Sep 022014

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
September 2014
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce

UH Hilo staff create a safe learning environment during Iselle

HICCAt universities we often talk about faculty’s role in student education. But staff have equal input in creating an environment where students can learn. The response to Hurricane Iselle is a perfect example of this.

The hurricane was a growing concern as we entered the week of August 4. Among other activities on campus, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo was hosting a group of visiting students from across the Pacific who were here to present their research as part the Islands of Opportunity Alliance (IOA).

IOA is an initiative of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minority students graduating with four-year degrees in STEM disciplines. UH Hilo serves as the lead institution in the 18-member alliance.

There were 32 participants for the two-day conference. Most were undergraduates and their advisors from around the state, Palau, and Guam. They began to arrive in Hilo on Saturday, Aug. 2, as Hurricane Iselle moved across the Pacific.

Staff was constantly assessing the situation and employing the appropriate actions to ensure student, staff, and faculty safety and comfort. As one staff member explained after the storm, there was an emotional intensity to the experience, and understandably the students and their families needed reassurance that they were safe and that the appropriate plans were being carried out to maintain their safety and well-being.

The students held their presentations on Monday and Tuesday as the hurricane got stronger and nearer. UH Hilo staff made arrangements to support conference participants who wanted to fly home early to secure their families and property. The conference still continued for those who were here—for example, the group took a field trip up to Mauna Kea Wednesday morning.

As it became clear that Iselle was going to make landfall, staff made sure the group was safe, and felt safe, and that needs were met such as food and lodging. That included putting them in a hotel, and on Thursday before Iselle hit, evacuating them to a safer location because the hotel was on the coast, and then checking them back in after the storm. Staff was in constant contact with them before, during, and after the storm.

Though the conference was shortened and participants weren’t able to take part in every planned activity, everyone was able to present their research. Staff made sure that in addition to ensuring their safety, there were ample opportunities for strong student networking among conference participants, meeting an important goal of the program.

Throughout UH Hilo, our staff are creating an environment on campus where students can learn—even while responding to a hurricane. The Islands of Opportunity program focuses on engaging students in science and research to become the next STEM leaders in the region. Though not the intention, the students experienced the first historical direct hit by a hurricane that is thought by many to be an indication of changing climate conditions in the Pacific, reminding us all that their future studies and careers are important to our island future and success.

Many thanks to faculty and staff who helped students during Iselle. Our hearts go out to all on our island who were impacted by the storm and we wish them a speedy recovery.


Don Straney

Aug 292014

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo faculty who have received tenure and/or promotion this year were honored at the 2014 Fall Welcome event held on campus this week.

A group of faculty who have received tenure and promotion stand with Chancellor Don Straney at the 2014 Fall Welcome event.

A group of faculty who have received tenure and promotion stand with Chancellor Don Straney at the 2014 Fall Welcome event.

The following faculty have been awarded TENURE AND PROMOTION:

  • DIANE BARRETT, to Professor of Education
  • FORREST BATZ, to Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
  • JASON CABRAL, to Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies
  • LENG CHEE CHANG, to Associate Professor Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • AVIS MASUDA, to Associate Professor of Education
  • YUMIKO OHARA, to Associate Professor Linguistics
  • MICHAEL PETERSON, to Associate Professor of Computer Science
  • SARAH SMITH, to Assistant Specialist of Nursing
  • DIANQING SUN, to Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • GHEE TAN, to Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
A group of faculty who have received tenure this year stand with Chancellor Straney.

A group of faculty who have received tenure this year stand with Chancellor Straney.

The following faculty have been awarded TENURE:

  • LARI-ANNE AU, Librarian III
  • KARLA HAYASHI, Junior Specialist at Kilohana Academic Success Center
  • CHARMAINE HIGA-MCMILLAN, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • DEBORAH JUAREZ, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
  • CAROLYN MA, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
  • SARAH MARUSEK, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • KIRSTEN MOLLEGAARD, Associate Professor of English
  • SHAWON RAHMAN, Associate Professor of Computer Science
Three faculty who have received promotion this year are (l-r)

Three faculty who have received promotion this year are (l-r) Roberta Barra, Lincoln Gotshalk, and Sunyoung Kim.

The following faculty have been awarded PROMOTION:

  • ANDRE BACHMANN, to Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • ROBERTA BARRA, to Professor of Accounting
  • JIE CHENG, to Associate Professor of Computer Science
  • LINCOLN GOTSHALK, to Professor of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences
  • SUSAN JARVI, to Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • SUNYOUNG KIM, to Associate Professor of Psychology
  • LARRY KIMURA, to Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies
  • KATHLEEN STACEY, to Librarian III
  • TRACY WIEGNER, to Professor of Marine Science
Aug 292014
New faculty were welcomed to UH Hilo at the 2014 Fall Welcome event held this week.

A group of UH Hilo’s new faculty stand for a photo with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the 2014 Fall Welcome event held this week. L-R, front row: Elizabeth Ackerman, Pharmacy Practice; Allyson Gilles, Psychology; Su-Mi Lee, Political Science; Misty Pacheco, Kinesiology & Exercise Science; and Randy Hirokawa, Dean. Back row: Francois Ascani, Marine Science; Marina Karides, Sociology; Kathy Cooksey, Astronomy; and Shihwu Sung, Agricultural Engineering.

New faculty were welcomed to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo at the 2014 Fall Welcome event held this week. UH Hilo is expanding its expertise in priority disciplines such as Mapping and GIS, Biomass to Energy, Island Cultures, Tropical Alpine Biology, Cell Mechanics, Public Health, Oceanography and more.

New faculty members are listed below with links to their bios.

Aug 262014
Chancellor Straney (left) with President Lassner at

Chancellor Don Straney (left) with President David Lassner at kīpaepae ho’okama’āina ceremony.

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner visited Hilo today. While here, UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney and Hawai‘i Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane hosted a kīpaepae ho‘okama‘āina, a formal Hawaiian ceremony welcoming President Lassner into his permanent position as head of the UH System.

A kīpaepae ho‘okama‘āina is the anchoring of one’s presence to the land, skies and seas. To ho‘okama‘āina (to indigenize) means to embody the profound conditions of knowing what it means to interact and intersect with an ancient living land-culture that is defined by elements such as rain, lava, earthquakes, and tsunami.

Participating in the ceremony were administrators, faculty, staff and students of UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College and invited members from the community.

More photos.

Aug 252014
New Student Services Center

The new Student Services Center now houses advising, career services, admissions, financial aid, registrar, global and international education, counseling services, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Joining them is the cashier’s unit from the business office.

Aloha UH Hilo Faculty and Staff,

Summers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are the busiest times when it comes to campus facilities modifications and construction projects supported by the folks in Auxiliary Services and Facilities Planning and Construction.

Summer 2014 was no different, but you may have noticed that the relocation of many units heightened this level of construction and logistical activity. Your vice chancellors planned this set of relocations to achieve cost savings relating to off-campus lease rent expenses and to locate as many similar or complementary functions in proximity as possible.

Units that have relocated or that are planned for relocation in the near future include:

Construction for the renovation of the old student services building is planned to begin in the fall with an anticipated completion sometime in the mid to latter half of 2015. Planning has been ongoing for the assignment of that renovated space to include the College of Business and Economics (CoBE), consolidating all faculty under one roof, and the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS). The vice chancellors will be responsible for the future utilization of space in Kanakaʻole Hall after the departure of CoBE, no decisions on the future use of this space have been made.

At the Manono campus, the testing center and the Senior Net computer center will be consolidated, maintaining security for the testing center computers, but under the single management of CCECS.

We’ll keep you updated as further relocation movements are planned.


Marcia Sakai, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs
Matt Platz, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Campus Maps

Aug 222014

University of Hawaiʻi campuses took the top spots in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2014 list of the most diverse campuses in the United States. UH Hilo was named the most diverse four-year public institution in the country.

“Being a diverse campus means that our students are able to study with people who have different experiences and different ways of thinking than they do and they learn more,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney. “That’s what being the most diverse campus is going to mean for the students is they are going to have a much better educational experience than if we were the other end of the spectrum.”

UH Maui College, UH West Oʻahu and UH Mānoa ranked two, three and four respectively.

“Not surprising, especially when like you go to school here and you walk around, you see new faces, people from different races, everyone,” commented UH Mānoa student Jonathan Neyland. “Everyone is different, everyone has different experiences. We can all learn from each other and it’s really great.”

Windward Community College was rated as the single most diverse campus in the nation and led the two-year public institution rankings with Hawaiʻi Community College, Kauaʻi Community College and Leeward Community College rounding out the top four. Honolulu Community College was 6th and Kapiʻolani Community College was ranked 7th.

“The exceptional rankings of our whole UH System is just amazing,” said UH President David Lassner. “It’s obviously a reflection of our diverse island communities throughout the state but it is also, really, a testament to our students, our faculty and our staff who create a really positive and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities.”

The Chronicle’s diversity index uses national data to calculate the probability that any two students at an institution are from different racial or ethnic groups.

Students say the diversity at UH truly enhances their educational experience.

“I did my undergrad in the mainland and for them I think it is a little different because they don’t get to see as much cultural diversity as we do here,” said Kasie Tanabe, a UH Mānoa graduate student. “I think it is good for UH students to see different cultures and different people, and everything like that. It makes us a lot more tolerant and understanding of other cultures.”

“It’s part of a strategy to bring in more students, international students, full tuition paying students,” said Lassner. “It reflects the welcoming spirit of our campuses and it is one of the reasons we think international students will really treasure the opportunity to attend a University of Hawaiʻi campus.”

See the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article for the complete list of rankings. (subscription required)

~UH System News

Aug 122014

UH logoAloha,

The outpouring of care and concern by our UH Hilo ‘ohana for those affected by Iselle has been extraordinary and heartwarming.

Many of you have already provided assistance, and many have expressed the desire to help further. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

To help support the residents of Puna, we are coordinating with the Food Basket to collect canned goods and non-perishable food items. Your contribution can be dropped off at UCB 127 from Wednesday, August 13, to Friday, August 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thank you for your support and generosity.

Donald Straney

Aug 102014

UH logoAloha,

The campus of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo will reopen on Monday, August 11, 2014 and return to regular operating hours.

Our thoughts are with our university ‘ohana and the communities in those areas still coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Iselle.

Mahalo to all for the aloha spirit shown during this challenging period.

Don Straney

Aug 062014

UH logoAnnouncement from Chancellor Straney


The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will be closed on Thursday and Friday, August 7 and 8, 2014, due to anticipated severe weather conditions and possible flooding caused by Hurricanes Iselle and Julio.

The campus will be closed and all scheduled activities are cancelled. Only employees deemed essential in emergencies shall report to work.

All campus operations are expected to resume as scheduled on Monday, August 11, 2014. However, due to the unpredictability of the effects of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio, please monitor the major media and check for updates on the UH Hilo website.

For more weather information, please see the web sites listed below:

Employees affected by the closing of the university should not report to work and shall be granted Administrative Leave for Thursday, August 7, and Friday, August 8, 2014.

The following information is provided in order to clarify the work or leave status of employees:

  1. Employees who work on Thursday, August 7, 2014 and/or on Friday, August 8, 2014, shall be considered as having worked their normal day of work and shall not be granted equivalent time off at a later date.
  2. Employees who are on their scheduled day off shall not be granted equivalent time off at a later date.
  3. Employees who are on approved leaves shall be continued on leave status without any adjustment to their leave records and shall not be granted equivalent time off at a later date.
  4. Hourly paid employees (i.e. causal hires, emergency hires) shall not be entitled to Administrative Leave.

Should you have any questions please contact the Human Resources Office at 974-7449.

Keep safe,

Don Straney

Aug 042014

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
August 2014
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce

Hawaii Island on the map as a world leader in environmental conservation

HICCOne of the top priorities at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is stewardship of the natural and cultural environment. Our campus emphasizes our respect for the ‘āina, or land, and we work in partnership with the community to study, protect, preserve and sustain the unique natural and cultural environment of Hawai‘i Island.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some news in the field of conservation.

We’ve reached a “100 in 10” milestone for our Tropical Conservation Biology and Environment Science graduate program. As the program enters its 10th year, we celebrate 100 graduate students receiving master of science degrees during the first decade of the program. Graduates have gone on to PhD programs or to work for government and non-profits on local wildlife management, watershed projects, fisheries, integrated pest management and more, contributing greatly to conservation measures throughout our island and state.

The program was started in large part to educate local students to become the next generation of leaders in conservation. Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands are at the leading edge of conservation challenges because of the highly unique endemic species, with the many threats to the species and environments from invasive species, diseases and habitat change, and now with the increasing climate changes. Hawai‘i is the “endangered species capital” of the United States, and having local people engaged in solving the problems of our precious local environment is vital.

The work our students and faculty are doing on Hawai‘i Island is having an impact on conservation statewide.

The annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference was held in Honolulu last month with over 800 attendees from agencies, organizations and communities interested in caring for Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources. The conference is convened by the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, a cooperative collaboration of 25 conservation organizations, including UH Hilo, engaged in stewarding Hawai‘i’s lands and waters.

At the conference, representatives of UH Hilo were organizing sessions and giving presentations that blended scientific, cultural and technological approaches to today’s environmental challenges. Over 50 UH Hilo students attended as part of the Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Science, a summer undergraduate program for local students, and the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science graduate program.

I’m pleased to say that next year’s conference will be hosted by UH Hilo here on Hawai‘i Island in collaboration with other conservation organizations. This is made possible through the close partnerships we have with county, state, federal and non-profit agencies all working together to further conservation on Hawai‘i Island. The conference will give us all a great opportunity to showcase our island’s responsible stewardship and conservation efforts.

Finally, the International Union for Conservation of Nature Council has selected the state of Hawai‘i to host the 2016 World Conservation Congress, the world’s largest conservation event. Every four years, this conference brings together scientists and experts, policy makers, educators, politicians, non-governmental organizations, business interests, and community organizations from around the globe to discuss solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

This is the first time this prestigious congress will be held in the USA, and the University of Hawai‘i is part of the statewide planning committee for the 10-day event to be held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in Sept. 2016. Over the next two years, the committee will engage organizations across all islands to showcase our resources, people and communities at the conference, and UH Hilo will play an important role highlighting our island as a model in environmental and cultural conservation.

For more information about the upcoming conferences, please contact Sharon Ziegler-Chong.


Don Straney