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Category: Remarks, Messages, & Writings

Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, December 2011

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 
December 2011 

As we finish up the fall semester and prepare for winter break, I want to extend my deepest appreciation for all your hard work during a busy and challenging year. Thank you for your dedication to our students, to our university community, and to our Big Island community.

I want to especially thank all of you for working together on the budget challenges. In the face of an uncertain economy, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo enrolled the largest number of students in history this fall. This demand for our programs tells us that access to higher education is more valued than ever before. UH Hilo faculty, staff, and students have worked very well together as an ‘ohana and as a result, despite great challenges, we have protected the instructional core of the campus and direct services to our students. I fully understand that this came at great sacrifice to many of you. I’ve learned a lot from you about the Hawaiian value of lokahi and about working together collaboratively in the spirit of unity.

While the nation faces difficult times, we are all so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful and vibrant place. I am proud of what our students are accomplishing. I’m in awe of the high caliber of teaching, research and outreach done by our faculty; our students and our surrounding community all benefit from the excellent work done by our faculty. Our staff is second to none for professionalism in support of our entire campus. From my perspective—a bird’s eye view of our entire ‘ohana—UH Hilo is an incredibly strong university and I am proud to be part of it.

Our local community has also shown great support and generosity this past year to help us achieve our goals. Private support from donors is providing a critical margin of excellence and ensuring that our faculty members continue to challenge students to reach their highest level of achievement. This year, UH Hilo students are benefiting from the largest amount of private scholarship support in the history of this institution. In fiscal year 2011, UH Hilo raised $1,618,148, the largest number of private scholarship dollars in history. Between 2000 and 2011, UH Hilo’s scholarship endowment grew from $942,000 to $3.4 million.

At least 70 percent of UH Hilo’s 4,000+ students depend on some form of financial aid to fund the cost of attending the university. For first year students at UH Hilo, the percentage is even higher: 75 percent of freshmen are receiving financial aid. In fact, UH Hilo has the highest percentage of students receiving aid of any of the 10 campuses in the UH System.

It’s clear what a vitally important role our private donors play in ensuring the academic success of our students; scholarships support students to complete their education and contribute to their communities. Behind every scholarship there is an individual or a company that has a connection to UH Hilo and a desire to help our students. On behalf of the university community, I’d like to take this opportunity to express deep appreciation to our donors.

I will be hosting a Mahalo Celebration on Dec. 15 at 3:00-4:30 at the Campus Center Plaza. Please come join us for some ono food, good company and excellent entertainment!

I wish you and yours a safe and restful holiday. I look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: November 2011

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce
November 2011

Strengthening Hawai‘i’s future by partnering with Hawai‘i Community College

Staff stand under the sign at the Hālaulani Project Office
Staff stand under the sign at the Hālaulani Project Office, located at Hawai‘i Community College’s Manono campus. The office was jointly developed by UH Hilo andHawCC to administer a cooperative grant program aimed at increasing transfers from the community college to the university. Left to right: Michele Padayao, program specialist, Hālaulani-HawCC; Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, program coordinator, Hālaulani-HawCC; Loke Brandt, peer mentor, UH Hilo anthropology major; Kainoa Ariola, grant partner and interim director at UH Hilo Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center.

Hawaii Island Chamber of CommerceI recently read a report by Complete College America stating that by 2020, 68% of jobs in Hawai‘i will require a career certificate or college degree, but currently only 41% of adults have a college degree. The gap: 27%. For a strong economy, the report states, the skills gap must be closed. We simply will not have enough skilled workers to meet the needs of our economy unless many more college and university students graduate.

One way the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is addressing this challenge is by collaborating with Hawai`i Community College (HawCC). Most importantly, we are working together to examine ways to facilitate seamless transfers between the campuses—for example, by giving students roadmaps to use when they begin their college education at HawCC, they will have a plan on how to achieve baccalaureate degrees at UH Hilo.

One collaborative initiative is the Degree Pathways Partnership program, where HawCC students who opt for the program can be accepted to select UH Hilo programs while still attending the community college. The program increases student access toward attaining a higher degree and gives students optimum access to support in achieving their higher education goals, for example advising from both HawCC and UH Hilo faculty to keep students on track.

Two UH Hilo degrees currently offered in the HawCC-UH Hilo pathways program are Administration of Justice and Business Administration. Currently in discussion for the pathway program are HawCC’s Digital Media Arts degree, which would lead into UH Hilo’s BA in Art, and HawCC’s Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management program leading into UH Hilo agricultural degrees.

In addition to working collaboratively on increasing student transfers and higher degree attainment, UH Hilo and HawCC are also working on professional development programs to increase faculty and staff knowledge and awareness of Hawaiian perspectives. This type of professional development will strengthen our ability to fully support Native Hawaiian students as they complete their higher education with a degree that makes them competitive in the job market. As this column goes to press, UH Hilo and HawCC are launching the jointly sponsored ‘Aha‘aha Leadership Summit to be held in Oct-Nov and designed to boost faculty and staff skills as leaders in higher education within a cultural context.

To address the future needs of our economy, both campuses view our partnership as an important component in being able to successfully provide higher education to the people of the island.


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Announcement about Strategic Plan implementation

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Announcement by the Chancellor about Strategic Plan implementation

Aloha Colleagues,

Over the past few months I have been working with the Council of Vice Chancellors to develop a process that will guide unit implementation planning. I have asked all the vice chancellors to lead and facilitate the development of an implementation plan for their unit.

In this context unit refers to the four major university divisions – Academic Affairs, Administrative Affairs, Research and Economic Development and Student Affairs– and the Office of the Chancellor.

I have asked that completed unit implementation plans be submitted to me by the end of June 2012. Guidance on the unit implementation planning process, including a template for unit plans, is available at the Strategic Plan Implementation page.

Development of the unit implementation plans will be led and facilitated by the appropriate unit leader– in this context that means the relevant VC for each of the major divisions, and me for the Office of the Chancellor– with significant input from all faculty and staff. Some of you may have heard from your VC (or me if you report directly to my office), or you will be hearing from your VC in the coming days on what to expect for your unit and how you will be able to participate.

As you know, there are six goals in our new strategic plan, each with several priority and/or supporting actions. So that we have a clear idea of who will lead on what, I have allocated responsibility for each action to one of the VCs or myself.

Implementing a strategic plan runs the risk that we will become too focused on details and loses sight of the broad principles that motivated the plan in the first place. Keep in mind what the actions you implement should accomplish:

Positively impact our students by:

  • Helping to graduate more men and women who are prepared to succeed in their lives outside of university, and providing an improved learning and living environment that encourages improved retention.

Positively impact our faculty and staff by:

  • Improving the working environment through better communications, streamlined processes and procedures, increased professional development opportunities and better supported teaching and research activities.

Positively impact on our local community by:

  • Actively working with community partners on joint projects and initiatives, ensuring that UH Hilo produces high quality graduates that are able to meet local workforce needs, and encouraging community members to engage in university-based activities.

I want to emphasize that this strategic plan forms a central pillar of UH Hilo– its development was based on input from our faculty, staff, students and community, and as such it is very much our strategic plan. It is our guide for the coming year on issues of most importance for our institution. As such, from now on it will form the basis for decision-making criteria by me and the university’s senior leadership on our strategic direction, budget allocations, and day-to-day operations.

One final note, although we will be doing implementation planning over the coming year, we will also be doing implementation. The process of planning does not overrule the activity of action. I encourage you all to participate in the implementation planning processes and to help put our strategic plan into action for the benefit of our entire university and surrounding community.

I welcome and encourage continuous feedback on the Strategic Plan and its implementation. Please email uhhplan[at] with any comments, ideas or questions you may have.


Don Straney

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Column by the Chancellor in UH Hilo’s Newsletter: Ka Lono Hanakahi, October 2011

Ka Lono Hanakahi, News of People Working Together

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 
October 2011 

Upgrades to UH Hilo’s technology infrastructure

One of the goals stated in our Draft Strategic Plan is to upgrade University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s technology infrastructure including computer laboratories and classrooms, wireless broadband across all areas of the campus, and new technologies to better support student learning, teaching effectiveness, and research.

I am pleased to report that over the summer we have been upgrading our wireless system resulting in an overall increase in coverage across the campus to 85%. This includes an increase to wireless coverage in Mookini Library from 40% at the end of last semester to now 100% coverage on all three floors. Speeds of up to 50Mbps per second are capable for library users; this means that students will now be able to download and play videos and multimedia at significantly increased speeds.

Improvements will continue to be made to the campus-wide wireless broadband during the fall semester resulting in upgrades to 300 access points on campus: 62 in the library, 42 in student housing, 40 in the University Classroom Building (UCB), 19 in Kanaka‘ole Hall (already completed), and the remainder will be used for upgrading access points on campus and expanding wireless broadband coverage in areas where it is not adequate. We hope to have the majority of this work completed by the end of September.

We did experience a few teething problems with the campus wireless system, including those in student housing, during the week of registration and first week of classes due to higher than expected usage. The issue is now resolved.

We also are upgrading key physical technology infrastructure. Later this semester in the library, a newly designed student production and presentation room will be available on the third floor. This room will include a 9-foot screen, 4000 lumen HD projector, dual mounted LED monitors, and a Polycom 7500HD telepresence system. This facility will allow students to develop necessary job skills by assisting them in creating, practicing, and presenting class presentations.

Currently in process at the library are technology enhancements to five student group study rooms. The library classroom also is being upgraded with two fixed 70-inch monitors and a Polycom 7500HD telepresence System. This will allow library faculty to facilitate student learning with students from other UH campuses and campuses throughout the world.

Elsewhere on campus, we’ve upgraded two education classrooms with Smart technology and Podcasting systems so students can attend classes remotely. Two classrooms in Athletics used by Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences were upgraded to multimedia smart classrooms. By the end of the fall semester, five Marine Science classes will be upgraded to multimedia smart classrooms. All classrooms in UCB, Kanakaʻole Hall, Sciences and Technology, Athletics, and Marine Science buildings will eventually be equipped with the following standard equipment:
• A multimedia teaching console
• A computer with a screen (computer 1)
• A projector control switch (to change projection source)
• A microscopic imaging capable document camera
• A laptop VGA and audio connections (computer 2)
• A DVD/VHS player (video source)
• An audio amplifier with speakers (MP3 input)
• A 3D ready projector mounted on the ceiling
• A wired or wirelesses microphone
• A clicker base for audience response
• Microsoft office and video software with captioning

All funds to support the technology upgrades and improvements came from a grant of approximately $500,000, and all the work is being done in-house by staff in the Office of Campus Technology and tech staff in the library. We will continue with improvements to our information technology systems in what we see as a continuous process to ensure that our students, faculty and staff have the technical resources they require to succeed.

I would be interested in your comments on either the wireless system, infrastructure upgrades or the Draft Strategic Plan as whole and would encourage you to write to with any feedback or suggestions you may have.

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

Donald Straney

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