WBU Hawaii branching out

December 12, 2013

MILILANI, Hawaii -- Wayland Baptist University in Hawaii is encouraging those in Mililani to take advantage of their hometown university.

Under the leadership of campus Executive Director and Dean Dr. David Howle, the campus, which has been largely military oriented, is looking to diversify its student base by expanding its emphasis on traditional programs.

The Hawaii campus is one of 12 external campuses operated by Wayland Baptist University based in Plainview, Texas. These campuses were designed for non-traditional students, offering evening and weekend classes to cater to working adults. Most of these campuses are affiliated with military bases, serving the men and women of the armed forces. Among the external campuses, Hawaii has one of the highest percentages of military students.

“If you consider people who are using tuition assistance (military TA grants) -- active military -- as well as veterans using veterans’ benefits, that is probably 55 to 65 percent of our enrollment any given semester,” Howle said.

Howle became Dean of the Hawaii Campus in October of 2011, one month after Wayland moved the campus to its Mililani location. The main offices and classrooms had been located on military bases. As a priority, Howle wanted to diversify the student body by reaching out to the community and letting civilians know that Wayland is there for them as well.

Wayland’s most popular degree program is the Bachelor of Applied Science, designed for working adults whose work experience can translate into credit hours toward the degree. However, the Hawaii campus also offers the Bachelor of Business Administration degree as well as an Associate of Arts degree. Howle said the associate’s degree has proven to be appealing to local traditional age students as well as their parents.

“It allows the students to stay home for a couple of more years before going off to college,” Howle said. “They can work, stay home, cut their expenses, and by the time they are ready to go to the mainland to go to a college with specializations or majors they are interested in, they already have completed the first two years.”

Howle said adding more traditional age students to the classes that already exist also enriches the experience for younger and older students alike. He said the interaction between students of different ages and backgrounds brings additional perspectives to the class discussion.

Howle said it is also an easy transfer of grades and credits should those students choose to attend Wayland’s traditional campus in Plainview. Wayland also offers numerous courses and degree plans online for students who are interested.

Along with promoting traditional degree programs, Wayland is offering a series of seminars for interested people involving such topics as social media and biblical interpretation. These seminars, part of the ’Imi ’ike Enrichment Series, are open to anyone interested.

Most importantly, Howle said these approaches make Wayland more visible and he hopes people will take advantage of what the university has to offer.

“It is an opportunity for us to serve the community,” Howle said.

For more information, log on to www.wbu.edu, or www.wbu.edu/hawaii.