Apr 142017
 

From the Chancellor, published in Their Views for April 13, Hawaii Tribune Herald.

I thought it was important to respond to Bart Wright’s column on Monday (Tribune-Herald, B1) about the University of Hawaii at Hilo Athletic Department that focused on recent staff turnover. Whenever there is a time of transition, it can lead to concern about change, and that is understandable.

The column notes that a number of individuals left the department for a variety of reasons. Three left for personal reasons, as happens with other organizations and entities in East Hawaii. Another three left to accept positions at Division I schools. This speaks positively about our athletics program: working here can help advance people’s careers. I am pleased these people succeeded as much as I regret losing them.

It is disappointing that the column speculated that UH-Hilo Athletic Director Pat Guillen’s mainland origin and management style are responsible for the staff changes. Pat has proven to be a tireless worker dedicated to our university, the athletic department and our community. I feel he has truly embraced Hawaii’s culture, values and people. His recent report to the Board of Regents was received very positively, along with the news that UH-Hilo athletics is in the black. He continues to have my full confidence — as do his staff and coaches.

Pat and his staff and coaches are working to improve UH-Hilo athletics. I thank everyone for the amazing support of our athletic department, and hope you can continue to support UH-Hilo athletics so it can be the very best for our student athletes and our community.

Go Vulcans!

Don Straney

Chancellor, UH-Hilo

Apr 042017
 

Creating access and strengthening retention for students from Hawai‘i Island is our top priority.

By Don Straney.

While we continue to develop academic programs that address our island’s needs, we are currently developing new ways to be more effective at recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. We are taking our efforts to a whole new level, focusing our resources on specific students for recruitment and retention. This is part of a University of Hawai‘i systemwide initiative where each of the 10 campuses are developing their own five-year enrollment management plans specifically designed with appropriate goals for the individual campus.

In this column, I’d like to share some of UH Hilo’s plans.

The first step to creating this type of plan is to identify enrollment targets for the next five years, and in conjunction, to identify three to five areas of specific enrollment and retention activity to focus on, with the corresponding goals clearly outlined. This is done through analysis of historic trends and creating a foundation to work into planning and budgeting processes.

The goals are developed based on realistic and measurable outcomes and most likely will include shifts in, say, recruitment communications, marketing and public relations activities, financial aid strategies, academic course scheduling, support services programs and various projects.

An area we are exploring in particular is recruitment and support for freshman students—increasing enrollment by reaching out to particular geographic and ethnic populations (think local), and increasing freshman to sophomore retention by focusing on certain student populations and specific academic programs.

An example of this is in striving to strengthen the sense of community on our campus by grouping freshman students, who are interested in specific academic programs, into cohorts that stays together through graduation.

We’ve been building on this concept over the past few years, creating a Freshman Village, a community at the Hale Kanilehua Living Learning Center, that groups students as cohorts according to academic interest. We started with Native Hawaiian students, from both UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College, interested in Hawaiian studies and science, technology, engineering and math programs, commonly called the STEM programs.

The pilot program was a great success—it measurably expanded students’ competency in technology and retention at UH Hilo—and now the program has expanded to six Living Learning Communities: business, creative arts, environmental sustainability, Hawaiian culture and language, health and wellness, and natural science with a marine focus. This is a concept that we can build on as we develop our new enrollment management plan.

In other areas, we are currently discussing ways to increase distance learning, international students, and veteran enrollment. Also under discussion are scheduling more evening or weekend courses, expanding financial aid resources, and more highly targeted counseling and peer mentor programs.

I want to note that creating access and strengthening retention for students from Hawai‘i Island is our top priority. We have a responsibility to serve the whole island, and we are collaborating closely with Hawai‘i Community College to achieve recruitment-retention-graduation goals by creating pathways from Hawai‘i CC to UH Hilo in programs such as agriculture and Hawaiian studies.

All of these approaches to enrollment management need strong administrative support to be effective and there will undoubtedly be new approaches in admissions, financial aid, communications, and course scheduling. For example, including more scholarships in initial financial aid packages to encourage enrollment, and increasing high school visits by faculty and staff to talk with Hawai‘i Island students, are high on the priority list.

UH Hilo cannot grow on its own. We need to work together—faculty, staff, students—along with our local community to the benefit of all. This, combined with our strong partnership with Hawai‘i CC, will ensure that Hawai‘i Island’s high school students and others will have the options they need to access higher education on our island.

For more information, visit our Enrollment Management website.

Aloha,

Don Straney

Mar 022017
 

This type of cultural exchange strengthens a natural partnership, building on a longstanding relationship between Hawai‘i and Japan.

By Don Straney

Last month, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted a Baseball Cultural Tour with players from Chuo University, Tokyo. Chuo is one of the highest ranked academic schools in Japan—located in Tokyo, it has nearly 25,000 students on four campuses.

Chuo University Baseball Team

The Chuo delegation of 35 players, four coaches and administration officials arrived in Hilo on Feb. 19 for a one week cultural tour on Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu.

The Chuo delegation lodged in UH Hilo on-campus housing for the duration of their visit on Hawai‘i Island, and during their stay, there were two exhibition games, Chuo vs Hilo, on Feb. 21 and 22. As is fitting for a cultural exchange tour, the two-game series split with Chuo winning the opening game by a score of 7-3 and Hilo winning the second game 2-1. I should note that Chuo won the Japan equivalent of the College Baseball World Series in 2016.

The games were a highlight of the tour, part of a larger context of connecting and sharing aloha. This type of cultural exchange strengthens a natural partnership, building on a longstanding relationship between Hawai‘i and Japan. UH Hilo is also currently working collaboratively on common, modern challenges with several universities in Japan in a wide range of fields: business, pharmacy, traditional medicine, disaster resilience, technology, and sustainability.

So it’s only natural to extend that connection through athletics, and baseball in particular. Chuo University is inspirational in its athletic achievements, producing many champions and Olympians, and it was an honor to have them visit and play here.

UH Hilo Baseball Team

On Feb. 20, the Vulcan Baseball team, in partnership with the Japanese Community Association of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Japanese Center, hosted the Chuo baseball team and their delegation at a welcome reception that included dinner.

I enjoyed giving welcome remarks at the dinner along with Baseball Coach Kallen Miyatake; Director of Athletics Patrick Guillen; Dennis Kauka representing Mayor Harry Kim; Ryan Chong from County Parks and Recreation; Art Taniguchi, Honorary Consul General of Japan; Ivan Nakano, President, Japanese Community Association of Hawai‘i; Russell Arikawa, President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai‘i; Reverend Naohiro Hotta of Hilo Daijingu Church; and Koji Ikeda, Head Baseball Coach at Chuo University.

I’d also like to give a shout out to Hawai‘i State Representative Mark Hashem (Kāhala, Hawai‘i Kai), who was instrumental in the initial discussions three years ago to make this trip a reality, along with Terry Yagihara and Nathan Yoshioka from Honolulu who helped bridge the ties to Chuo University and UH Hilo.

This was truly a community event. On behalf of UH Hilo, I would like to extend mahalo to the Chuo University baseball team for coming to Hilo, the Hilo business community and Booster Supporters of the Vulcan baseball team, Arnold and Eloise Hiura (Hawai‘i Japanese Center), Gladys Sonomura and the volunteers at the Hawai‘i Japanese Center, Barry Taniguchi of KTA Superstores for his longtime support of UH Hilo, Derek Kurisu, George Yoshida, George and Shirley Ito for video, John Oshima for photography, and Reiko Hamano for interpretative services.

The future intent is to return the series trip to Tokyo to play Chuo University in 2018, then either host Chuo again in 2019 or another Japanese team in future years.

Aloha,

Don Straney

Feb 212017
 

Dear Colleagues,

Attached is the updated proposal and related files for the reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. I appreciate your patience with the process.

Vice Chancellor Platz and I have scheduled three Town Hall meetings where we invite you to come to discuss this proposal. Schedule of meetings:

  • Friday, Feb. 24, 3:00 p.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 a.m., University Classroom Building, room 127.
  • Thursday, March 2, 11:30 a.m.,  University Classroom Building, room 111.

We welcome your feedback.

We look forward to further conversation.

Sincerely,

Don Straney

Feb 022017
 

UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College are collaborating to advance and strengthen indigenous education of benefit to all faculty, staff and students.

By Don Straney

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is one of the most diverse campuses in the United States, and helping students and faculty learn from our diverse cultures and perspectives is a high priority.

At UH Hilo, we have long been cultivating a diverse, multicultural university that is rooted in the indigenous history of Hawai‘i. More broadly, a key mission (Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao) shared by the 10 campuses of the UH System is to embrace our responsibilities to the Native Hawaiian people and to Hawai‘i’s indigenous language and culture.

One way we are doing this is through developing indigenous education. UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College have collaborated on many programs over the past few years to advance and strengthen indigenous education of benefit to all faculty, staff and students.

What is indigenous education?

Many of our students are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander—in some disciplines up to 30 percent—and not only are these students required to learn the content we are teaching, but also how to internalize information presented to them from a worldview distinct from their own.

If faculty, advisors, and administrators can learn to appreciate this and even re-orient or start to alter curricula and teaching methods to conform to our students’ learning styles, then we are on our way to becoming a model indigenous higher education institution and far more effective at imparting knowledge to those students.

Further, indigenous education is of benefit to all our students—those who identify as Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and also those who are not indigenous but have understandings of Native Hawaiian and indigenous culture just by growing up and/or living here as young adults. All non-native students and faculty benefit from indigenous education by learning through a new context and deepening their understanding.

Workshops

Let me share a couple of programs we’re doing to develop modes of indigenous curricula and instruction at UH Hilo—these programs are primarily for faculty and staff and are supported by the Office of the Chancellor.

At our Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, ʻōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language) workshops are becoming part of an on-going offering for our campus and for campuses throughout the UH System. A series of workshops recently offered (Papa Hoʻonui ʻIke ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Kulanui) was designed to increase appreciation and comfort of UH Hilo and Hawai‘i CC faculty and staff to the Hawaiian language that is practical and immediately useful.

In addition, both UH Hilo Student Affairs staff at their annual retreat last June and the UH President’s Emerging Leaders Program (PELP) cohort last month participated in this type of special workshop.

Staff from the UH Hilo Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center of the College of Hawaiian Language held an introductory-level Hawaiian language workshop for the PELP cohort. Participants practiced dialogue and communication in Hawaiian and shared ideas about supporting and sustaining ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture at UH.

Also this semester, UH Hilo is holding a series of workshops for faculty in support of indigenous curricula and instruction. The workshops are being sponsored by a Chancellor’s Professional Development grant and will include faculty from both UH Hilo and Hawai‘i CC.

Topics will include creating course content and applied learning opportunities that are relevant to Native Hawaiian and Oceania students. Pacific island and indigenous culture experts are traveling here to share their knowledge and experience. There also will be local experts from the learning community Hoʻoulumau at Hawaiʻi CC. Students will also participate and share.

One of our goals of the workshops is to increase faculty familiarity and ease with the indigenous resources across campus. To this end, we have coordinated the workshops with Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, the Pacific Islander Student Center, and I Ola Hāloa Center for Hawaiʻi Life Styles at Hawaiʻi CC.

Indigenous education is practical education

When learning in an environment shaped by indigenous curricula, students understand and appreciate that the classroom is being oriented to their social worlds and find the materials informative and practical. It makes the completion of a degree worthwhile and relevant to creating livelihoods on the island.

The real benefit of studying at a diverse campus such as ours is learning how people with different perspectives, contexts and cultures understand issues and challenges. We’ll continue to build a learning community that can exchange information and gain further training on how to best serve and educate our diverse and multicultural student body.

Aloha,

Don Straney

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