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Category: Remarks, Messages, & Writings

Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, Sept. 2012

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter
September 2012

College of Business and Economics earns high marks in national assessment

Welcome to our new academic year at UH Hilo. The beginning of the school year offers an exciting beginning for all of us.

I am delighted to share with you some great news from UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics. CoBE and the students in the college recently received high scores from the nationwide Collegiate Learning Assessment. The CLA is a national instrument that evaluates students’ written responses to assess critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving skills, and their ability to communicate clearly and cogently.

Our student achievements were significantly above the national mean. Thirty-three graduating seniors enrolled in the capstone strategic planning course attained an average overall CLA score of 1,189, which puts our seniors in the 57thpercentile of graduating seniors nationwide. Better still, the CoBE’s Value-Added Score among the hundreds of institutions that administer the CLA is at the 93rd percentile nationwide!

Faculty at the college attribute this positive outcome to several factors: high quality faculty with terminal degrees who teach and are also active researchers devoted to student learning; small class sizes that allow personal attention and high levels of interaction; a strong culture of professionalism at the college; and applied learning activities such as internships, consulting for local businesses, and case and business plan competitions.

Our graduates who participated in the CLA are pleased, but not surprised, by the results. Winona Chen (2012) remarks that our “professors have passion for what they teach, they are invested in our success as students and professionals, and they invite us to reach our full potential.” Chen is currently interning in an Executive Team Leader position teaching fitness classes and running triathlons.

Shaun McKim (2012), a double major in economics and political science, currently enrolled in Clark University’s MBA program on a merit scholarship and says the “rigorous curriculum” and the opportunity to collaborate with professors and present papers at international conferences prepared him for the challenges of graduate school.

Emily Anderson (2012), an accounting graduate, says the courses are designed to emulate what students will encounter in the real work force. “I will be the first to attest to how much employers notice those things,” she says. “I am so lucky to have the fortunate problem this summer of having to turn down job offers because I was receiving too many.”

We are proud of our students and their performance on the CLA. This is confirmation of their critical thinking, analytical, and communication abilities. These results confirm that we offer a high-quality education and are preparing our graduates well for employment and advanced studies.

Aloha,
Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: Sept. 2012

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce

September 2012

UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics earns high marks in national assessment

We start the new school year with great news from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s College of Business and Economics. CoBE and the students in the college recently received scores from the nationwide Collegiate Learning Assessment. The CLA is a national instrument that evaluates students’ written responses to assess critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving skills, and the ability to communicate clearly and cogently.

Our student achievements were significantly above the average mean. Thirty-three graduating seniors enrolled in the capstone strategic planning course attained an average overall CLA score of 1,189, which puts our seniors in the 57th percentile of graduating seniors nationwide. Better still, the college’s Value-Added Score among the hundreds of institutions that administer the CLA is at the 93rd percentile nationwide!

Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s book, Academically Adrift, examined college students’ growth in critical thinking skills as measured by the CLA. They find that “at least 45 percent of students in our [national] sample did not demonstrate any statistically significant improvement in Collegiate Learning Assessment performance during the first two years of college.”

Business is one of the lowest performing majors on the CLA, while students majoring in natural sciences earn the top scores. In a New York Times editorial, Arum writes, “students concentrating in business related coursework were the least likely to report spending time studying and preparing for class. Given such modest investments in academic activities, it is not surprising that business students show the lowest gains on measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication.”

Faculty at UH Hilo’s business college attribute our students positive outcome to several factors: high quality faculty with terminal degrees who teach and are also active researchers devoted to student learning; small class sizes that allow personal attention and high levels of interaction; a strong culture of professionalism at the college; and applied learning activities such as internships.

Our graduates who participated in the CLA are pleased, but not surprised, by the results. Winona Chen (2012) remarks that our “professors have passion for what they teach, they are invested in our success as students and professionals, and they invite us to reach our full potential.” Chen is currently interning in an Executive Team Leader position teaching fitness classes and running triathlons.

Shaun McKim (2012), a double major in economics and political science currently enrolled in Clark University’s MBA program on a merit scholarship, says the “rigorous curriculum” and the opportunity to collaborate with professors and present papers at international conferences prepared him for the challenges of graduate school.

Emily Anderson (2012), an accounting graduate, says the courses are designed to emulate what students will encounter in the real work force. “I will be the first to attest to how much employers notice those things,” she says. “I am so lucky to have the fortunate problem this summer of having to turn down job offers because I was receiving too many.”

We are proud of our students and their performance on the CLA. This is confirmation of their critical thinking, analytical, and communication abilities. These results confirm that we offer a high-quality education and are preparing our graduates well for employment and advanced studies.

For more news from the Office of the Chancellor, visit my blog.

Aloha,
Don Straney

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Chancellor Straney speaks at United Filipino Council of Hawaii convention

Chancellor Straney speaks at the annual convention of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii. Photo by Milli Asuncion.

Donald Straney, chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, delivered a speech at the annual convention of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii on July 28. This past February, the chancellor met with members of the group to discuss Filipino community concerns specifically related to the establishment of a Filipino Certificate Program at UH Hilo. At the meeting, the chancellor was invited to attend the annual convention of the United Filipino Council, held in Hilo July 27-28.

The United Filipino Council of Hawaii is the umbrella group for many Filipino organizations throughout the state; about 100 members were in attendance at the convention, which included panel discussions about current and important issues in the Filipino community.

Chancellor Straney was invited to discuss higher education as it relates to the Filipino community. Excerpted highlights from Chancellor Straney’s speech:

UH Hilo’s vision is to challenge students to achieve their best, engage in applied learning experiences, and connect with Hawai‘i and the world. We are an applied university with undergraduate degrees, and master and PhD programs in selected areas. We’re at 4,100 students growing on the order of 2-5% a year. 70% are state residents; 22% Native Hawaiian; 6.2% Filipino; and 8% international. 23% freshman from O‘ahu, 15% live on campus. 34% graduate in 6 years.

Numbers are a challenge. The presence of so many people of mixed heritage makes counting difficult. The federal reporting system has long assumed that people are one thing or another. At best, they are “mixed.” Hawai‘i is not well characterized by this approach to counting. In Hilo: Since Fall 2011, the Institutional Research Office can now pull numbers with more than one ethnic group (unreported results). IRO report for Fall 2011 shows 257 Filipino students or 6.2% of all students. But if you use the “unreported results,” it was actually 811 Filipino students or 19.6%.

–In 25 years, Filipinos have moved to be the second most numerous ethnic group in the state. The 1988 Pamantasan Report, a report done by the UH Task Force on Filipinos, found five areas in need of improvement to address the long-standing need of the Filipino community to have greater and more equitable access to higher education in the state. I’ll go through each area, from a UH Hilo perspective.

1) Recruitment and Retention of Students in Higher Education

We have a UH Hilo Filipino Advisory Committee.

Internships that give students applied learning experience, preparing them well for employment or higher degrees.

Financial aid totals $44.4 million. 65% of our students receive financial aid; 80% of total freshmen. Our students have a 5.5% default rate, which is below the national average.
Financial Aid of special interest to Filipinos includes the Que Andrada Scholarship. Two scholarship endowments were established, at UH Hilo and UH West O‘ahu. The scholarship at UH Hilo supports a full time undergraduate who can demonstrate participation in activities related to Filipino culture, including volunteering for organizations serving the Filipino community or enrolling in programs or educational offerings related to Filipino culture.

UH Hilo received Gear Up funds for the School of Nursing sponsored Pulama I Ke Ola Healthcare Conference. This past year we awarded about 60 scholarships to deserving students, many of whom were Filipino and other underrepresented minorities. We will do this again next spring.

The Minority Access and Achievement Program has been the primary student support program for Filipino students at UH Hilo. MAAP Peer Assistant Linkages and Support program provides peer mentoring for first year students as well as transfers of the 60-90 students who participate each year, at least 50% are Filipino.

MAAP has received grants funds for a Filipino Transfer Project of Hawai‘i Community College to transfer to UH Hilo. The funds have been used to support transfer peer mentors, transfer activities and workshops and a transfer brochure.

The Dorrance Scholarship is an innovative, four-year award designed to benefit local students who are the first in their family to attend college. Each year, up to 10 eligible students are awarded need-based scholarships of $8,000 per year to attend UH Hilo. Awards are renewable for a total of eight semesters of funding. The Dorrance Scholarship addresses a critical need at UH Hilo, where some 70% of its 4,100 students are the first in their family to attend college.

Upward Bound at UH Hilo currently serves 178 students annually of which, 62% are Filipino. The current target schools are Hilo High, Waiakea, Keaʻau, Pāhoa, Kaʻū, Honokaʻa and Kohala. In AY 2012-2013, Honokaʻa and Kohala will be dropped and Kealakehe and Konawaena will be added.

2) Inclusion of Philippine or Filipino-Related Courses into the Curriculum

6% of UH Hilo faculty are Filipino.

We have established the Filipino Certificate Program to provide learning opportunities for students interested in understanding the multifaceted nature of the Philippines and Filipinos, including language, culture, history, literature, politics, economics and natural resources.

We’ve recently hired a permanent Filipino Studies faculty, Dr. Rodney Jubilado, who will be starting this Fall. Dr Jubilado’s prior position was at the Department of Asian and European Languages, Faculty of Languages & Linguistics Building, University of Malaya. He holds a master of arts in linguistics from the University of Philippines, and doctor of philosophy in theoretical linguistics from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

3) Filipinos in the State Department of Education

A number of Filipino students have graduated from our Teacher Education Program.

4) Employment of Filipinos in the Professions

Majors: Most Filipinos are in Biology, Prenursing, Nursing, Pharmacy, or Business programs. Nursing is one area where Filipino enrollment and graduation is high; Pharmacy is becoming another area.

At UH Hilo employee data show 23 employees claim Filipino, which is 4.2% of our 551 employees as compared to 14.1% in Hawai‘i overall. UH Hilo Filipino employees by category: 65% civil service (15); 21.7% administrative, professional and technical (5); 14.3% faculty (3).

5) Relations between Philippine and U.S. Institutions of Higher Education

We have had no exchange agreements with colleges or universities in the Philippines. Bruce Matthews, agriculture, and Kevin Hopkins, aquaculture, have done work in the Philippines. Now that we have a Filipino Studies certificate program it would make sense to have an exchange agreement and/or study abroad programs.

Potential exchange partners in the Philippines, in addition to University of the Philippines, are: Xavier University and De La Salle University.

I recently attended a Presidential Forum hosted by the University of Guam. The panel included the vice chancellor from the University of the Philippines (Dr. Alfredo Pascual is the president of the University of the Philippines). Also represented were Guam Community College, University of Virgin Islands, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Fiji National University.

In conclusion, I’d like to emphasize that universities do not work alone. Families help recruit students and help tutor students, for example math tutoring. Communities help recruit faculty, for example, physicians in Hilo. We all help each other create careers.

Our goal is to serve the needs of the state and its people. At UH Hilo in particular, we are emphasizing how we have an impact on the community. Together, we are working to create a vibrant future for the state.

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Chancellor Straney gives talk on UH Hilo’s impact on the local economy

Chuck Erskine (left), vice president of Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Economic Development Committee introduced Chancellor Straney. Mr. Erskine is assistant vice president and area manager for the Waimea Branch of First Hawaiian Bank.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney gave a presentation today to local business leaders on UH Hilo’s impact on the economic life of Hawai‘i island. The luncheon event, held at Restaurant Encore in Hilo, was sponsored by the Economic Development Committees of the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai‘i.

Local business leaders listen to Chancellor Straney’s presentation.

Chancellor Straney’s talk, entitled, “Toward a Vibrant Economy for 21st Century Hawaii,” focused on UH Hilo’s role in the Hawai‘i island economy as a thriving enterprise creating thousands of jobs, generating millions in revenues, and developing educational and outreach programs in answer to island and state needs.

“We’re an island that has some special economic needs that universities and community colleges are supposed to help address,” says Chancellor Straney. “The need for post secondary education is strong, both in preparation for people to enter the workforce, and preparation for people to create and develop careers. Hawai‘i Community College and UH Hilo are poised to serve the county extremely well.”

View PowerPoint.  

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Editorial by Chancellor Straney in Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Preparing students for the future

An editorial by University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney was published today in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Island Voices” section:


UH Hilo anticipating job trends to prepare students for future
By Donald Straney
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2012

The Associated Press recently reported a disturbing challenge facing new college graduates: They are being forced to take low-wage positions in a dismal job market. Prospects for good employment have fallen to the lowest level in a decade, and young adults with bachelor degrees are increasingly “scraping by” in low-wage jobs.

“Only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants,” said the report, based on an analysis of national data.

National trends are not always reflective of individual states. A report by Complete College America states that by 2020, 68 percent of jobs in Hawai‘i will require a career certificate or college degree, but currently only 41 percent of adults have a college degree. By the end of this decade, then, we’ll need to increase the number of college graduates to fill these positions. We simply will not have enough skilled workers to meet the needs of our economy without many more college graduates.

We at the University of Hawai‘i are keenly aware that our state needs a professional workforce to fill the urgent skills gap in a number of fields. They include business and teaching, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

UH is preparing students in these fields. For example, one of the most urgent challenges locally is in rural health care. Four of the most recently approved degrees at UH Hilo are in health care, including a doctor of nursing practice program, which will start in August 2012.

Studies show job opportunities are often greater for graduates with degrees in science, education and health fields. While that may be true, degrees in humanities, social sciences and related fields are viable pathways to careers in Hawai‘i. We live in a place that values art, music, dance, writing, language, teaching, culture revitalization and other humanities fields — and there are jobs in these sectors.

For example, graduates from UH Hilo’s performing arts program find good jobs as teachers, managers, performers, directors and producers. Graduates from our Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language become teachers in immersion schools, radio personalities, community college instructors, and recording artists. ‘Aha Pūnana Leo, a Hilo-based and nationally recognized nonprofit model for Native American language revitalization programs, is staffed by many graduates of this college.

Valuable experience comes via hands-on learning in internships, collaborative research with professors, and community service. Members of UH Hilo’s Model United Nations Team, for example, have gone on to law school and become attorneys. The team competes annually in national competition and this year captured the highest honor as Outstanding Delegation.

Our nation desperately needs more well-paying jobs for college graduates. UH Hilo is a step ahead of the trends, preparing students now for the future. Our nursing, teaching, computer science, pharmaceutical sciences and other key programs are strong and growing. Interdisciplinary STEM programs — astronomy, math, chemistry, biology and more — make our graduates much more flexible in taking advantage of limited opportunities. Our humanities disciplines are in sync with Hawai‘i’s need for professionals in culture and the arts, language, and communications. Internships, research projects, and community projects give graduates the experience and connections that get them noticed and hired.

Our kuleana, or responsibility, is to improve the quality of life of the people of Hawai‘i, the Pacific region and the world. The national trends on diminishing employment opportunities are disturbing, but we are working hard to counter those trends to create a productive future for our island and state.

———
Donald Straney is chancellor of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

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