As graduates move on, returnees face changes

HonoluluCC

Aviation Mechanics student Charley Tauanuu looks like he's celebrating, but he'll be back on campus to finish his degree work next year.

Aviation Mechanics student Charley Tauanuu looks like he’s celebrating, but he’ll be back on campus to finish his degree work next year.

By Mathew Ursua

Ka La editor 

As more than 600 HonoluluCC students prepare to graduate with certificates and diplomas, continuing students will be returning to a campus in transition and new questions about their futures.

Accreditation issues, building renovations, and distance learning opportunities are all up in the air for next fall.  School officials are working hard to meet an October deadline for accreditation approval. The school has been issued a warning to improve in several areas or risk more severe sanctions.

Meanwhile, officials still can’t say exactly what will happen when renovations begin on Building 7’s middle and upper floors starting next semester. If all goes according to plans, renovations on the middle floors will be complete by the end of fall semester, and work on the top floors will begin the semester after that. The ramifications of construction on the upper floors, five and six, are still unknown. That’s because school officials still aren’t certain if portable classrooms set up in the gravel lot can adequately handle all the displaced classes and offices caused by the construction.  The majority of the college’s language arts and humanities courses are taught on floors five and six.

Ross Egloria, the distance education department chairperson who has been trying to find solutions to the anticipated lack of space, told Ka La that no one knows just yet whether there will be as few as six classrooms in the portables or as many as 20.  It all depends on how construction crews will be able to divide the large modular buildings into classrooms. Chancellor Erika Lacro said that special ventilation would have to be installed when the partitions go up.  She said that the original plans called for a simple system of partitions that would not be sound proof. That would be bad for instruction, making it hard for students to focus on what their instructor is lecturing when another lecture is in ears’ reach feet away.

The problem could lean to using more “hybrid classes,” which meet in person once a week and online the other times. That would cut down on classroom space needs.

Egloria stressed that it was only one option and an option that, if implemented, would only last one semester. It would end after reno- vations on Building 7 wrapped up and the classes and instructors could move back in.

But there’s another problem looming. The college was issued a warning by its accreditors this semester after it failed to follow recommendations made more than six years ago. Among the problem areas cited was distance education plans and general education requirements for some students. 

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