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UH-West Oahu secures 7-year accreditation, ‘notice of concern’ dropped

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The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has extended the University of Hawaii-West Oahu’s accreditation for seven years, and removed a so-called “notice of concern” imposed in 2012 just before the university welcomed students to its new Kapolei campus.

The renewal continues the university’s WASC accreditation through 2022.

“WASC found that UH West Oahu addressed core commitments to student learning and success, quality and improvement, and institutional integrity, sustainability, and accountability,” Jacqueline Honda, the school’s accreditation liaison officer, said in a statement.

In a March 6 letter to UHWO Chancellor Rockne Freitas, WASC President Mary Ellen Petrisko said the university has made strides over the past three years to address concerns, including:

> Instability in senior leadership posts: “UHWO made leadership turnover a priority and (has) established a stable senior administration,” she wrote. “The evaluator team experienced enthusiasm among faculty, students and staff for your vision and direction.”

> Creating a student-centered environment at the new campus: “Small class sizes and professors committed to student learning and teaching proficiency bolster student success as do increased financial aid and on-campus employment opportunities,” the letter said.

> Re-focusing on a strategic plan: “The strategic plan articulates the kind of institution UHWO seeks to be in future years, describes the academic programs that align with community needs, and uses evidence to determine faculty and staff expectation,” WASC said.

The accreditation body also noted areas for improvement, including resource planning and development toward financial stability; growing faculty capacity; clarifying decision-making processes; and strategizing delivery of distance learning.

UH-West Oahu has seen the highest enrollment growth among the university’s 10 campuses in recent years. 

Enrollment ballooned by 13 percent in the fall to 2,704 students, the seventh-straight year of double-digit growth. Before opening its Kapolei campus in 2012, the college operated out of portable classrooms in Pearl City.

Read the WASC report online: http://www.uhwo.hawaii.edu/default/assets/File/CAL_150306_UHWO_EER.pdf

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