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UH Board of Regents approves two new degrees at UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

Logo with the words College of Pharmacy University of Hawaii at Hilo.College of Pharmacy to offer BA in pharmacy studies and doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences

HONOLULU – At its monthly meeting held yesterday at Honolulu Community College, the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents approved the bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies and the doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences as provisional programs to be administered by the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, effective fall 2011.

The UH Hilo College of Pharmacy currently offers a curriculum leading to the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) with the first class of student pharmacists scheduled to graduate in May 2011. The addition of the bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies (BAPS) will give the College of Pharmacy an additional advantage over programs that do not offer such a degree and will make the program even more attractive to applicants. Implementation of the doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences will also give the College of Pharmacy a distinct competitive advantage through research excellence and prepare graduates to be scientists with extensive skills in research design, techniques and methodologies.

“Each of these programs expands our ability to offer students more options in a changing world landscape,” said College of Pharmacy Dean John M. Pezzuto. “The BAPS degree will enhance educational opportunities for our PharmD students and make them more competitive in the marketplace. The doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences complements the PharmD program by exposing students to career prospects beyond the practice of pharmacy. We’ve been building these degree options since the founding of the college.”

The BAPS degree is designed for students enrolled in the PharmD program at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. Students who enter the PharmD program at UH Hilo are required to have met pre-pharmacy requirements, but they are not required to have earned a bachelor’s degree. The PharmD curriculum is rigorous and requires four years of studies, surpassing the requirements of a bachelor’s level degree. By providing the BAPS degree option, students will have the opportunity to have their academic achievements properly recognized.

The program supports the Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative of the UH System, which aims to increase the number of UH graduates by 25 percent by 2015. The degree offering will also increase UH Hilo retention rates, as students who participate in the pre-pharmacy program will earn a bachelor’s degree.

The doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences will be the first program of this type to be offered by the University of Hawai‘i, and the only program of this nature to be offered in the state of Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. It will significantly elevate the culture of research, development and technology transfer in the pharmaceutical sciences, with an emphasis on natural products discovery and development and their importance in pharmacy and healthcare in general. This effort is consistent with the UH System’s focus on workforce development and research innovation in contribution to Hawai‘i’s overall economic future.

“Not only will residents of Hawai‘i be able to earn a doctorate in pharmaceutical science without leaving the state, but we will also be able to attract scholars from the mainland and abroad with unparalleled opportunities. The economic and intellectual benefits to the state reach far beyond our imagination at this point,” said Pezzuto.

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UH Hilo College of Hawaiian Language breaks ground

The new building to house the College of Hawaiian Language promises to be both functional and extraordinarily beautiful, with profound symbolic and spiritual elements.

Large group of students coming down dirt drive, headed by Kalena Silva.
UH Hilo students, faculty, staff, administrators and members of the community walk to the piko or central point of the parcel for the groundbreaking of UH Hilo’s new College of Hawaiian Language building. At left is Kalena Silva, director of the college.

A bilingual blessing and groundbreaking was held on Saturday for permanent facilities for University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

The opening ceremonies were conducted in Hawaiian. A genealogical presentation acknowledged native speakers who assisted in Hawaiian language teaching at UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College dating back to 1960. Lydia Makuakane, the eldest living of those native speakers, led a procession to the groundbreaking site, where she turned the soil at the piko or central core of the parcel. The event concluded with remarks by representatives from the UH and elected officials.

UH Hilo Chancellor Straney at podium speaking to crowd at groundbreaking ceremonies.
UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney addresses the audience at groundbreaking ceremonies. Seated at left are Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and to his left, UH President MRC Greenwood.

“This building promises to be both functional and extraordinarily beautiful, with profound symbolic and spiritual elements,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney. “It’s a building to match the quality of the programs offered by the College of Hawaiian Language.”

Gerald De Mello, director of university relations, said the project enjoyed widespread support, but it took a coordinated team effort to secure the funding.

“This was a major accomplishment since very few initiatives were funded this past session,” De Mello said. “Our Big Island delegation led by House Higher Education Chairman Jerry Chang in concert with his Senate counterpart Jill Tokuda really came through for us. We were also fortunate to have the strong support of UH President M.R.C. Greenwood and then-Governor Linda Lingle.”

Kalena Silva, director of the college, says the new building will not only address the college’s growing pains but lay a foundation for the future.

“With this building we can expand both our graduate and undergraduate programs, which are key to taking the college to the next level,” Silva explained. “We also look forward to raising our profile on the international stage by hosting gatherings with indigenous people who look at our programs as potential models for language revitalization in their communities.”

The building already has won critical acclaim by capturing the 2010 American Institute of Architects Honolulu Design Award in the category of “Commissioned Work to be Built.” The design by WCIT Architects of Honolulu features spectacular landscape, mountain and ocean views, and designs which reflect Native Hawaiian culture and the Big Island’s natural resources.

The college awarded UH Hilo’s first master’s and PhD degrees as it gained national prominence as a leader in indigenous language and cultural revitalization, added new programs like linguistics, and witnessed a surge in enrollment.

Link to full press release.

Link to video of the event.

Photos of the event by Walter Dudoit.

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Groundbreaking ceremonies for new UH Hilo Student Services Building

“High quality services to students help them get the most out of their university experience. This building will make it much easier to gain access to the excellent staff who guide and assist students throughout their college years from initial admission to graduation and beyond.” -Chancellor Donald Straney

Group of dignitaries with shovels.
Dignitaries stand while the grounds for the new Student Services Building are blessed.

A blessing and groundbreaking for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo new Student Services Center was held today at the project site fronting the Performing Arts Center.

“High quality services to students help them get the most out of their university experience,” said Chancellor Donald Straney. “This building will make it much easier to gain access to the excellent staff who guide and assist students throughout their college years from initial admission to graduation and beyond.”

The 35,000 square-foot, three-story structure will provide a one-stop shop to complete all the activities needed to become a full-fledged student at UH Hilo and complete registration for classes under one roof. The Center will also house all of the programs that students need to support their college success: Admissions Office; Office of the Registrar; Financial Aid Services; and the Cashier’s Office will be located on the first floor. The Advising Center, Career Development Services, Disability Services, Counseling Services, the Women’s Center and the new Health Promotion Program will be located on the second floor while the Offices of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and other student support staff will be located on the third floor.

Dr. Luoluo Hong, vice chancellor for student affairs, says the Center represents a giant, positive step forward in changing the way the University meets students’ needs.

“Being sent to the distant corners of the campus to meet with an advisor, register for classes, obtain financial aid or to pay fees can be frustrating,” Hong said. “This building will reduce the run-around and enable us to deliver these important services in a more timely manner.”

Dr. Debra Fitzsimons, vice chancellor for administrative affairs, sees the Student Services Center as another element of innovation that is becoming common-place among universities.

“One-stop student service centers are fast becoming the trend in servicing students on campuses across the United States,” Fitzsimons explained. “This is a convenience students are coming to expect when they enroll at a university and we’re pleased that this new building will enable us to provide it.”

Despite numerous requests and limited resources, House Higher Education Committee Chair Jerry Chang said there was broad-based support for the project.

“The Legislature and the Board of Regents wholeheartedly agreed that the Student Services Center was a major priority for UH Hilo,” Chang said. “Quality support for the needs of students is an important part of the educational experience.”

The $15.9 million building was designed by Urban Works, Inc. of Honolulu and will be built by Jacobsen Construction of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The building is tentatively scheduled to open in 2012. It will replace the existing Student Services Building, which will become the new home of the College of Business and Economics.

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