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UH Hilo Chancellor's Blog Posts

Nomination period now open for UH Hilo 2012 Faculty and Staff Awards


Nominations are now being accepted for the following UH Hilo faculty and staff awards:

Recognizes creativity in teaching, scholarship, and artistic production at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Any full-time UH Hilo faculty or staff member is eligible. Teams consisting of two or more faculty or staff may also be nominated. (Students may be part of teams led by faculty or staff).

Presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to student life beyond the boundaries of their official responsibilities.

Presented to a building or ground maintenance employee who has made significant contributions to the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.

Presented to a faculty or professional staff member who provides service related professional skills to the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and their community.

Presented to an individual who has made a significant contributions to developing and promoting the mission and spirit of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.

Click here for nomination instructions and forms on our awards website. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 23, 2012.

Office of the Chancellor

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Hawai‘i Community College launches “Local First” menus

Announcement from UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney.


Hawai‘i Community College, in partnership with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, aims to support the development of farms and the agricultural industry on Hawai‘i island by showcasing the high quality and variety of local produce and products available through the “Local First” program.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 15, is the inaugural day for Hawai‘i Community College on Manono Campus to serve “Local First.” Chefs Allan Okuda and Sandra Barr-Rivera are putting together an exciting menu for this special day. Local foods will be featured in the cafeteria and in the fine dining Bamboo Hale.

The West Hawai‘i Campus, under the direction of James Lightner and Chef Paul, started Local First Friday on Feb. 3. The next will be this Friday, Feb. 17.

Let’s support our local farmers and businesses and the Local First program at both Hawai‘i Community College and UH Hilo.

Don Straney

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

Message from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney

Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s Faculty and Staff Newsletter 

February 2012

UH Hilo hosts Community Vision Summit

One of our greatest accomplishments in 2011 was the university ‘ohana and surrounding local community working together to develop UH Hilo’s new Strategic Plan. The long term plan gives us a pathway to the future and guides us as we start 2012, placing strong emphasis on our kuleana, our responsibility, to improving the quality of life for our island’s people and our local community as a whole. One of the ways to honor this commitment is to strengthen partnerships and collaborations, share our understanding, and work together with the community to discover innovative ways to educate our citizens and grow our economy.

In December, I invited 27 leaders from our community—representatives of education, health, technology, business, local government, and community non-profits—to convene for a Community Vision Summit. The discussions were lively and fruitful, focusing on the strategic directions of UH Hilo in the coming years. The group talked about their shared vision of our island’s future, and how to build two-way relationships to reach our common goals.

Working together, the participants provided helpful guidance about the university’s role in strengthening our community. The importance of UH Hilo’s role in the P-20 education system was emphasized. There was a great sense of people wanting to work together to provide education and life-long learning opportunities matched to workforce development needs. In addition, emphasis was placed on undertaking research and development relevant to the people, environment, and culture of our island and state.

The discussion identified three key areas where UH Hilo could have the biggest impact on improving the quality of life on our island:

1.  Be a Catalyst for Local Economic Development

A common concern was the Hawai‘i island economy and high unemployment. Participants observed that many local students must re-locate because Hawai‘i island does not have sufficient employment opportunities. Participants highlighted the role UH Hilo might play in building connections with local industries that could let students apply what they are learning to the workplace. Participants recommended this be achieved through educating and training local students to move into the island’s growing industries in health care, energy, agriculture and information technology. As these conversations expanded there emerged a larger recurring theme of UH Hilo as a “driver” for Hawai‘i island economic development, with UH Hilo not only taking the lead on the new job trends but also communicating this to the community. Participants felt this would produce a “fire in the belly” for motivation in education.

2.  Bridge Our Island’s Multiple Sectors

One focus of discussion was the role that UH Hilo can play as a champion for dialogue between multiple sectors. Participants recommended the university develop an economic engine model that is rooted in the culture, values, traditions and community of the island, one that connects the university, K–12 education, industry, community, and policy. Participants also recommended public-private partnerships that enhance applied learning with feeder programs, where opportunities can enhance student retention. It was suggested the university start small by using successful programs, i.e., linking UH Hilo’s nationally-recognized computer science program with projects based in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields) that include the Thirty Meter Telescope’s future development, Hawai‘i Community College’s technology education, local high schools’ career academies, and Hawaiian culture with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

3.  Strengthen Community Relationships

While bridging across sectors was identified as important, equally so was the need to strengthen and maintain such relationships over time. Particularly noted was the need for the university to actively strengthen and maintain reciprocal relationships with local businesses, government, and non-profits to empower higher education and workforce development. For example, internships with small businesses to fuel student ambition and problem-solving capacity, build entrepreneurial skills, creativity, and critical thinking. It was also suggested that UH Hilo could help strengthen community relationships by empowering students to utilize local products in order to encourage local entrepreneurship and provide opportunities to create more jobs.

The Community Vision Summit was a great success and I appreciate the time and effort made by everyone. I was reminded that the greatest resource we have is the people of our island—when we put our minds to it, we can work together to create a bright future for our island and state.

This summit is the first of a series of meetings where I plan to hear from different parts of the community about ways UH Hilo can drive local economic development, bridge our island’s multiple sectors, and strengthen the university’s relationships with the community.

You can read a full summary report on the summit and other news from the Office of the Chancellor on my blog.

Don Straney

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

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

February 2012

UH Hilo and the state collaborate on energy and food sustainability

Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce LogoOne of the goals in the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s new Strategic Plan is to foster a sustainable environment on campus, one that gives students, faculty and staff the best possible place in which to study, work and live. One of the key components of this sustainability goal is responsible stewardship for Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources by providing leadership in recycling, sustainable resource use, food production, “green” building design, and use of renewable energy sources on campus.

We already are making great strides in these objectives with the installation of photo voltaic on several of our buildings and promotion of “local first” days in our campus eateries. Our newly re-formed Sustainability Committee is currently discussing new initiatives on energy and recycling. During winter break, our campus community participated in our Green Days initiative, in which many facilities and offices on campus were closed, saving $68.5 thousand in energy costs.

A statewide initiative that dovetails in part with UH Hilo’s sustainability goals is the work of the Hawai‘i EPSCoR Statewide Governance Committee, of which I am co-chair. EPSCoR is a multi-million dollar federally-funded statewide initiative called the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Taking the lead from Governor Abercrombie’s “A New Day in Hawai‘i” roadmap, in which the governor emphasizes the urgent need to infuse technology and innovation into the economy, the EPSCoR committee is providing leadership for development of the Hawai‘i Statewide Science and Technology Strategic Plan. The committee recently drew up a proposed guide, “Sustaining and Improving Quality of Life for a Prosperous Hawai‘i: A Statewide Framework for Science and Technology,” including a section on energy and food sustainability.

The plan, still in draft form, is meant for state and local governments, businesses, and the education sector and “provides a pathway for sparking conversations and actions that will bring to bear the latest knowledge and technology to grow, diversify and strengthen a resilient state economy, and improve the overall quality of life for Hawai‘i residents.” The plan advocates four key objectives: 1) strengthen the sci-tech talent pool; 2) foster synergies between Hawaii’s sci-tech businesses and institutions; 3) advance sci-tech for a healthy state; and 4) invest in sci-tech for a resilient, sustainable island state.

Objective 4 addresses the current model in which the state imports 90% of its energy (through oil) and 85% of its food need; the EPSCoR committee expresses concern that Hawai‘i is therefore exposed to increased risks relating to energy and food supplies. “Investment in scientific and technological research to help Hawai‘i produce more of its own energy and food for domestic use and exportation will help to ensure that the state is protected,” the draft plan states.

I’ve placed as one of my priorities the advocacy of initiatives that bring us closer to a truly sustainable campus, island, and state. Governor Abercrombie’s New Day roadmap, UH Hilo’s strategic plan, and EPSCoR’s draft sci-tech guide all encourage discussion and collaboration to advance the objectives I’ve discussed above. In last month’s column, I wrote about convening the first UH Hilo Community Vision Summit with leaders from our local community—representatives of education, health, technology, business, local government, and community non-profits. Among the most prevalent topics at the summit was UH Hilo’s focus on energy and agriculture. “UH Hilo has to focus on the new trends where jobs are and communicate this to the community,” said one participant. “This will produce the ‘fire in the belly’ for motivation in education.”

More community vision summits are planned for the near future. I look forward to working with the chamber and its members to advance sustainable initiatives and practices for the benefit of our island and state.

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

Don Straney

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New faculty and staff introduced at Chancellor’s 2012 Spring Gathering; buffet and farmers market celebrate “local first” food, produce and products

New faculty and staff were recognized at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s 2012 Spring Gathering; the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management held a farmers market stocked with produce, products and plants from UH Hilo’s Agriculture Farm Lab.

Chancellor Straney gestures during his remarks.
Chancellor Straney points toward the Farmers Market held on the Campus Center Plaza during the 2012 Spring Gathering, Jan. 26.
Three people talking on the plaza.
Norman Arancon (left), assistant professor of horticulture, who organized the Farmers Market with students from the College of Agriculture, hands out taro plants as giveaways.

New faculty and staff were introduced at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s 2012 Spring Gathering event on January 26 at the Campus Center Plaza. Celebrating a “local first” theme, the crowd enjoyed a buffet menu of local fruit and vegetable dishes, pulled pork, a sweet potato dessert, coffee and fruit juices.

Adding to the theme, the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management held a farmers market stocked with produce, products and plants from UH Hilo’s Agriculture Farm Lab.

Chancellor Straney gave a presentation with updates on UH Hilo’s new Strategic Plan, spring enrollment numbers, legislative updates and other news (transcript to be published shortly).

The following new faculty and staff attended the event:

Kenny Simmons and Cathy Wiltse
Kenny Simmons (left), interim vice chancellor for academic affairs introduced Cathy Wiltse, new director of the Small Business Development Center.
Amelia Shapiro (at right), director of academic support, welcomes Lyndsay Heller, science center coordinator.
Leon Hallacher (at right), chair of the natural sciences division, with Scott Uehara, information technology specialist.
John Pezzuto (center), dean at the College of Pharmacy stands with Cara Suefuji (left), academic support specialist, and Peyton Wong (right), associate specialist, clinical track faculty.
Farrahmarie Gomes and Steve McPeek
Farrahmarie Gomes (left), director at the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center introduces Steve McPeek, NHERC operations manager.
Newcomers at Student Affairs, left to right: Mackenzie Austin, assistant director, outdoor recreation and aquatics, Department of Campus Recreation; Valerie Yamaki, fitness coordinator, Department of Campus Recreation; Marianna Karewicz, medical technologist, Student Medical Services; Leslie Armeniox, associate director, Counseling Services. Luoluo Hong, vice chancellor for student affairs, stands at far right.
Ka‘iu Kimura (at far right), director at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i, introduced two newcomers: Punawai Rice (center) and Mino‘aka Macanas.

Aloha and Welcome to all new Faculty and Staff!

Photos by John Oshima.

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