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UH Hilo Interim Chancellor's Blog Posts

Radio interview with the Chancellor

Chancellor Donald Straney of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo says it’s the attitude of Hawai‘i’s university system that attracted him.

February 22, 2011: Hawai‘i Island reporter Sherry Bracken from Hawaii Public Radio spoke with Chancellor Donald Straney about why he made the move from California.

Part 1: Audio file (one minute excerpt) bisle_22.mp3

February 23, 2011: University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s new Chancellor, Donald Straney, has been at the helm for nearly nine months. He says the UH Hilo campus is very different from the 20,000-student UH Mānoa campus. From Kona, Sherry Bracken tells us more.

Part 2: Audio file (one minute excerpt) bisle_23.mp3

UH Board of Regents approves two new degrees at UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

Pharmacy logoCollege of Pharmacy to offer BA in pharmacy studies and doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences

HONOLULU – At its monthly meeting held yesterday at Honolulu Community College, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents approved the bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies and the doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences as provisional programs to be administered by the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, effective fall 2011.

The UH Hilo College of Pharmacy currently offers a curriculum leading to the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) with the first class of student pharmacists scheduled to graduate in May 2011. The addition of the bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies (BAPS) will give the College of Pharmacy an additional advantage over programs that do not offer such a degree and will make the program even more attractive to applicants. Implementation of the doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences will also give the College of Pharmacy a distinct competitive advantage through research excellence and prepare graduates to be scientists with extensive skills in research design, techniques and methodologies.

“Each of these programs expands our ability to offer students more options in a changing world landscape,” said College of Pharmacy Dean John M. Pezzuto. “The BAPS degree will enhance educational opportunities for our PharmD students and make them more competitive in the marketplace. The doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences complements the PharmD program by exposing students to career prospects beyond the practice of pharmacy. We’ve been building these degree options since the founding of the college.”

The BAPS degree is designed for students enrolled in the PharmD program at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. Students who enter the PharmD program at UH Hilo are required to have met pre-pharmacy requirements, but they are not required to have earned a bachelor’s degree. The PharmD curriculum is rigorous and requires four years of studies, surpassing the requirements of a bachelor’s level degree. By providing the BAPS degree option, students will have the opportunity to have their academic achievements properly recognized.

The program supports the Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative of the UH System, which aims to increase the number of UH graduates by 25 percent by 2015. The degree offering will also increase UH Hilo retention rates, as students who participate in the pre-pharmacy program will earn a bachelor’s degree.

The doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences will be the first program of this type to be offered by the University of Hawai‘i, and the only program of this nature to be offered in the state of Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. It will significantly elevate the culture of research, development and technology transfer in the pharmaceutical sciences, with an emphasis on natural products discovery and development and their importance in pharmacy and healthcare in general. This effort is consistent with the UH System’s focus on workforce development and research innovation in contribution to Hawai‘i’s overall economic future.

“Not only will residents of Hawai‘i be able to earn a doctorate in pharmaceutical science without leaving the state, but we will also be able to attract scholars from the mainland and abroad with unparalleled opportunities. The economic and intellectual benefits to the state reach far beyond our imagination at this point,” said Pezzuto.

Kenith Simmons is appointed interim vice chancellor for academic affairs

Aloha,

I’m pleased to report Dr. Kenith Simmons’s appointment as University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s interim vice chancellor for academic affairs is now official.

Kenith Simmons
Kenith Simmons

Dr. Simmons came to UH Hilo in 1979, after receiving her PhD in English literature from the University of Wisconsin. She joined UH Hilo’s Department of English as a contemporary literature and film specialist with considerable experience in teaching English as a second language.

Dr. Simmons’s scholarly work includes numerous publications related to film and contemporary literature. For the past fifteen years she has devoted her creative time to the writing of poetry. Well represented in Hawai‘i literary publications, her work has also appeared nationally and internationally in poetry journals and anthologies.

Since the early 1990s, in addition to continuing to teach, she has served in administrative positions, including chairing the English department and the women’s studies and honors program steering committees. She was humanities division chair for nine years and was the first assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the first assistant vice chancellor for administrative affairs.

An active member of the community, Simmons has served as vice president of the Hawai‘i Concert Society and as a board member of the Hawai‘i Literary Arts Council. She is also a mediator with Kuikahi Mediation Center.

Dr. Simmons received the UH Board of Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984.

Donald Straney
Chancellor

UH Hilo College of Hawaiian Language breaks ground

The new building to house the College of Hawaiian Language promises to be both functional and extraordinarily beautiful, with profound symbolic and spiritual elements.

UH Hilo students, faculty, staff, administrators and members of the community walk to the piko or central point of the parcel for the groundbreaking of UH Hilo’s new College of Hawaiian Language building. At left is Kalena Silva, director of the college.

A bilingual blessing and groundbreaking was held on Saturday for permanent facilities for University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

The opening ceremonies were conducted in Hawaiian. A genealogical presentation acknowledged native speakers who assisted in Hawaiian language teaching at UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College dating back to 1960. Lydia Makuakane, the eldest living of those native speakers, led a procession to the groundbreaking site, where she turned the soil at the piko or central core of the parcel. The event concluded with remarks by representatives from the UH and elected officials.

UH Hilo Chancellor Straney at podium speaking to crowd at groundbreaking ceremonies.
UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney addresses the audience at groundbreaking ceremonies. Seated at left are Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and to his left, UH President MRC Greenwood.

“This building promises to be both functional and extraordinarily beautiful, with profound symbolic and spiritual elements,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney. “It’s a building to match the quality of the programs offered by the College of Hawaiian Language.”

Gerald De Mello, director of university relations, said the project enjoyed widespread support, but it took a coordinated team effort to secure the funding.

“This was a major accomplishment since very few initiatives were funded this past session,” De Mello said. “Our Big Island delegation led by House Higher Education Chairman Jerry Chang in concert with his Senate counterpart Jill Tokuda really came through for us. We were also fortunate to have the strong support of UH President M.R.C. Greenwood and then-Governor Linda Lingle.”

Kalena Silva, director of the college, says the new building will not only address the college’s growing pains but lay a foundation for the future.

“With this building we can expand both our graduate and undergraduate programs, which are key to taking the college to the next level,” Silva explained. “We also look forward to raising our profile on the international stage by hosting gatherings with indigenous people who look at our programs as potential models for language revitalization in their communities.”

Rendering of new building for the College of Hawaiian Language.

The building already has won critical acclaim by capturing the 2010 American Institute of Architects Honolulu Design Award in the category of “Commissioned Work to be Built.” The design by WCIT Architects of Honolulu features spectacular landscape, mountain and ocean views, and designs which reflect Native Hawaiian culture and the Big Island’s natural resources.

The college awarded UH Hilo’s first master’s and PhD degrees as it gained national prominence as a leader in indigenous language and cultural revitalization, added new programs like linguistics, and witnessed a surge in enrollment.

Link to full press release.

Link to video of the event.

Photos of the event by Walter Dudoit.

Legislative Testimony by the Chancellor on HB 1496 Relating to Agribusiness

Testimony Presented Before the
House Committee on Higher Education
February 10, 2011 at 2:00pm
By
Donald Straney, Chancellor
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
and
Virginia Hinshaw, Chancellor
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
and
Sylvia Yuen
Interim Dean and Director of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

HB 1496 RELATING TO AGRIBUSINESS

The purpose of HB 1496 is to require the University of Hawai‘i to convene a task force to conduct a study on whether an agribusiness cooperative program should be established to:

1. assist local farmers in increasing the distribution of products to large retail establishments; and
2. develop feed mills located in this state to lower farm expenses and minimize the carbon impact of transporting feed imports to local farmers.

The bill also requires a proposal on the means by which the agribusiness cooperative program may be permanently funded through private and public funds and a recommendation on the appropriate state agency or department under which the program should be established.

A thorough study on the above will entail the gathering and analysis of data, which will require resources. However, no resources are provided for the mandates in the bill.

We support HB 1496 provided that funds are available to support the task force and its work, and provided that its passage does not replace or adversely impact priorities as indicated in the University’s Board of Regents Approved Executive Biennium Budget.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

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