University of Hawaii Community Colleges joins national initiative to help more community college students succeed

UHCC joins 'Achieving the Dream' and receives commitments from funding partners totaling $1.5 million

University of Hawaiʻi
Contact:
Michael Rota, (808) 956-7471
Susan Lee, (808) 956-5852
Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges
Posted: Jun 29, 2007

HONOLULU - Hawaii's community colleges will join Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a national initiative to help more community college students succeed, with commitments from funding partners totaling $1.5 million.

Implementing the State of Hawaii participation in the Achieving the Dream demonstration project will be the shared responsibility of the University of Hawaii system through the Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Kamehameha Schools. The financial partners are major institutions within the state that play leadership roles within the Hawaiian community. Each has committed to provide $100,000 per year for the five years of University of Hawaii Community Colleges (UHCC) involvement in the Achieving the Dream demonstration project.

Achieving the Dream provides participating colleges with support to implement strategies designed to help more students-particularly students of color and low-income students-earn degrees, complete certificates or transfer to other institutions to continue their studies. Achieving the Dream emphasizes building a culture of evidence to identify effective practices, improve student success rates and close the achievement gaps.

"Community colleges with their low cost and community locations provide excellent access to higher education, yet success is not just about coming in the door but leaving with the degrees and skills needed to succeed in the work place or in a baccalaureate program," said John Morton, UH Vice President for Community Colleges. "Our participation in the Achieving the Dream initiative will help ensure that we provide this access with success for our students."

"OHA is pleased to support the University of Hawai'i Community College system in its endeavor to increase the student success for its Native Hawaiian population," said OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo. He added that Goal Four of OHA's strategic plan is to develop and implement a strategy to ensure Native Hawaiians access to all education opportunities. "This collaborative effort moves OHA towards meeting its strategic goal in the area of education," remarked Namuo.

"We, at Kamehameha Schools, are excited by the potential that this collaboration has to improve the outcomes for groups of community college students who have traditionally been challenged in their educational endeavors, specifically Native Hawaiian learners," said Chris Pating, vice president for strategic planning and implementation at Kamehameha Schools.

"This collaboration is in complete alignment with the objective of our Education Strategic Plan, which is to increase the capability and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people by creating long-term intergenerational change via education," added Pating.

The seven community colleges of the University of Hawaii system are among 24 institutions in eight states joining Achieving the Dream this year, bringing the total number to 82 participating institutions in 15 different states. Other funding partners will support the expansion in other states. Overall, nearly $100 million has been invested in the initiative since it launched in 2004.

"I cannot overstate the importance of helping community college students succeed," said Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation for Education, which provided the initial funding for Achieving the Dream. "Community colleges enroll almost half of the nationˇ¦s undergraduates, and the students they serve often have few other options for a higher education," Lamkin said. "With today's jobs requiring more and more postsecondary education, the role of these institutions is more vital than ever."

Officials at MDC Inc., the organization that serves as the initiative's managing partner, cited Achieving the Dream's comprehensive approach as a key to its continued expansion. "Achieving the Dream's mission of helping colleges focus research and resources in support of student success is one we've found resonates widely among foundations, state agencies, business leaders, colleges and students," said Carol Lincoln, senior program director at MDC and the initiativeˇ¦s national director.

Start-up funding for Achieving the Dream was provided by Lumina Foundation for Education, which continues to provide funding for the 27 community colleges included in the initiative's initial five-state launch in 2004 as well as for other elements of the initiative's work. Since then, additional funders have joined the initiative, bringing more institutions and new states into the Achieving the Dream community. More about Achieving the Dream, including a full list of participants, can be found online at http://www.achievingthedream.org.

In addition to the funding partners, eight national partner organizations work with Lumina to guide the initiative and provide technical and other support to the colleges and states. They are: the American Association of Community Colleges; the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas-Austin; the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University; Institute for Higher Education at the University of Florida; Jobs for the Future; MDC; MDRC; and Public Agenda.

About Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a national initiative to help more community college students-particularly students of color and low-income students-succeed. The initiative works on multiple fronts-including efforts at community colleges and in research, public engagement and public policy-and emphasizes the use of data to drive change.

About University of Hawaii Community Colleges
The University of Hawaii Community Colleges (UHCC) system comprises seven colleges located throughout the state. Collectively, the community colleges offer more than 270 degree and certificate programs in a wide range of technical and career programs, as well as undergraduate liberal arts. Annually, UHCC enrolls approximately 25,000 or more than half of all students who enroll in the University of Hawaii system.