March is a busy month at Hawai‘i Pacific University
as we make final preparations for our reaccreditation visit
from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Five faculty members and administrators from other schools
will form a WASC review team. They will spend two days on
our campuses (March 16-17), meeting with faculty, students,
staff, and administrators. Their primary goal during the
visit will be to look at HPU’s capacity — its
resources, organizational structures, and commitment to the
future. visiting team members will be seeking to validate
that the progress we have made is based on a solid foundation
of participation, evidence, and self-reflection.
Although the visiting team will spend
a great deal of time with individuals and groups responsible
for the core “capacity” functions
of the University, three important open meetings are scheduled
with students, staff, and faculty on Thursday afternoon,
March 17, at locations to be posted on campus. I urge all
of you to participate in these meetings and share your views
with the team visitors to help demonstrate our commitment
to self-reflection and improvement.
On the last day of their visit (March
18), the team will report its preliminary findings personally
to me. Next year
in March, the team will return, this time to evaluate the
University’s educational effectiveness, focusing on
specific educational outcomes ranging from student learning
in the classroom to graduation and retention rates.
We are looking forward to this visit
because it is an opportunity for HPU to receive not only
constructive criticism but also
affirmation of the important progress we have made in key
areas that affect HPU’s present and future. We have
much to be proud of. We are a university that has engaged
in strategic planning and looks forward to making decisions
about where we’re headed. We have become a university
that devotes time and energy to finding ways to ensure that
students are learning. We have expanded our ability to do
institutional research, gathering data and asking what that
data says about the University’s strengths and weaknesses.
And finally, our faculty, staff, and administrators have
developed creative and effective ways to come together in
a spirit of shared governance, always with an eye to what’s
best for the entire HPU community.