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Chancellor’s Monthly Column, Oct. 2019: Time to listen, time to learn

By Bonnie D. Irwin

When I first visited the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo nearly a year ago for my interview, I was asked what I might do in the first six months, and my response was, “listen.” In the months since I arrived, I have had the opportunity to meet with some business leaders and community groups, and with the arrival of the faculty back on campus, I have started visiting the various units on campus as well. There are so many good ideas and so many people of good will. My “listening tour” will take months to complete, but I’d like to share a recent event with you that shows so well the collaborative spirit of our campus ‘ohana.

On Sept. 20, Hawai‘i Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas hosted me and others from UH Hilo for a joint wala‘au or discussion about the future of our campuses (photo of us at wala‘au at top of this column). Faculty, staff, and administrators from both campuses were invited to share their mana‘o and their vision of the future for Hawai‘i Island’s students, particularly transfer students. Specifically, we focused on ways to build strong pathways of student success between Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo.

Over soup and sandwiches, we discussed strategies to smooth the way for students interested in transferring from Hawai‘i CC to UH Hilo. It was an exciting session filled with hope for the future of our students and Hawai‘i Island.

People shared examples of what is working, and some shared stories about successful classes and spaces, and about hardworking support staff helping students struggling with the transition.

We also identified areas still to work on: aligning curriculum and our learning expectations, so that students who move from one institution to the other do not lose any time toward completing their degree; minimizing the paperwork for transfers, and even better, imagining what dual enrollment might look like. What if a student could be admitted to both schools at the same time and just move seamlessly from one to the next at the appropriate time? Indeed, when we took a poll among those in attendance, “seamless” was the word most often mentioned as what we would like the students to experience as a successful transfer.

Farrah-Marie Gomes speaks, holding microphone, people listening seated at tables behind her.
UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes shares her mana‘o with the group at the first joint wala‘au or discussion about the future of UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College, Sept. 20, 2019. Photos of wala‘au by Raiatea Arcuri.

Some of the people at the wala‘au shared programs they were working on that might accomplish that seamless transition. The energy and good will in the room was palpable. I met faculty and staff who have worked at both campuses, and they shared what they thought we could improve, and along with the two chancellors and our teams, committed to working together in the future.

Other highlights from the listening tour thus far:

  • Meeting the Vulcan Booster Club and seeing their enthusiastic support for our student-athletes
  • Learning about the partnerships our Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science graduate program has with local and state agencies
  • Sitting down with our marketing committee to chat about how we can better tell the story of UH Hilo
  • An open meeting with students in which I could hear their concerns directly
  • Talking with staff of the Division of Student Affairs and learning how we can build on the excellent programs we have and build even better support for our students outside the classroom
  • Touring Hale‘olelo, the College of Hawaiian Language, and seeing the ways in which we are helping to revitalize Hawaiian language and culture
  • And many other meetings with faculty and staff from departments throughout campus

At the core of these meetings and discussions I consistently find in people a deep sense of commitment and dedication to our students and a feeling of hope for the future. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support of our students and for constantly striving to improve our services, curriculum, and community outreach. We need to be open minded about how we deliver education and I look forward to more discussions, more sharing, and more learning over the coming months.

Aloha,

Bonnie D. Irwin

 

Photo at top, from left, Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas and Chancellor Bonnie Irwin at wala‘au, Sept. 20. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri.

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Guidance on Instructional Activities Associated With Pu‘uhuluhulu

Memo from UH Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy: The University of Hawai‘i will maintain a learning environment that encourages and accepts the free and fair exchange of ideas.

Donald Straney
Donald Straney

UH Hilo Ohana:

Donald Straney, University of Hawai‘i Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy, has provided a memorandum on Guidance on Instructional Activities Associated With Pu‘uhuluhulu.

MEMORANDUM

August 7, 2019

TO: Members of the UH Faculty and Staff
FROM: Donald 0. Straney, PhD, Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy, UH System

SUBJECT: Guidance on Instructional Activities Associated With Pu‘uhuluhulu

There is a list of courses that faculty are offering for students to take remotely while staying in the Pu‘uhuluhulu region of Hawai‘i Island. The list is primarily built around already existing on-line or independent study options. However, there are also some face-to-face courses listed.

We appreciate faculty support for students who are participating in this important moment in history, and that the learning opportunities presented by the list will in many cases literally bring the course material to life. We know that faculty members who have offered their courses to students who wish to remain away from campus are doing so with respect to the policies and procedures of their campus.

We offer the following guidance to clear up any misconceptions, note current policies that may be applicable, and to make sure we are all aligned in how best to proceed.

[…]

Click here to read full Memorandum.

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Chancellor Bonnie Irwin’s first monthly column, July 2019: UH Hilo as a gateway for upward mobility

It is the university’s responsibility to take the lead in stewardship of regional economics, education, and improving the quality of life for all our island citizens and their communities.

By Bonnie D. Irwin

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie D. Irwin

As I begin my tenure as chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, I find a campus community hard at work preparing to develop a new strategic plan. Through a series of over 40 discussions that began last fall with faculty, staff, students and the local community, information is being gleaned and groundwork laid to produce a collaborative plan to achieve the highest of aspirations.

My favorite definition of leadership is that it is a process of moving an organization from its current reality to its aspirations. My first task at UH Hilo is to listen and learn what the campus and community aspirations are and then focus our energy toward achieving them, all the while making sure we are ambitious enough in those aspirations to really help the island with its needs—economic, educational, and cultural—while also protecting the ‘āina through sustainable activities.

I take this responsibility to heart. I strongly believe in the concept of regional stewardship for comprehensive universities: i.e., that a primary mission of our campus is to lift up the region, in this case Hawai‘i Island. One of the reasons I wanted to come to UH Hilo is because of our unique cultural emphasis in programs and curriculum, notably the acclaimed work being done to revitalize Native Hawaiian language and culture for the benefit of not only Hawai‘i’s indigenous people but also everyone in the state. The future of our university and our local community are inextricably linked.

Let me share some thoughts about where my attention is already focused.

I envision UH Hilo as a gateway for upward mobility. This means educating and preparing our students for meaningful employment that not only brings them a high quality of life but also lifts up their families and communities. One effective way to prepare students for important regional work is to increase student engagement in applied learning and independent research for benefit of the community and the environment; UH Hilo already excels at this in several fields and I would like to explore ways to open up this opportunity to even more students.

Traditionally we think of higher education as preparing young women and men for their future, but national trends are moving toward developing a new higher education model that also meets the needs of non-traditional students returning to finish a degree. This is a challenge facing universities throughout the country and if we want to stay current, we will need to adapt to this emerging trend not only to properly serve our region but also to thrive as an institution of higher education.

Woven into advancing the university to meet the needs of a modern student population is the challenge to improve retention and graduation rates. I support wholeheartedly the current ongoing efforts at UH Hilo to develop best practices to enable students to pursue their aspirations with purpose and confidence through to graduation and beyond, whether the student wishes to further her or his education or launch a meaningful career. I look forward to working with faculty and student affairs professionals to develop and strengthen innovative and effective ways to meet this challenge.

I am pleased to see UH Hilo placing a high importance on practicing, teaching, and researching sustainability and protecting the ‘āina, both on campus and in our island environment. Every student has a role to play—now and in the future—to help heal the emerging environmental crises facing our island, state, and Pacific region, and the university community and our graduates should be leaders and role models in this field.

We cannot achieve our aspirations alone. Building on partnerships with the local community, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, along with strengthening UH Hilo’s relationship with Hawai‘i Community College and partnering more with the Pālamanui campus, are crucial to all our success.

It is the university’s responsibility to take the lead in stewardship of regional economics, education, and improving the quality of life for all our island citizens and their communities. I start my new position as a chancellor ready to listen, learn, and collaborate as we prepare a new strategic plan for the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

I mua!

Bonnie D. Irwin

 

Photo at top by Raiatea Arcuri: UH Hilo main entrance at West Kāwili Street.

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UH Hilo 2018-2019 Annual Report

Our successes are largely due to our talented faculty, staff and students who make UH Hilo a remarkable place of knowledge and learning.

Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

Marcia Sakai
Marcia Sakai

When I began my tenure as the Interim Chancellor for UH Hilo, one of my goals was to create a comprehensive report that highlights the accomplishments of our campus. I am pleased to share with you the UH Hilo 2018-2019 Annual Report.

Our successes are largely due to our talented faculty, staff and students who make UH Hilo a remarkable place of knowledge and learning.

Best wishes to all of you.

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

 

See also: UH Hilo 2017-2018 Annual Report

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Announcement: Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Search Committee named

Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.I am pleased to announce the appointment of the search committee for the next University of Hawai‘i at Hilo vice chancellor for academic affairs. The committee is expected to begin its work in August.

It is important that we recruit and hire an experienced leader with the vision and energy to develop and advance our campus strategic academic priorities.

The committee is charged with the responsibility of screening applicants, interviewing qualified applicants online and then the finalists in person.

The 13-member committee represents the diverse perspective of the campus including faculty from each of the colleges, the Faculty Congress, and direct reports to the vice chancellor:

Co-Chairs

  • Bruce Matthews, Dean, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management
  • Jené Michaud, Chair and Professor, Department of Geology

Committee members

  • Lois Fujiyoshi, Executive Director, Budget and Business Management
  • Lara Gomez, Director of Clinical Education, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
  • Charmaine Higa-McMillan, Professor, Department of Psychology
  • Rodney Jubilado, Chair, Division of Humanities; Associate Professor, Filipino Studies, Department of Languages
  • Jim Mellon, Executive Director, Global and Intercultural Education Programs;
    Director, International Student Services and Intercultural Education, Division of Student Affairs
  • Hiapo Perreira, Associate Professor, Academic Division Chair, Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language
  • Jan Ray, Chair, Faculty Congress; Professor, School of Education
  • Joseph Sanchez, Director, Mookini Library
  • Sijie Sun, Assistant Professor, Marketing, College of Business and Economics
  • Michael Taylor, President, UH Hilo Student Association
  • Shelby Wong, Curriculum, Catalog, Graduate Division Specialist

Mahalo,

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

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