via Ka Leo O Hawaii: UH Manoa Student College Newspaper & Media – Classes trimmed as enrollment rises.

By Junghee Lee


Published: Monday, September 14, 2009

Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009

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Despite budget cuts, enrollment at all 10 University of Hawaiʻi campuses has increased.

As the University of Hawaii at Manoa experiences the largest increase in student enrollment in six years, coupled with ongoing budget cuts, more departments are having difficulty keeping courses open for students.

Its a positive sign that people are recognizing the value of higher education, but growth is coming at a time when we are least able to handle it financially, said Linda Johnsrud, UH vice president for academic planning and policy, in a press release.

We are offering about 10 percent fewer classes this fall compared to last fall, said Reed Dasenbrock, vice chancellor of academic affairs, in an e-mail. However, we worked hard to try to make sure that there were enough core classes.

The STAR degree audit system was used so that the Office of Academic Affairs could monitor registration in classes and adjust class loads and sections in order to satisfy the courses students need. However, this process couldnt satisfy every student.

I tried to get in biology and chemistry class this semester, but the professor said override couldnt be given, so I had to wait until someone dropped the course, said UH junior Rodney Edgar. In the end, I couldnt take the course.

Compared to last semester, MATH 100 courses decreased from two sections to one, leaving students with a student-teacher ratio of 300 to 1.

Its really hard for me to listen during the lecture because there are about 300 students in class, and theres barely any empty seats, said UHM freshman Olivia Klein.

In order to improve course availability, the Office of Academic Affairs is analyzing the data of courses taken by students and plans to meet demand for the spring semester.

We are reviewing the spring schedules, whether enough seats of key courses are being offered and if there are elective courses that can be postponed without harm, so that more sections of key courses can be offered, said Dasenbrock.

The bulk of increase in enrollment is from Hawaii residents, according to Assistant Vice Chancellor Alan Yang, and more than 50 percent of the new freshmen are Hawaii residents with a mean grade point average of 3.43.

We have a very well-prepared freshman class; almost 30 percent of our freshmen are in the top of their graduating class, said Yang.

Enrollment rate is up in all 10 UH campuses, and UH Manoa saw an increase of more than 400 students this semester and a total of 20,360 students enrolled.

Were excited that more of Hawaiis young people are realizing what a great investment a degree from UH Manoa offers for their future lives and careers, said UHM Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw in a press release.