Accreditation for UH Hilo Reaffirmed Through 2014

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Jul 9, 2004

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received notice from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) that its accreditation has been reaffirmed until 2014.

A letter to UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng dated June 25, 2004, from Ralph A. Wolff, executive director of WASC‘s Accreditation Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC Senior), stated that the 10-year extension, the longest accreditation period that is granted by the Commission, was at the recommendation of WASC Preparatory Review and Educational Effectiveness Review teams that visited UH Hilo in March 2003 and March 2004, respectively.

"The commission was extremely pleased with the progress we have made in growth and expansion, especially our transformation from a liberal arts college to a comprehensive university, which they regard as a model for others," said Tseng, who also serves as one of WASC Senior‘s 20 elected commissioners. "Very rarely as a commissioner do I see such praise, and our favorable review is a credit to the efforts of our students, faculty and staff who all contributed to achieve this goal."

According to the WASC action letter, "the team commended the University for its bold vision of service to the Hawaiian community and for its progress in transforming its mission to transform itself from a liberal arts college to a comprehensive university that serves the workforce needs of Hawaiʻi. The team found that the University has taken previous Commission concerns and recommendations seriously and has achieved substantial progress in a number of areas during both reviews."

"Chancellor Tseng and the entire ʻohana at UH Hilo are to be congratulated for this successful visit," said UH Acting President David McClain. "The continued efforts and progress made by UH Hilo are a benefit not only to those the campus serves, but to the entire state, providing a model of transformation for the entire university system to follow."

The campus was also commended for "the number of steps it has taken to respond to its very diverse student population, including faculty development efforts to heighten their understanding of cross-cultural differences, the creation of cross-disciplinary courses and programs sensitive to Hawaiian students and the work of student affairs within the cultural contexts of the University‘s students," noting also that "the program of study in Hawaiian language and literature is recognized worldwide and is a model for the study of the culture of indigenous people."

"The Board of Regents is pleased with the success of our Hilo campus and commends Chancellor Tseng, faculty, and staff for their efforts," said UH BOR Chairperson Patricia Lee. "The board will continue to support UH Hilo‘s efforts to serve the needs of its students, the Big Island community and the state of Hawaiʻi."

There were certain areas for improvement that were highlighted by the report and action letter. Recognizing UH Hilo‘s "emerging mission and the evident high interest in its programs, as demonstrated by its enrollment growth," the commission encourages the campus and the UH system to expand its funding base, and also encourages the BOR to support that expansion. It cited concerns with the campus‘ institutional faculty governance and organizational structures, particularly in regards to faculty groups, and requested the campus monitors the operations of its senates and faculty congress and evaluates their effectiveness. It also expects that the campus will move ahead with developing and implementing a plan to improve the diversity of its faculty and staff, and to engage faculty more broadly and actively in assessment of student learning outcomes.

A special visit from a WASC team to assess the areas for improvement that have been highlighted is scheduled for spring 2008.

The next institutional proposal from UH Hilo to WASC will be due October 15, 2010. A Capacity and Preparatory Review is set for spring 2013 and the Educational Effectiveness Review is scheduled for spring 2014.

The WASC action letter, final team report, and related documents are available online at

For more information, visit: