UH West Oʻahu joins inaugural cohort of ACE Learner Success Lab

Aerial view of the library and C building at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu.

The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu is one of 10 institutions nationwide selected to be part of a pilot cohort for a 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 Monday that UH West Oʻahu is among the institutions chosen to participate in its Learner Success Laboratory (LSL). New this year, 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.

“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.” 

Myers added, “We were impressed during the application process with University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu’s work so far in designing a high quality learning experience and are excited to partner with the institution to continue aligning its resources and building capacity to facilitate learner success.”

Being selected for the ACE Learner Success Laboratory is a real boon for UH West O‘ahu, 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.”

Sharon Valente, director of Assessment, Evaluation, and Accreditation at UH West Oʻahu, said the LSL’s purpose mirrors one of the central goals of the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Accreditation — to promote a learning-centered environment through developing an institutional framework for assessing student learning, said 

Valente noted that a key impact strategy of UH West Oʻahu’s Strategic Action Plan is to foster a learning environment that ensures our students persist through graduation and develop promising career paths.

“By participating in ACE’s Learner Success Laboratory, we will be able to integrate efforts to facilitate student success aided by ACE staff and expert ACE lab advisors’ input,” she said. “The professional development offered to faculty would be beneficial and could significantly impact our students and campus.”

Valente will work with UH West Oʻahu’s LSL committee to guide a self-assessment of existing learner success activities leading to an action plan to complement and fulfill UH West Oʻahu’s Impact Strategy to increase student success and engagement, she said.

The 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
  • Windward Community College

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. 

ACE, based in Washington, D.C., is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, its strength lies in its diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad.

ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private. For more information, visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff