff gathered for a review of 2019 and to look at what’s ahead in 2020 at Convocation and Professional Development Day, an event held Jan. 7 at the Campus Center that serves as the unofficial start of the spring semester.

The dynamic program opened up with welcomes and honors, including the singing of “Mele Honouliuli” and offering of Hōʻoia ʻĀina (Land Acknowledgement), as well as the recognition of new faculty and staff, and presentation of the Kaiāulu Award to the Student Affairs Division.

UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Dr. Maenette Benham, along with vice chancellors and staff, presented a high-level overview of the past year and upcoming goals through the lens of the UH West Oʻahu Strategic Action Plan and its three impact strategies:

  • Increasing student success and engagement
  • Advancing dynamic and innovative learning experiences
  • Strengthening our assets and infrastructure
Chancellor Maenette Benham

Chancellor Maenette Benham

“This is all about building kauhale, building our professional community of practice so that we could strengthen our community that serves the people of West Oʻahu, but by extension, all the people of Hawaiʻi and beyond,” Benham said at the beginning of the program.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Judy Oliveira‘s presentation on increasing student success and engagement (Impact Strategy 1) featured accomplishments including increased coordination and cooperation through early college programs and high school outreach efforts, no audit findings in 2019, and the development of student life and sustainable learning environments, such as the PIKO outdoor learning space, as well as achieving an all-time high for our freshmen retention rate at 76.4 percent, according to fall 2019 census data.

For the presentation on advancing dynamic and innovative learning experiences (Impact Strategy 2), Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Jeffrey Moniz highlighted new certificate programs in music and gender studies; the creation of a STEM lounge for student veterans and new laboratories for cellular biology and microbiology; community outreach, such as the Campbell-Kapolei Student Career Expo and Aha ʻĀina Aloha; UH West Oʻahuʻs role with the recent Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference; and numerous other faculty and staff achievements.

“I just want to acknowledge the good work and the high-caliber work of our faculty,” Moniz said.

Vice Chancellor for Administration Kevin Ishida presented on strengthening our assets and infrastructure (Impact Strategy 3) and noted numerous accomplishments including the enhancing of our facilities, such as the parking lot extension, new computer lab in the Health Science Building, and various design awards received for the Administration and Health Science Building.

“It really was an honor for us … and something special,” Ishida said of the AHS Building awards.

Looking toward 2020 and beyond, Benham emphasized the importance of increasing enrollment at UH West Oʻahu.

“One of the things we need to do at this campus in order to increase our enrollment is to actually offer our students a variety of different opportunities through their degree work which could lead to a variety of different careers,” Benham said. “So really taking a look at what the 21st century and this decade holds – for those students who graduate and go out and do good things – is extremely important for all of us.”

Benham talked about strengthening the campus’ academic programs and building a strong enrollment management strategic plan.

“It’s important that we increase our enrollment and continue to increase our enrollment here on the campus because our enrollment is what drives tuition revenue,” she said.

Over the course of this semester, Benham said she will go to the various divisions to walk through an overview of the budget so people better understand the importance of tuition revenue, which is important for the operations of the campus, funding to pay for permanent faculty, and investments made in students and academic programs.

“So that’s really become a focus over the last year of our administration and it’s something that we are now preparing to share with all of you so that you begin to understand how we make sausage,” Benham quipped, “so that you could help us spice it up, as well.”

Following the overview at the event, faculty and staff took part in a rotation of three presentations:

  • Engaged scholarship focused, with a look at faculty work addressing student food insecurity and offering cultural performances
  • Student/learner focused, with talks on disability/Americans with Disabilities Act, student counseling, and the Behavior Intervention Team (BIT)
  • Kaiāulu/Building Gracious Space, with a presentation by Time 4 Change, a character and leadership development company

To see pictures from the event, visit the Convocation and Professional Development Day album on flickr.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff