Mar 022017
 

This type of cultural exchange strengthens a natural partnership, building on a longstanding relationship between Hawai‘i and Japan.

By Don Straney

Last month, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo hosted a Baseball Cultural Tour with players from Chuo University, Tokyo. Chuo is one of the highest ranked academic schools in Japan—located in Tokyo, it has nearly 25,000 students on four campuses.

Chuo University Baseball Team

The Chuo delegation of 35 players, four coaches and administration officials arrived in Hilo on Feb. 19 for a one week cultural tour on Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu.

The Chuo delegation lodged in UH Hilo on-campus housing for the duration of their visit on Hawai‘i Island, and during their stay, there were two exhibition games, Chuo vs Hilo, on Feb. 21 and 22. As is fitting for a cultural exchange tour, the two-game series split with Chuo winning the opening game by a score of 7-3 and Hilo winning the second game 2-1. I should note that Chuo won the Japan equivalent of the College Baseball World Series in 2016.

The games were a highlight of the tour, part of a larger context of connecting and sharing aloha. This type of cultural exchange strengthens a natural partnership, building on a longstanding relationship between Hawai‘i and Japan. UH Hilo is also currently working collaboratively on common, modern challenges with several universities in Japan in a wide range of fields: business, pharmacy, traditional medicine, disaster resilience, technology, and sustainability.

So it’s only natural to extend that connection through athletics, and baseball in particular. Chuo University is inspirational in its athletic achievements, producing many champions and Olympians, and it was an honor to have them visit and play here.

UH Hilo Baseball Team

On Feb. 20, the Vulcan Baseball team, in partnership with the Japanese Community Association of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Japanese Center, hosted the Chuo baseball team and their delegation at a welcome reception that included dinner.

I enjoyed giving welcome remarks at the dinner along with Baseball Coach Kallen Miyatake; Director of Athletics Patrick Guillen; Dennis Kauka representing Mayor Harry Kim; Ryan Chong from County Parks and Recreation; Art Taniguchi, Honorary Consul General of Japan; Ivan Nakano, President, Japanese Community Association of Hawai‘i; Russell Arikawa, President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai‘i; Reverend Naohiro Hotta of Hilo Daijingu Church; and Koji Ikeda, Head Baseball Coach at Chuo University.

I’d also like to give a shout out to Hawai‘i State Representative Mark Hashem (Kāhala, Hawai‘i Kai), who was instrumental in the initial discussions three years ago to make this trip a reality, along with Terry Yagihara and Nathan Yoshioka from Honolulu who helped bridge the ties to Chuo University and UH Hilo.

This was truly a community event. On behalf of UH Hilo, I would like to extend mahalo to the Chuo University baseball team for coming to Hilo, the Hilo business community and Booster Supporters of the Vulcan baseball team, Arnold and Eloise Hiura (Hawai‘i Japanese Center), Gladys Sonomura and the volunteers at the Hawai‘i Japanese Center, Barry Taniguchi of KTA Superstores for his longtime support of UH Hilo, Derek Kurisu, George Yoshida, George and Shirley Ito for video, John Oshima for photography, and Reiko Hamano for interpretative services.

The future intent is to return the series trip to Tokyo to play Chuo University in 2018, then either host Chuo again in 2019 or another Japanese team in future years.

Aloha,

Don Straney

Jan 032017
 

The Running Start and Early College programs help students prepare for college life, making it easier for them to be successful right through to graduation.

By Don Straney.

As we look to our work in 2017, a high priority at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is to improve significantly the recruiting, retention and graduation of our students. I’d like to share with you two programs showing great progress on recruiting and the success of our students: the Running Start and Early College programs.

Both programs are partnerships between UH and the State Department of Education. UH also has an Early College partnership with Kamehameha Schools.

Running Start

The Running Start program has been around for years. It allows local high school students to take a college course at one of the 10 UH System campuses across the state. In this way, high school students are attending classes with college and university students and getting acclimated to college life and demands. Students receive dual credit, high school and college credit, for successful completion of the course.

Prior to spring 2015, UH Hilo had a small number of students in Running Start. It was after we started offering Early College classes a couple of years ago that we began to see a significant increase in enrollment.

Early College

In the Early College program, university courses are taught by a university professor on the student’s high school campus. Upon successful completion of the course, the student receives both high school and college credit.

The purpose is to have more high school students graduate with college credits so they are better prepared for their future degree and career.

This type of program works. I started college with credit for two high school courses. They were both required so I started by taking more advanced courses, and that let me to finish my undergraduate degree early.

I recommend high school students consider taking early college courses not just to get a head start, but to understand they are ready for college-level work and that UH may be the next step for their education.

In 2015, twelve high schools statewide were selected to participate in the Early College DOE program so as to increase the number of high school students earning six or more college credits before they graduate from high school. Four public high schools on Hawai‘i Island are participating. Kamehameha Schools also entered into a partnership with UH Hilo.

Some of the introductory classes provided by UH Hilo in the last two years are in astronomy, psychology, and sociology at Kohala High. Anthropology, art, communication, English, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and math are offered at the Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus.

Hawai‘i Community College also has partnerships with high schools on the island and UH Hilo is working closely with them to bring the Early College program to the whole island.

Kohala High School is working with Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo. Hilo High School, Kealakehe High and Waiakea High are working with Hawai‘i CC.

Collaboration for success

As we gear up for the next legislative session, it’s important to note that the DOE and the Governor have a goal of making funds available to the DOE to provide students statewide with the opportunity to complete six college credits prior to their high school graduation. This will ensure we have close working relationships with the high schools while the students take one college class per semester in their senior year or one college class per year in each of their junior and senior years.

All regular admissions criteria to UH still apply, so incoming students participating in Running Start and Early College still need to meet minimum grade point average requirements for acceptance into a UH school. But the programs greatly help with exactly that preparation and transition into college life, giving students a jump start and making it easier for them to acclimate to college life and be successful right through to graduation.

For more information about our Running Start and Early College programs, contact Zach Street or Stacie Higgins.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!

Aloha,

Don Straney

Oct 132016
 

The UH Hilo campus campaign drive will run from Friday, Oct. 14 through Thursday, Nov. 10.

hiuw-logo

Aloha,

The Hawai‘i Island United Way has launched its 2016 campaign. Our campus campaign drive will run from Friday, Oct. 14 through Thursday, Nov. 10.

In past campaigns, the response from University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s ‘ohana has enabled Hawai‘i Island United Way to continue its partnerships with numerous non-profit organizations that make a measurable difference in the community.

Packets will be delivered to units starting from tomorrow, Oct. 14. Collection will be by Thursday, Nov. 10.

Let’s continue this support to improve the quality of life for all in our island community.

Mahalo for your kokua,

Don Straney

Coming Out Day

 Posted by
Oct 132016
 

Chancellor Straney was keynote speaker at UH Hilo’s Coming Out Day event, where he shared his personal experience as a gay man in higher education.

Chancellor Straney and Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGBTQ coordinator, at Coming Out Day event. Courtesy photo.

Chancellor Straney and Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGBTQ coordinator, at Coming Out Day event. Courtesy photo.

coming-out-dayChancellor Don Straney was the keynote speaker at the Coming Out Day event held on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo on Tuesday.

Chancellor Straney shared his personal experience as a gay man in higher education.

“He was authentic in his sharing, allowing for students to relate and see a different side of him,” says Laura Sherwood, UH Hilo LGTBQ coordinator.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports on the event:

When Donald Straney was an undergrad at Michigan State University, he said he was “absolutely convinced” he was the only gay person on campus.

It was the 1970s and the 40,000-student MSU didn’t have an LGBTQ+ center — a hub for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and/or questioning individuals to convene, access resources or get help.

“There was no way for me to know otherwise,” Straney, chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, told about 50 students, staff and faculty members Tuesday.

This fall, Straney, along with other UH-Hilo administrators and student leaders, helped start the new LGBTQ+ Center on the Hilo campus.

The center is located in a small room on the edge of campus formerly used as faculty offices. Costs — which include operations and funding a center coordinator position — are estimated to run about $45,000 per year, according to Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail Makuakane-Lundin.

Straney, who was keynote speaker for an on-campus celebration of National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, said he hopes the center gives students a place to meet, get information and — most importantly — increase the LGBTQ+ community’s visibility on the Hilo campus.

“From my point of view, the most important thing the center does is it lets people know that we’re here,” he told those gathered in the Campus Center Plaza. “It lets prospective students know that (LGBTQ+) students have a place on campus.”

Read full story…

Learn more about resources for LGBTQ students at UH Hilo.

Oct 122016
 

The annual event is a celebration of Filipino culture with colorful costumes, song and dance on the campus’s central plaza.

barriofest2016-59

Photos by Bob Douglas, click to enlarge.

 

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo launched 2016 Filipino American Heritage Month with the Barrio Fiesta held on Saturday. The annual event is a celebration with colorful costumes, song and dance on the campus’s central plaza.

The 2016 Barrio Fiesta was fashioned after a traditional Filipino fiesta celebration with a festive gathering of special guests, administration, politicians, community members, students, faculty and staff. Chancellor Straney attended (see photo above right). Performances and traditional Filipino folk games and contests were featured including the famous balut (unhatched fertilized duck egg) -eating contest.

Photographer Bob Douglas was there to capture the celebration. See more photos at UH Hilo Stories.

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