Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: UH Hilo Community

2011 Nobel Laureate speaks at UH Hilo

Brian P. Schmidt was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae. 

Ka’iu Kimura (left), interim director at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, and Don Straney (center), chancellor at UH Hilo, chat with 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics Brian P. Schmidt before Dr. Schmidt spoke on campus to an audience of over 600. Photo by William Ing.

Brian P. Schmidt, one of three scientists awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, spoke to an overflow crowd of more than 600 people at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo last night.

Schmidt, along with two fellow researchers, was awarded the prize for the discovery that the Universe is accelerating as it expands.

Schmidt is in Hilo as part of his work with the Gemini Observatory. The lecture was co-sponsored by Gemini Observatory, UH Hilo, and the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Media Release from the Official Website of the Nobel Prize:

4 October 2011

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 with one half to

Saul Perlmutter
The Supernova Cosmology Project
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California,
Berkeley, CA, USA

and the other half jointly to

Brian P. Schmidt
The High-z Supernova Search Team
Australian National University,
Weston Creek, Australia


Adam G. Riess
The High-z Supernova Search Team
Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute,
Baltimore, MD, USA

“for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae”

Written in the stars

“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice…”

What will be the final destiny of the Universe? Probably it will end in ice, if we are to believe this year’s Nobel Laureates in Physics. They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the Laureates themselves.

In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role.

The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae. More sophisticated telescopes on the ground and in space, as well as more powerful computers and new digital imaging sensors (CCD, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009), opened the possibility in the 1990s to add more pieces to the cosmological puzzle.

The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called type Ia supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.

For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.

The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma – perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.

Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, October 2011

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 
October 2011 

Upgrades to UH Hilo’s technology infrastructure

One of the goals stated in our Draft Strategic Plan is to upgrade University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s technology infrastructure including computer laboratories and classrooms, wireless broadband across all areas of the campus, and new technologies to better support student learning, teaching effectiveness, and research.

I am pleased to report that over the summer we have been upgrading our wireless system resulting in an overall increase in coverage across the campus to 85%. This includes an increase to wireless coverage in Mookini Library from 40% at the end of last semester to now 100% coverage on all three floors. Speeds of up to 50Mbps per second are capable for library users; this means that students will now be able to download and play videos and multimedia at significantly increased speeds.

Improvements will continue to be made to the campus-wide wireless broadband during the fall semester resulting in upgrades to 300 access points on campus: 62 in the library, 42 in student housing, 40 in the University Classroom Building (UCB), 19 in Kanaka‘ole Hall (already completed), and the remainder will be used for upgrading access points on campus and expanding wireless broadband coverage in areas where it is not adequate. We hope to have the majority of this work completed by the end of September.

We did experience a few teething problems with the campus wireless system, including those in student housing, during the week of registration and first week of classes due to higher than expected usage. The issue is now resolved.

We also are upgrading key physical technology infrastructure. Later this semester in the library, a newly designed student production and presentation room will be available on the third floor. This room will include a 9-foot screen, 4000 lumen HD projector, dual mounted LED monitors, and a Polycom 7500HD telepresence system. This facility will allow students to develop necessary job skills by assisting them in creating, practicing, and presenting class presentations.

Currently in process at the library are technology enhancements to five student group study rooms. The library classroom also is being upgraded with two fixed 70-inch monitors and a Polycom 7500HD telepresence System. This will allow library faculty to facilitate student learning with students from other UH campuses and campuses throughout the world.

Elsewhere on campus, we’ve upgraded two education classrooms with Smart technology and Podcasting systems so students can attend classes remotely. Two classrooms in Athletics used by Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences were upgraded to multimedia smart classrooms. By the end of the fall semester, five Marine Science classes will be upgraded to multimedia smart classrooms. All classrooms in UCB, Kanakaʻole Hall, Sciences and Technology, Athletics, and Marine Science buildings will eventually be equipped with the following standard equipment:
• A multimedia teaching console
• A computer with a screen (computer 1)
• A projector control switch (to change projection source)
• A microscopic imaging capable document camera
• A laptop VGA and audio connections (computer 2)
• A DVD/VHS player (video source)
• An audio amplifier with speakers (MP3 input)
• A 3D ready projector mounted on the ceiling
• A wired or wirelesses microphone
• A clicker base for audience response
• Microsoft office and video software with captioning

All funds to support the technology upgrades and improvements came from a grant of approximately $500,000, and all the work is being done in-house by staff in the Office of Campus Technology and tech staff in the library. We will continue with improvements to our information technology systems in what we see as a continuous process to ensure that our students, faculty and staff have the technical resources they require to succeed.

I would be interested in your comments on either the wireless system, infrastructure upgrades or the Draft Strategic Plan as whole and would encourage you to write to with any feedback or suggestions you may have.

For more news and information from the Office of the Chancellor, please visit my blog.

Donald Straney

3rd Annual Best Bowl Cook-off held today; Taco Soup voted favorite dish

Shana Kaneshiro from the UH Hilo Financial Aid Office is this year’s Best Bowl Grand Champion.

Don Straney at the buffet.
Chancellor Don Straney and Marcia Heller, chancellor’s private secretary, are served culinary delights at the 3rd Annual UH Hilo-Hawai‘i Community College Best Bowl Cook-off.

Faculty and staff of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College showed off their culinary skills today at the 3rd Annual Best Bowl Cookoff held at UH Hilo’s Student Life Center. Colleagues who attended were the official “tasters” and judges who voted for their favorite dish to determine the Best Bowl on campus.

Shana Kaneshiro from the UH Hilo Financial Aid Office is this year’s Best Bowl Grand Champion. Her winning dish was a delicious Taco Soup, garnished with sour cream and cheese served with tortilla chips. She won a one-year membership to the Student Life Center.

Sheila Kaupu from Auxiliary Services won Best Stew/Curry Style Bowl with her ono Kama Pulled Pork.

Jodi Kunimoto from the Advising Center won Best Bowl Dessert with her Red and White Delight, a medley of strawberries and cream with macadamia nut topping.

All attendees (cooks and tasters) received a punch card that allows five free visits to the Student Life Center.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

The award for Best Bowl Grand Champion goes to Shana Kaneshiro from the Financial Aid Office. Her winning dish was Taco Soup, garnished with sour cream and cheese served with tortilla chips.
Sheila Kaupu from Auxiliary Services won Best Stew/Curry Style Bowl with her ono Kama Pull Pork.
Jodi Kunimoto (at left) from the Advising Center won Best Bowl Dessert with her Red and White Delight, a medley of strawberries and cream with macadamia nut topping.

Top photo of Chancellor Straney by Tim Moore. Other photos by John Oshima.

2011 Fall Welcome: Faculty honored for tenure and promotion, new faculty introduced

UH Hilo faculty recently awarded tenure and/or promotion, along with new faculty and staff, were recognized at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s 2011 Fall Welcome event on August 26.

UH Hilo faculty awarded tenure and/or promotion this year were honored at Chancellor’s 2011 Fall Welcome. L-R, front row: Roberta Barra, Amy Saxton, Yoshiko Okuyama, Tam Vu, and Candace Wheeler. L-R, back row: Drew Martin, Kimberly Kainoa Ariola-Sukisaki, Kathleen Stacey, Carolina Lam, Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit, Yiqing Li, and Steven Herman. Missing in photo: Robin Takahashi.

Faculty recently awarded tenure and promotion were recognized at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s 2011 Fall Welcome event on August 26.

“The awarding of tenure and promotion is the university’s recognition of excellence in teaching, scholarship and service,” said Chancellor Don Straney at the event, which was held at the Campus Center Plaza. “We honor these faculty members on their achievements to date and look forward to the future, when we will see how they help shape our university.”

The following faculty have been awarded tenure and promotion:

  • Steven Herman, to associate professor, psychology.
  • Yiqing Li, to associate professor, tropical forestry.
  • Tam Vu, to associate professor, economics.
  • Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit, to associate professor, pharmacy practice.
  • Carolina Lam, to assistant specialist, Center for Global Education and Exchange.
  • Amy Saxton, to librarian III, library.

The following faculty members have been awarded tenure:

  • Roberta Barra, associate professor.
  • Yoshiko Okuyama, associate professor.
  • Kimberly Kainoa Ariola-Sukisaki, junior specialist, Kīpuka.
  • Kathleen Stacey, librarian, library.

The following faculty members have been promoted:

  • Drew Martin, to full professor.
  • Robin Takahashi, to assistant professor, kinesiology and exercise sciences.
  • Candace Wheeler, to assistant specialist, College of Continuing Education and Community Service.

New faculty and staff also were recognized and welcomed to the university ‘ohana/family. Please see the photos below for names of new faculty and staff who attended the event.

Armando Garcia-Ortega (at left), assistant professor of fisheries and aquaculture, is welcomed by Bill Steiner, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management.
Leon Hallacher (center), division chair for natural sciences, welcomes new faculty Josh Walawender (left), assistant professor of astronomy and director of the Hoku Kea Observatory, and David Bishop (right), instructor of computer science.
Chris Frueh (center), division chair for social sciences, welcomes Eric Heuer (left) to the psychology department, and Emmanuele D'Artibale (right) to the kinesiology and exercise sciences department.
New faculty member Chris Lauer (left) of the philosophy department is welcomed by Cam Muir, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Tom Cowger (left), administrative services officer, is welcomed by Hank Hennessey, interim dean of the College of Business and Economics.
John Pezzuto, dean of the College of Pharmacy (center) welcomes new faculty (l-r): Paula Zeszotarski, Ana Barrenchea, Dana-Lynn Ko'omoa-Lange, and Jennifer Aguiar.
Farrahmarie Gomes (left), interim dean for the College of Continuing Education and Community Service, welcomes Laurel Luth to UH Hilo.
Norm Stahl (second from left), executive coordinator of student success programs, welcomes four new employees to student affairs. Left to right: Shelly Clark, associate director, residence life, university housing; Stahl; Holly Chang, academic advisor; Kelsey Iyo, admissions counselor; Jenna Waipa, resident hall manager.

Photos by John Oshima.

Message from Chancellor Straney: UH Hilo’s Draft Strategic Plan accepted in June; implementation already underway in four key areas

The plan states the purpose of UH Hilo is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement, summed up in the ‘olelo no‘eau: ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi/One learns from many sources.

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney
Published in the university’s newsletter Ka Lono Hanakahi
September 2011

In June, I accepted the final draft of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s 2011-2015 Strategic Plan. The plan will be sent to the UH System Board of Regents for approval in principle this fall. Until that point, we will be using the plan as a working document to help inform decision-making, resource allocation, and unit planning.

The plan was endorsed by the three governance/advisory bodies represented on the Strategic Planning Committee: Faculty Congress; Hanakahi Council; and UH Hilo Student Association. From those people who completed the endorsement surveys, there was an indication of 88% endorsement from faculty and staff, and 84% from students.

The final draft is the culmination of many months of work and significant input from UH Hilo stakeholders. Mahalo to the Strategic Planning Committee members for their hard work and dedication to the process, and to everyone who gave their feedback through the various consultations and other mechanisms.

The plan states the purpose of UH Hilo is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement. To do this, we will inspire learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom. Ultimately, our university improves the quality of life of the people of Hawai‘i, the Pacific region, and the world.

Our mission is summed up in the ‘olelo no‘eau: ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi/One learns from many sources. It is from this core mission that our strategic plan emerges.

The Draft Strategic Goals will guide our planning for the future:

  • students will be challenged to learn from many sources;
  • we will integrate teaching and scholarship;
  • our multicultural University will be rooted in Hawai‘i’s indigenous history and culture;
  • our campus will be vibrant and sustainable;
  • we will continue to strengthen our economic impact and community service on our island;
  • and we will attain organizational excellence.

The next important phase is that of implementation and I would like to give you a brief overview of work we have been doing over the summer to help prepare for this:

Leadership and accountability. The vice chancellors and I fully endorse this strategic plan and we are committed to putting it into action. In that vein, I held a retreat for the senior leadership team in July where we discussed the plan and how we will facilitate implementation. We’ll be looking to identify action facilitators over the coming weeks so that there is a point person for each action. We’re also working on developing outcome measures for the goals and actions so that we will all be able to determine how well we’re progressing against what the plan sets out.

Embedding the plan into the university. The strategic plan is UH Hilo’s strategic plan. To help build a sense of ownership for it across the university, I am going to ask major units to develop an implementation plan that will detail their own contributions toward the strategic plan. At the time of writing, the vice chancellors and I are working on guidance for unit implementation planning and you will hear more over the next few weeks about how that will work and what will be expected.

Doing implementation. Although we will be doing implementation planning over the next year, we also will be doing implementation and I am pleased to report that we are already making progress. Of particular note in relation to priority action 3.2 on upgrading the university’s technology infrastructure is that our Office of Campus Technology is working to improve wireless broadband capability across the entire campus. This work is ongoing and will be achieved by upgrading 300 access points on campus: 62 in the library; 42 in housing; 40 in the University Classroom Building, 19 in Kanaka‘ole Hall, and the remainder will be used for upgrading access points on campus and expanding wireless broadband coverage in areas where it is not adequate. Specifically, we will shortly have 100% wireless broadband coverage in the library where up to only a few months ago it was only at 40%. This is an important upgrade especially for our students who had raised the issue of poor wireless coverage in the library during the strategic planning feedback processes.

I’d also like to share with you the four things I’m currently putting into place as an introduction to the next phase of the process: strengthening applied learning, teaching and scholarship (goal 1); community partnerships (goal 5); and organizational excellence (goal 6).

The hiring of an internship coordinator will impact three areas: applied learning; teaching and scholarship; and community partnerships. The coordinator will support and increase student internships and practica with local businesses and agencies as well as student involvement in faculty research. Further, the coordinator will work on ways to integrate teaching and research to engage students in collaboration with faculty. Also included will be professional development opportunities and programs for promoting the development and sharing of innovative teaching and mentoring practices.

The internship coordinator also will connect the university and students with the community through internships and practica; joint meetings between UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College administration will begin to identify joint program ventures, and activities that could benefit the island and state.

In the area of organizational excellence, I am committing $100,000 each year toward faculty, staff (APT) and support staff (Civil Service/UPW) development opportunities and programs focused on continuous learning and improvement, which will be supported by three advisory groups representing the three categories of employees.

The implementation phase of any plan is complex and non-linear, while at the same time being the most rewarding. I cannot promise you that it’ll be an easy process to implement this plan, but I can promise you that in working together we can and we will put this 2011-2015 Strategic Plan into action and we will see positive, enduring results for our university.

For more information:

Draft Strategic Plan

PDF of Strategic Planning Committee’s final progress and “next steps” report