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Tag: Community Outreach

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 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 to UH ‘Ohana: Prepare now for higher than normal hurricane season

Forecasters predict this season will have a 70 percent chance of being a higher than normal season with the likelihood of five to eight tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific.

Banner with the words: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS BEGINS WITH YOU. Logo graphic of volcanic eruption.

Announcement to University of Hawai‘i ‘Ohana:

The National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office today released its annual forecast for the upcoming hurricane season and now is the time to start preparing for the upcoming months.

Forecasters predict this season will have a 70 percent chance of being a higher than normal season with the likelihood of five to eight tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific. These include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Hurricane season in Hawai‘i occurs roughly between June 1 and November 30.

Last year, Hurricane Lane dumped up to 50 inches of rain and caused damage to parts of Hawaii Island and Maui. UH campuses were forced to close.

The Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency great tips and resources

UH Resources

All members of the UH community are urged to sign up for UH Alert to receive emergency text alerts. If you have already signed up, log in to ensure that contact information is up-to-date.

Notifications affecting UH campuses will be posted on the emergency information web page, as well as on social media:

UH Hilo social media accounts:

Pacific Disaster Center’s Disaster Alert

There is also the Pacific Disaster Center’s Disaster Alert desktop version and an app with updated information.

Be safe!

This message was originally sent via email from the UH System Administration Offices to the UH community.

 

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Presentation: Aloha ‘Āina Maunakea

Photo of Mauankea with words: Aloha Aina Maunakea, Voices of the Land, Friday, April 26, 2019, 1pm-2pm, Wentworth 1

The presentation Aloha ‘Āina Maunakea is scheduled for today, April 26, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Wentworth 1.

A cultural perspective of the kuleana (responsibility) of two Hawaiian practitioners on Maunakea will be presented by Luana Busby-Neff and Leilani Kaapuni and facilitated by Manulani Meyer, Director for Kūlana o Kapolei, a Hawaiian Place of Learning at University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu.

More information about the presentation.

 

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Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column, April 2019: Working toward organizational excellence

Together, the UH Hilo ‘ohana and our collaborative community partners are continuously working toward organizational excellence and moving our university successfully into the future.

By Marcia Sakai.

Marcia Sakai
Marcia Sakai

One of the top goals at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is to facilitate organizational excellence through continuous innovation, responsible resource development, and effective communication. We are continuously working to improve our planning, financial and human resource management, and accountability, demonstrating our commitment to the state of Hawaiʻi. An important part of this goal is for our employees to experience a collegial and enjoyable working environment that is exemplified by effective communication, clear processes, and procedures.

One good example of striving to meet this goal is the planning process of our new strategic plan, now underway. Currently, our strategic planning project manager Kathleen Baumgardner is conducting a listening tour across 40 campus units and elsewhere to seek input about historical progress and future needs from faculty, staff, students and the local community.

The sessions are organized around a series of questions rooted in “Appreciative Inquiry,” a model that seeks to engage all stakeholders in self-determined change. When people talk and communicate with one another through this collaborative process, they can co-construct the structures, strategies, and processes needed to move forward. Participants create the future they want by building on the best of the past. Problems are identified and participants consider how weaknesses might be overcome by strengths.

Members of the UH Hilo and local communities are encouraged to participate in this process. In addition to planning sessions, one way to contribute is by answering the “Question of the Month” found on the UH Hilo Strategic Planning website. Everyone is invited to participate.

Among the members of the UH Hilo ‘ohana, listeners of the tour outcomes will include our new UH Hilo chancellor (Bonnie Irwin arrives July 1) and a Strategic Planning Committee that will be formed once the permanent chancellor is in place. The committee will review the notes of all meetings as well as a summary report that will help inform the development of the next UH Hilo Strategic Plan.

Ultimately, the planning process will help create a foundation for an inclusive and living strategic plan for our campus. The new plan will be collaboratively developed and implemented, then monitored and revised on an ongoing basis to be effective and to guide us for years to come.

Effective communication

An example of facilitating organizational excellence through effective communication is found in our constant push to improve internal and external communication.

Internally, a new weekly email communication to the UH Hilo ‘ohana called Haʻilono has replaced the monthly Ka Lono Hanakahi faculty newsletter. In addition to being ADA compliant, this new “e-blast” allows us to share information with the university community in a much timelier manner. Brief information and links to more in-depth coverage are provided on a wide range of topics: academics, administration, awards, campus security, operations and services, faculty accomplishments, research, athletics, and upcoming events.

An overall and large undertaking is underway to bring our entire university website into ADA compliance. As a matter of equity and diversity, we are committed to ensuring that campus computing and information resources are accessible to disabled students, faculty, and staff. This is a longstanding requirement under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Web accessibility standards are newer, but part of our accessibility obligations and commitment. UH Hilo is well on the way to meeting its mandatory compliance.

In local media, this year’s special University Town insert in the March 24 edition of the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald features our academic programs that were most asked about by Hawai‘i Island students attending college fairs and presentations. Topics covered are the new aeronautical science, computer science, and language revitalization programs. Our living-learning residential communities are also highlighted.

Also being published in the Hawaiʻi Tribune-Herald is Ka Nūpepa, that features UH Hilo six times throughout the course of this year, in full-page, full-color editorial and advertisement combinations. Topics include colleges and programs, all focused on student and faculty excellence.

And, I am enjoying our quarterly “talk story” coffees with the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce members. I’ve been bringing along a faculty expert to share with our business leaders the latest news from different academic units, i.e., lava flow research, business theory, and community health care.

Leadership    

Before I close, I’d like to add that we are also working to strengthen university leadership, a crucial key to organizational excellence. Progress on this front is indicated by the identification of a permanent chancellor, the beginning of a review committee for the job of vice chancellor for academic affairs, and further plans for filling interim dean positions.

Together, the UH Hilo ‘ohana and our collaborative community partners are continuously working toward organizational excellence and moving our university successfully into the future. Mahalo to all who are engaged in the process.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

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