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Tag: Academics

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: UH Hilo, preparing people for careers that make a big impact

UH Hilo is dedicated to giving Hawai‘i high school, transfer, and non-traditional students the options they need to earn baccalaureate and advanced degrees here on Hawai‘i Island.

By Marcia Sakai

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has a long history of engaging with the local community—in fact, it is because of the extraordinary support of our local community that UH Hilo has grown into a responsive source of higher education, at-the-ready to adapt and expand to meet the needs of our island and state.

There is an interesting indicator that tells us where the people of our communities are placing importance when it comes to building our future—just take a look at our programs that are expanding: Teaching, Education, Nursing, Kinesiology and Exercise Science. Much needed and in-demand programs in planning are Data Science, Cybersecurity, and Aviation and Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

While we expand to meet the new needs of our future, we continue to educate more and more highly trained scientists who will help to preserve and protect our precious natural resources: environmental scientists, conservation biologists and ecologists, natural resource scientists, geologists, geographers, physicists, marine scientists.

And there are cohorts of graduating students who want to dedicate their lives to improving the health and wellbeing of people, families, and communities—the social and medical scientists: psychologists, biomedical professionals and researchers, medical anthropologists, pharmacists, health care providers.

In addition, several academic programs at UH Hilo are not offered anywhere else in the state, such as our doctoral and master programs in pharmacy and in Hawaiian language—students who graduate and become professionals in these fields have a great and positive impact on our local communities, and in the social and economic fabric of our island home.

Add to that, our business, management, and marketing programs that are teaching people how to build companies that not only raise the quality of life for their own families but also for their employees and patrons. I have seen in our College of Business and Economics—the college I helped found and where I taught for years—the entrepreneurial spirit grow in students who have then gone on to build the prosperous businesses of their dreams based on the education they received at UH Hilo.

And not surprisingly, a number of our students are looking to become professionals in the field of communication: writers, journalists, professionals in digital and mass media, public relations, ethnography—all trained to share information in the age of information—with a background in critical thinking skills taught as a foundational premise during their undergraduate studies.

In other words, UH Hilo is giving students—whether traditional student, transfer student, returning student, or someone wanting to change professions—the degree pathways that lead to professional careers that have great social and economic impact on our communities.

To support these future leaders while they are in school—to get them over the finish line—we are strengthening and expanding support services from recruitment to retention to graduation.

We are increasing enrollment of first-time students, especially on Hawai‘i Island, and increasing enrollment of transfer students, especially from UH community colleges.

We are refining our financial aid strategy, and have started a new micro-scholarship program where high school students, starting from their freshman year, can earn funds toward a scholarship redeemable only through enrolling at UH Hilo after graduation.

In new programs to assist with the retention of students in their first year at UH Hilo, transfer students are provided with access to better coordinated transfer services and first-year students are eligible to receive the support of a peer mentor.

Living Learning Communities continue to be a big success story at our residence halls where currently over 100 freshmen with a chosen a field of interest are enrolled in courses together and go off-campus together to experience cultural practices, community engagement, and service learning. These bonded groups of students are much more able to stick together as a cohort and reach graduation together as lifelong friends and peers.

UH Hilo is a university made possible by the dedication and support of the surrounding community. We are, in turn, dedicated to giving Hawai‘i high school, transfer, and non-traditional students the options they need to earn baccalaureate and advanced degrees here on Hawai‘i Island.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: Sustainability is a top priority at UH Hilo

 UH Hilo to host Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit.

By Marcia Sakai

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.University of Hawaiʻi students, faculty and staff will gather for the 6th Annual Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit Feb. 8–10 on Hawaiʻi Island. This year’s theme is on the “Meeting of Wisdoms,” with focus on indigenous ways of knowing and western empirical science. Delegations from all 10 UH campuses will learn together from local practitioners, national experts on sustainability, and each other.

Understanding indigenous ways of knowing is critical to UH’s success in being a model of sustainability in our state. The university’s geographic location puts it in a unique position to serve as a leader and model in how institutions steward finite resources of for the benefit of all.

The university recognizes that an important knowledge base in sustainable island systems resides in the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and all those for whom Hawai‘i is home. We are committed to learning from local cultural practitioners and sustainability experts on best practices in sustainable resource allocation and use for the well-being of our communities and state.

Summit activities will take place in Kona on Thursday, Feb. 8, and on the UH Hilo campus on Friday, the 9th.

Part of Friday’s program includes a “Meeting of Wisdoms” panel where I will welcome Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, president of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation and director of Hawaiian Traditional Knowledge Research at Hawai‘i Community College; research ecologist Christian Giardina of the USDA Forest Service; Luka Kanaka‘ole Mossman, a fishpond manager; Kealaka‘i Kanaka‘ole, a natural resource land operations manager with Kamehameha Schools; and Ulumauahi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani, lead ‘ōlapa/dancer with Hālau O Kekuhi and a UH Hilo senior majoring in geography. Moderator is John DeFries, president of Native Sun Business Group.

The Student Sustainability Summit will take place Feb. 10 in Volcano, where students will learn how to work with campus leadership on zero-waste campaigns on each campus.

For the first time, this year’s summit will include a Virtual Symposium, where sessions and activities will be livestreamed to the internet with capacity for remote interaction.

Sustainability is a top priority at UH Hilo 

UH Hilo is proud to be a leader in sustainability efforts ranging from academic courses and degrees, to energy use, food purchasing and composting. Some highlights of what’s happening on campus follow.

Academics

  • A Certificate in Sustainability is under development. So far 29 courses have been designated as focusing on sustainability in agriculture, anthropology, engineering, geography, Hawaiian studies, and business management.
  • New Data Science program is also under development to help produce a generation of big data scientists. First area of study: water resources. This program is funded through the National Science Foundation as a part of a statewide water sustainability research project.

Energy Savings

  • We are a leader in the UH System on sub-metering and baseline data recording, bi-level lighting, energy requirements in design contracts, a reinvestment account, and Hawai‘i Energy Rebates.
  • We are implementing full energy metering and monitoring of campus buildings. Currently, 100 meters record and report photovoltaic array data for all PV installations on campus. The data helps us assess and calculate savings.
  • To date, LED lighting conversion has been completed in 20 buildings, saving a calculated 217,524 kWh annually, and power savings continue to increase.

Food

  • Over 65 percent of food served in our campus dining rooms is locally produced. On the first Wednesday of every month, 100 percent of the food served in the main Campus Dining Room is locally produced food.
  • UH Hilo students have launched a food waste collection program, adding another component to building a sustainable food system on campus.
Students at the composting site on campus.
Students at the composting site on campus located behind the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management. The photo was taken on a volunteer day to build new temporary compost bins.

Solar powered recharging stations

  • We just opened a new gathering place on campus with food service and four picnic tables with solar powered stations for students to recharge electronic devices, helping to make our campus more sustainable in its energy use.

Many of these projects respond to action steps identified in the UH Strategic Directions Plan to “improve the sustainability and resource conservation of the built environment including facilities and grounds by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas production, water use and waste production.” Kudos to our students, faculty and staff for their hard work to implements these initiatives—well done! The UH Hilo campus can be a model for businesses across the island.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

Update on UH Hilo College of Arts and Sciences reorganization

The new College of Natural and Health Sciences will be established, effective July 1, 2018.

Marcia Sakai
UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai speaks to faculty and staff at a meeting about the reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. Jan. 19, 2018.

Marcia Sakai, interim chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, gave an update today to faculty and staff on the reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences. The meeting was held at 12:00 noon at the Sciences and Technology Building, room 108.

In the PowerPoint presentation at the meeting, the following points were made:

College of Natural & Health Sciences

  • The new College of Natural and Health Sciences will be established, effective July 1, 2018.
  • It will be composed of the current Division of Natural Sciences, School of Nursing, and Department of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences.

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Effective July 1, 2018, the College of Arts and Sciences will continue forward with its remaining departments in the current division structure, retaining the Division of Humanities and the Division of Social Sciences.
  • Departments and faculty positions within these divisions will remain status quo, with the exception of the two departments joining the new College of Natural and Health Sciences.
Kalei Rapoza
Interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza answers questions at the meeting.

Clerical Staff

  • Clerical support staff within the current Division of Natural Sciences will become support staff for the new College of Natural and Health Sciences.
  • Clerical support staff remaining with the College of Arts and Sciences will be maintained in their current structure.
  • Specific details will be shared, as appropriate, as discussions advance with HGEA and affected employees.

APT Staff

  • Consistent with messaging for the last 12 months, APT and other support staff contained within departments will be retained with those departments with no changes to their positions or assignments.

Administrative Officers

  • In addition, we will be adding two APT Administrative Officer positions, one per college, to provide administrative and budget support for the deans and departments.

Transition Work

  • This Spring, the transition team with the College of Natural and Health Sciences should finalize its tasks, which include working on a department and college tenure and promotion process, voting procedures, and other department processes.
  • In addition, we are in the process to appoint an Interim Dean for CNHS.
  • In the College of Arts and Sciences, the transition team should consider whether college, division and department policies and processes, such as promotion and tenure, require revision in order for revisions to be finalized by July 1, 2018.

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Attendees at the meeting listening and asking questions, click to enlarge:

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: The history of UH Hilo is one of progress

Growth and progress demand persistence—and we are continuing our momentum this year.

By Marcia Sakai

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.Aloha and Happy New Year!

I’m looking forward to the coming year as the momentum of progress and growth continues at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. During our day-to-day life on campus, when progress is often challenging, it’s easy to lose sight of just how far we’ve come over the years in serving the higher education needs of our island.

In 2017, UH Hilo celebrated its 70th year providing access to higher education for the people on Hawai‘i Island. We began our journey in 1947 as the Hilo Program, a UH Extension Division program where courses were taught at the old Hilo Boarding School. In 1951, the University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo Branch was founded with an enrollment of 100 students. After several transformations, the four-year Hilo College began in 1969, and by the following year merged with Hawaiʻi Community College, becoming the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

More recently, in 1991, UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College separated, but continue to share many of the same resources. Over the years since, Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo have worked together closely on many initiatives, most notably on the seamless transition of students into the university and on developing Native Hawaiian protocols in our teaching, research, and outreach activities.

Over the years, the university established five colleges, most recently the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy with its inaugural class ten years ago in 2007. It is the only accredited pharmacy college in the region, with a presence not only on Hawai‘i Island but also on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Maui and in the South Pacific in Guam, American Sāmoa and Saipan.

In 2018, we will celebrate several more noteworthy milestones.

Mookini Library and Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall opened 35 years ago. The names remind us of people who helped build this university. The library is named after former Chancellor Edwin H. Mookini who served from 1976 to 1979. Edith Kanaka‘ole was a beloved Hawaiian practitioner, kumu hula, composer, and founder of the Hawaiian studies program at UH Hilo.

Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language will be 30 years old. The college is named in honor of Ruth Keʻelikōlani Keanolani Kanāhoahoa, the 19th century high chiefess known for her strong advocacy of Hawaiian language and culture. Internationally recognized for successful cultural and language revitalization curriculum, the college’s staff and students honor the chiefess’s legacy as they do their work and study for the benefit of all Hawaii’s people.

The University Classroom Building is 15 years old—when it was built, it was the first construction of a major building at UH Hilo in over 20 years. It’s now our signature building at the entrance of campus, housing classrooms, offices and gathering places for our university community and the general public.

And five years ago, the Hale ʻAlahonua residence hall opened, the first new student housing project since 1989.

In my 26-plus years at UH Hilo, I have learned that growth and progress demand persistence—and we are continuing our momentum this year. We are building a new home for the pharmacy college, moving forward with forming the new College of Natural and Health Sciences, and we just launched the search for our new chancellor.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor, UH Hilo

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