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Category: Remarks, Messages, & Writings

Message from the Chancellor: Survey on campus climate now online

Message to UH Hilo Faculty from Chancellor Don Straney

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Aloha,

You may remember the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo received National Science Foundation ADVANCE project funding to implement Exploring Diversity and Gender Equity (EDGE).  The grant requires the project to conduct a survey to determine the campus climate regarding the recruitment, tenure, development, and promotion of faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. We invite you to respond to the survey found at [this survey is no longer available].

If you prefer to provide oral responses, you may do so by arranging an appointment with research administrator Terrilani Chong, at terrilan[at]hawaii.edu or 808-933-7659.

Participation in this survey is completely voluntary. You are free to skip questions or stop at any time. Survey data will be kept confidential. No personal identifying information will be included with the survey results.

The results of this survey will help UH Hilo create a campus that is sensitive to the needs of female faculty and supportive of equity for all faculty. We hope to continue our effective practices in recruiting, tenure, development, and promotion, and consider possible improvements.

For more information, contact Terrilani Chong at the above contact info. For information regarding your rights as a survey respondent, contact the UH Committee on Human Studies at uhirb[at]hawaii.edu or (808)956-5007.

Mahalo,
Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: June 2013

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

June 2013

UH Hilo computer science students win national Microsoft competition

HICCA team of computer science students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo recently won a national Microsoft competition. The annual U.S. Microsoft Imagine Cup Championship is Microsoft’s premier student technology competition focusing on innovations addressing the world’s toughest problems.  The winning UH Hilo team will head to St. Petersburg, Russia, in July to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals.

The 2013 national finals were held in San Jose, California, and featured the top 10 U.S. teams pitching their ideas and solutions to investors, entrepreneurs, and technology professionals for a chance to win cash prizes and support for their businesses. UH Hilo’s team, comprised of seniors Mike Purvis, Kayton Summers, Wallace Hamada and junior Ryder Donahue from the UH Hilo Department of Computer Science topped the field of competition with their application entitled “Help Me Help,” which focuses on community help for disaster relief efforts. The program aids the community and emergency response personnel in disaster situations by allowing users to upload images of nearby hazards through the use of smart phones.

The winning project had its start last summer with a course in software engineering taught by Keith Edwards, associate professor of computer science. In this class, students work together on a year-long project of benefit to a community organization or scientific group. For this particular project, the student team worked with Don Thomas from the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes on a project allowing tourists to geo-tag invasive plant species on Mauna Kea so that rangers can identify and remove the problem plants. The concept was a perfect fit for a software engineering project.

Last November, Michael Peterson, assistant professor of computer science, and team advisor Keith Edwards, took team member Ryder Donahue, who was interested in Microsoft technology, over to O‘ahu using some of Keith’s research funds. There they met with Randy Guthrie, a tech evangelist from Microsoft. Randy was really excited to see a student attending the workshop and encouraged Ryder to enter the software engineering project in the Imagine Cup competition.

Ryder returned to Hilo and worked with his software engineering team to make an entry for the Imagine Cup Accelerator Competition, where the submission was named one of the top 15 entries. While at that event, experts from Microsoft suggested to the team that they change their concept to make it a more general disaster response application. So the students pivoted their idea to make the “Help Me Help” application, which they entered into the U.S. finals. Due to their strong performance at the national competition, they were selected as one of the top 10 teams in the U.S.

This prestigious win for the UH Hilo team is a perfect example of how our students’ applied learning experiences can have a worldwide impact. Through hard work and creative thinking, these computer science students applied the material taught in the classroom to develop knowledge and capabilities beyond what is presently known in our community. The students’ rewriting of their original idea to then address general disaster response is of benefit not only to our island communities, but to communities around the world.

I encourage members of the local Chambers to participate in applied learning projects with our students. For more information, contact Tom DeWitt, director of applied learning experiences, phone 808.987.6551or email tsdewitt (at) hawaii.edu.

For more news from the Office of the Chancellor, visit my blog at http://hilo.hawaii.edu/blog/chancellor/.

Aloha,
Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: May 2013

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

May 2013

2012-2013: Major steps forward in UH Hilo’s Strategic Plan

HICC
The partnership between the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce is helping move UH Hilo’s new strategic plan and mission forward, and I want to thank each of you for your dedication and commitment to the university. As this academic years closes, I’d like to share some accomplishments of 2012-2013 and the good progress made in implementing our strategic plan.

The new Office of Applied Learning Experiences, or ALEX, was inaugurated with Tom DeWitt, associate professor of marketing, as director. The ALEX office organized two workshops on resume writing and interviewing skills that attracted over a hundred students. Two internship fairs featured dozens of community organizations and businesses offering internships—thanks to Chamber members for your participation! An internship summit engaged 110 UH Hilo faculty, area teachers, and community members in discussions about how to expand internship opportunities for students.

The Office of Research and Economic Development, under interim vice chancellor Dan Brown, has expanded grant and research activity. Exciting research activities include the work of Dana-Lynn Koomoa, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, who received a prestigious early career award from the National Institutes of Health to continue her research on neuroblastoma (a form of cancer). Don Price, professor of biology, is collaborating on a major National Science Foundation grant to examine evolutionary and ecological aspects of Hawaiian islands’ insect diversity. John Pezzuto, dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, and Karen Pellegrin, director of continuing/distance education and strategic planning in the office of the dean, received a very large grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a program linking hospitals with community pharmacists to reduce chances for miscommunication that could lead to harmful drug interactions.

As of mid-April, UH Hilo received $13.2 million in grant awards, approximately $1 million more than last year. Our projected annual grant total for 2012-2013 will be about $17.5 million. We are also making great progress with sustainability
programs. Cam Muir, associate professor of biology and our campus sustainability coordinator, took a lead role in
planning a UH System Sustainability Summit, which has led to the anticipated development of sustainability policy for the UH 10 campus system.

Here at the Hilo campus, new photovoltaic projects will add 486 KW of PV capacity to the campus’s energy generation infrastructure with an estimated savings of $300 thousand. I have appointed a “Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao” task force to work on UH Hilo’s part in a broader plan to make the UH System a leader in indigenous education. With community-wide input, the committee is currently gathering information on Native Hawaiian programs, staffing, students and the Native Hawaiian community, and will be submitting its plan and recommendations to me at the end of this semester.

I also have appointed a 32-member Leadership and Development Council to advise me on campus strategy and resource development. The first meeting focused on UH Hilo’s Long Range Development Plan. A series of small group meetings of the council and other community members in West Hawai‘i and Hilo focused on ways to create a “learning island.”

I’m pleased to see Chamber members and other leaders in the Big Island community step forward to discuss the important questions facing UH Hilo. I hope to hear from each of you on your thoughts about the future of our university. We will need the continuing
involvement of an invested community to ensure that we fulfill our potential to serve our island, our state, and the region
beyond Hawai‘i.

Aloha,
Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: April 2013

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

April 2013

Applied learning activities impact our local community

HICCApplied learning is an integral component of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s strategic plan. The university’s Office of Applied Learning Experiences (ALEX) is dedicated to creating more applied learning opportunities to engage students in real world situations requiring them to put into action the knowledge and skills they are developing through academic coursework.

Applied learning can take many forms including community-based projects, service learning, research, internships, and practica. The ALEX program recently awarded the 2013 Applied Learning Experiences Excellence in Teaching Award to five members of the UH Hilo faculty. These five individuals stood out from the rest in how they develop and deliver applied learning experiences for their students.

Norman Arancon, assistant professor of horticulture, incorporates research activity into many of his courses. Some research conducted by students forms the basis for more detailed experiments that are eventually published in international peer-reviewed journals. In addition, students in his sustainable agriculture class do service activities that identify community needs and then make use of the knowledge and skills learned in the class; students further their understanding of the course content while enhancing their sense of personal value and civic responsibility.

Celia Bardwell-Jones, assistant professor of philosophy, helps her students develop their research and critical thinking skills through their participation in an individual social action project, such as reading to second graders, volunteering in a domestic violence shelter or a Native Hawaiian service event. Research questions might include: Is Native Hawaiian philosophy, American philosophy? How does tourism affect the identity of Hilo as a municipality?

Michael Marshall, professor of art, has organized a visiting artist program where students work closely with the artists in producing a series of prints in the printmaking lab. He has initiated a collaboration with a nearby charter school to digitally produce the boxes to house the collaborative print series. He also received a grant to launch the Summer Art Institute this year; professional artists will come to Hilo to work with students in their specialized areas.

Harald Barkhoff, associate professor of kinesiology and exercise sciences, designs his courses with hands-on learning that has a service component. For example, he teaches students how to not only appropriately interact with special needs students, but how to modify physical education programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities. During the semester, his students meet ten times with students with disabilities from Waiakea High School in the UH Hilo gym and/or Student Life Center pool utilizing an individualized education program that each UH Hilo student has designed to meet the special needs of the student they are working with.

Dawna Coutant, associate professor of psychology, developed a course on the psychology of sustainability where students work with a client on a real world project related to sustainable living in Hawai‘i. The goal for students is to present a workable solution to a current problem in the local community that needs improvement. Feedback from clients has been very positive, and in several cases the student recommendations have resulted in changes in policies and practices of the client organization.

A critical element of applied learning experiences is the application of classroom theories and principles in a real-world environment. For information about engaging students in applied learning activities, contact Tom DeWitt, director of Applied Learning Experiences, phone 808.987.6551or email tsdewitt (at) hawaii.edu.

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

Aloha,

Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: March 2013

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

March 2013

 Hawaiʻi’s pharmacy college named the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

HICCIn February, the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents approved the naming of Hawaiʻi’s college of pharmacy the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in honor of the late U.S. senator. Building a high-quality college of pharmacy on Hawai‘i island was part of Senator Inouye’s vision to encourage better health care throughout the neighbor islands of Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. His vision was that each neighbor island would harbor a center of excellence, that every island should have its own specialty. The specialty for Hawai‘i island envisioned by Senator Inouye was our own pharmacy college.

Welcoming its first cohort of students in the fall of 2007, Hilo’s pharmacy program has proven to be one of the fastest growing program in the UH System. The college grew from zero to 360 students in its first five years. The college is adding to its doctor of pharmacy program with a bachelor of arts in pharmacy studies, a master of science in clinical psychopharmacology, and a doctor of philosophy in pharmaceutical sciences. Students are contributing to communities on our island and elsewhere in the state through applied learning internships and community projects. Graduates are quickly finding good jobs.

By the time the college’s inaugural class graduated in 2011, the college was already stimulating more than $50.1 million per year in economic activity in the state. Every dollar generated by the program is new and not at the expense of other university or state programs. Each spent in salary and wages for the college attracts a new $3.38 from outside sources, including tuition revenue, student and visitor spending. These are dollars that would not come to Hawai‘i without this program because UH Hilo is the only school in the Pacific region that offers a doctorate in pharmacy.

Faculty researchers in the college are expanding the state’s research capacity, which also contributes to economic development. For example, UH Hilo researchers are collaborating on a project with UH Mānoa with $9 million in federal funding over three years (August 2010 to July 2013). Hilo’s researchers are working on drug development to fight malaria; ways to reverse the progression of cancerous tumors; understanding diseases of the central nervous system; the cellular process implicated in many diseases, disease tolerance in native Hawaiian bird populations; antitumor drug development; and drugs for use in tuberculosis and malaria. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this project allows Hilo’s collaboration with Mānoa to continue expanding and improving biomedical research in Hawai‘i, strengthening research capacity not only for the college but for the entire state.

Pharmacy
Rendering of planned pharmacy facilities for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

Goal 5 of UH Hilo’s new Strategic Plan is about strengthening UH Hilo’s impact on the community. An example of the direct impact of Hilo’s pharmacy program on our island’s communities and the entire state is a $14.3 million federally funded grant project Pharm2Pharm, designed to reduce medication-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits by establishing teamwork between hospitals and community pharmacists on Hawai‘i, Maui and Kaua‘i.

Hilo’s pharmacy college, like the UH law and medical schools, serves the entire state of Hawai‘i. It is one of a kind. It is not just a UH Hilo project. But we will not be able to realize our dream of a top-ranked college of pharmacy until permanent facilities are built. We must secure funding this legislative session for a new permanent building or else risk losing accreditation. We’re in this together, and I want to reiterate my commitment to the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank members of the Chamber for your support of the pharmacy program. Mahalo!

Aloha,

Don Straney

 

 

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