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Home West O‘ahu Happenings Spring 2024 Convocation kicks off new semester at UH West Oʻahu

Spring 2024 Convocation kicks off new semester at UH West Oʻahu


Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

About 200 faculty and staff at the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu attended the Spring 2024 Convocation — on Jan. 4 at the the Campus Center multi-purpose room — an event traditionally held to welcome the semester and that featured campus updates, overviews from UH West O‘ahu’s executive team, and aspirations for the upcoming year and beyond. The first day of instruction at UH West O‘ahu is Jan. 8.

Before the program began, attendees enjoyed light refreshments and participated in a fun informational activity, visiting tables to learn more about scholarly and student success efforts from various organizations and resources on campus.

Convocation opened with the singing of “Mele Honouliuli,” offering of Hō‘oia ‘Āina (Land Acknowledgement), and a 10-minute screening of “West O‘ahu College: A Perspective,” an infomercial recorded in 1981 to gain support for the new campus. UH West O‘ahu’s new and transfer employees were also recognized at this time.

The program continued with Chancellor Maenette Benham touching on a financial report presented to the campus in November 2023 (here are links to the powerpoint and video of that presentation last semester); the new UH System Strategic Plan and its four imperatives, and its alignment with the UH West O‘ahu Strategic Action Plan and its three impact strategies; special events in spring to keep in mind; and helpful links to stay informed (all this information can be found in Benham’s January 2024 Ka Pe‘ahi Lono), as well as a series of upcoming professional development webinars.

Benham also presented a look at UH West O‘ahu “By the Numbers” with data from the Institutional Research Office. Among some of the takeaways:

  • Fall 2023 data shows the breadth and depth of diversity on campus, such as:
    – UH West O‘ahu’s two largest racial/ethnic groups on campus are Native Hawaiian and Part Hawaiian (28% highest in UH System) and Filipino (23% second highest to Leeward Community College)
    – 11% of students are actively residing on the neighbor islands
    – 39% of UH West O‘ahu students are 25 or older, the average age is 26 years old
    – 2 out of 3 students are transfer students
    – 9% of students are veterans
  • UH West O‘ahu awarded 3,426 degrees in the last five years. The ratio of students enrolled to degrees awarded in the last five years is nearly 50%, which far surpasses that of our peer colleges.
  • In Fall 2023, UH West O‘ahu enrolled 238 first-time students out of high school, the highest number in five years.
  • UH West O‘ahu went from 4% in-person classes in 2020 (due to Covid restrictions) to 26% in-person classes in Fall 2023.
  • UH West O‘ahu established 20 new distance education concentrations and certificates since AY 2019-20.

Convocation highlights were presentations from Harald Barkhoff, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dee Uwono, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; David McDonald, Vice Chancellor for Administration; and Jessica Miranda, Director of Strategic Directions, Assessment and Accreditation — each of whom provided a summary of what they have learned, what they have accomplished, and their goals for the year.

Benham closed the program emphasizing UH West O‘ahu’s core values, our pahuhopu — kaiāulu, hana lawelawe, mālama ‘āina, waiwai, and po‘okela — and commitment to continue working on shared equity leadership, social responsibility, stewardship, and po‘okela (excellence).

“To achieve excellence requires every one of us to tap into our core energy, our core capacities, and when we tap into that, we trigger in us the ability to achieve to be high performers,” Benham said. “I have seen that … time and time again from many of you, and I have seen the work that you do in the excellence of our students.”

After the program, faculty and staff had bento lunches and time for fellowship at the Nāulu Center and Outdoor Learning Space.

To see more photos from the event, visit the Spring 2024 Convocation album on Flickr.

Click here to see the Convocation PowerPoint presentation.

Click here to watch a recording of the Convocation program.

A woman speaking at a podium in front of a room full of an audience of dozens of seated people.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff