Aug 242015

This month I’d like to hand over my column to our new athletic director Patrick Guillen to let him share his thoughts on UH Hilo Athletics as he begins this new assignment. -Don Straney

UH Hilo’s new athletic director Patrick Guillen shares his vision and what he calls the “Three Pillars of Success” in a well-rounded intercollegiate athletics program.

Patrick Guillen

Patrick Guillen


It is an honor to have this opportunity to write to you and briefly share my vision and outline key areas I would like to focus on as your new Director of Athletics at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

First, I am grateful to UH Hilo for giving me this wonderful opportunity.  UH Hilo and Vulcan Athletics are a vital part of this great community. I want to honor our past and build for our future. There is a deep, rich history and tradition of Vulcan athletics, and I look forward to doing what I can to continue this tradition by assisting coaches and student-athletes in elevating to the next level of excellence.

I would like to share what I call the “Three Pillars of Success” in a well-rounded intercollegiate athletics program. These critical elements are: 1) Academic Achievement, 2) Athletic Excellence and, 3) Community Service. We will do everything to ensure that our student-athletes excel in all three areas.

As educators, our first priority will always be academics. This includes recruiting, retaining and graduating our student-athletes. Achieving this opens up the windows of opportunity for our students and prepares them to become productive citizens of our community as they enter the workforce and continue their personal journey in life.

Vulcan Athletics will work hard to put an exciting and fan-friendly product on each venue of competition. The PacWest Conference has become one of the elite National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II conferences in the country and we will strive to compete for PacWest Conference Championships and elevated NCAA rankings every year.

In order to accomplish this, we need the support of the entire campus and local community. Please come out and cheer on the Vulcans. Our student-athletes work tirelessly in the classroom, on the field and court, work part-time jobs and travel like no other student-athletes in the country to achieve their dream of playing collegiate athletics. Let’s support their dream and aid in their success by getting involved.

Community service and civic engagement (Service Learning) help our students learn the importance of giving back to our community. I firmly believe that learning to serve others is critical to the development of leaders. Our future leaders need to have an appreciation for community service in their personal character tool kit. It is a humbling and fulfilling experience to be able to give of our time and talents to assist others.

Finally, I look forward to immersing myself in the community to listen and learn how we can become an increasingly trusted and valuable partner. Together, let’s strengthen our foundation of trust and respect to enhance opportunities for all, but most importantly, for our students. Our students and community are the reason we are here and represent the ties that bind our hopes and dreams of a better future.

On behalf of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, I am humbled to lead this effort. Join us as we establish anew increased expectations for academic achievement, athletic excellence and community service: The Three Pillars of Success.

Come on out and support your Vulcans!  Here are the season opening dates for each of the fall sports.

  • Saturday, August 29, Women’s Cross Country.
  • Thursday, September 10, Women’s Soccer vs. Simon Fraser University.
  • Thursday, September 10, Women’s Volleyball vs. Cal State Los Angeles.
  • Saturday, September 26, Men’s Soccer vs. Notre Dame de Namur University.

Visit us on the Web at for detailed schedule information.

Mahalo for welcoming me to the Vulcan ‘ohana,

Patrick Guillen

Related: UH Hilo Stories, July 28, 2015: Guillen recommended for UH Hilo athletic director.

Aug 202015

Ma joined the college in 2007 as the clinical education coordinator, and in 2009 became chair for pharmacy practice.

Carolyn Ma

Carolyn Ma

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney today announced the appointment of Carolyn Ma as interim dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy effective August 21, 2015.

Ma joined the college in 2007 as the clinical education coordinator, and in 2009 became chair for pharmacy practice. She is currently in charge of operations, faculty and residents for the college on O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i. She previously served as a pharmacy management consultant for various hospitals, including Stanford Hospitals and Clinics.

“Carolyn has played a key role in the growth and development of the college,” Straney says. “That experience, combined with her extensive background in clinical and pharmaceutical administration, will help ensure continuity as we search for a permanent dean.”

Ma received her doctor of pharmacy from the University of California at San Francisco. She completed a clinical pharmacy residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and an oncology pharmacy specialty residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She practiced as a board certified oncology pharmacist at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu and went on to serve as vice president for clinical program development for AmMed International in Hong Kong.

Aug 172015

The Chancellor’s Development Fund is offering tuition waivers to a Basic Grant Writing Workshop.

Click to enlarge.


DATE: Sept. 12, 2015
TIME: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
PLACE: University Classroom Building, room #331, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (main campus map)
FEE/WAIVERS: There is a $75 fee but the Chancellor’s Development Fund is offering limited employee fee waivers for this workshop (see application instructions below).

Participants will learn all about the grant writing process, how to write a compelling statement of need, and learn what funders are looking for in grant proposals. Instructor Jeani Navarro has over 30 years of grant writing experience and has helped various community organizations secure needed funding. Lots of samples and handouts provided.

To apply for a fee waiver

Copy and paste the information below along with your responses, then send to Luisa Castro, program coordinator at the College of Continuing Education and Community Service, at luisac[at]

  • Class: Basic Grant Writing Workshop, September 12, 2015, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Name.
  • Unit or Department.
  • Contact info.
  • Brief paragraph stating how attending the workshop will benefit you and/or your unit.
Aug 032015

We’re building on accomplishments and continuing to serve the needs of Hilo and Hawai‘i Island. 

By Chancellor Don Straney

This summer marks my fifth year as chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. As I look back on my first five years, I see great progress in some key areas I’d like to share with you.


Haleʻōlelo. Photo by Andrew Hara.

Haleʻōlelo. Photo by Andrew Hara.

In 2014, we opened three new buildings that give students the best learning environment possible. The new student services building houses all UH Hilo student support services in one central location. Hale ‘Alahonua student residence hall has 300 units in a trio of three-story wings with spacious common areas and courtyards.

We also opened the beautifully designed Hale‘ōlelo, the new home of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. And last fall, of importance to the entire state, the Office of the Governor released funding for construction of a permanent building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.


(l-r) Kupa ‘Āina classmates Birolena Vaoga, Lorilei Domingo, and Roger Dalere-Keauhou plant native plants during a field trip to the Keauhou Forest Reserve.

(l-r) Kupa ‘Āina Summer Bridge classmates Birolena Vaoga, Lorilei Domingo, and Roger Dalere-Keauhou plant native plants during a field trip to the Keauhou Forest Reserve in 2014.

In my first semester, the College of Hawaiian Language presented two doctorates in Hawaiian and indigenous language and culture revitalization, the first doctoral degrees awarded at UH Hilo. Since then, we’ve awarded over 400 doctoral degrees. Since fall of 2010, over 3,600 undergrads and master’s students—some of them the first from their ‘ohana to have a degree—have graduated and been launched on their careers, testimony to the value of a UH Hilo education.

Looking to answer the needs of our island and state, we developed a master of arts in heritage management (starting this fall), a master of arts in teaching (2013), a doctor of nursing practice (2012), doctor of philosophy in pharmaceutical sciences (2011), a bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies (2011), and a master of science in clinical psychopharmacology (2011).

And we added certificate programs in accounting, finance, Asia Pacific-U.S. economic relations, beekeeping, tropical farming, global engagement, STEM honors research, Chinese studies, and Filipino studies.

We’ve made great progress with applied learning opportunities. Through internships in local businesses, nonprofits, environmental organizations, STEM programs and more, our students are making a sizable impact, applying the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the real world.

We’ve also developed programs to help high school graduates prepare for higher education. Our new Summer Bridge programs are proving successful in mentoring new students in their transition from high school or community college into UH Hilo. In addition, our new Freshman Village program, which houses students with common majors together where they bond and create peer support systems, is significantly improving the chances of these students reaching graduation.




Our rangers have been monitoring daily activity on the summit, watching for unsafe or inappropriate activities, and responding to emergencies, 365 days a year.

We regularly monitor cultural sitesplant life, fauna, and regularly survey for invasive species. Our five-year study on the wēkiu bug is an example of detailed work UH can do as a steward of the resources on Maunakea.

The recent questions being raised about use of the mountain are prompting us to take an even more active role in reaffirming our commitment to protect the natural, cultural and scientific resources of the mountain through community-led management.

Looking to the future

Three students on boat.

UH Hilo is developing course packages that will be marketed to mainland and international students who would like a one-year experience in Hawai‘i.

Looking ahead, we have developed curriculum for an aviation program and are currently looking for a company to provide the training. We’ll be asking the Board of Regents for approval this year.

We’ve changed direction in planning an engineering degree and instead are redirecting our efforts toward developing a certificate program in energy science, a profession we see as crucial in moving our island and state forward in the emerging energy sector.

We’re developing course packages that will be marketed to mainland and international students who would like a one-year experience in Hawai‘i. Programs initially planned are in marine science, indigenous language, and tropical agriculture.

Two new directors have joined us. Our athletics program is on a new course with my recommendation of Patrick Guillen as our athletic director. Patrick brings a tremendous set of skills and leadership experience to our athletic program. He has a strong background in fostering excellence in student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom. He also has years of experience in effective fundraising and communication campaigns. He’s the right person at the right time to lead our Vulcan program forward.

And Lisa Hadway is the new director of the Conference Center. Lisa brings important qualities to this critical position, including extensive education and administrative experience in the fields of business and science. These skills will help the center maintain its reputation for world-class event management, global networking, and international partnerships that provide positive benefits to our Hawaiʻi Island communities.

UH Hilo continues to grow and flourish. We’re able to build on past accomplishments and continue to serve the needs of Hilo and Hawai‘i Island. Thank you for all your support and I look forward to working with you as we move forward.


Don Straney

Jun 292015

As a regional university with both professional and liberal arts programs, we strive to be the university of choice for Hawai‘i Island and other state residents.

By Chancellor Don Straney

Hilo sealLast fall, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo missed the target for enrollment for the second year in a row. In a column I wrote last Oct., I noted that we are not alone in this problem; a survey done by The Chronicle of Higher Education of 368 small private colleges and midsize state institutions showed 38 percent did not meet their goals for freshman enrollment.

With much planning and new leadership in the Admissions Office, we are ready this month to begin the season of encouraging new students to come study at UH Hilo.

As a regional university with both professional and liberal arts programs, we strive to be the university of choice for Hawai‘i Island and other state residents. We have a particular responsibility to recruit and graduate Native Hawaiians.

We are reaching out near and far. We are connecting with students who just graduated from public high schools and Hawaiian immersion schools, hoping they see UH Hilo as a natural place to go for college. We’re also increasing our connections with community college students who want to transfer to a four-year university. Further away, we are identifying international locations where we can recruit students who can take advantage of what UH Hilo has to offer.

And what exactly do we have to offer? What makes UH Hilo unique, differentiating us from other campuses throughout the state, the country, and the world?

Here are the top five reasons students should come to UH Hilo.

  1. We challenge students to learn from many sources and we help them achieve their very best. We don’t limit our students to classroom settings. We inspire learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom, utilizing our incredible island culture and environment to immerse our students in the real world, preparing them well for careers that will make a difference in their quality of own life and in the life of their own communities.
  1. Students have direct interaction with faculty who are experts in their fields. In addition to traditional classroom learning, every student has access to observing and conducting field research. It’s not unusual at UH Hilo for our graduates to already have published field work under their belts as they embark on their careers or further education. This is virtually unheard of for undergraduates at other universities.
  1. We offer applied learning both inside and outside the classroom. We’re moving toward providing an applied learning experience for every student, with real-world learning experiences, ideally within the local community. These include internships, service learning, community based projects, practica, creative activities, and research. Our graduates leave UH Hilo with a diploma and a résumé.
  1. UH Hilo is the most diverse four-year public university in the country, giving our students a big advantage in preparing for the real world. People learn best from others who are not like themselves, and 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, so they learn more. Being the most diverse campus means UH Hilo students are going to have a much better educational experience than if we were at the other end of the spectrum.
  1. We are located on Hawai‘i Island, where students learn while immersed in our unique island culture and environment. Our students learn and gain experience from the island itself, invaluable knowledge that can be applied elsewhere in their future careers.

So how can we share these points and give prospective students a feel for what it’s like to be at UH Hilo? We’re reaching out online, in print, and in person.

We’ve expanded our online presence. For example, the Admissions Office has fully embraced social media, with an engaging presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It gives prospective students an immediate connection to our current students at work, study, and play.

We also have ambassadors in the form of counselors, deans, faculty, and financial aid officers reaching out personally to prospective students and their families, to make that important connection. UH Hilo is a place that cares enough for our students to send our people to meet with them before they ever reach our campus.

There is a role for everyone to play in growing our enrollment. We appreciate the assistance of faculty and staff in helping our students succeed, and the local community for spreading the word about the value of a UH Hilo education. If you have ideas about recruiting students locally, nationally and internationally to UH Hilo, drop me a note. By working together, we can grow our university and help our island and state move forward into the future.


Don Straney