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Remarks by the Chancellor at White Coat Ceremony

Remarks by Chancellor Donald O. Straney
UH Hilo College of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony

October 17, 2010
UH Hilo Performing Arts Center
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Pharmacy logoGood afternoon ladies and gentlemen, friends and relatives, and most importantly, Class of 2014.

We are all sharing “firsts” today. This is my first White Coat Ceremony, too. This is a special day for you, because you join the ranks of the profession you are studying to join. It is a profession that is centuries old and you will follow the traditions your predecessors developed, and you will in turn be part of the continuing change in its practices. My guess is that, when you retire, you will be helping people in ways that we cant even imagine today.

UH Hilo began as a small branch campus of the UH in Mānoa. Its mission was to prepare Hilo students to transfer to receive their degrees on O‘ahu. UH Hilo is no longer a branch campus—it is a university in its own right. UH Hilo has grown to be a university of national stature with an international scope.

The island of Hawai‘i is the best place in the world to study a surprisingly long list of subjects: astronomy, marine biology, evolution, natural products, rural sociology, and so forth. Because this is such a perfect place for scholars to work, UH Hilo has attracted some of the best faculty in these fields. They bring to the Hilo community not just a way to begin a college education—they bring to Hilo one of the best college educations you can find anywhere in the country. UH Hilo gives students an opportunity to learn from the very best what matters most to this island to the state and to the world.

The College of Pharmacy is an excellent model of what UH Hilo can do. Four years ago, you could not have studied pharmacy on the island of Hawaii. Today, not only can you study it here, but you work with faculty recruited from across the world for their skills and abilities as scientists. They will teach you as well or better than at any other school in the country.

One reason I believe the education you will receive here is so good is that the college is committed to preparing you to take what you learn here and use it to make your communities better. The faculty of the college are nationally recognized for that commitment, most recently with the award of a $16 M grant to establish an integrated health information system on the island.

The College of Pharmacy serves as the nucleus for building a center of excellence in health care, delivery and development at UH Hilo. As we build our program in health care, we will focus our attention on the needs of communities like those found on the island of Hawaii—rural, dispersed communities where access to health care is a critical social challenge.

Today, I am pleased to formalize this UH Hilo health care initiative and to announce the formation of the Center for Rural Health Science at UH Hilo. It will be housed in the College of Pharmacy and draw together physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other health care providers to solve rural health problems in Hawai‘i and throughout the Pacific by means of research, education, community service and policy change.

The founding director will be Dr. Karen Pellegrin, director of strategic planning and continuing education in the College of Pharmacy, and principal investigator of the $16 million federal Beacon Community grant. I want to thank her for agreeing to serve in this capacity.

The Center for Rural Health Science is an extraordinary opportunity for UH Hilo to help improve life in the rural communities of Hawai‘i through new and better models of health care. It will have the resources, the expertise and the partners to succeed. Our College of Pharmacy collaborates effectively with hospitals and health care providers all over the state, and UH Hilo’s School of Nursing has enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to support the center’s work. The center will be an important means for UH Hilo to contribute to improving the health status of our region.

Dean Pezzuto, and the extraordinary faculty he has assembled, are helping UH Hilo contribute to our community in ways we didn’t imagine a few years ago.

Even beyond the new center, the College of Pharmacy is planning new programs, such as physical therapy, as well as dual degree options. A new building is being planned that we hope will lead to a larger health care center. Pharmacy will be the anchor for these initiatives.

You can take pride in the fact that, as the fourth class to be seated, you represent the maturation of the College. You and the three classes before you comprise the foundation that will support the college’s future.

So congratulations to you, Class of 2014, on being admitted to such a dynamic program. The faculty have every confidence that you will succeed in your studies. I know you will continue to make your family proud, to make the faculty proud, and to make the community proud, as you continue your journey. See you at graduation!

Column by the Chancellor in Hawaii Tribune-Herald: Oct. 2010

Column by UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
UH Hilo Today
Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Oct. 2010

UH Hilo center to help improve health care in the islands

As an institution of higher education, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo plays a critical role in shaping the quality of life in the communities we serve. With the maturation of the College of Pharmacy, UH Hilo is ready to take a leadership role in addressing health care issues in the state.

Rural communities all over America suffer shortages of physicians, pharmacists and other clinicians, and rural hospitals struggle to stay afloat. These challenges are more complex in the remote islands of Hawai‘i, some 2,400 miles from the nearest continent. It’s clear that improved access to high quality health care for our rural citizens is not going to happen on its own. We need coordinated action to maximize the effectiveness of existing resources.

To this end, UH Hilo has established the Center for Rural Health Science, which will be housed in the College of Pharmacy. The center will draw together a wide range of health care providers to solve rural health problems through research, education, community service, and policy change. Our College of Pharmacy has the capacity to lead such a major initiative, and our School of Nursing embraces the opportunity to support the center’s work.

The center’s founding director will be Dr. Karen Pellegrin, the College of Pharmacy’s director of strategic planning and continuing education. She is also the principal investigator of the $16 million federal Beacon Community grant, which serves as the cornerstone for the center’s work.

Incorporated as a non-profit, the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community recently hired its core management team. The president and chairman of the board is Dr. Ed Montell, a gastroenterologist who has practiced on the Big Island for 30 years and served in numerous leadership positions for health care organizations. Dr. Montell’s leadership has been critical in bringing the community together to pursue the Beacon Community’s goals: to improve access to primary care, specialty care, and behavioral health care; to avert the onset and improve management of chronic disease; and to reduce health disparities among Native Hawaiians and other populations at risk.

The new center will also be the home of a grant from the US Department of Agriculture to improve medication safety for rural Hawaii’s older adults. Dr. Anna Barbato, assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy and a certified geriatric specialist pharmacist, took the lead in developing community educational programs. To date, the College of Pharmacy has delivered medication safety programs to over 500 seniors in rural areas, including the Big Island, Maui, Lāna‘i, and Kaua‘i. Additional public seminars are being planned.

The USDA grant also provides funds for continuing education for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses to help them improve medication safety in the older adults they treat. Dr. Scott Holuby, affiliate faculty member in the College of Pharmacy, has taken the lead in developing this program, which has been delivered via webinar to over 20 clinicians to date. The convenience of attending via webinar has been a key factor for clinicians in rural areas, where opportunities for live continuing education are rare.  Additional sessions will be held to reach our goal of over 100 clinicians attending from rural areas throughout Hawai‘i.

These are examples of ways the Center for Rural Health Science will bring together health care resources on the island. Ultimately, the center seeks to produce measurable improvements in the quality of health care, its cost effectiveness, and the overall health of Hawaii’s rural communities. The center is an important means for UH Hilo to contribute to quality of life in the islands that sustain us all.

Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: Sept. 2010

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce
Sept. 2010

UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics

One of the ways the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo meets the needs of Hawai‘i island is by preparing future members of the business community. More than ever, our fragile economy demands that knowledge of business practices and economics be widely distributed throughout the island. In addition, we need to prepare students for the workforce–not just for jobs (though these are critical) but also for careers.

UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics (CoBE) seeks to meet these needs through its programs of study and, by meeting the rigorous standards set by its accrediting association, the college can assure the public that its programs are of the highest quality.

Quality Assurance through Special Accreditation

CoBE is able to document the high quality of its BBA programs through its maintenance of accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International). The college earned initial accreditation in 2005.

Within the state only UH Hilo and UH Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business have attained this internationally recognized accreditation. Accredited colleges undergo a lengthy process of self evaluation and extensive scrutiny, including onsite visits, by teams of experts.

Some established business programs at other universities have had to struggle to achieve and maintain accreditation from AACSB International.

This accreditation certifies that CoBE meets 21 rigorous standards assuring a challenging, up-to-date curriculum and a commitment to continuous improvement. Faculty must be active in their field and remain current in their knowledge. A degree from an AACSB-accredited school is widely recognized as excellent preparation for the workplace or graduate study.

Continuous Improvement

CoBE practices continuous improvement through assessment activities, which include measuring student progress in achieving learning goals and assessing student satisfaction.

Assessment practices led CoBE to create an upper division, writing-intensive course to improve writing skills. Assessment also prompted CoBE to offer its College Fair, directly linking our students with community businesses and organizations for internship and job placement as well as career planning.

Programs

CoBE offers majors in general management, accounting and economics. The general management program is UH Hilo’s largest major. The accounting major started in Fall 2008 and already has 60 student majors. Taken together, general management and accounting enroll approximately 10% of all UH Hilo undergraduates.

For those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in an area other than business, CoBE also offers a certificate program in business administration. Comprised of seven courses in such areas as accounting and marketing, the certificate provides a well balanced, up-to-date foundation of business knowledge.

In addition, UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College have established a Degree Pathways Partnership, allowing students who began their business education at the community college to make a seamless transition to CoBE’s business administration program.
CoBE also provides informal learning opportunities through its speaker series, which is free and open to the public. Speakers have included local entrepreneur Allan Ikawa of Big Island Candies on entrepreneurship, Darren Kimura on solar energy technology, and UH Mānoa Professor Emeritus Seiji Naya on income distribution and poverty alleviation for the Native Hawaiian community. Mayor Billy Kenoi will be the next speaker in the series September 16 at 3:30 pm in the Ho‘oulu Terrace (UCB 127).

Future Growth

CoBE is discussing its future direction for growth and new programs. We plan to extend the bachelor of business administration degree to one or more sites on the island. There may also be potential to develop programmatically in partnership with UH Hilo’s College of Pharmacy. CoBE welcomes input from the business community about how best to meet future needs.

In addition, the college is looking forward to moving into prime space on campus. Because a new building for the Division of Student Affairs will be constructed this year, CoBE will be able to move into the existing Student Services Building. Ever mindful of the need to use the learning environment to enhance students’ career skills, the college is making plans to assign space in the new building for students to work in groups and for state-of-the-art technology.

Donald Straney
Chancellor, UH Hilo

Remarks by the Chancellor to Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai‘i, Hilo

Remarks by UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai
i
August 17, 2010
‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii
UH Hilo University Park of Science and Technology
Hilo

JCCIH logoThank you. It is a pleasure to be here today.

I’m really happy to be here in Hilo. Since July, I’ve been working with the faculty and staff at the university and interfacing with the community every chance I get. There is a lot of talent and expertise on campus and some great opportunities on this island and in the state.

Part of the reason I took this job is because of the UH Hilo’s special role in access to higher education.

Along with Hawai‘i Community College, we are the only source of higher education on this island. The island of Hawai’i is as big as the rest of the state combined, but there are eight UH campuses and several private colleges to meet their needs. We are responsible for taking students as they come—we are not selective in the way many other campuses are. But we graduate students who compete well for jobs with people who went to those selective schools. UH Hilo meets the needs of students who would not thrive at a big, urban university. We offer small classes, close contact with instructors, hands-on approach to learning.

I was also intrigued because you can easily see and gauge the impact that this university has on the island’s economy and social life. In Los Angeles, we served 12 million people; our impact was invisible. Here, we can see where UH Hilo graduates work and what UH Hilo programs can do to build the economy of the island. We are accountable for our impact.

Accountability is important. In this election season, it is easy to be reminded how accountable politicians are, and how closely we look at their accomplishments. Senator Daniel Inouye has been here today, I’m going to thank him personally for the impact he has had on UH Hilo students and our community. My predecessor, Rose Tseng, truly feels that his support and encouragement have been crucial to UH Hilo’s progress. The projects he supports are hands-on, problem solving, and results oriented—just the type of thing that UH Hilo can do well.

We are sitting in one example of how Senator Inouye’s vision has helped us create a facility that benefits not just the campus, but the community and even visitors. In just a few short years, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i has become an integral part of our community, embraced by Native Hawaiians and the astronomy community. ‘Imiloa now serves as a model for other science centers to show how science and culture may be integrated.

When I look at the success its programs have, I am led to wonder what the next step is that we can take. There is often a tension between technology and culture. I think we can learn from ‘Imiloa’s success to learn how technology and culture can be mutually beneficial.

Our College of Pharmacy is another important initiative championed by Senator Inouye. The college is already giving back to the community, especially through its leadership of the Hawaii County Beacon Community Consortium, which has so much potential to improve health care on our island.

I hope our work can continue to benefit from the senator’s vision for the future of the state.

Since taking up the chancellorship, I’ve been asking a series of questions wherever I go. I’m trying to integrate the answers that I hear into my sense of what future we might create with the UH Hilo.

  • How does UH Hilo integrate into the island of Hawaii’s economic and cultural community?
  • How does the island benefit from our campus being here?
  • Role of business—not done until it enters the market
  • How do we tell students were graduate from Hawai‘i?
  • What role do internships play?
  • How can we serve the whole island?
  • What programs, offered where?
  • Special needs: rural health care?
  • What is our role in food production/value added?
  • What is our role in marine resources?
  • Through our Office of Mauna Kea Management, we will implement the Comprehensive Management Plan for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. We will earn the community’s trust that the natural and cultural resources will be protected, thus maintaining the conditions under which science on the mountain may develop and evolve into the future.
  • How can we enhance the quality of education in a way that also enhances quality of life for the larger community?
  • Graduation, help students learn. The longer they take to graduate, the longer it is before they earn, and contribute.

Summation

In my years in administration, I’ve learned that it can be a creative activity when we develop and launch new academic programs or initiate projects–such as this science and technology park–to improve the local economy. It’s creative, but nothing is accomplished alone. We work with others–from the time a need is first identified. We then collaborate with others to fill that need.

I’m fortunate that UH Hilo has a close relationship with business, the community and political leadership over the years. We have a history of productive cooperation that I’m eager to continue.

Thank you.

Column by the Chancellor in Hawaii Tribune-Herald: August 2010

Column by UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
UH Hilo Today
Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Aug. 2010

HTH logo

Seizing Opportunity

As I go about meeting the faculty, staff and students at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and the community-at-large, I am often asked why I sought the Chancellor’s job when it meant leaving my position as Dean of Science at Cal Poly Pomona. My reply is, “why not?” Ask any number of my colleagues in the higher education community and they will tell you UH Hilo is positioned for a great future.

One advantage this campus has over larger universities is its role and impact on the community it serves. At Cal Poly Pomona we had an enrollment of 20,000 students, serving 12 million people throughout the Los Angeles basin. With an area and population of that size, the university’s impact on the greater community is anybody’s guess.

Here, with our enrollment of 4,000 students serving approximately 178,000 Big Island residents, the impact is much more obvious. The parents who enroll their children at UH Hilo, the businesses that hire our graduates and those who support us with their time and hard earned money can see first-hand how we meet the educational and economic needs of the community.

Another aspect I found appealing is the university’s progressive outlook. UH Hilo’s desire to grow in spite of the current state of the economy is uncommon, yet wise from my point-of-view. We all recognize the need for belt tightening when you lack the money to do what you are used to. But belt tightening by itself is a recipe for remaining poor. At some point we must prepare to take advantage of an improving economy. We may not be able to do everything we’d like, but experience tells us that the first to recognize and seize an opportunity reaps the greatest benefits and sets the pace for those who follow.

As a recent arrival, it would be presumptuous of me at this point to spell out a long-term vision for this campus and what its fulfillment would look like. That vision will emerge in part from talks with faculty, staff, students and the community as well as our new strategic plan that is now being developed. At the heart of these discussions are some basic questions I consider central to this University:

1) How do we enhance student success?

2) How do we meet the educational needs of the entire island?

3) What are the priority directions UH Hilo should take?

The answers to those questions will largely determine the university’s vision, its mission and what this campus will look like in five to ten years.

We begin this process from a position of strength, as my findings have validated UH Hilo’s reputation as an inventive, well-run institution, moving in the right direction with very little that needs fixing. That is a testament to the vision and achievements of former Chancellor Rose Tseng, along with the faculty and staff who carried out that vision while maintaining high standards and developing practices that keep the university running well. I’m looking forward to helping shape the future of this fine university.

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