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Tag: Collaborations & Partnerships

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column, Jan. 2019: Helping our island and state grow into the future

We at UH Hilo take seriously our kuleana to help provide the workforce for new growth sectors in our economy, the scientific experts to help conserve the precious environment of our island and state, and the technological resources necessary for our communities to meet unexpected crises.

By Marcia Sakai

Aloha and Happy New Year!

I look forward to the coming year as progress and growth continues at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I’d like to focus this month’s column on a major goal of the university: to strengthen UH Hilo’s impact on the community, island, and state through responsive higher education, community partnerships, and knowledge and technology transfer.

Responsive higher education

The new building to house the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy is well on its way to completion in July. The modern classrooms, offices, student services, and laboratories will answer the great need for state-of-the-art facilities to train the pharmacists who will serve communities in our state and region.

New building to house the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, under construction, Dec. 11, 2018. Photo by Tracy Niimi.

Last month, our new bachelor of science in aeronautical sciences program was approved by the UH Board of Regents. There are two tracks: one in commercial professional pilot training and the other in commercial aerial information technology (drones)—both are projected workforce needs in the state. The pilot training track is cost effective compared to mainland programs. The drone track trains students for growing career opportunities in agriculture, natural resource management, search and rescue, security services, and expected air transport services.

UH Hilo launched its long-planned data science program this past fall by offering a certificate in the fast-growing field. The program is filling a need in the state because almost every branch of science collects massive amounts of data, but there are not a lot of trained people able to analyze that data and make conclusions—for example, here on our island, there is a great need in conservation efforts, water resource management, and climate change research.

Partnerships

Partnerships are key to conducting effective scientific inquiry into 21st century challenges. Here is an example in the field of conservation biology, specifically research to save the endangered ‘alalā (Hawaiian crow) from extinction.

alala
One of the recently released ʻalalā. Photo San Diego Zoo Global.

In collaboration with a Silicon Valley company that provides sophisticated genomic analysis systems, geneticists at UH Hilo and San Diego Zoo Global have fully sequenced the genome of the endangered ‘alalā. Once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, the sequencing of the species’ genome will be important to track any genetic challenges that may occur due to the reduced genetic diversity now seen in the species. This is an extremely important contribution to conservation genetics. The genome assembly is now publicly available.

Currently, the UH Hilo geneticists are collaborating with researchers from California, New Zealand, and Australia to do a genetics study addressing the hatching failure of the ‘alalā and the endangered kākāpō of New Zealand.

Another research team, this one from the UH Hilo Bioacoustics Lab, recently received a $50,000 award from the Disney Conservation Fund to work in collaboration with the ʻAlalā Project, a partnership between the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, San Diego Zoo Global, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to find out if captively reared ‘alalā are developing new vocalizations as they adapt to new situations encountered in the wild. This information will greatly assist in the conservation efforts of ʻalalā.

Knowledge and technology transfer

UH Hilo’s response to the recent lava flow in Puna is a good example of the university sharing its expert knowledge and technology resources for the benefit of our local communities.

As the lava threatened vulnerable communities, Hawai‘i County Civil Defense reached out to UH Hilo’s experts in drone technology to do high-resolution mapping of the flow areas. Government responders needed to pinpoint exact locations of the advancing lava, and the UH Hilo drone team was able to capture overhead shots, and then quickly relay that information to Civil Defense.

Another research team from UH Hilo conducted real-time chemistry analysis of lava samples that helped determine how the lava would behave and how fast it would move. The data provided critical information to the U.S. Geological Survey scientists responding to the natural disaster. The samples were collected daily from the flows, bagged and dated, and brought back to the Hilo campus for analysis. It was the first time scientists looked at the chemistry at the same time the volcano was erupting.

Yet another research team provided precise leveling of the ground around the Puna power plant to detect whether the surface was rising due to the flow of magma beneath the surface. The monitoring would alert officials if the facility was about to be compromised.

The longer-term scientific value of the data collected by these research teams helps government officials better understand these types of eruptions so that responders can do an even better job of predicting in the future.

Thinking ahead

We at UH Hilo take seriously our kuleana to help provide the workforce for new growth sectors in our economy, the scientific experts to help conserve the precious environment of our island and state, and the technological resources necessary for our communities to meet unexpected crises. By working together with our local communities and in collaboration with myriad partners, we help improve the quality of life for everyone.

Wishing you a happy and productive 2019!

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

Message from the Interim Chancellor to UH Hilo Community: It’s been a wonderful semester, filled with accomplishments

Above photo: Happy customers at the sold-out annual poinsettia plant sale, Campus Center Plaza, UH Hilo. The plants are grown by students of the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management. Nov. 28, 2018. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri.

A message from Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai to the UH Hilo community:

As we start the holiday season, I reflect on the amazing and talented people who are part of our university ‘ohana, and I’d like to share with you some of the accomplishments of the past semester.

Incoming Freshman Class, August 2018.

We started our new academic year with The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2018 Almanac ranking the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo as the most diverse four-year public university in the United States. The cultural and ethnic diversity found in our university ‘ohana strengthens everything we do in teaching, research, and outreach, and prepares our students to be productive citizens in the real world.

Two student playing pick up ball.
Students play at the renovated court.

We also started the semester with two new outdoor gathering spaces for our students: a newly renovated basketball court behind Auxiliary Services complete with a grill and several covered picnic tables with solar powered e-recharging stations, and covered solar recharging stations outside the Student Services building. The new spaces, complete USB charging ports and Wi-Fi access, were built through a great collaborative project with students from the carpentry program at Hawai‘i Community College.

Jolene Sutton
Jolene Sutton

A team of our genetic researchers studying the ‘alalā (Hawaiian crow), led by biologist Jolene Sutton, published their work describing the high-quality reference genome that was generated to assist recovery efforts for the endangered bird. Researchers Martin Helmkampf  and Renee Bellinger, along with collaborators from the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program, San Diego Zoo Global, and Pacific Biosciences, all contributed to the project. This is an extremely important contribution to the world of conservation genetics. The genome assembly is now publicly available.

Geneviève Blanchet
Geneviève Blanchet

And our conservation biology students also made headlines. A group of our graduate students in the tropical conservation biology and environmental science program presented their work at the 25th Annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference held in Honolulu. Two of the students came home with honorsGeneviève Blanchet was awarded Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation, and Koa Matsuoka was awarded Runner-Up for Outstanding Graduate Poster Presentation.

Makalapua Alencastre, Roxanne DeLille, Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, Noelani Iokepa-Guerrero, Kananinohea Mākaʻimoku, Ray Barnhardt, Walter Kahumoku III, Kamehaʻililani Waiau, Keane Nakapueo-Garcia, and Sylvia Hussey,
UH Hilo group at Sami University of Applied Sciences, Norway, for accreditation recognition from the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.

The Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program received accreditation. The UH Hilo graduate certificate program is the first teacher education program in the world to receive accreditation from the prestigious international authority, the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium. The consortium also renewed accreditation for the UH Hilo Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, director of the college, and all faculty and staff of the college are to be congratulated for their hard work in making UH Hilo’s language and culture revitalization program a model for the world to follow.

Students in computer lab.
Pierre Martin (right), associate professor of astronomy and observatory director, with students in the upgraded computer lab.

Students and researchers in the physics and astronomy program celebrated the installation of 12 brand new high-end desktops and monitors, along with a new data processing and storage Linux computer system, thanks to a generous donation by the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory. The TMT gift totaled over $28,000 in equipment, supporting the replacement of 10 aged computers purchased in 2010 that no longer met department needs.

UH Hilo launched its long-planned data science program this fall by offering a certificate in the fast growing field. Program Director Roberto Pelayo says the program is filling a need in the state because almost every branch of science collects massive amounts of data, but there are not a lot of trained people able to analyze that data and make conclusions—for example, here on our island, in conservation efforts, water resource management, and climate change impacts. The data science certificate is open to all students, regardless of major or background. Computer scientist Travis Mandel, mathematician Grady Weyenberg, and colleagues across many branches of science put in untold hours to create this new data science program.

Two people with drone landed on lawn.
UH Hilo drone team took a lead role in collecting data during the recent lava flow in Puna. Photo via UH System News.

Last month, a new aeronautical sciences degree program was approved by the UH Board of Regents. The provisional bachelor of science program has two concentrations: one in commercial professional pilot training, and another in commercial aerial information technology (which utilizes drones), where there is a high projected workforce need in the state. Ken Hon, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Bruce Mathews, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management where the program is housed, achieved a major milestone in bringing the program to life.

These are just a few of the exciting accomplishments of the semester that provide positive learning experiences for our students, conduct important research for our environment and communities, and expand outreach to improve the quality of life for everyone. Mahalo to all of you for your contributions.

Sending aloha to you this holiday season.

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

2018 Fall Food Drive underway

Non-perishable food items and monetary donations are being accepted and will be donated to the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket

Words: Food Basket Inc, Hawaii Island Food Bank. Against green image of breadfruit.The Fall Food Drive is underway at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The event, hosted by the Campus and Community Service program is happening from Oct. 29 through Nov. 14, 2018.

Non-perishable food items are accepted and will be donated to the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. The UH Hilo goal is to raise $550.00 and collect 350 lbs of food. As of Nov. 2, $115.50 and 46.2 lbs of food has been collected.

Food donations can be left at the following locations on campus:

  • Campus Center, room 210
  • School of Education in University Classroom Building, room 313
  • Division of Student Affairs office in Student Services Center, room W-306
  • Performing Arts Center Box Office
  • Athletics Office
  • Mookini Library

Monetary donations can be made at the Campus Center Sodexo Dining Hall at each of the registers or online. Online donations should include the notation “TO UH HILO” in the memo so that it will count towards UH Hilo totals. Checks can also be made, payable to “Hawaii Island Food Basket”—the Campus Community Service office will provide pick up of checks (send an email request for pick up).

Hunger Banquet

The campus community is invited to the Hunger Banquet on Nov. 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., in Campus Center, room 301. The event highlights the disparity in access to food and resources globally.

Contact

Campus Community Service office.

Fundraiser held to benefit lava rescue horses and mini donkey now housed at UH Hilo Farm

Bentos for Bob-Bob: The benefit is a partnership with UH Hilo, Chef Alan Wong, the Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong program, and Sodexo Dining Services.

Alan Wong and Marcia Sakai.
Chef Alan Wong (left) and Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai with Bob-Bob, a miniature donkey rescued during the recent lava flow in Puna and now housed at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory along with 22 rescue horses. Photo taken outside the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Sept. 24, 2018. Raiatea Arcuri/UH Hilo Stories.
Alan Wong and Marcia Sakai.
Alan Wong looks on while Marcia Sakai feeds Bob-Bob. Photo by Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, click to enlarge.

Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai attended a fundraiser today to benefit a community outreach project at the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management. The “Bento Benefit for Bob-Bob” raised $2,500 to help support University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s equine program to fund medication, horse supplements, and veterinary care for horses at UH Hilo’s Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa.

In May 2018, with the Kilauea eruption in Puna, 22 horses and the mini-donkey Bob-Bob were displaced from their homes and fostered at the UH Hilo Farm. Their care has been provided by UH Hilo pre-veterinary students and volunteers.

The benefit is a partnership with UH Hilo, Chef Alan Wong, the Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong program, and Sodexo Dining Services. The UH Hilo farm is home to the apiary that is central to Alan Wong’s Adopt-a-Beehive Program.

Bentos were pre-sold and picked up on campus today where Bob-Bob was on hand to thank everyone in person.

Chef Alan Wong, Reid Kusano, and Dylan Sugimoto.
(Left to right) Chef Alan Wong and Sodexo’s Reid Kusano thank Dylan Sugimoto, a senior, as he picks up his bento Sept. 24 on the UH Hilo campus. Raiatea Arcuri/UH Hilo Stories.

UH asking for public input on Maunakea rules for public and commercial activities; hearings scheduled

The public is strongly encouraged to participate in the process as the testimony will be taken into consideration as the rules are finalized.

The University of Hawaiʻi invites the public to provide input on the proposed draft of the administrative rules that will govern public and commercial activities on UH-managed lands on Maunakea—Chapter 20–26, Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules. Testimony may be submitted in four ways up until the end of the last noticed hearing:

  1.  Online at the UH Government Relations website;
  2. Via email at uhhar@hawaii.edu;
  3. In writing to UH Government Relations Office, 2442 Campus Road, Administrative Services Building 1-101, Honolulu, HI, 96822; and/or
  4. In person at one of four public hearings:
  • September 24, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Sullivan Conference Center, UH Cancer Center, 701 Ilalo Street, Honolulu
  • September 25, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, 600 ʻImiloa Place, Hilo
  • September 26, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m., Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School, 68-1730 Hoʻoko Street, Waikoloa
  • September 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., ʻIke Leʻa—Room 144, UH Maui College, 310 West Kaʻahumanu Avenue, Kahului

The public is strongly encouraged to participate in the process as the testimony will be taken into consideration as the rules are finalized. The rules will then go to the UH Board of Regents for a publicly noticed decision making meeting that will also accept public testimony. If approved at that point, the rules will proceed thru the Administrative Rules process to the governor for final review and approval.

“The administrative rules provide the university with an important stewardship tool to more effectively protect the cultural, natural and scientific resources on Maunakea and provide measures to better ensure public health and safety,“ says UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai.

The draft rules were developed after extensive community outreach that included several publicly noticed meetings, open houses and consultation with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Small Business Regulatory Review Board. The draft rules as required by statute are consistent with rules currently in place for similar lands managed by DLNR, including forest and natural area reserves.

The UH Board of Regents approved the draft rules for public hearings on June 7, and Governor David Ige gave his approval to move ahead with public hearings in July 2018.

See UH System News release for more information and FAQs.