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Chancellor’s Weekly Messages on Countdown to Fall Reopening

July 6, 2020 Update

Countdown to Fall 2020: 50 days remaining until fall semester begins

Aloha Kākou,

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie Irwin

On August 17, 2020, please join me in welcoming Dr. Kris Roney, who has been recommended for approval by President David Lassner as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs here at UH Hilo following public posting on the July 16 UH Board of Regents meeting agenda.

Dr. Roney is Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and the Founding Dean of the University College & Graduate Studies at California State University, Monterey Bay. She previously served as Associate Vice President and the Founding Dean of the University College at University of North Georgia (formerly Gainesville State College) where she also held various other administrative positions. She has a wealth of experience in student success, both in increasing graduation and retention rates and in supporting high impact practices that help students thrive on campus. She has worked at highly diverse institutions, and has worked to create and support policies and programs in equity and inclusion.

Kris Roney
Kris Roney

I want to thank the search committee who spent many hours reading files and interviewing candidates, as well as all of the campus constituents that participated in the process for both this position and the others for which we are searching. The investment of your time and attention speaks well of your care for UH Hilo and our future.

Our various working groups continue to meet often. Here are the following updates.

Testing and Tracing (Dean Carolyn Ma, convener). The Testing and Tracing Working Group has formed with the following members:

  • Sherri Akau (UH Hilo Housing)
  • Laura Hill (Hawai‘i Community College Nursing)
  • Heather Hirata (UH Hilo Student Health Center)
  • Kenneth Kaleiwahea (Hawai‘i CC)
  • Joan Pagan (UH Hilo Nursing)
  • Cara Ikeda (UH Hilo College of Pharmacy)
  • Misty Pacheco (UH Hilo College of Natural and Health Sciences)
  • Joyce Norris Taylor (UH Hilo Nursing)
  • Kei-Lin K.H. Cerf (Palamanui)
  • Sheri Tokumaru (UH Hilo College of Pharmacy)
  • Ken Ikeda (UH Hilo Office of Environmental Health and Safety)

The committee met for the first time on Thursday, July 2, and will meet weekly to prepare process, policies and procedures that will adapt the UH COVID-19 Guidelines (Interim) specifically to UH Hilo, Hawai‘i Community College and Palamanui.

Academic and Student Support (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes, convener)

The Academic and Student Support Working Group continues to meet weekly. Writing tablets have been received and are being distributed so faculty and staff can begin testing the effectiveness of this tool. Short videos are currently in production to help address training topics identified by this working group. Student success videos are being shared with select staff this week so that a comprehensive rollout plan can be shared with the entire campus by the end of the month. We are awaiting the arrival of webcams to begin the conversion of spaces to serve as virtual access hubs across the campus. This working group is meeting this week with the Physical Distancing group to discuss details about items and areas where both groups overlap.

Physical Distancing (Interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza, convener)

The Physical Distancing Working Group will be publishing campus guidelines this week, which will add more Hilo-specific information to the UH Systemwide interim guidelines issued on July 1.

Fall Course Schedule

Interim Vice Chancellor Ken Hon’s memo to faculty outlined UH Hiloʻs plans for offering courses only in hybrid or pure online formats that give flexibility to both faculty and students and avoid some of the concerns expressed in the higher educational media. These course type choices were made to give faculty control of the amount of in-person contact (within physical distancing limitations) and the amount of online contact within each hybrid course. Faculty have the flexibility to choose the arrangement that they feel most comfortable teaching within and, likewise, students have the freedom to choose whether to participate in face-to-face sessions or attend most classes all online. It is important to remember that the students who are coming back to campus will expect some in-person class sessions.

Allowing faculty and students to choose the mode of teaching/learning they are most comfortable with was the guiding factor in the modality choices. We will have more detailed descriptions of the course types available to students within the next day or two. We are just beginning the transition between the previously scheduled courses that were originally to be held all in-person to either hybrid or all online courses. The key to success will be having faculty reach out to students to let them know how their course will be taught. You can follow these changes at Fall 2020 Conversion to Hybrid Courses) and on the table in the middle of this web page.


The legislature plans to end its session on Friday, at which time we will have more information on our state-funded budget proportion. Bills passed this session will still require the Governor’s signature to become Acts.

Moving Forward

We were all awaiting the UH Systemwide guidance that was issued last week. As you can see from its depth and breadth, numerous people have been working on it over the last few weeks. Our plans will look very similar, but will include some things that are specific to our campus. In addition, Vice Chancellor Gomes and Vice Chancellor Rapoza joined me for a meeting with Mayor Harry Kim last Friday morning, where we discussed the importance of coordinating efforts with the city and county. We all wish to keep our community, both on and off campus, as safe as we can, and we continue to work toward that end as we welcome students back in the fall.

Take care, and I look forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday at our next Brown Bag July 8!

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

UH Hilo’s COVID-19 information webpage

June 29, 2020 Update

Countdown to Fall 2020: 57 days remaining until fall semester begins

Aloha Kākou,

As you will see from this message, the work of the task groups continues. UH System guidelines for fall 2020 may be coming out this week, and once we align our drafts with the System document, we will be able to circulate more specific guidance to our campus. Faculty will receive information from Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ken Hon later today regarding teaching modalities, which allow faculty to prepare their classes with the physical distancing guidelines in place. By mid-July, we hope to roll out an app that will allow for daily health check-ins for all members of our ‘ohana who will be coming to campus.

I share with you the following updates:

Academic and Student Support (Farrah Gomes, convener)

The Academic and Student Support working group has been meeting weekly to discuss what virtual services and tech tools are already in place and which ones are needed to better support our students. Additionally, this working group has been discussing what trainings are needed to support faculty, staff and students in the use of the various tools and resources available to them. This work group met last week with the Online and Hybrid Learning working group to collaborate in areas that overlap both areas. Student success videos, writing tablets, and webcams have already been purchased and will be piloted in the month of July for full implementation in August. A list of training topics is being developed so that short videos can be created to further support access to helpful information. The intent is to post the videos on a website where other critical information and resources will be compiled into a single, easy to find location.

Physical Distancing (Kalei Rapoza, convener)

The Physical Distancing working group has met twice in June to create on-campus guidance for distancing. There is focus on maintaining social distancing and creating space in classrooms, labs, offices, and other common areas, as well as providing guidance on face coverings and informing the campus with appropriate signage. The social distancing practices include: 6 feet of separation, removing or restricting seating, adjusting walking patterns, and limiting large meetings and gatherings. We are also reviewing supplies for sanitation on campus, such as cleaning supplies for common areas and increasing locations for hand sanitizing stations.

Online and Hybrid Learning (Joseph Sanchez, convener)

The Online and Hybrid Learning working group came up with the following recommendations:

  • Faculty stipends for summer work toward DL certification/coursework
  • Casual hires through the Library to provide recorded lecture segments of critical course content
  • Develop a list of Wifi locations in community so faculty can distribute to students
  • Assess feasibility/cost of circulating Wifi hotspots to students
  • Develop a plan for test proctoring in the Fall
  • Tweak online and ongoing communication with students and faculty on high-issue needs, such as no link to 24/7 ITS help in Laulima when students can’t log-in


The legislature returned to session last week and we are awaiting decisions regarding our fall budget. Letters of appointment will go out to members of the Long Range Budget Planning Committee this week, and I look forward to convening this group soon.

Office of Equal Opportunity

The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) continues work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion with our campus partners. In light of recent Title IX legislative changes, training for Title IX coordinators, deputies, investigators and decision makers hosted by the UH Office of Institutional Equity will be held throughout the summer. These sessions will be recorded and will be made available for any employee interested in learning more.

OEO also continues to collaborate with Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center  in our HULIAU Series: Broadening Perspectives Through Courageous Conversations. The first session featured a panel discussion on “What Black Lives Matter Means to Me.” The next Huliau session will be this Wednesday, July 1, from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm with guest speaker Joy Enomoto on “Black Lives Matter and Hawaiʻi’s Historical Connections to Racial Inequity.” Weʻll follow a similar format as the first session, with an informative and educational discussion with Joy, followed by breakout rooms to engage participants in small group discussions. More information, registration and additional resources can be found at HULIAU. Please reach out to Jennifer Stotter for more information or to get involved.

Free Resources/Development Opportunities

The Association for Talent Development Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Employers’ Council, Hawaiʻi Alliance of Non-profit Organizations, Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, and the Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network recently hosted a webinar entitled: “The Leadership We Need Now: How Hawai`i Organizations Can Be Taking Action Against Systemic Racism.” You can find the recording here and access it with the password: 8O=@80o4.

The following webcasts are also available on demand by DIVERSE: Issues in Higher Education:

  • Addressing Racism and Structural Inequity in America—What Role Does Higher Education Have to Play?
  • College Athletics After COVID-19; What is the Impact? What Are the Ramifications?
  • Calling Out Xenophobia, Racism and Intolerance During the COVID-19 Crisis
  • Three Big Diversity-Related Questions Resulting from the COVID-19 Crisis

Strategic Doing

The two Strategic Doing teams have had their first meetings and are in the midst of scheduling the next. The Relationships Committee began discussions with the question: What might the university look like if UH Hilo’s relationships were healthy and productive? Discussions included identifying pockets of excellence on campus that we might learn from, the impact that a mentor for each student might have along with clear roles for mentors and advisors, and defining the role of UH Hilo and the scope of that role in relationship to our community. The Importance of Place Committee began their discussions with the question: Imagine the value of making our university’s unique place integral in all that we do at UH Hilo—what would that look like and what would result? Discussions included how we might ensure that our academic programs are anchored to our unique place from an instructional perspective, what training(s) rooted in place UH Hilo should bring to the campus community, and what place-based collaborations might bring more opportunities into our classrooms. Committee members are now reaching out to their networks to explore these and a number of other ideas related to relationships and place.

EM Searches

Virtual campus visits of the finalists for the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences’ position continues this week. Please participate and provide feedback.

My best wishes for everyone for the upcoming long weekend. As always, stay safe and well and rest assured that we are working behind the scenes to make our campus ready for August and the arrival back in Hawai‘i of many of our students. My sincere mahalo for all those serving on a working group and all those making contributions to our fall readiness.

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

UH Hilo’s COVID-19 information webpage

Countdown to Fall 2020: 64 days remaining until fall semester begins

June 22, 2020

Aloha Kākou,

I hope the fathers in our ‘ohana had a good day yesterday, and that everyone in our community is staying safe and well.

It has been a busy week on campus, both in person and virtually! Our working groups continue to meet and plan. The Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, along with other key stakeholders across the university, continues to work on diversity, equity, and inclusion activities, and our Strategic Doing committees had their first meetings and began discussing the university’s relationships and importance of place.

The UH Hilo campus remains closed to the general public and non-members of the UH Hilo community. We are beginning to reopen operations to those members of the general public who are specifically invited to campus for programmatic reasons and are here by appointment, e.g. ‘Imiloa, Testing Center, and Campus Tours.

Summer Session II

Today marks the first day of Summer Session II. Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ken Hon sent an email to all students last week letting them know that all Summer Session II classes will remain online for the duration of the session. In planning for the fall and helping our students with their progress to degree, if there are any students who have not yet registered for any Summer Session classes, please encourage them to do so immediately.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

You may have noticed that ‘Imiloa is going to open for Hālau Lamakū, a summer program focused on place-based learning for keiki in grades 1-5. The program is already sold out, and will be held July 13-31. ‘Imiloa is strictly following the guidelines for museums and child care facilities in its plans, and the keiki who are engaged in the program will stay within the borders of ‘Imiloa’s building and grounds.

Testing Center

We will also be opening the Testing Center to allow our students and other select community members to take required certification tests. Physical distancing and sanitizing procedures will be in force.

Campus Tours

We are also looking at plans to conduct small campus tours for prospective students. This will be very small in size, and by appointment only. While on the tour, all participants will be required to wear masks.

Masks on Campus

We are planning to expect the wearing of masks by people on campus in the fall, unless health guidelines have changed dramatically by then, which we doubt. Those with private offices and those who can maintain a safe distance from others will be able to remove their masks in those spaces, but will be expected to wear the mask when walking to other places on campus, such as down the hall, in the restrooms, and in the dining center. More specific guidelines will be released soon, but make sure you have a mask available when coming to campus! Additional guidelines for athletes engaged in practice and competition will be forthcoming as well.

Testing and Tracing

This working group will begin meeting soon. Some members of our ‘ohana have met with representatives of the County Department of Health, and we will be relying on both campus and community resources. The University of Hawai‘i System is vetting various health check-in apps, and will be making a decision on one of these soon.


For both budget and safety reasons, the interstate and international travel limitations for UH employees remain in place. Exceptions may only be granted by the president, and quarantine restrictions will continue to follow state and county guidelines. Interisland business travel will require approval of the chancellor.


Membership of the Long-Range Budget Committee has been finalized. As soon as I confirm the willingness of those chosen to serve, I will announce the composition of the committee and the first meeting, which will be held in early July. You may continue to make suggestions here.

EM Searches

  • Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs: We are in the process of finalizing an offer to a VCAA, which needs to go to the president for approval.
  • Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences: The Search Committee is conducting reference checks and will provide a report to the chancellor next week.
  • Dean of Students/Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs: Campus virtual interviews are today and tomorrow.
  • Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences: Interviews begin this week.

Further Questions?

I have scheduled two open Zoom meetings for the campus on Wednesday, July 8 and July 29, noon – 1 p.m. Zoom information will be shared this week. I know folks have questions and concerns so I hope you join in.

In the meantime, I hope you are finding time for rest and reflection. I have completed reading White Fragility this weekend, a powerful book indeed, which underlines how much I have yet to learn. I look forward to joining in on some of the critical conversations we will have on campus this fall.

Mahalo nui loa for all you do for UH Hilo!

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

UH Hilo’s COVID-19 information webpage

Countdown to Fall 2020: 71 days remaining until fall semester begins

June 15, 2020

Aloha Kākou,

I hope everyone is well and beginning to take advantage of the state and county’s slow opening of “non-essential” services.

We are in the last week of Summer Session I. I hope those who are teaching are finding their students engaged and thriving, albeit in a different modality than they might be accustomed to. Thank you for continuing to support our students’ learning this summer!

As we prepare for Summer Session II, the working groups continue to meet and discuss what will be needed for us to have some face-to-face classes this fall. You will find some updates in this message.

You’ll also find some updates regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Just as COVID-19 will still be with us in fall in some form, so, too, is systemic racism, and we will continue to work toward a campus whose diversity is more than just a set of numbers.

CARES Funding

Before the end of the spring semester, we received nearly $1.5 million in CARES 1 funding. This money was earmarked for direct aid to students, and because of the hard work of our Financial Aid and Cashier’s Office staff, we were able to disburse over $1.1 million in much needed direct aid for students, on top of the $84,000 emergency aid from the UH Foundation that was made possible by donations, some of which came from our own ‘ohana here at UH Hilo. Another $24,000 is going out this week, and we have some CARES funding left for Fall distribution.

The CARES 2 tranche was also nearly $1.5 million, and that has been allocated to pay for fall preparations: 1) classroom upgrades; 2) cleaning supplies and PPE; 3) student help; 4) stipends and overload to cover online and hybrid instruction training for faculty and staff; other technology tools for academic and student support.

CARES 3 funds, which we received because we are a Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander serving campus, total just over $2.691 million. The projects that will be funded with these dollars will be determined in part by a list submitted from Hanakahi Council, as well as toward other CARES-related expenses from last spring and the coming fall.


While the CARES money will certainly help, we still expect to have a constrained budget in fall. The legislature will come back into session on June 22 to finalize the budget and send it to the governor. We expect to know more by early July. We have received several nominations for members of the Long Range Budget Planning Committee, and the vice chancellors and I will be finalizing the composition and convening the group by the first week in July.

Fall Preparation—Instruction

Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ken Hon is working with the other UH Systemwide VCAAs and UH Distance Learning group to finalize the types of instruction that will be needed for fall. The goal is to deliver the best education possible to our students, both on campus and online, with an eye to keeping our whole community as safe as we can. I was glad to see in the faculty survey that despite the challenges of spring 2020, many faculty now feel more comfortable in the online environment. In fall, some classes will need to be totally online, some hybrid, some face-to-face; all must be flexible so that we can be ready for whatever COVID-19 throws at us. Faculty will be hearing more from Interim VC Hon soon.

In order to prepare our campus, classrooms have been measured, and seats will be removed or blocked off to ensure appropriate distancing. The Scheduling Committee has been apprised of the new capacity numbers and are adjusting the schedule accordingly. Traffic patterns in and out of buildings, hand sanitizing stations, and other adjustments are being made and funded by the CARES funding referenced above.

Fall Preparation—Housing

Our student Housing staff has been working diligently to devise a plan to house as many students as possible with adequate physical distancing and cleaning protocols in place. We will need to reduce the number of students in the residence halls, but we want to make sure that we serve as many students as we can. Housing offers will be going out to students this week, which will help us determine our fall occupancy.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

I encourage everyone to make time to engage in reflection on our diverse community and how we might strengthen it to provide a truly supportive environment for all members of our ‘ohana. For my part, I am currently reading the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. We are also working to hold space for members of our community to share the stories of their lived experiences. The Office of Equal Opportunity is partnering with the campus Diversity Committee and Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center to produce a series of courageous conversations, the Huliau.

The Huliau Series aims to provide a safe space for our UH Hilo community to engage in critical conversations around racial disparities and systemic injustices. Through discussion, shared experiences, and guidance from informed community panelists, we lean into this huliau, this pivotal moment for transformation and change, and educate ourselves and each other to develop more conscious, intentional, and actively engaged citizens.

This presentation series is open to all UH Hilo students, faculty, and staff. Seats are limited to encourage deeper small group discussions. Edited recordings may be made available to the greater public with permission from participants.

Huliau Series Discussion 1: Black Lives Matter. June 17, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information and to register.

Strategic Doing

The committees will be holding its first meetings this week! I look forward to meeting both groups and discussing the future of our great university. Click here for more information.

Have a wonderful, productive week!


Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Countdown to Fall 2020: 78 days remaining until fall semester begins

June 8, 2020

Aloha Kākou,

Thankfully, our community continues to be relatively safe from the COVID virus and calm, despite the upheaval parts of the country are experiencing. While UH Hilo is rightfully proud to be the country’s most diverse campus, we all know that racism still exists, often hidden in things that we don’t even realize. The events of the last few months highlight the need to strive to create the equity and inclusion necessary to allow our diversity to flourish. One of the things I am exploring is how we might address these issues to make sure that every individual on our campus is accorded the respect and opportunities they deserve. Keep connected to hear of more opportunities to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in the future.

Strategic Doing Committee Updates

The initial meetings of these groups have been scheduled, and membership has been confirmed. Please continue to check the Strategic Doing website for additional information.

Student Spring 2020 Survey of Online Experience

Three hundred and fifty students responded to the survey, and they have given us a wealth of information that will inform our efforts in the online environment generally and for fall 2020 in particular. One of the questions we asked students was to name a faculty member who, from their perspective, handled the transition particularly well this last spring. I was gratified to see that 130 separate faculty members were named, some multiple times! I will be reaching out to these faculty with my congratulations in the coming weeks.

Some students opted out of the question, some responded that they did not have any faculty who did particularly well, but others said that all their faculty did well. My favorite comment might be this one:

All of my professors tried their best to improvise and adapt to the new challenges unexpectedly placed upon them. Surprisingly, I have received the best grades during this semester that I have in all my years at UH Hilo. I commend all of my instructors for their efforts and support.

Thanks again to all faculty and staff who stepped up to keep our students on track and to hold space for those students to express concerns along the way.

Fall 2020 Working Groups

  • Physical Distancing (Kalei Rapoza, convener)
  • Academic and Student Support (Farrah-Marie Gomes, convener)
  • Online and Hybrid Learning (Joseph Sanchez, convener)

Two of our working groups got started this last week, and the conveners for both say that good ideas have come forward. We have ordered equipment for some of our classrooms to make hybrid classes easier to manage so that students attending online will have an experience of the same quality as those attending in person. An inventory of support programs and platforms is underway with plans to purchase and provide training in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the Seats Committee has continued to meet to match class sizes with the physical distancing capacity of our rooms for fall. The goal remains to keep our community as safe as possible while giving our students the best educational experience that we can muster.

Once we know more from the UH System level and the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, we will convene a testing and tracing working group.

Long Range Budget Committee

We are finalizing this committee as well. We expect the legislature to come back into session in the middle of this month and have the state budget finalized by the beginning of the fiscal year. Thus, on campus, we hope to know more about our state appropriation soon.

Administrative Searches

The vice chancellor and academic dean searches are moving along, as is the search for the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs/Dean of Students. The VC search is in the final stages, and there will be finalist interviews for the dean searches this week and later this month. Please check your email to learn of opportunities to participate. While I had hoped to wrap all the searches up during the academic year, COVID delayed these plans. As it is imperative to start the new academic year with a more permanent leadership team in place, I ask for your active participation. Faculty have requested that we postpone the College of Natural and Health Sciences interview scheduled for Wednesday so that the campus can honor the #ShutDownSTEM action. If the candidate agrees to be rescheduled, there will be an update on this schedule today or tomorrow.

I wish everyone a great week, and please continue to keep healthy and well!


Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Countdown to Fall 2020: 85 days remaining until fall semester begins

June 1, 2020

Aloha Kākou,

Welcome to the first of our weekly fall 2020 preparation updates!

With overwhelming gratitude, I am proud of how our university has come together over the last several weeks to protect our students and employees, as well as to flatten the curve for the benefit of those with whom we work and live. To create safety in this pandemic, our students uprooted themselves while our faculty and staff worked many long hours. The personal adjustments you have each made have not been easy, and I thank you all.

I know that you are anxious to know the answers to many questions about how we will continue to keep our community as safe as possible and how we will conduct classes and student and employee support activities. To this end, we have assembled teams to work on a variety of issues at both the University of Hawai‘i System level and the UH Hilo campus level.

Here is a listing of our campus committees:

Physical Distancing Working Group

This group will be looking at how we make sure our offices and classroom spaces are prepared to re-open with physical distancing in place. They will also continue to guide the work that facilities personnel have been doing, such as deciding where plexiglass shielding may be needed, where we need hand sanitizing stations, and how traffic will flow through buildings. First meeting: June 2, 2020.

  • Kalei Rapoza (convener)
  • Shay Hara
  • Kensei Gibbs
  • Lari-anne Au
  • Landon Ballesteros
  • Lai Sha Bugado
  • Tim Moore
  • Rodney Jubilado
  • Kerri Inglis
  • Bryan Kim
  • Brian Wissman
  • Nadine Hara
  • Daryl Masuda
  • Jim Beets
  • Ka‘iu Kimura
  • Lee Barnett-Dombroski
  • Lissa Tsutsumi
  • Jerome Paguirigan (student member)

Online and Hybrid Learning Working Group

This group will be reviewing the feedback from the student and faculty surveys. They will also discuss classroom and online learning technology needs and online and hybrid pedagogy and training needs. First meeting coming soon, to be announced.

  • Joseph Sanchez (convener)
  • Blaine Bautista
  • Keith Edwards
  • Joan Thompson Pagan
  • Jan Ray
  • Cindy Yamaguchi
  • Julie Mowrer
  • Amy Horst
  • Kirsten Mollegaard
  • Student to be named

Student and Academic Support Working Group

This group will be looking at ways we can best support students, both those on campus and those attending from a distance. They will be looking at tech tools that may be employed to assist with student support and how best to train staff and faculty to support this work. First meeting: June 4, 2020.

  • Farrah-Marie Gomes (convener)
  • Efren Ruiz
  • Michael Bitter
  • Jim Mellon
  • Emmeline DePillis
  • Karla Hayashi
  • Sherrie Padilla
  • Student to be named 

If you have concerns or suggestions for any of these groups, feel free to contact any of the members.

We will also be putting together a testing and tracing group at a later date, once we have more information from the county and the System about requirements and resources.

Preparing for the Post-COVID campus

Also, to help guide us into the future, we will be launching the strategic doing committees!  As you might recall, we have two major areas for these small teams to work on: relationships and place. Thanks to everyone who nominated a colleague or themselves for this opportunity. These committees are small in order to be nimble, but their charge includes engaging with their stakeholder groups as they develop projects. Kathleen Baumgardner will convene these groups soon.

Relationships Committee

  • Julie Mowrer (faculty)
  • Justina Mattos (faculty)
  • Jennifer Stotter (staff)
  • Kainoa Ariola (staff)
  • Jaslinn Makamae Kamaka-Mauhili (student)
  • Keali‘i Beck (community)
  • Vanessa Carlson (community)

Relationships Committee alternate members:

  • Michael Marshall (faculty)
  • Patrick Guillen (staff)

Importance of Place Committee

  • Heather Kaluna (faculty)
  • Michele Ebersole (faculty)
  • Ka‘iu Kimura (staff)
  • Hualani Loo (staff)
  • Bruce Torres Fischer (student)
  • Janice Ikeda (community)
  • Ulu Ching (community)
  • 2nd community member TBA

Importance of Place Committee alternate members:

  • Todd Inouye (faculty)
  • Joseph Sanchez (staff)
  • Fanny Brewer (community)

EM Searches

We are also moving ahead briskly with our administrative searches! I am close to naming a new vice chancellor for academic affairs; the academic dean searches and the dean of student searches are all at the semifinal or finalist stages. Please watch your email for notice of upcoming interview/presentation sessions. My thanks to the committees who have agreed to work into the summer so that we can bring these searches to successful conclusions.

Again, mahalo for all your efforts. Despite the flurry of activities this summer, I urge each of you to find some time for rest and rejuvenation. Stay tuned for further updates next week!

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

UH Hilo’s COVID-19 Information webpage


May 28, 2020

We do not have all the answers yet, but with weekly messages (more when there is breaking news), I hope to keep you as informed as possible.

Aloha Kākou,

I hope everyone had an opportunity to get away from computer screens and find some time for rest over the recent Memorial Day weekend. I found the holiday particularly meaningful this year, as it gave me an opportunity to reflect on lives lost not only among our military but among those who have fallen victim to disease, poverty, and strife. These losses also inspire me to do better, to help educate a strong generation who will serve our communities far into the future.

I know many of you have questions about what is going to be happening in fall. Many people have been working behind the scenes to get us ready for opening in fall as safely as possible. Starting on Monday, June 1, there will be regular updates to the campus so that we can keep you all apprised of preparations.

We do not have all the answers yet, but with weekly messages (more when there is breaking news), I hope to keep you as informed as possible.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our institution.

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

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