Jun 212017

Two student success webinars are scheduled, offered by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, consultants for higher education enrollment management.

Both webinars will be held in Student Services Center W-201 and are open to university faculty, staff and administrators.

Date: Thursday, June 22, 2017
Time: 8 a.m.

Key topics of the webinar will include: how a retention plan can benefit our university developing the right team to implement our plan, the best key performance indicators for retention, and the data we should know to inform our plan.

Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Time: 8 a.m.

Key topics of the webinar will include: identifying the specific needs of at-riak, second year students, and transfer students, prioritizing sophomore and transfer student engagement by matching interest and concerns to campus service improvements, comparing students’ receptivity to assistance in the second year vs. their use of campus services in the previous years, and college completion plans for students.


The webinars are sponsored by the UH Hilo Professional Development Committee and the Office of the Chancellor.


Gail Makuakāne-Lundin.

Jun 162017

Webinar scheduled


Date: Monday, June 19, 2017.
Time: 9:00 am-10:00 am.
Location: Student Services Center W-201.

Open to university faculty, staff and administrators.

This webinar will discuss how to connect, engage, and motivate millennials. Discover the top three unexpected reasons freshmen drop out and learn how millennials think about college and how to motivate then with experiential learning.


The webinars are sponsored by the UH Hilo Professional Development Committee and the Office of the Chancellor.


Gail Makuakāne-Lundin.

For those of you who could not participate in the webinar, you can view the recording and download the powerpoint via the following links:

Jun 012017

It was a beautiful Spring Commencement celebrating cultural heritage, sustainability, and diversity, reaffirming our responsibilities in addressing the challenges of our time.

By Don Straney.

Professor places hood on graduate's shoulders.

Prof. of Anthropology Peter Mills (right) bestows candidate with hood for Master of Arts in Heritage Management. 2017 Spring Commencement celebrated the first cohort to graduate from the new UH Hilo program.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo celebrated a milestone at Spring Commencement last month: the university graduated its first candidates for a Master of Arts in Heritage Management.

Students in the new program train for heritage-related careers in both the public and private sector to interpret, preserve, and perpetuate cultural heritage—something of immense value to our local communities and indigenous culture.

UH Hilo takes seriously its responsibility to our island communities and indigenous culture, and community-based archaeology is a vital aspect of Hawaiian cultural revitalization.

In a paper on the importance of cultural resource management professionals, Peter Mills, professor of anthropology, writes that Hawai‘i struggles with many issues confronting heritage management programs globally. Grass roots efforts to better manage Hawaiian cultural sites are increasing, and state regulations require cultural resource managers to have an advanced degree—yet graduate training in anthropology and related fields in Hawai‘i is limited.

Let me share a story of one of the graduates to show the importance of this degree to our island families and communities.

Lokelani Brandt with baby

Lokelani Brandt

Lokelani Brandt received her bachelor of arts in anthropology with a minor in Hawaiian studies from UH Hilo in 2012 after receiving her primary education at Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Hawaiian immersion school. She and her husband both have careers in Hilo (Lokelani is a lecturer for the Hawai‘i Life Styles Program at Hawai‘i Community College) and they would like to raise their family here.

With her newly received master of arts degree, Lokelani has accepted a full-time position in Hilo with ASM Affiliates, a major archaeological consulting firm. With her advanced degree in hand, she will be qualified to serve as a principal investigator on ASM’s field projects.

This type of career option will be very meaningful to many of our undergraduate students of Native Hawaiian ancestry—there is now an option to pursue professional leadership positions in archaeology and related fields rather than only volunteering for grass-roots organizations.

As Peter writes: “A shift in perspective is required, for example instead of viewing and interpreting ‘archaeological sites’ as significant only for their data, these cultural sites should be viewed as vital parts of a living Hawaiian culture.”

Watching these graduates at Commencement during the traditional “hooding” ceremony was a moving experience, knowing that the cohort will be going out into the world as professionals now credentialed to help preserve “a living Hawaiian culture.”


Along with UH Hilo’s responsibility to protect our islands’ cultural heritage, the university also accepts responsibility—given our location and resources—to learn with and from other island nations in the Pacific region. Our keynote speaker was President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr, of the Republic of Palau, an internationally recognized leader on environmental issues not the least of which is his leadership in the historic effort to implement the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

President Remengesau’s remarks focused on the responsibilities we all share in taking care of our island states, communities, and environment. This great man practices what he preachers—his work and visionary leadership is inspirational as we proceed in working together on the challenges of our time: sustainability, environmental protection and cultural preservation.

In addition to these responsibilities, the university also remains committed to safeguarding human rights, notably the rights of our LGBTQ+ community.

Our student speaker at commencement, Karla Kapo‘aiola Ahn, a performing arts major and entertainer who often performs music on campus, spoke about her gender transition and about how UH Hilo—in particular Professor of Drama Jackie Johnson, just retired—provided the unconditional support she needed to realize her full potential in her studies and in her life while at the university.

Karla personifies our pride in being the nation’s most diverse university system. We live the aloha spirit.

It was a beautiful Commencement celebrating cultural heritage, sustainability, and diversity, reaffirming our responsibilities in addressing the challenges of our time.


Don Straney

May 192017
Tam Vu

Tam Vu

Tam Vu, professor of economics, will serve as interim dean of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo beginning June 17, 2017. Matt Platz, vice chancellor for academic affairs, made the announcement today in an email to the UH Hilo community. He says a national search for a permanent dean of the college will soon be launched.

“Prof. Vu has demonstrated herself to be a staunch advocate for students and the university community,” says Platz in the announcement. “She is adept to working with multiple constituencies on campus and has nurtured relationships with the community.”

Prof. Vu received her master of arts in economics and doctor of philosophy in macroeconomics from UH Mānoa. She was appointed as an assistant professor of economics at UH Hilo in 2006. In 2011, she was promoted to associate professor, and in 2015 achieved the rank of professor. She is also a graduate cooperating faculty at UH Mānoa.

At UH Hilo, Vu has served as a department chair, chair of the Program Review Subcommittee for the Graduate Council, chair of the Instructional Technology Subcommittee for the UH Hilo Long Range Budget Committee, chair of the Faculty Congress Budget Committee, interim director of the Master in China-US Relations Program, and numerous other services to the university.

Prof. Vu has also been the recipient of several research travel grants and was nominated for the Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014. Vu’s scholarly activity includes more than 30 refereed journal publications in the past ten years, multiple books and presentations, both national and international.

May 182017

“The Dorrance Scholarship has become a model for providing educational opportunities to first-generation college students.” — Chancellor Straney.

Ten high school seniors from Hawaiʻi Island who are enrolling this fall at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have each been awarded the Dorrance Scholarship.

“The Dorrance Scholarship has become a model for providing educational opportunities to first-generation college students,” says Don Straney, UH Hilo chancellor. “(The Dorrances’) gift helps us to address that need, which is a core part of UH Hilo’s mission.”

The 2017 Dorrance Scholarship recipients and their high schools are:

  • Jeffrey Cushing, Kealakehe High School.
  • Stephanie Lewis, Kohala High School.
  • Jaylyn Mahoe-Subica, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School.
  • Nicole Garza, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi.
  • Kamamaluwaiwai Wichimai, Kamehameha Schools-Hawaiʻi.
  • Chayna Yoshida, Keaʻau High School.
  • Joy Boswell, Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Science.
  • Emme Furuya, Hilo High School.
  • Tharin Lewi-Ohashi, Konawaena High School.
  • Alanna Pabre, Konawaena High School.

The Dorrance Scholarship was established by Bennett and Jacquie Dorrance at the Arizona Community Foundation in June 1999. The innovative, four-year, need-based award provides local students who are the first in their family to attend college, up to $10,000 a year in direct financial assistance. Recipients will also participate in a custom-designed summer bridge program, international travel, conservation experience, an entrepreneurship program and employment preparation, bringing the total estimated value of each award to more than $90,000.

The Dorrance Foundation began offering up to 10 scholarships a year to Hawaiʻi Island high school graduates attending UH Hilo in 2012. The latest awards bring the total number of recipients to 59.


Mathew Estrada, program coordinator, Dorrance Scholarship Programs, at mestrada[at] or (808) 339-4500.


Media release