Aug 292016
Chancellor Straney

Week of Welcome: Chancellor Straney with WoW co-chairs Brenda Burch (left) and Juvette Kahawaii. Courtesy photo.

Chancellor Don Straney welcomed new students of the class of 2020 to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Wednesday during opening activities of the 17th Semi-Annual Week of Welcome (WoW) held on the Campus Center Plaza. Representatives from UH Hilo student organizations and clubs, programs, services and departments were on the plaza daily August 22-26 to answer questions and help with orientation to the campus.

URH, the campus’s very own student radio station, provided music, giveaways and prizes each day.

Along with Chancellor Straney, other administrators also attended to meet and greet the newest members of the UH Hilo ‘ohana.

WoW is held twice each year at the start of semesters to help new students find out about the many ways to get involved, to learn about services available for UH Hilo students, faculty and staff and to meet people from around campus and the local community.

Jul 072016

With a $25,000 grand prize, the HIplan competition will stimulate an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Hawai‘i Island to create jobs for our young people including UH Hilo graduates.

By Don Straney.


JIm Wyban

JIm Wyban

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is the site of a business plan competition designed to encourage economic development on Hawai‘i Island.

With a $25,000 grand prize, the intent of the Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition or HIplan is to stimulate an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Hawai‘i Island to create new and improved jobs for our young people including UH Hilo graduates. This aligns well with UH Hilo’s mission to encourage economic development on Hawai‘i Island.

Kelly Moran

Kelly Moran

The project is co-chaired by two UH alumni and long-time entrepreneurs—aquaculture pioneer Jim Wyban and real estate broker Kelly Moran—and is being administered by the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce.

Ka‘iu Kimura, director of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and current president of the chamber, says that with HIplan, the chamber hopes to create an opportunity for local businesses—new, young, and aspiring businesses—to become competitive and hopefully spark a thriving and progressive entrepreneurial ecosystem for our island.

Kaiu Kimura

Ka‘iu Kimura

The HIplan competition will provide an opportunity to bring the new business plans “to the table” for the university and business community to see how we can continue to create and build a strong and thriving economy for Hawai‘i Island.

Initial sponsors of the competition include the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority and the Ulupono Initiative.

Jim and Kelly are taking the lead on organizing and fundraising.


Emmeline de Pillis

Jim is an aquaculture pioneer who helped develop pathogen-free shrimp varieties that helped to quadruple global production. Kelly, a UH Hilo alumnus with degrees in tropical agriculture and political science, is a 30-year real estate veteran and teaches real estate finance at the UH Hilo College of Business and Economics.

Emmeline de Pillis, a professor of management and director of the Office of Applied Learning at UH Hilo, says she’s thrilled to be working with Jim and Kelly on the project. She notes the fantastic opportunity for UH Hilo students and Hawai‘i Island residents.

The competition

The competition is open to anyone to present their plan for a Hawai‘i Island business, either startups or expanding business, for-profit or non-profit, from astronomy and agriculture to technology and tourism. As long as the business plan is Hawai‘i Island-based, it qualifies.

UH Hilo students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to enter.

To supplement the competition, UH Hilo is offering an online for-credit business planning course over the summer. And the UH Hilo Small Business Development Center is providing consulting and a series of short workshops to help competitors prepare their plans.

My hope is that budding entrepreneurs from around the island—from high school and university students to budding entrepreneurs to established business people—will take advantage of the educational sessions and competition process. It’s a great opportunity to work with local experts to develop a new and exciting business plan.

Entries for the competition are now being accepted with a Sept. 1 submission deadline.

Final presentations will be held Nov. 6 at UH Hilo. I invite everyone in the local business community to attend the final event so you can see firsthand the new technologies and business ideas that will create Hawaii Island’s future entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For more information on the competition and to download entry forms, visit the HIplan website.

Knowing the formidable amount of brainpower and creativity in our community, we look forward to seeing the ideas that come out of the competition. Good luck to all competitors!


Don Straney

May 022016

We can live up to our promise of diversity and inclusion only if we ensure that all individuals—students, faculty and staff—regardless of gender, have the opportunity to excel.

By Chancellor Don Straney

Hilo sealThe Exploring Diversity and Gender Equity (EDGE) project at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has completed its first two-year phase toward building a more conducive campus environment to recruit, retain and promote women faculty in science and engineering careers.

EDGE at UH Hilo is funded by the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program, which seeks to increase the participation and advancement of women faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields—a challenge directed at universities across the country—in order to develop a more diverse and therefore more globally competitive workforce. This is a challenge our local businesses face as well in hiring skilled employees on the island.

I serve as principal investigator of our program and Misaki Takabayashi, professor of marine science who currently serves as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is co-PI. Terrilani Chong is project administrator.

There is an important long-term goal here. Increasing the participation of women in STEM fields on our campus will strengthen the university in many ways—in our research, teaching, and community outreach—ensuring that all members of our university ‘ohana can fully participate in the increasingly global environment of higher education. In turn, this expands the impact that UH Hilo students, faculty and alumni have in the world.


The first phase of the UH Hilo EDGE project, through a series of surveys and focus groups, identified key challenges faced by our female STEM faculty in regard to their career advancement.

Overall, the findings suggest that the retention of female faculty is more of a challenge than their selection. These challenges include 1) unclear criteria for promotion and leadership roles, 2) gender salary inequities, 3) a negative approach toward women in STEM departments, 4) lack of childcare and family leave, and 5) lack of strong connection with the local environment and communities.

Both female and male faculty find it a challenge to balance career and personal life. The perception of gender inequity in career opportunities was found to be more pronounced among ethnically underrepresented faculty.

Not surprisingly, a general concern by junior faculty was Hilo’s social environment that many found to be lacking, especially for single faculty. Several participants in focus groups mentioned that Hilo is a better option for coupled faculty, implying that duo-career hires might be an advantage for supporting retention at UH Hilo.


We can live up to our promise of a diverse and inclusive institution only if we ensure that all individuals—students, faculty and staff—regardless of gender, have the opportunity to excel.

As we conclude phase one of our EDGE project, we are looking to build on the findings. We’ve recently submitted a new proposal for a second ADVANCE grant to design and implement activities and policy that will address our challenges in recruiting, retaining, and promoting female STEM faculty. During the next phase of the project we will look at possible approaches we could take, including taking a look at best practices at other universities.

With our island offering a uniquely diverse cultural and geographical environment, we are a very attractive institution from a STEM faculty point of view. We want to be attracting, retaining and advancing the best and brightest faculty, both female and male. We want the concept of a “UH Hilo ‘ohana” to be more than just a catch phrase—we want both women and men faculty to feel valued and supported by UH Hilo, the UH community, and the Hawai‘i Island community, with an abundance of opportunities for career advancement no matter the gender.


Don Straney

Apr 222016

Fifteen students from public and private high schools in Hawai‘i have been awarded the prestigious 2016 Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Hilo sealThe 2016 recipients and their high schools:

  • Brooke Adamson, Hawai‘i Technology Academy
  • Keion Anderson, Leilehua High
  • Kateleen Caye Bio, Maui High
  • Lucas DeRego, Kamehameha Schools – Hawai‘i Island
  • Savannah Directo, Kea‘au High
  • Orion Friels, Kealakehe High
  • Kristie Hirai, Mililani High
  • Austin Inouye, Kaimuki High
  • Kristen Ishii, Mililani High
  • Yukio Ishii, Kamehameha Schools – Hawai‘i Island
  • Mary Kealaiki, Kea‘au High
  • Lorelei Taylor Padasdao, Kea‘au High
  • Jodie Tokihiro, Waiakea High
  • Zoe Whitney, Maui High
  • Ivana Yoon, Waiakea High

Valued in excess of $26,500, the award covers four years of tuition for students graduating from a Hawai‘i high school who earned either a grade point average of at least 3.5, a combined 1800 SAT (reading, writing, math) or a composite score of 27 on the ACT while demonstrating leadership and/or community service.

All Chancellor Scholars are required to enroll as full-time students and earn a minimum of 24 credits each academic year. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and participate in leadership activities and/or community services with other Chancellor Scholars.

Media release

Apr 142016

The deadline for submission of applications is May 5.

Hilo sealApplications for the 2016-2017 Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund are now being accepted. The application form, rubric and guidelines are available at the Professional Development Committee website.

The purpose of the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund is to provide opportunities for continued professional growth and development for faculty and staff, with a special emphasis on development that will have far-reaching impacts on our campus.

The deadline for submission of applications is Thursday, May 5, 2016, at 4:00 pm.