Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce
Input needed for UH Hilo’s next strategic plan
In tough economic times, publicly funded universities like the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo must be especially responsive to community needs for educational opportunities and economic development. Consequently, since becoming chancellor last July, I’ve been asking members of the public for their thoughts about how UH Hilo could enhance the well being of our island.
The comments I’ve received include encouragement to expand student housing, educate students for jobs needed in the community, develop a “college town” environment around the university, keep the public engaged in decisions affecting Mauna Kea, and expand access to the west side of our island. It’s clear that the public expects UH Hilo to continue evolving, improving and extending its reach throughout the island in order to deliver a solid return on investment into the future.
To ensure that we do, I’m taking this first year of my chancellorship to engage the energies of the university in strategic planning. In this process, UH Hilo will take stock of our current situation and commit to our vision of what our university could become and accomplish in the next five years. We will make sure our mission statement clearly conveys the unique benefits UH Hilo offers to students and the community. The plan itself, which should be complete by May 2011, will contain clear goals and the actions we will take to realize those goals.
In this way, strategic planning will help UH Hilo focus its tremendous funds of energy and creativity on an affirmed mission and a widely accepted set of goals. Moreover, UH President MRC Greenwood has challenged us to increase the number of our graduates by 25 percent over the next few years, and UH Hilo is expected to meet additional performance benchmarks set by the UH system.
Last April, the university started its “pre-planning” initiative to gather information from faculty, staff and students to use in developing the plan. Their views were solicited through a survey and a “listening tour.” Results are being made available at the strategic planning website.
We want to hear the thoughts and opinions that Chamber members have about UH Hilo. We would particularly value your feedback on what you think we currently do well, where you think we need to improve, and what our major priorities should be for the next five to ten years.
You can provide input by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to Siân Millard, Strategic Planning Coordinator, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720-4091.
Work on developing the strategic plan begins this fall. This invitation for input won’t be a one-time request. We will ensure that community groups have the opportunity to comment on the draft plan once it’s available.
University strategic plans are dynamic documents that respond to changing conditions, and as such they are frequently adjusted. Universities engage in more or less continuous planning and implementation of plans. We also monitor results, which are used to inform the next round of planning. I hope we can count on Chamber members to continue to give us their views and insights as UH Hilo plans for positive change into the future.
Donald O. Straney
Chancellor, UH Hilo