UH West Oahu Awarded $1.9 Million Grant to Expand Academic and Student Services Capacity for Underrepresented Students

Funds will help to rebuild and expand academic programs, and enhance outreach and support services for Native Hawaiian and Filipino students

University of Hawaiʻi
Melinda Wood, 808/454-4750
UH West Oahu
Kate Wester, 808/956-9095
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Nov 6, 2003

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu was recently awarded a $1.9 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand academic and student services for underrepresented students, specifically Native Hawaiian and Filipino students.

Statistics show that Filipinos and Native Hawaiians are chronically underrepresented in higher education, particularly at the bachelor degree level. The UH West Oʻahu Title III leadership team hopes to address this concern by focusing on two broad activities with this grant targeted towards these underrepresented students—strengthening academic capacity and enhancing student services.

UH President Evan Dobelle said "UH West Oʻahu already plays a critical role in our state in offering higher education opportunities to underrepresented populations. This grant will expand and enhance opportunities for these students as well as fund research that will provide invaluable assessments of services that will be beneficial to all our UH campuses."

Efforts will concentrate on strengthening the campus‘ academic capacity by rebuilding its Hawaiian/Pacific Studies program and expanding its neighbor island academic programs by adding 20 distance delivered courses in a variety of modalities. Nearly 20 percent of UH West Oʻahu‘s enrolled students live on the neighbor islands and earn their degrees through distance education programs at the University Centers.

UH West Oʻahu also plans to enhance student services programs for these two ethnic groups by providing outreach activities such as college readiness workshops, support services and networks for matriculated students who have been away from higher education for some time, and career development activities such as internships to prepare students for professional careers

"We are very excited about receiving this grant and this recognition is a testament to our highly dedicated faculty and staff," said UH West Oʻahu Chancellor William Pearman. "Our campus serves a diverse range of students and we look forward to the enhanced services and opportunities that this grant will make possible for all of them."

"I commend Chancellor Pearman and his team at UH West Oʻahu for their hard work and efforts which have culminated in the award of this highly competitive and prestigious grant," said Dobelle.

In addition, UH West Oʻahu will collect and analyze data on underrepresented students who participate in the activities and services. Data collected will help the leadership team understand the scope of the barriers that Filipinos and Native Hawaiians face in entering higher education and what strategies are most effective in overcoming those barriers.

The principal investigator of the grant is Melinda Wood. Other positions will be funded by the grant, including a project coordinator, and two advisory groups will be formed. One group will be an internal committee consisting of UH West Oʻahu faculty, staff and students, that will ensure that project activities and services occur on schedule and are improved based on participant feedback. A second group will be comprised primarily of educators and other experts within the Hawaiian and Filipino communities, and they will ensure accountability with the "real world" stakeholders who benefit from Title III activities.

The Title III grant awarded to UH West Oʻahu by the U.S. Department of Education is part of a program, focused on underrepresented students, intended to assist eligible institutions of higher education improve their academic programs, institutional management and fiscal stability. In order to be eligible for a grant, a campus must have a student body that is comprised of at least 10 percent of the underrepresented group. According to official Fall 2002 institutional data, UH West Oʻahu had the highest percentages of Hawaiian/Part-Hawaiian and Filipino students of the three baccalaureate degree granting campuses within the UH system.