Welcome

From:
Donna Matsumoto, Faculty Liaison
Subject:Welcome
Attachment(s):
Student Task Force on Succeeding in College

I would personally like to welcome you to the University of Hawai'i Community Colleges (UHCC) Student Task  Force on Succeeding in College.  You are a member of an inaugural group of community college students appointed by the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents in July 2013 to serve a one-semester term.  This task force was established to address the issue of college completion.  Because the Board wants an "insider" perspective, all members of the task force are students currently enrolled at one of the UHCC's seven community colleges as either part-time or full-time students.

The term “completion gap” has become a buzzword in academe.  In the coming months, you will learn more about this monumental educational crisis and ensuing reform efforts, and then you will propose your own recommendations as to how students can best succeed in and graduate from college.  Your role on the task force includes being a researcher, a writer, and even an educational reformist.  These roles may be unfamiliar to you at first and may push you to think and act in new ways, but the regents and I are hopeful that the challenge of solving problems that are “near and dear” to you will more than make up for the difficulties you may encounter.  The Board of Regents, and specifically its Committee on Community Colleges, sought students who are adaptable, creative problem solvers and independent learners.   In addition, the board sought students who can work well with people and work successfully in groups.

About the Task Force

The Student Task Force on Succeeding in College was charged with researching and studying the issues most pertinent to college completion, and then making recommendations that the UHCC can implement during the next decade.  The task force’s scope of work for the coming sixteen weeks—organized into four “tasks”—is to understand the task force’s writing situation, identify and summarize key issues pertaining to college completion, examine possible solutions, and then choose the most viable solutions.  The board’s Committee on Community Colleges will oversee all activities of the task force and will require that the task force submit ongoing evidence of its progress, which the board refers to as deliverables.  At the conclusion of the semester, the task force will submit electronically and publish to an online community site a series of policy papers containing the task force’s recommendations.

About Your Responsibilities

Members are expected to actively participate in the work of the task force, provide thoughtful input to the deliberations of the task force, and fully participate in the activities of the task force, which include checking for and responding to messages and conducting business by web conference, telephone, and email. 

Given the large size of the task force—approximately 80 people—each member of the task force will be assigned to a specific working group consisting of approximately 4 people, with each group focusing on a particular educational issue pertaining to college completion.  The Board of Regents expects you to make the task force a priority by contributing to your group and getting deliverables done efficiently and effectively.

About the Faculty Liaison

My name is Donna Matsumoto, Professor of English at Leeward Community College, and I have been appointed by the Committee on Community Colleges to be the task force’s faculty liaison.  As your faculty liaison, I am responsible for keeping the work of the task force focused on its objectives, providing support for the task force’s activities, and ensuring timely communication within the task force, the working groups, and the Committee.  I will also serve as a resource person. 

It is important that you stay in close contact with me.  As you and the members in your working group complete tasks, you are encouraged to seek feedback from me so that you can produce the highest quality work.  As your faculty liaison, I will communicate with you primarily through memoranda on the task force’s website, emails to your UH email account, and online group meetings via Blackboard Collaborate.  When emails are sent, I will assume that you have read them.

About the Student Task Force’s Website

The Student Task Force has its own website.  Each of the four tasks contains three sections: Requirements, Resources, and Debrief.  Read the Requirements before your group creates a work plan.  Use the Resources to help you complete the deliverables for a task.  After the deliverables have been completed, reflect on what you and your group members have learned in the Debrief.

Again, welcome to the Student Task Force on Succeeding in College.  Please feel free to contact me to explore ideas, ask questions, or share concerns.  I look forward to having you become a valued member of the task force and a “mover and shaker” at the college and in your community.