Chancellor’s weekly update on countdown to fall semester: COVID-19 Guidelines, plexiglass barriers, quarantine

August 10, 2020 Update. Countdown to Fall 2020: 15 days remaining until fall semester begins.

Aloha Kākou,

Bonnie Irwin
Bonnie Irwin

In addition to campus updates, today’s message includes a few personnel announcements.

Dean for the College of Natural and Health Sciences named

James Mike has been recommended for approval by President David Lassner as UH Hilo’s dean for the College of Natural and Health Sciences effective December 14, 2020, following public posting on the August 20 UH Board of Regents meeting agenda. I have asked Jim Beets to continue to serve in an interim capacity until Dean-Designate Mike joins us in December.

Dean-Designate Mike received his doctor of philosophy in analytical chemistry with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1986. He began his instructional career at Youngstown State University in 1988, achieved the ranks of assistant professor (five years), associate professor (six years), and professor (eight years) of chemistry.

His administrative career began in September 1999 when he was appointed as assistant to the dean/faculty associate to the dean and subsequently in 2001 as associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Youngstown State University.

James Mike
James Mike

In July 2006, he  was appointed dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Shippensburg University and served in this position for 12 years while also serving in additional roles to sustain leadership and vision during times of institutional transition. For two years, from January 2017 through December 2019, he served as the acting dean of graduate studies where he provided administrative leadership and academic oversight, worked collaboratively with the admissions team, the Graduate Council, and the college deans. In January 2019, he was appointed as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs for six months. He then returned to serve as the dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and continues to serve in this position.

Mahalo to the search committee who spent many hours reading files and interviewing candidates, as well as all of the campus constituents that participated in the process. The investment of your time and attention speaks well of your care for UH Hilo and our future. Please join me in welcoming James Mike to our UH Hilo ‘ohana in late fall.

Personnel Changes in Office of Equal Opportunity

Jennifer Stotter has accepted the position of UH System and UH Mānoa deputy Title IX coordinator for employees on an interim basis. The Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) Office promotes the university’s commitment to diversity for employees of the Mānoa campus and system offices. During this interim period, please contact the following for assistance at UH Hilo:

  • To report employment discrimination or request a disability accommodation: Shaunda Makaimoku, interim director, EEO/AA and ADA coordinator
  • To report sexual misconduct or gender based violence/discrimination, request education/training regarding UH policies/procedures/response: Jenna Waipa, interim Title IX coordinator
  • To request confidential victim advocacy or request sexual misconduct/violence prevention education: Kekai Lindsey, confidential advocate and prevention educator
  • To request EEO briefings, office information, schedule an appointment, make/receive referrals: Ashley Magallanes, administrative officer

UH Hilo COVID-19 Guidelines (Interim)

The UH Hilo COVID-19 Guidelines (Interim) are posted. Please realize given the fluidity of our state’s situation, that the guidelines will continue to be updated.

Testing and Tracing (Carolyn Ma, convener)

Screening: UH’s NOVID Campus symptom screening app will be released soon. You will receive a notice to register for the app if you have a UH ID. Anyone planning on coming to campus should plan on using the app regularly before they arrive. There will also be a web interface available.

Tracing: We are in the process of hiring the CARES-funded UH Hilo COVID-19 coordinator.

Testing: Testing on campus will occur this month. Details to follow. Tentative dates have been set up for September and will depend upon the current situation statewide and Hawai‘i county.

Plexiglass barriers set up at front desk of office.
Plexiglass barrier in Office of Human Resources.

Physical Distancing (Kalei Rapoza, convener)

Signs, cleaning products, and hand sanitizers have arrived on campus, and you will be seeing more signage and sanitizing stations campuswide. In addition, plexiglass barriers are being installed at high contact service areas.

Online and Hybrid Learning (Joseph Sanchez, convener)

Mahalo to those faculty who participated in the training opportunities provided this summer. We are processing the stipends, and you should be seeing them soon. Our online learning support team will continue to inform you of other opportunities as they arise.


In his presentation to the Board of Regents Budget and Finance Committee last week, Vice President Young characterized the current financial situation as the worst Hawai‘i has faced since statehood. We believe the effects of this state revenue loss will last until 2022/23 and beyond. In addition, our opening enrollment will be down this year as parents seek to keep students closer to home and as many families are suffering financially. UH Hilo has tough decisions ahead, and the Long Range Budget Planning Committee will be meeting regularly throughout the fall semester to help UH Hilo administration make some of those decisions.

As I mentioned in my brief message Thursday evening, the upsurge in cases of coronavirus on O‘ahu has changed many of our plans for fall.


Students and families are re-evaluating their plans for travel. UH President David Lassner’s message this morning has recommended that we put online what we can, and encourage those students who can start the semester online to do so.

We already have students quarantining on the island, however, and more in route, and we will need to provide support for those students. I ask for your patience as we continue to assess the situation and make the best decisions we can for the health and safety of our community as well as for the support of our mission to provide a meaningful educational experience for our students.

I know many of you are facing your own challenges; let us look out for one another during this time. Stay safe and stay healthy.

E mālama pono,

Bonnie D. Irwin
Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

UH Hilo COVID-19 Guidelines (Interim)
UH Hilo’s COVID-19 information webpage