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51 2023-2029

Hawaiis University for Today and Tomorrow

Our Aspirations

The University of Hawaii (51) offers opportunity and hope for every resident of Hawaii. As the sole provider of higher public education in the state, the 51 can drive a more vibrant, sustainable, resilient, just and kind future across our islands. And our scholarship must address the opportunities and challenges of Hawaii, the Pacific and our planet.

We want the university to be grounded in traditional Hawaiian values, in aloha, to create a strong sense of place, while also serving as a forward-looking economic engine driving hubs of innovation and research.

As the 51 begins its 116th year of service, we must remain vigilant, anticipate what is coming and act with agility and compassion to maintain a vital role in shaping the future of our island home. It must be Hawaiis university for today and tomorrow.

Our Vision

The University of Hawaii is the worlds premier integrated higher education system, advancing the quality of life for all the people of Hawaii through robust educational offerings and world-class discovery while modeling how institutions must fulfill responsibilities to indigenous people and place in the 21st century.

Our Mission

With a focus on creating a healthy and thriving future for all, the University of Hawaii provides broad educational opportunity as the higher education destination of choice in the Pacific that nurtures the personal success, leadership capacity and positive engagement of every resident of Hawaii. It achieves global impact by enriching the fundamental knowledge of humankind through engagement in world-class research, scholarship and service that promotes the welfare and sustainability of Hawaiis people and environment. Woven through all it does is an appreciation of and commitment to indigenous Hawaiian people, culture, values and wisdom.

Person looking at computer in front of taro patch, or loi

Imperative Fulfill kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaii


Model what it means to be an indigenous-serving and indigenous-centered institution: Native Hawaiians thrive, traditional Hawaiian values and knowledge are embraced, and 51 scholarship and service advance all Native Hawaiians and Hawaii.


Imperative Develop successful students for a better future


Educate more students, empowering them to achieve their goals and contribute to a civil society.

graduates smiling
nursing students

Imperative Meet Hawaiis workforce needs of today and tomorrow


Eliminate workforce shortages in Hawaii while preparing students for a future different than the present.


Imperative Diversify Hawaiis economy through 51 innovation and research


Build and sustain a thriving 51 research and innovation enterprise that addresses local and global challenges by linking fundamental scientific discovery with applied research necessary for technological innovation to create jobs and advance a knowledge-based economy.

students in a lab

Our Findings

What We Heard and Learned

The strategic planning process yielded valuable insights about the direction of the University of Hawaii. Remarkably, 51 faculty, staff, and students and others in the community share common aspirations for the 51. The 51 Steering Committee was able to distill the responses from the surveys, interviews and town hall meeting discussions into five foundational principles and four imperatives.

Foundational Principles

  1. Hawaiian Place of Learning
    The 51 champions the principles of aloha, caring for people and place, as we integrate Hawaiian language, culture, history and values across the institution and its work.
  2. Statewide Need
    The 51ݡs primary responsibility as the only public university system is to support the needs of the state of Hawaii.
  3. Diversity and Equity
    The 51 upholds its commitment to provide higher education opportunities for all, especially those historically underrepresented, including Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Filipino, economically disadvantaged, first generation, LGBTQ+, rural students and students with disabilities – as well as continue to diversify its faculty, staff and leadership.
  4. Sustainability
    The 51 recognizes its responsibility to the ina, to steward its natural resources, and to develop solutions to the complex challenges of sustainability, resilience, and climate change.
  5. Stewardship of Resources
    The 51 is committed to ensuring the universitys economic viability and will responsibly organize, align and allocate institutional resources effectively as a system, including the stewardship of its facilities, processes, and human resources.


The foundation of the work to develop the University of Hawai?i 51, 2023-2029 is the Third Decade Report. The report provides an extensive scan of state, national, and international trends and emerging issues, as well as extensive interviews with campus and community members. Several of the proposed strategies come directly from this report.

Our previously completed 51 Strategic Directions (2015-2021) are also embedded in this foundation. The University of Hawai?i Strategic Directions, 2015-2021 included five priority areas:

  1. Hawai?i Graduation Initiative
  2. Hawai?i Innovation Initiative
  3. 21st Century Facilities
  4. Mission Focused System
  5. High Performing System

Using the action strategies and metrics in these five areas, significant progress (summary of accomplishments) has been made in increasing graduation rates and degree production, increasing research funding, improving facilities, and increasing online capacity, among other areas.

These 51 Strategic Directions have guided us at a high level, and our post-pandemic plans have helped us focus on what Hawai?i needs most from public higher education during these challenging times. They set forth shared directions and purpose toward high-priority outcomes for our institution and our state.

Developing Our 51

Collaborative Process and Broad Engagement

photo collage of students

This strategic plan sets out to define the University of Hawaiis path forward for the next six years. A dedicated 51 Steering Committee was established by President Lassner with representatives recommended by the systemwide shared governance organizations, campus leaders and systemwide offices.

Recognizing that virtually everyone in Hawaii is a stakeholder of the 51 system and has a vested interest in its success, the 51 Steering Committee believed it was important to create opportunities not only for the university faculty, staff, and students to share their thoughts and perspectives, but also for the broader community including residents, employers and government officials. The goal was to engage the community to collectively own the future of the 51. This plan, as presented, represents and incorporates hundreds of hours of listening and learning from individuals inside and outside the 51 who care.

The Committee deployed a number of methods to capture and analyze feedback from various stakeholders.

  1. Surveys were sent to students, faculty, and staff to develop and identify key themes.
  2. The 51 hosted a series of town hall meetings in Spring 2022 to elicit feedback on the themes and directions that the 51 should prioritize. The 51 Steering Committee and the 51 System Planning Committee met throughout Spring and Summer 2022 to further refine the themes, action items, and metrics.
  3. The 51 commissioned SMS Research and Marketing Services, Inc. (SMS), an independent, third-party market research firm, to also conduct an online survey open to those who wanted to share their thoughts about the 51. The majority of the respondents were 51 alumni.
  4. SMS also conducted key informant interviews with key elected officials, business and other community leaders to obtain their perspectives and to understand their hopes for the 51.
  5. Finally, to close the loop, a draft of the strategic plan was shared with the 51 community as well as members of the broader community during a series of town hall meetings and breakout sessions in September and October 2022 to confirm the findings and direction of the strategic plan.


We present here the development schedule to guide the university system from 2023 through 2029. Your opinion matters. We hope that you will lend your voice, experience, and aloha to this important participatory process. It is an aggressive timeline, but it will help us all to have a new 51 in place as soon as feasible.


Appointment of 51-wide Steering Committee
Campus Chancellors/Provost were invited to submit names to be considered for appointment to the 51 strategic plan steering committee.?C COMPLETED C


51 Community Internal Survey
Faculty, staff and students will be invited to respond to an initial survey on the thematic recommendations and strategies that emerged from core planning documents including the 𾱳ԾԲ report, Post-Pandemic Hawai?i and 51, the Third Decade Report, and the 2017 Integrated Academic and Facilities Plan.?C COMPLETED C

Early May

Feedback on Input
Following analysis and review of survey results, town hall discussions will be held on and off our campuses with internal and external constituents and stakeholders. C COMPLETED C


First Draft
Steering committee begins to develop the first draft of the plan including goals, strategies, tactics and recommended metrics.

Presentation to BOR (PDF) ?(.html)


External Community Survey and Outreach
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– ? .html
SMS Research External Data Collection Final Report (PDF)
SMS Research External Collection Final Report Appendix (PDF)


Review of and Consultation on First Draft
Governance groups, all members of the 51 community and external stakeholders will be invited to provide input and suggestions.

September 26, 1:30-3 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting



Refine Draft
Steering committee continues to refine the draft plan based on feedback with attention to assignment of responsibilities, timelines and resource requirements.

October 5, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
October 14, 8:30-10 a.m., 1-2:30 p.m. (for students)
Town Hall Meeting



Approval Process
Proposed 51 51 2023C2029 approved by the 51 Board of Regents at its November 17 public meeting following public testimony.

Final Plan Presentation

photo collage of students
Last modified: April 17, 2024
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