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Editorial | Island Voices

UH-Manoa graduating students on timely basis

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In response to issues raised by students in the article, "Community college enrollment rises 7 percent" (Star-Advertiser, Aug. 25), allow me to explain some University of Hawaii at Manoa initiatives.

For the past four years, UH-Manoa has worked to improve our undergraduate academic experience, especially in assisting students striving for degrees, by providing them all with accurate academic advising.

We now have mandatory advising and a degree audit system that allows students to meticulously plot their progress toward degrees.

Additionally, all of our students received four-year academic plans this fall that will allow them to carefully plan course selections.

We are graduating a record number of seniors, and feedback from students give extremely high marks for advising and the availability of courses. For the past three semesters, we have closely monitored all of our registration pressure points, and put additional sections of courses in high demand areas.

We offered 183,538 student semester hours of classes this fall compared to 177,592 last fall — an increase of 3 percent — while our enrollments held steady. Our numbers show that more than ever, students are getting into the classes for which they try to register.

We actually count the number of hits that a closed class has so we can determine if more sections need to be brought on line.

Ten years ago, students could select from only 250 courses that fulfilled general education requirements. Today more than 5,000 courses can be used.

Nearly always, when a student reports that he or she could not find a class, what is really being said is that a class could not be found at the most popular hours to take a class: 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

We face other important issues on our campus, but graduating students in a timely manner is always near the forefront. Expediting progress toward degrees means presenting students with accurate information that will result in solid course decisions. We think we are doing that now, and our data supports that conclusion.

Ronald E. Cambra is assistant vice chancellor of the Office of Undergraduate Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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