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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: Dec. 2012

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

December 2012

Update on UH Hilo’s Strategic Plan

I’d like to update you on the progress we are making toward the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Strategic Plan. Administrators, faculty, and staff have been working diligently over the semester to implement the goals of the plan. I would like to highlight some of the action steps being taken to implement three of the six goals.

Goal 1 is about providing learning experiences and support to prepare students to thrive, compete, innovate, and lead in their professional and personal lives. This goal is being facilitated through the new Office of Applied Learning Experiences or ALEX, created to increase real world learning experiences at UH Hilo and maximize student participation. This includes internships, community based projects, service learning, creative activities, research, practica, and capstone experiences.

Of interest to chamber members, the ALEX office plans to launch a community based mentorship program that will match students with professionals in their respective career fields in the local community. I encourage chamber members to contact applied learning coordinator Tom DeWitt, associate professor of marketing, about participating in this worthwhile program ( or 974-7384).

ALEX is also hosting a series of fairs and conferences dedicated to developing internships and applied learning opportunities. UH Hilo’s first conference on undergraduate research from multiple disciplines will be held on Feb. 9. Another conference is planned for April dedicated to expanding applied learning experiences across all fields.

Goal 2 of our Strategic Plan is to inspire excellence in teaching, research, and collaboration. Dan Brown, interim vice chancellor for research and economic development, is heading the expansion of research support services.

A priority initiative in support of this goal is a new Science Outreach Resource Center or SOURCE to support faculty researchers and outside research partners in research and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts. The center is helping faculty find research collaborators both within and outside UH Hilo, and providing support for the success of the collaborations. SOURCE is also building stronger relationships between the university and federal, state and county agencies, commercial entities, and researchers at other universities.

Another priority of Goal 2 is to expand the support services offered by the UH Hilo Office of Research to faculty, staff, and student scholarly activities. This support includes assistance with finding grant opportunities, successfully applying for the opportunities, and managing grants after awards have been made. To streamline the grant application process, the office is undergoing a reorganization to include Research Corporation of University of Hawai‘i personnel from RCUH’s Office of Research Administration and Project Development (RAPD) within the UH Hilo office.

Goal 3 is to foster a vibrant and sustainable environment within which to study, work, and live. Studies show students who reside on campus and are exposed to extensive academic and social support structures in their first year are most likely to stay in college through graduation. In response, UH Hilo will be creating a comprehensive Freshmen Village as early as fall 2014, utilizing the current housing facilities that now constitute the core of the campus.

Freshmen Village will be a highly interactive, highly engaging, residential first-year experience that will help students transition and adapt to UH Hilo academically and socially as freshmen. The village concept will provide ways for students to study and participate in programs and activities together outside the classroom, including the possibility of freshmen research-related projects.

Learn more about UH Hilo’s Strategic Plan on my blog.


Don Straney

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