Mahalo to all of you who participated in the leadership profile forums held on January 27. WittKieffer and the search committee have been moving the process along to complete the search by the end of this spring, with the new vice chancellor in place in the fall.
After several months of the RFP process (development, review & selection), a professional search firm has been contracted effective Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, to assist in the search for the next University of Hawai‘i at Hilo vice chancellor for academic affairs. WittKieffer is a national executive search firm with nearly 50 years of experience. The search is expected to be completed by the end of spring 2020, with the new vice chancellor in place in fall 2020.
You are invited to meet with WittKieffer team members to share perspectives on campus priorities; qualities and attributes important in the next vice chancellor for academic affairs; and other important information to assist in the search process.
Two sessions are scheduled for Monday, Jan. 27, 2020:
The next year promises to be a busy and exciting one, a time for collaborating more with one another and with the local community to move our university into the future.
Aloha and Happy New Year!
The spring semester will be a busy one at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo: we will be working on searches to stabilize our administrative staff and we will be moving into the planning stages of our new strategic plan.
Four major searches will be underway soon: a permanent vice chancellor for academic affairs, deans for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and also a dean of students. All of these positions will bring us increased stability and help us to improve our support for students.
This month we welcome on board a new director of institutional research, thereby doubling our staff in this area! I am pleased to announce the appointment of Bradley Thiessen, Ph.D., as our new director of institutional research effective Jan. 2. Dr. Thiessen has over fifteen years’ experience in higher education. He has established offices of institutional research twice in his career and has led institutional assessment efforts at three different institutions. He also has served as a faculty member in statistics, earning tenure at two institutions and advancing to the rank of professor in 2014.
Brad’s extensive background and experience will be extremely valuable to our university as we move UH Hilo into the future. This is especially important this year, as we move from the pre-planning stage to the planning stage of our new strategic plan. We’re going to move forward driven by our values—notably diversity and collaboration—but also informed by data. And Brad will be instrumental in analyzing the data to identify emerging trends and prioritizing goals and tactics.
Too often strategic plans remain merely plans, sitting on a shelf or posted on a website and soon forgotten. For that reason, in addition to building on our foundation blocks of values and data, the new UH Hilo plan will be organized around “strategic doing,” the process of collaborative, action-oriented planning that moves us toward measurable outcomes, all the while making necessary adjustments along the way.
Further, and perhaps most importantly, the main areas of focus will be on people, namely our students, and in our sense of place, meaning that strong identity we share with our local community and our island home. In other words, our students and the incredible place in which we live will be at the center of everything we do in the strategic planning process.
The plan will also be informed by the many conversations that have taken place over the last year or so—the listening tour headed by our strategic planning project manager Kathleen Baumgardner. The listening tour was a series of meetings with various stakeholder groups from across and beyond campus, with sessions that engaged people with diverse perspectives, and encouraged robust conversations that sparked fresh ideas.
In addition, the plan will be informed by what I have learned on my own listening tour, which I began as soon as I arrived in July and will continue through at least February. What I have learned so far:
Almost every promising practice regarding student success exists somewhere on our campus, but few of them are institutionalized.
Everyone at UH Hilo genuinely cares about students, even if we practice that care in different ways.
There are many good ideas on how we might improve what we do.
There is a craving among people to find ways to work together, across the boundaries of academic disciplines and across the divisions of the campus.
Our common ground is larger than our differences.
The biggest challenge may not be what we do next, but what we stop doing in order to free up some time and energy for the initiatives we want to undertake.
The next year promises to be a busy and exciting one, a time for us to take stock, gather and analyze the data, connect with one another in meaningful dialogue, and to think of innovative ways to collaborate more with one another and with the local community to move our university into the future.
I wish you all a Happy New Year. Be well, stay safe, and do good work in the world.
Bonnie D. Irwin
Header photo: Flowering tree on the UH Hilo campus. Photo credit: Raiatea Arcuri.
We have a wonderful ‘ohana here who cares deeply about students and about bettering the community in which we live. Thanks to each of you for your many contributions to our mission over the last several months.
Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana,
When I first arrived at UH Hilo this summer, I came full of hope for the future of our campus, our students, and our community, and I am happy to say that my many meetings with people both on and off campus have only strengthened that hope and made me even more optimistic. We have a wonderful ‘ohana here who cares deeply about students and about bettering the community in which we live. Thanks to each of you for your many contributions to our mission over the last several months.
As we near the end of the year, and our attention begins to turn to commencement and the holidays, I’d like to share with you just a few of my favorite highpoints of this semester.
Construction is finished on the new building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy! It took many people working together for many years to bring this beautiful building to fruition. The modern facilities beckon students to come here to study in a unique rural environment with an incredibly supportive community. Seeing the pride in the faces of our pharmacy students at the grand opening was such a joy. I have all confidence they will be top performers in their field, helping make the world a better place.
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education reaccredited our Doctor of Nursing Practice program through 2029, the maximum 10-year term. The program currently has 28 students, and has graduated 39 students since 2015. The DNP is a terminal degree in nursing and provides training to become a family nurse practitioner. There also is a leadership track. The doctoral level education focuses on primary care, cultural diversity, health disparities, health promotion, and disease prevention in rural communities to raise the quality of health for the people of our island and state.
Thirty-one UH Hilo student-athletes received Division II Academic Achievement Awards. The honorees for 2018-2019 are three more than the previous year. The program recognizes the academic accomplishments of Division II student-athletes; our student-athletes’ grade point averages are higher than they have ever been. This is quite an accomplishment! Awardees have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, attended school a minimum of four semesters, and been an active team member during this past academic year. Congratulations to all!
We started the fall semester with U.S. News and World Reportranking UH Hilo as most ethnically diverse campus among national universities. In the 2020 report of college rankings, UH Hilo received a diversity index of 77 percent. We are proud to serve such a diverse group of students—the assets they bring to UH Hilo enrich our community and help us provide an inclusive, high-quality education for all our students.
Our university ‘ohana returned from summer break to find a newly furnished lanai and lobby at Mookini Library. With an innovative design connected to nature, the library entranceway now immerses patrons in natural elements with comfortable seating made with local woods, tables shaped like rivers, images of ‘ōhi‘a blooms, and the aroma of fresh brewed local coffee. It’s a comfortable and welcoming place to study, meet up, or sit quietly to collect one’s thoughts. I have seen students gathered there from dawn to well into the evening hours.
Hale Pa‘i ‘Ai food pantry is now officially opened and has food available to any UH Hilo student in need of food assistance. Following guidance from the UH System Food Insecurity Committee, our pantry helps those in need, relieving some of the stress of tight budgets and limited resources. We want all our students to be fueled up and ready to learn, not distracted by trying times and nagging hunger. All UH Hilo students in need of food assistance are encouraged to stop by the food pantry during hours of operation!
I teamed up with Hawai‘i Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas to host the first wala‘au, a public conversation, about a collective vision of the future. Dialogue and listening were the main goals at the lunch session; Chancellor Solemsaas and I share a passion for community engagement and shared kuleana between the two institutions. Faculty, staff, and administrators from both campuses shared their insights, concerns, and vision of the future for Hawai‘i Island’s students, particularly transfer students, and about how we can work together to build strong pathways between our campuses for student success. College and university leadership is now working to build on the ideas shared at that session.
UH Hilo also hosted a strategic planning summit. The Seeds of Opportunity Summit gave the campus community and general public a chance to share their mana‘o about the future of the university. The summit capped our strategic pre-planning stage of collecting information for the strategic planning process. Every participant at the summit had a voice, and the conversations, along with those from the recent listening tour with faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members, and business partners, will help move the university forward into the important strategic planning stage.
Mahalo to the university ‘ohana for your hard work in making these and many other accomplishments possible. I wish you all a productive end of the semester and wonderful holiday season. I’ll see you at 2019 Fall Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 21, 9:00 a.m. at the UH Hilo Vulcan Gym.
Bonnie D. Irwin
Header photo: New building for the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy. Photo credit: Raiatea Arcuri.
Dr. Thiessen is excited to join us as we engage in the planning stages for our new strategic plan; he’s eager to analyze data to identify emerging trends and prioritize goals and tactics.
Aloha University of Hawai‘i at Hilo ‘Ohana,
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Bradley Thiessen, Ph.D., as our new director of institutional research effective Jan. 2, 2020.
Dr. Thiessen has over fifteen years’ experience in higher education. He has established offices of institutional research twice in his career and has led institutional assessment efforts at three different institutions. He also has served as a faculty member in statistics, earning tenure at two institutions and advancing to the rank of professor in 2014.
He is coming to UH Hilo from New College of Florida, a small, top-ranked, public liberal arts honors college in Sarasota, where he has served since 2016 as the president’s chief of staff, the director of institutional performance assessment, the accreditation liaison, and a professor of statistics.
Dr. Thiessen earned both his master of arts and doctor of philosophy in educational measurement and statistics from the University of Iowa. He also has accreditation as a professional statistician from the American Statistical Association.
Dr. Thiessen is excited to join us as we engage in the planning stages for our new strategic plan; he’s eager to analyze data to identify emerging trends and prioritize goals and tactics. His extensive background and experience will be extremely valuable to our university as we move UH Hilo into the future. Please join me in welcoming Brad to our university ‘ohana.