Hawaii to work toward improving student success at community colleges

UH Community Colleges will lead participation in Postsecondary State Policy Network

University of Hawaiʻi
Susan Lee, (808) 956-5852
Director of Marketing & Communications, UH Community Colleges
Posted: Nov 29, 2012

HONOLULU (November 29, 2012) – Hawai‘i was announced as one of five states accepted into the Postsecondary State Policy Network, an initiative led by Jobs for the Future in conjunction with Achieving the Dream, Inc. The other states announced recently include Connecticut, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
The Postsecondary State Policy Network now totals 11 states – Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawai’i, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia. The network’s objective is two-fold: to help states design administrative, system and legislative policies that support institutional reform strategies; and to spread across the states the lessons and models emerging from efforts to define effective and efficient student pathways to completion.
One way that Hawai‘i’s state policy team will spread promising practices, challenges, and lessons learned is through cross-state meetings. The first of those meetings took place November 27 in Boston, Mass. Representatives from Hawai‘i, Achieving the Dream, and Jobs for the Future were in attendance. Hawai‘i’s policy team discussed their work; specifically, how they will improve student services so more students can succeed in college.
In the coming year, Achieving the Dream supported states, including Hawai‘i, will pursue a range of evidence-based reform initiatives, from piloting performance-based scholarships and improving transfer success, to fundamentally transforming the delivery of developmental education. These reforms are crucial in meeting the national demand for a more college-educated citizenry.
"Our participation in the Network's semi-annual State Policy Meetings and day-long Cross-State Topics [meetings] has been invaluable in providing new and different avenues to advance the completion agenda," said John Morton, University of Hawai‘i vice president for community colleges. "The concentration of resources in a single location and time provides needed 'bang for the buck' to an isolated state with high travel expenses."
Hawai‘i has identified the following major evidenced-based reform initiatives for the coming year that align with and augment the Network's goals of accelerating state-level innovation and policy action to improve student success and completion:
  1. Improve graduation success of part-time students
  2. Increase transfer success, including automatic admissions at the University of Hawai'i four-year institutions for community college students, reverse transfer, dual enrollment, and reducing time to completion.
“Hawai‘i is a leader in innovation to improve student success and completion,” said Richard Kazis, senior vice president of Jobs for the Future. “The Postsecondary State Policy Network provides them with a high-impact vehicle for efficient sharing of proven strategies for implementing policies that make a difference.”
Community colleges and states today face a tremendous challenge: educate more students than ever – a significant number of whom are underprepared – in an era of decreased budgets. All the while, the nation demands increases in student performance outcomes. For many states, this new normal is creating a ripe environment for innovation and sweeping reform. Hawai‘i is committed to exploring, supporting, and helping scale promising statewide reforms that can create meaningful academic and career pathways for all students.
“While a significant number of the students walking through the community college front door may not be college-ready, Achieving the Dream and our National Reform Network believe that all students walking through the door are college-material,” said Carol Lincoln, senior vice president of Achieving the Dream. “We will work closely with Hawai‘i to ensure that the reforms are guided by our values of equity, excellence, and evidence.”
Postsecondary State Policy Network
The Postsecondary State Policy Network, led by Jobs for the Future in conjunction with the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, is a multi-state collaboration committed to advancing state policy agendas that accelerate community college student success and completion. The network evolved out of the state policy efforts for the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including the Developmental Education Initiative. The network includes 11 states that are continuing their work with support from Achieving the Dream and the Completion by Design and Student Success Center initiatives. JFF helps teams from the 11 network states maximize peer learning and develop and implement policies that promote community college student success. To learn more about the Postsecondary State Policy Network and the individual states involved, visit http://achievingthedream.org/approach/policy_change.
University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges
The University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges (UHCC) is a statewide system of seven separately accredited institutions part of the larger ten-institution University of Hawai’i system. Through these seven degree-granting campuses, three University Centers, and Education Centers on Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, in Hana, Maui, and on the Wai‘anae Coast of O‘ahu, the UHCC provides open-door access to affordable, high-quality education in a variety of programs from career and technical to liberal arts education.
Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future works with its partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.
Achieving the Dream, Inc.
Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network includes leaders from nearly 200 colleges and 15 policy states, and more than 100 coaches and advisors, working to close achievement gaps and accelerate community college student success and completion nationwide. Ultimately, the Network helps 3.75 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.