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Tag: Marcia Sakai

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: International students and exchange important for Hawai‘i

Having international students, exchange programs, and conferences as part of our university community enriches all Hawai‘i communities and contributes to the local culture and economy, which in turn raises the quality of life for everyone.

By Marcia Sakai.

Members of the press from the Study Hawai‘i Press Tour stand with UH Hilo staff and state officials on United Nations Day. (Left to right, front row) Eri Hall, Hawai‘i Community College; Christine Quintana, Hawai‘i CC; Huiyuan Wang, Studying Abroad Online; Claudia Civinini, EL Gazette; Yukari Kato, Ryugaku Journal; Patrick Atack, PIE News; and Amanda Sadamoto, UH Hilo student. (Back row): Jiaqi Wu, UH Hilo student; Igor Skibickij, Student Marketing; Jim Mellon, UH Hilo (Executive Director, Global and Intercultural Education Programs and Director, International Student Services and Intercultural Education); Aaron Baldwin, Mainichi News; Allan Mitelmao, E! Magazine; Todd Shumway, UH Hilo (Director, Global Exchange); Timothy Tiu, State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Click photo to enlarge.

We welcomed a group of special visitors to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo last month. Seven international education journalists from key press outlets in Asia, Latin America, and Europe were in the state visiting campuses on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island as part of a Study Hawai‘i Press Tour aimed to help counter the downward trend in international students studying in Hawai‘i.

This trend is of concern because of the important contributions international students make to the state in cross cultural understanding, global cooperation and economic growth. The tour was hosted by the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the Study Hawai‘i Educational Consortium, an organization of 28 public and private schools, colleges and universities dedicated to increasing the enrollment of international students in Hawai‘i.

Their concern in the decline is warranted.

According to DBEDT’s 2017 Hawai‘i International Education Survey (via the Office of the Governor) Hawai‘i hosted 10,800 students from 27 institutions during the 2016-17 academic year, down from 12,200 students from 31 institutions during the 2015-16 academic year.

The total direct economic financial impact of international students for the state was an estimated $225.3 million in 2016-17, down from $302 million in 2015-16. This amount includes tuition and fees plus living expenses. In addition to the direct impact, other economic benefits of international students in Hawai‘i for the 2016-17 period included:

  • $484 million added to the state’s total economic output, including direct, indirect, and induced effects.
  • $32 million in state taxes generated from the total economic output.
  • $192 million in household earnings attributed to foreign students.
  • 5,093 jobs supported by foreign students’ spending.
  • $24,139 overall average annual per student spending.

At UH Hilo, we’re not seeing a drop in international enrollment this semester compared to last year with 258 international students this fall (7.3 percent of total student population) up from last fall’s 245 (6.7 percent of total). But in the previous four years from 2012 to 2015, the counts were higher at 263, 276, 274, and 264 respectively.

International education is an important part of the mission of UH Hilo. We pride ourselves on our inclusive community of diverse people and we encourage dialogue where differences in ideas, viewpoints and traditions are valued—this promotes multicultural fluency and prepares our students well for the global society. Along with the initiatives underway at UH Hilo to boost recruitment and retention of state residents, it’s important that we also work on attracting students and scholars to our campus for study and exchange.

International Education Week

The journalists’ tour of Hawai‘i schools on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island was timed to coincide with International Education Week (Nov. 13-18), when the UH System joined universities across the country and the world to celebrate international education. Events at UH campuses throughout the state celebrated the contributions of international education and international students with food from countries around the world, dance and music performances, films, lectures and more.

At UH Hilo, the activities during International Education Week included our annual Parade of Nations, where groups of our international students walk from the Campus Center to the Library Lanai wearing traditional dress and displaying the flags of their homelands—it’s a fun and colorful event. On the Library Lanai, students from different parts of the world shared displays and information about their countries.

Parade of Nations, Nov. 17, 2017, UH Hilo campus. More photos.

It was wonderful to share this celebration with the visiting press and I know they came away with an understanding about how beautifully our international students thrive here.

Our celebration of diversity on campus isn’t limited to one week a year. In October, we held the annual Barrio Fiesta where UH Hilo and the local community celebrated the richness of Filipino heritage, culture and scholarship.

Female dancer with elaborate headdress and traditional clothing.
Barrio Fiesta, Oct. 27, UH Hilo campus. More photos.

As part of Filipino American Heritage Month, this year’s fiesta also served as the opening ceremonies of the first International Conference on Multidisciplinary Filipino Studies—the campus welcomed researchers from around the world to share and exchange ideas, research, and interest of Filipinos and the Philippines.

Having international students, exchange programs, and conferences as part of our university community enriches all Hawai‘i communities and contributes to the local culture and economy, which in turn raises the quality of life for everyone.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

UH Hilo faculty and staff invited to attend upcoming webinar on assessing academic advising programs

The webinar is sponsored by the Office of the Interim Chancellor and UH Hilo Professional Development Committee.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.A webinar is scheduled to provide valuable insights into how the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo can better assess and enhance academic advising programs and initiatives to meet retention goals and the overall enrollment management plan.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Your Academic Advising Programs  

DATE: Thursday, November 30, 2017.
TIME: 10:00 a.m.
PLACE: Student Services Center, room W-201, UH Hilo campus.

Objectives

  • Understand the differences between assessment and evaluation.
  • Review the relationship between institutional mission and student
    learning outcomes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of assessment tools, techniques, and
    strategies and the purposes which they serve.
  • Learn how to interpret assessment data and communicate findings to
    various constituents on campus.
  • Focus on using assessment results to implement enhancements to the
    advising program.
  • Recognize that assessment is an ongoing process.

Sponsors

The webinar is sponsored by the Office of the Interim Chancellor and UH Hilo Professional Development Committee.

Contact

Gail Makuakāne-Lundin.

Tuition available for workshop on website content

This class is designed for anyone who has or would like to build a website, whether it’s for personal use or growing a business.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.The College of Continuing Education and Community Service is offering free employee tuition through the support of the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund for the following course:

WORKSHOP: Website Content
DATE:
Mondays and Wednesdays, November 13-29
TIME: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
PLACE: Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall, room 112, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

This class is designed for anyone who has or would like to build a website, whether it’s for personal use or growing a business. Learn how to create and revise content to be most effective and engaging, while focusing on techniques to streamline website content that will make it easier for users to find, understand, and act on the information shared. By the end of the class, students will have the architecture and content necessary to move on to the next step of building a simple, compelling website.

Apply for free tuition online.

For more information, contact the College of Continuing Education and Community Service at (808) 932-7830 or email ccecs[at]hawaii.edu.

Interim Chancellor’s Message: New data science program leading the way to a sustainable future

The program is part of a statewide project funded by the National Science Foundation, which awarded the UH System $20 million last year to do a five-year study of water sustainability issues throughout the state.

By Marcia Sakai.

I am pleased to share an update on the exciting new data science degree program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The program is multidisciplinary in scope with elements of geophysics, microbiology, cyberinfrastructure, data modeling, indigenous knowledge, and economic forecasting. Students will learn how big data sets, from seemingly unrelated areas, can be used to solve complex problems.

Data science is a field that can have great impact on our local communities and environment. The collection and analysis of big data in areas such as water resources, for example, can reveal patterns and trends that can alert decision makers such as lawmakers and policymakers about the directions needed to ensure future stability for our island and state. This is especially important in relation to human behavior—for example, analyzing statewide water resources can reveal things our communities can do better to use and conserve water more efficiently.

‘Ike Wai

The UH Hilo data science program is part of a statewide project funded by the National Science Foundation, which awarded the UH System $20 million last year to do a five-year study of water sustainability issues throughout the state. The project is called ʻIke Wai (Knowledge, Water) and has the overall goal of gathering new data on groundwater flow, sustainable yield, and economic impact. The data will help communities and state decision makers preserve Hawaiʻi’s water resources for the future.

Travis Mandel

Four tenure-track professors will lead the UH Hilo program. The first two were hired over the summer: Travis Mandel, assistant professor of computer science and Grady Weyenberg (who grew up in Hilo), assistant professor of mathematics and statistician. They will be joined in the near future by the others in the natural and social sciences.

While developing the UH Hilo data science program, our faculty team will work with ‘Ike Wai data scientists and water researchers around the state, collaborating alongside local communities, indigenous peoples, government agencies and businesses to generate the scientific data. Partners also include undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty to address water challenges at the academic and policy level.

‘Ike Wai student scholars

Grady Weyenberg
Grady Weyenberg

As part of our program, a cohort of ‘Ike Wai student scholars will be chosen each year to do research and analyze the data collected (this year’s scholars are currently being chosen). The scholars will work with six faculty across natural science fields on research projects including investigation of local flora and fauna, genetics, and improving educational software. This is an invaluable training ground for our students, and when they graduate, they will have the background and skills needed to start professional careers in related fields. This is of immense benefit to our local communities and state.

Developing curriculum

Since Travis and Grady’s arrival, they have been hard at work on the process of getting approval for a certificate program in data science, which will be followed by a baccalaureate degree.

Meanwhile, proposals have been submitted to launch four new courses: three in computer science and one in math, which will form the core curriculum. Two of these courses will focus on computer programming and language, statistical techniques, and data plotting.

Grady is primarily involved in the development of the math course with focus on computing language and statistics, which will be attractive not only to students who are earning a data science certificate, but also to anyone in a natural science program (or even beyond) who needs an introduction to applied data analysis techniques. Target date to launch the new course is fall of 2018.

Travis is the new data science hire in computer science. He is also working on the design of the certificate and its courses, proposing a new course on cutting-edge machine learning techniques that will take students to the “next level” of data analysis. His research interests lie in the realm of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Specifically, he is interested in how we can use data to automatically improve human-focused systems.

While the university is developing curriculum, we also need to ensure that students are getting a good background in specialized techniques that will be useful for local industries, such as renewable energy and agriculture. It will be this practical application that will make the biggest impact on our local communities and economy.

Outreach

Faculty have recently begun reaching out to local schools and businesses, with the intent to ensure that a smooth transition can be created from secondary education to the university and through the data science program to the workplace. It will be wonderful to see high school students exposed to some of the interesting problems that can be addressed with data science before they get to the college level.

The development of the data science initiative makes us very proud of our campus—we are educating our students to be the problem solvers of our state’s future while helping to protect and conserve the islands’ precious natural resources.

Visit the EPSCoR website to learn more about the data science program and the ‘Ike Wai project.

See also: UH Hilo developing new data science program (UH Hilo Stories, Oct. 31, 2017).

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

UH Foundation annual calling campaign underway

You may be receiving a call from our UH Foundation students asking for your support of our campus initiatives.

Marcia Sakai and three students stand under tree.
Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai visits with students at the UH Foundation call center on O‘ahu.

Aloha,

The UH Foundation annual fall calling campaign began this month. I personally visited with the student fundraisers, at the Call Center in Honolulu, to share information about our various programs and activities here at our campus.

You may be receiving a call from our UHF students who will begin the call by confirming or asking to update your contact information and then transition to a fundraising appeal to support our campus initiatives.

We are a smaller university than we were last year but our campus needs are still large. We have been working hard to provide our students with the courses and programs they need for a well-rounded education.

Please donate to support our campus. Should you have any questions, please call Dale Hagadone at the foundation ph. 808-956-7357.

Mahalo for your support,

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

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