UH Hilo Leadership
Donald Straney became chancellor at UH Hilo in 2010. Previously, he was dean of the College of Science and professor of biology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Under Chancellor Straney’s leadership, UH Hilo is exceeding goals for graduation rates, community college transfers, numbers of Native Hawaiian students and graduates, and STEM students and graduates. In addition to more research proposals being submitted and more dollars coming in, he also has established an Office of Applied Learning to increase opportunities for students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-life experiences in the community. For more information, visit the Office of the Chancellor website.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Matthew Platz joined UH Hilo in January 2013. He previously served as Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Ohio State University and Director of the Division of Chemistry of the National Science Foundation. At UH Hilo, he has increased transparency, reduced recurring spending by over $200k a year and used the savings to fund faculty hiring and lecturers in high demand areas. Comprehensive data on revenue, spending, research training and revolving funds, enrollments, majors and graduates is now available on the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (VCAA) website.
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs
Marcia Sakai has been a UH Hilo faculty in business administration and economics since 1991 and is a professor of tourism and economics. She was appointed dean of UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics in 2005. Since her arrival at administrative affairs in 2011, she has made great progress toward improving campus-wide efficiency in several areas, notably technology infrastructure and sustainability measures with special focus on energy conservation. For more information, visit the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs (VCAdmin) website.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Gail Makuakāne-Lundin has held positions of leadership within the Division of Student Affairs and other units at UH Hilo since 1984. She was named interim vice chancellor for student affairs in 2014, where her priority is enhancing student success through meaningful integrated programs that support learning, development and engagement. A recent success is the launch of a Freshman Village with living-learning communities that bring students together to live, learn, study and enjoy extracurricular activities. For more information, visit the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA) website.
Director of Development
Mariko Miho joined UH Hilo in 2013. Previously, she was the senior director of development for the community colleges at the UH Foundation. At UH Hilo, she is working closely and strategically with the chancellor, academic leadership, and the larger community to attract and effectively work with donors. In Fiscal Year 2014, UH Hilo’s Office of Development helped raise $2.5M from private sources. Noteworthy is a $158k grant from Kamehameha Schools to support a residential STEM Summer Bridge Program. For more information, visit the UH Foundation (UHF) website.
Director of University Relations
Jerry Chang joined UH Hilo in January 2013 after serving 24 years as a representative in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature. At UH Hilo, he worked with state and county lawmakers and community leaders to secure funding for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy building, along with capital improvements for a start-up aviation program. He has addressed student transportation needs through expanded bus service linking UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, and strengthened security through implementing the establishment of a police substation on campus. For more information, visit the University Relations (UR) website.
Deans and Directors of the Colleges
College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management
Bruce Mathews was named interim dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) in 2012. He has been a professor of soil science and agronomy at UH Hilo since 1993. His top priorities as dean are in advancing articulation with the UH community colleges and revitalizing hands-on instruction. He is working closely with the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo to better ensure that research funds allocated to the college are used for collaborative efforts and forming stronger linkages with the local agricultural community.
College of Arts and Sciences
Susan Brown was named interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in 2016. She has been a professor of evolutionary psychology at UH Hilo since 1985 and she and her students continue publishing in the field. Her top priorities as dean are supporting mentor relationships between faculty and students and applied learning experiences that emphasize the unique geography, biology and culture of Hawaiʻi Island. She also hopes to establish programs aimed at increasing retention in lower division transfer students.
College of Business and Economics
Krishna Dhir is dean of the College of Business and Economics (CoBE). He arrived at UH Hilo in 2013, previously serving in the position of Henry Gund Professor of Management and Dean of the Campbell School of Business at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. At UH Hilo, he is leading the college to take a more active role in 21st century workforce development. He envisions creating partners with other UH Hilo colleges and academic and non-academic institutions to develop niche programs in areas specific to the region like hotel management, eco-tourism development, and management of ocean-based industries.
College of Continuing Education and Community Service
Farrah-Marie Gomes is interim dean of the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS), since 2011, and director of the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center (NHERC), since 2006. Previously, she was a research associate with The Catalyst Group, a private firm in Hawai‘i that evaluates education, defense, and health and human services projects. She recently secured two grants: $16k from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to provide student support services, and $70K from the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in partnership with the Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers to develop and deliver curriculum to produce Master Food Preservers.
Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language
Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a is director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, since 2013. She is an associate professor in Hawaiian and Hawaiian studies and has been at the college for 20 years. She is founding director of the Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program and is a past director of the Hale Kuamo‘o Hawaiian Language and Culture Center. In 2013, she oversaw the completion of Haleʻōlelo, a two-story 36,759 square foot building and new home for the college. Her priorities are in improving programs and outreach in Hawaiian language and culture, linguistics, immersion and mauli ola education P-20.
Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
Carolyn Ma is the interim dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP). She joined the college in 2007 as the clinical education coordinator, and in 2009 became chair for pharmacy practice. She has been in charge of operations, faculty and residents for the college on O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i. She previously served as a pharmacy management consultant for various hospitals, including Stanford Hospitals and Clinics.
UH Hilo Student Association
- Lazareth Sye, President
- Abraham Jose, Vice President
- Mindy Alles, Treasurer
- Vacant, Data Director
- Maile Lavea, College of Arts and Sciences
- Cyanne Fernandez, College of Business and Economics
- Nathan Pallet, College of Agriculture, Forestry & Natural Resource Management
- John Crommelin, Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language
- Khanh Nicholas Nguyen, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
- David Khan, Graduate
- Jessica Penaranda, At Large
- Vacant, At Large
- Vacant, At Large
- Vacant, At Large
For more information, visit the UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) website.
Updated March 2016.