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Tag: Workforce Development

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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Interim Chancellor’s message concerning the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

The college will take strong, proactive measures to reduce costs commensurate with an anticipated smaller incoming class for Fall 2019, and perhaps for the next several years.

Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana:

Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy University of Hawaii and Hilo sealI write today to inform you of news concerning our Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP).

When the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy opened in 2007 there was a severe shortage of pharmacists in Hawai‘i and a shortage of capacity in pharmacy schools nationwide. DKICP was launched to address these gaps with an innovative financial plan that was based on a strong base of non-resident students who would complement local enrollment and pay a higher tuition rate.

While DKICP continues to serve a unique and vital mission for Hawai‘i and the Pacific, the rapidly changing healthcare environment in Hawai‘i, the Pacific, and the nation has negatively affected enrollment. As a result, DKICP will take strong, proactive measures to reduce costs commensurate with an anticipated smaller incoming class for Fall 2019, and perhaps for the next several years.

At the same time, DKICP will initiate a process of program redesign, consistent with ACPE accreditation, to help reverse the current enrollment decline by attracting more students. This will be complemented with an investment in aggressive, competitive recruitment initiatives, which will be enhanced with the availability of the new state-of-the-art DKICP education and research facility that opens Fall 2019 in our University Park of Science and Technology.

Painful as these measures are today, UH Hilo and DKICP share in the excitement of new opportunities so that we can continue to prepare our students to excel as they participate in and shape the dynamic and challenging field of pharmacy and healthcare in Hawai‘i and beyond.

Mahalo,

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

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Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column, May 2019: Navigating change and complexity

Above, view of UH Hilo campus looking toward Student Services Building. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri.

Higher education throughout the country faces challenges that are systemic and the need for change is not just over the horizon but already here.

By Marcia Sakai.

Marcia Sakai
Marcia Sakai

The world in which we live is becoming increasingly complex and changing at an increasingly faster pace. This column takes a look at why the world of higher education is no different.

I have been fortunate during my career at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to witness and participate in UH Hilo’s growth to become a full blown comprehensive university. With the support of the community, we now have an array of undergraduate majors in agriculture, the natural and health sciences, social science, culture and the arts, business, and pharmacy studies, and selected graduate programs in conservation biology and environmental science, nursing, Hawaiian language, teaching, and counseling.

Our campus facilities are well matched to this growth and include well maintained classroom and office buildings, student service and student life buildings, athletic facilities, residence halls, and instructional farm and aquaculture facilities.

But higher education throughout the country faces challenges that are systemic and the need for change is not just over the horizon but already here. Our approach to the changing environment of higher education is being shaped by several highly influential areas, and UH Hilo will need to position itself to meet these challenges.

Changing demographics

There are two clear demographic changes happening in higher education throughout the country that challenge the way higher education is currently modeled.

First, the number of high school graduates has stagnated across the nation, and even though projections currently show a slight growth in Hawai‘i, it’s believed the college-going population in the country will drop by 15 percent between 2025 and 2029. I believe that competition among institutions of higher education for this shrinking pool of traditional age college students will increase, and that we will see increased recruiting from out-of-state institutions for Hawai‘i high school seniors. This situation brings challenges to higher education in recruiting and in funding generated by tuition. But, UH Hilo brings value to the people it serves and will need to refine and better communicate this value.

Another change is that disruptive changes in industry will make career changes more frequent and more and more people will need to periodically update their education and knowledge. These are the non-traditional (25 years or older) students for whom evening classes and online courses are more attractive. UH Hilo’s development of online learning will need to address this group. Our master of arts in teaching currently serves working teachers who want to build stronger curriculum and pedagogy to improve our local schools and positively impact their students. We also are answering this challenge with new degree and certificate programs for future jobs such as in data science and aeronautical science.

The importance of liberal arts

UH Hilo is already helping to answer workforce needs for more scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians—the STEM disciplines. These are the professionals who will see us through the greatest challenges of the times: climate change, environmental conservation, biomedical discovery, health care, sustainability issues, and more.

But equally important in building a modern and resilient workforce is for all students to develop their core liberal arts skills. These are the skills that will support their transition through multiple career changes.

UH Hilo is at its core a liberal arts institution with core liberal arts values and an array of programs across a broad range of career pathways. By the time our students graduate with advanced knowledge in their chosen major, they have also gained foundational skills in written communication, language, reasoning, and an appreciation for multiculturalism, humanities and the arts, and natural and social sciences. Our students complete an education that prepares them well to adapt throughout their careers as industries rapidly change.

The challenge of funding

I would be remiss to leave out funding in a column devoted to challenges. Hawai‘i continues to provide among the largest share of public support for higher education, but annual tuition charges have grown to make up the difference in the cost of providing services. This clearly creates a barrier to access for many students who are our kuleana to educate. While the growing reliance on tuition can be related to the increased earning power of the graduate, which is a private benefit, I believe that we as a society need to reverse the view of education as a pure private good. Education for one benefits our communities and society at large, and investing in higher education is an investment in the future of our island and state.

The great equalizer

Higher education is the great equalizer. It provides social mobility and is the key to a successful democracy. UH Hilo’s challenge is to find the very best ways to continue our mission of providing access to higher education for the people of Hawai‘i island and the state, in order to build resiliency in itself and in our students for us all to move successfully into the future.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

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Interim Chancellor’s Column in Hawaii Tribune-Herald Special Section, University Town 2019

Column by Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai
Hawaii Tribune-Herald Special Section: University Town 2019
March 24, 2019

UH Hilo: A comprehensive university serving the community

Marcia Sakai
Marcia Sakai

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo mission is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery, and creativity inside and outside the classroom.

With core liberal arts values and an array of programs across a broad range of career pathways, our students complete an education that prepares them for continuous learning needed in the 21st century. By the time they graduate with advanced knowledge in their chosen major, our students have gained foundational skills in written communication, language, reasoning, and an appreciation for multiculturalism, humanities and the arts, and natural and social sciences.

Our students learn from many sources during their time with us, and I would like to focus this column on three foundational areas that prepare our students to achieve their goals and to be contributing members to the community.

Communication

With the deluge of information coming at us every day, good communication skills are crucial for professionals in the 21st century. This means mastery in delivering written and verbal information, and also in receiving information through active listening.

Throughout their years with us, students are required to explore and develop these skills through individual work and also through projects that require teamwork. For example, we have had students out in the community as interns listening to the needs of local businesses and organizations, helping to hone plans for better outcomes.

As we move into a data-filled future, communication also includes skills such as data visualization, a sophisticated form of scientific communication where large data sets are converted into simply designed presentations for other scientists or the general public. With new technology on campus, students are learning hands-on skills for creating effective data visualization products in a broad range of topical issues such as water conservation and natural disaster response.

Community

Building strong communities is extremely important in our local culture, and UH Hilo takes pride in doing outreach that helps raise the quality of life for everyone. Every student at UH Hilo is offered opportunities to apply their classroom learning to the real world through internships, service learning, and community activities.

For example, the Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Science (PIPES) immerses students in internships each summer to help solve problems affecting our communities, such as climate change and invasive species. Our pharmacy college sponsors events that showcase research on prevalent health issues. Student-athletes go into local classrooms to inspire elementary students to read. Our students give back by paying forward.

Further, the North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center in Honoka‘a, while honoring the history and traditional culture, helps local high school students prepare for college, provides adults with lifelong learning activities, and gives the town a meeting place to gather and create new memories.
And our Center for Community Engagement offers non-credit courses open to everyone interested in lifelong learning. The center also supports faculty in community-engaged teaching, a perfect example of UH Hilo’s adage, “One learns from many sources.”

Leadership

Our eyes are on the future, and it is clear that our island, region, and the world in general need knowledgeable, dedicated leaders to help communities meet unprecedented challenges. This is why a major goal of UH Hilo is to provide support to students to thrive, compete, and innovate to become leaders in their professional and personal lives.

One program to support this goal is the Student Leadership Development Program that instills cultural awareness, experiential learning, and wellness activities. The Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Development Program is based on Native Hawaiian cultural values. And our UH Hilo Student Association is led by students honing their skills in politics, community organizing, and developing policy that will help solve the problems of tomorrow.

Moving into the future

Armed with an education founded in the liberal arts, the guidance of expert mentors, and a deep desire to make new discoveries that positively impact their communities, our students are learning from many sources and are already contributing to their selected fields, their communities, and the world.

Aloha,
Marcia Sakai

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