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Month: October 2014

Reminder: Last week of Hawai’i Island United Way campaign

A message from Alice Davis, associate professor of nursing and this year’s Hawai‘i Island United Way campaign organizer

AUWAloha Colleagues,

The Hawai’i Island United Way campaign at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will end just a few days from now on Friday, October 31. This is just a friendly reminder to put your pledge in the campus mail to me (Alice Davis, School of Nursing) or to Marcia Heller, private secretary to the chancellor. (Pledge application form.)

United Way Staff will be on the Campus Center Plaza today, Wednesday, October 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please stop by if you have questions.

I also want to bring your attention to the Hawai’i Island United Way website. The website provides detailed information on the types of organizations that are supported by the Hawai’i Island United Way.

What convinced me to make my pledge this year were the amazing stories that are documented on the video above. So please take a look at these moving stories.

If you have already sent your pledge, I thank you. If you just forgot about the deadline, here is your chance to send it in and if you were not sure about giving, please consider helping our community.

Mahalo and thanks for your generous support. We will make a difference in so many lives if we all work together.

Alice Davis

Chancellor’s Message: Everyone has a role in growing enrollment at UH Hilo

We know that students are more likely to come to UH Hilo, persist in their studies, and then graduate if they make strong connections to people on campus.

By Don Straney

Hilo sealYou probably saw on the news that University of Hawai‘i at Hilo missed the target for enrollment for the second year in a row. We’re not alone. This is a problem that has hit many small campuses across the country. A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education cites a new survey of 368 small private colleges and midsize state institutions that shows 38 percent met neither their goals for freshman enrollment nor their goals for net tuition revenue this fall.

There are two ways we can address our enrollment challenge. One, recruit more students to come here, and two, retain students who are already attending UH Hilo. To do both, we must strengthen our connections with students, whether prospective or already attending our university.

Recruit more students to come here

As a publicly controlled regional university, our primary aim is to commit the majority of our recruitment efforts on Native Hawaiians and the diverse residents of Hawai’i, with a focus on prospective high school graduates.

For the first time in five years, we’ve connected with high school counselors. This fall, we hosted 44 high school counselors from around the state (17 from Hawai‘i Island, two from Maui, and 25 from O‘ahu) for a visit to our campus. We’re working with the counselors to set up meetings for students at the high schools with a UH Hilo admissions counselor and members of our faculty and student body. Our counselors help students understand the steps they need to take as they complete high school and prepare to enter college. UH Hilo departments will follow up, calling students to help them with their decision.

UH President David Lassner has challenged us with a goal to have every high school student graduate with a diploma and some UH credit in hand. The work our North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center is doing with Honoka‘a High School is a model for what UH Hilo can do for Hawai‘i Island.

We are reaching out near and far. We are connecting with students who graduate from Hawaiian immersion schools, hoping they see UH Hilo as a natural place to go for college. Further away, we are identifying international locations where we can recruit students who can take advantage of what UH Hilo has to offer.

Our Financial Aid Office reaches out to students and their families around the island to explain the financial aid and scholarship process. This is a key component in the college admissions process as most families make their college decision based on the financial aid package.

We’re increasing our connections with community college students who want to transfer to a four-year university. We have a successful program in place with Hawai‘i CC to help students plan ahead with their course load and then seamlessly transfer into selected majors at UH Hilo. This long-range planning also strengthens retention among transfers. We’re also participating in a STEM expo at Kapi‘olani CC in November for the very first time. UH Hilo professors from marine science, astronomy and physics, and computer science will be there with our vice chancellor for student affairs. A counselor from our Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center is doing more outreach to students at UH West Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i CC.

How can we give prospective students a feel for what it’s like to be at UH Hilo? Expanding our online presence, the Admissions Office has fully embraced social media, with a daily active and fun presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It gives prospective students an immediate connection to our current students at work, study, and play. See for yourself!

Retain students who are already attending UH Hilo

The second part of the enrollment challenge is to retain students who are here. We know that students are more likely to persist in their studies and graduate if they make strong connections to people on campus. We’ve created support programs to help students connect to faculty, staff and to each other and thrive in their programs. Some examples are:

  • A pilot “summer bridge” program for college-bound graduates from Kea‘au High School who lived for six weeks on the UH Hilo campus, preparing for their years with us or Hawai‘i Community College. The program is designed to prepare local students for studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and natural resources fields.
  • A pilot “Living-Learning Community” this fall, where students studying a particular field are housed together to create cohorts of academic support and friendship. Studies show students who learn within a community of peers are more likely to stay in college and earn a higher GPA. With UH Hilo’s living-learning communities, students find the perfect place to live and find the support they need while pursuing their studies. (This is also the kind of learning environment prospective students look to find.)
  • Intensifying advising, with advising staff and faculty reaching out to students throughout the semester. These are personal one-on-one connections with a caring person making the effort to connect with the student.
  • The creation of four-year academic “maps,” available online, guiding students to graduate in four years. This is part of the UH System “15 to Finish” campaign, based on research that shows students who take at least 15 credits a semester are more likely to do better and graduate on time. Advisors encourage students to make a plan and then stick to it.
  • Intensifying applied learning programs, giving students the experience to connect with a mentor and work in their field, making them more likely to stay and graduate. When they do graduate, they have a diploma and a résumé in hand, ready for work or graduate school.

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. By working together, we can grow our university and help our island and state move forward into the future.


Don Straney

UH Foundation kicks off UH Hilo calling campaign; Chancellor visits with students at calling center

Chancellor Straney shared the news about the Office of the Governor releasing $33 million for the construction of the new facilities for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy.

UH Calling Center
Chancellor Straney stands with Sarah Sejalbo and Jonathan Neyland, student callers.

Chancellor Don Straney stopped by the calling center at the University of Hawai‘i Foundation in Honolulu on Tuesday to kick off this year’s calling campaign to UH Hilo alumni.

“Thank you for coming to speak with us!” wrote on of the students on the UH Foundation’s Facebook page. “I can not wait to share all the wonderful information with the alumni! Thank you also for the delicious pizza!”

While with the students, Chancellor Straney shared the news about the Office of the Governor releasing $33 million for the construction of the new facilities for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. The funds are for construction of a new building with classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, and offices, meeting the requirements of the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education standards and guidelines. When complete, it will house UH Hilo’s largest graduate and doctoral programs on campus. Prior to 2007, Hawai‘i was one of only a few states in the nation that did not provide pharmacy education. The construction of the College of Pharmacy building will allow local students to remain in Hawai‘i and eventually help the state’s need for more professionals in this field.

He also shared the news about several new programs being planned to benefit our local communities, for example, a proposed flight training center and associated degree programs to be offered through UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College. Also planned are a Master of Arts in Heritage Management, devoted to stewardship of the history of the island and its people, and a bachelor’s degree in General Engineering, where students are trained broadly across all disciplines of engineering.

One of Chancellor Straney’s top priorities is giving students the best learning community in modern facilities. The new Student Services Building recently opened giving students a one-stop service from freshman orientation through graduation, all under one roof. The center houses all the programs students need to support their college success: Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Advising, Career Development Services, Counseling, and the new Health Promotion Program.

The new Hale‘ōlelo College of Hawaiian Language also recently opened. The building houses classrooms, offices, library, and a performing arts auditorium. “It is both functional and extraordinarily beautiful,” says the Chancellor. “This building represents, to the members of UH Hilo, our dedication to being a Hawaiian university, a Hawaiian place of learning, a university where Hawaiian language and values inform what we do.”

Jennifer Stotter named director of UH Hilo Office of EEO/AA

Hilo sealWe are very pleased to welcome Dr. Jennifer Stotter as the Director of UH Hilo’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action beginning October 22, 2014.

Dr. Stotter comes well qualified to support UH Hilo in the area of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. Her professional experience includes designing and executing an enterprise EEO/AA strategy for a Fortune 13 corporation, enforcing federal EEO regulations for the US Department of Labor, and influencing policy and educating students and colleagues around equal opportunity and non-discrimination regulations at a state university.

Dr. Stotter holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare Policy from Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

We thank Mr. Kalei Rapoza, who served as Interim EEO/AA Director, and whose service to UH Hilo is greatly appreciated.

Chancellor Straney

Waivers made available for business writing workshop

The Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund is funding ten tuition waivers for UH Hilo faculty and staff.

Hilo sealWHAT: Workshop, “Business Writing for Results.” Learn to write powerful emails, letters, reports and proposals that get action, reaction and results. Learn professional techniques to help overcome writer’s block and complete writing projects faster and easier. Use surefire tips for writing assignments – bad news memos, complaint letters, memos to top management and more.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: 81-964 Halekiʻi Street, UH West Hawaii Bldg. 2, Classroom A2, Kealakekua

TUITION: $150.00.


The College of Continuing Education & Community Service (CCECS) has made available reserved complimentary seats for University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo faculty and staff in our Fall Professional Development workshop hosted by Fred Pryor Seminars and CareerTrack. As part of our initiative to address the UH Hilo Strategic Plan Goals 2, 5, and 6, we have been granted funds from the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund to service the organization and promote collaboration. We are accepting requests for TEN fee waivers for our fall workshop on Business Writing for Results. This workshop is scheduled for the West side of Hawaiʻi Island only.

CONTACT:, (808) 974-7664

All interested individuals will need to complete and submit the information below to CCECS for review by Friday, Oct. 17. Please copy and paste the information below along with your responses, then send to CCECS Program Coordinator, Luisa F. Castro, at




You will receive notification of the committee’s decision by Monday, Oct. 20th.