By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

The community colleges within the University of Hawaiʻi system will be transitioning from the use of certificates to a new program recognized as a concentration, according to Julie Rancilio, one of the faculty members who is collaborating on the project. The program is expected to be available to students by Fall 2023.

In previous years, certificates were available to students that allowed them to take courses in a field they are interested in and get ahead in school. The purpose of a certificate was to hone in on specific areas that would be beneficial in the workforce and help individuals stand out in comparison to their competition. Certificates in the past have focused on Asian studies, Hawaiian studies, international relations, and other career topics.

Only the certificates in Arts and Sciences will be affected by the discontinuation. The certificates that are a part of the Health Science program will still be available for students.

After the discontinuation of the majority of the certificate program in Spring 2022, the new program recognized as a concentration will be developed. This program, similar to a certificate, will be available for different fields of study that students are interested in pursuing, and it will also be viewable on a transcript.

This is currently a work in progress, though the partnership with other community colleges and UH Mānoa is likely to create a lasting pathway for students who are planning to transfer.

“The purpose of the concentration program is to give students direction,” said Rancilio. “Let us guide them and keep them on a path they are interested in.”

The main difference between the two programs lies in the experience that students will undergo. The original program was more informal in the sense that students could take a few additional courses to meet the requirements for a certificate.

The hope for the concentration program, according to Rancilio, is to create a more formal and immersive learning environment instead of simply completing a course checklist. Under the new program, students will be able to take courses with others who are on a similar path, which allows a positive relationship to be established in a smaller educational community.

All credits that are offered under a concentration will be transferable from community colleges to UH Mānoa. It is likely that general education requirements will also be modified in relation to the new program, however, the discussion on how they will be changed has yet to take place. More information about concentrations will be available as progress is made throughout development.