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New Bike Share Program starts this fall

Borrow a bike! All current UH Hilo students, faculty, and staff can now borrow a bicycle from the University Concierge to run errands around town.

Jake Picus (l), associate director New Student Programs, and Don Straney (r), chancellor, stand with two of the red Bike Share Program bicycles.
Jake Picus (l), associate director New Student Programs, and Don Straney (r), chancellor, stand with two of the Bike Share Program bicycles. Photo provided by New Student Programs.

Chancellor Don Straney recently visited with Jake Picus, director of New Student Programs, to check out the new Bike Share Program. The program gives all current students, faculty, and staff at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo the opportunity to borrow a bicycle to run errands around town. The program is sponsored by the University Concierge and First Year Experience Program.

Learn more at UH Hilo Stories, Sept. 2, 2015: New Bike Share Program launched at UH Hilo.

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UH Hilo accreditation renewed for seven years

The WASC commission noted the large number of new initiatives that strengthen the university in areas that have been problematic in the past.

WASCThe Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has renewed accreditation for the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo for seven years, noting in an announcement letter to Chancellor Don Straney, dated March 6, the large number of new initiatives that strengthen the university in areas that have been problematic in the past.

A review team from WASC’s Senior College and University Commissionvisited the Hilo campus last fall, and recommended to grant UH Hilo accreditation through 2022, with an interim report due in spring of 2017, a mid-cycle review in 2019, and a full review in 2021.

“The visiting WASC team was impressed by the level of commitment and passion exhibited by our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and they commended us on knowing our mission and vision well and in using both to inform what we do,” said Chancellor Straney.

During the review process, UH Hilo was part of a group of pilot institutions to test a new institutional review process in advance of the 2013 approval of the new Handbook of Accreditation. In the pilot, institutions were asked to focus on new areas that had not been previously required.

Noting that Hilo was forging new ground, the review team noted Hilo’s level of “candor, transparency, self-awareness, and commitment to continuous learning” that “demonstrated a high level of quality and rigor invested in the accreditation process.”

The commission highlighted several areas for special recognition, among them:

  • A sense of place, which conveys the importance Hilo feels about passing the culture of Hawai‘i Island to the current generation while at the same time focusing on the creation of new meanings for the future.
  • A mission rooted in Hawaiian traditions, notably in the area of applied learning experiences including community based projects, service learning, research internships, practica, creative activities and capstone projects.
  • Strong, well-respected leadership as well as committed staff and faculty—key elements in ensuring longer-term educational effectiveness and financial sustainability. The review team concluded, “UH-Hilo is a campus of resiliency in action.”

The commission also offered guidance in areas the university could strengthen, including the “remarkable” applied learning program, retention and graduation rates, review for academic programs, and distance education.

“I want to give a special mahalo to the people on UH Hilo’s WASC Accreditation Committee who worked hard preparing the institutional report that served as the basis for the visit,” said Chancellor Straney. “I also want to thank our alumni who met with the team. Their description of UH Hilo as a transformative educational experience greatly impressed the review team.”

-Media release

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Governor’s Office releases $33M to build permanent facilities for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

In the new building, the first floor will have areas for student services and activities and the second floor will have research laboratories.

Rendering of lab space in the future facilities of the College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo.
Rendering of lab space in the future facilities of the College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo.

The Office of the Governor has released $33 million for construction of a permanent building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. The State Legislature approved the funding earlier this year.

“A permanent home is absolutely crucial in order for the College of Pharmacy to maintain the full accreditation they have worked so hard to achieve in 2011,” says Chancellor Don Straney. “We are grateful to the legislature and to the governor for recognizing the dire need for pharmacists who will provide an even greater service as our population ages and we experience healthcare reform.”

In the new building, the first floor will have areas for student services and activities and the second floor will have research laboratories. The complete structure will occupy around 40,000 sq. ft. of space. The current modular buildings will continue to serve as classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, and offices.

John Pezzuto, dean of the college, says the timing of the release of the funds couldn’t have come at a better time. The college has been required to undergo site visits from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education accreditation teams since before admitting students, and passed every one of the 30 strict standards until last year when they faced possible probation for not having suitable facilities.  The council is sending an evaluation team on Oct. 15-16 for a focused site visit to decide the future of the college’s accreditation. The college is waiting for their decision, which should come in Jan. 2015.

“We never stopped believing in our future,” said Pezzuto. “I am personally grateful to the legislature and to the governor for recognizing the need for upgrading the quality of the environment students need to succeed, and for demonstrating to the community that Hawaiʻi Island contributes to the well-being of the entire state. With a permanent building, the college is well positioned to continue the quest of achieving a high national ranking.”

UH Hilo press release

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UH Hilo ranked most diverse four-year public campus in the country

University of Hawaiʻi campuses took the top spots in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2014 list of the most diverse campuses in the United States. UH Hilo was named the most diverse four-year public institution in the country.

“Being a diverse campus means that our students are able to study with people who have different experiences and different ways of thinking than they do and they learn more,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney. “That’s what being the most diverse campus is going to mean for the students is they are going to have a much better educational experience than if we were the other end of the spectrum.”

UH Maui College, UH West Oʻahu and UH Mānoa ranked two, three and four respectively.

“Not surprising, especially when like you go to school here and you walk around, you see new faces, people from different races, everyone,” commented UH Mānoa student Jonathan Neyland. “Everyone is different, everyone has different experiences. We can all learn from each other and it’s really great.”

Windward Community College was rated as the single most diverse campus in the nation and led the two-year public institution rankings with Hawaiʻi Community College, Kauaʻi Community College and Leeward Community College rounding out the top four. Honolulu Community College was 6th and Kapiʻolani Community College was ranked 7th.

“The exceptional rankings of our whole UH System is just amazing,” said UH President David Lassner. “It’s obviously a reflection of our diverse island communities throughout the state but it is also, really, a testament to our students, our faculty and our staff who create a really positive and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities.”

The Chronicle’s diversity index uses national data to calculate the probability that any two students at an institution are from different racial or ethnic groups.

Students say the diversity at UH truly enhances their educational experience.

“I did my undergrad in the mainland and for them I think it is a little different because they don’t get to see as much cultural diversity as we do here,” said Kasie Tanabe, a UH Mānoa graduate student. “I think it is good for UH students to see different cultures and different people, and everything like that. It makes us a lot more tolerant and understanding of other cultures.”

“It’s part of a strategy to bring in more students, international students, full tuition paying students,” said Lassner. “It reflects the welcoming spirit of our campuses and it is one of the reasons we think international students will really treasure the opportunity to attend a University of Hawaiʻi campus.”

See the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article for the complete list of rankings. (subscription required)

~UH System News

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Funding of permanent building helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy receive extended accreditation

Architects rendering supplied by WCIT Architecture of Honolulu
Architects rendering supplied by WCIT Architecture of Honolulu

In a report to the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the national accreditation body has extended the accreditation of the only pharmacy school in the Pacific region, reversing an earlier noncompliance finding.

The American Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has now found the College of Pharmacy compliant with all of the 30 standards that it uses to evaluate colleges of pharmacy.

The main issue considered by the ACPE was compliance with the standard concerning physical facilities. In May 2014, State House and Senate budget conferees agreed to fund a building to house the college.

“I was secure in the knowledge that our community knew the value of the College of Pharmacy to the future, to the economy and to the general well-being of our state,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney. “I want to thank everyone involved for their continued support that led to the funding of a permanent building.”

In 2013, ACPE declared the College of Pharmacy was out of compliance with the standard concerning physical facilities after which, without promise of a permanent building, could ultimately lead to probation. Founding Dean John Pezzuto said probation could have signaled the end of the college.

“If we had followed the path we were on just a year ago, I could be saying that we have been placed on probation, which would’ve been disastrous for the future of the college,” Pezzuto said. “It is heartening that our accreditation is once again secure, but we all must remain diligent and prepare for the next steps.”

The college now must complete a self-study due by September, to be followed by an on-site visit in October 2014. The results of the site visit and continuation of accreditation will be reviewed at the next ACPE Board meeting, to be held in January 2015.

~UH System News

 

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