UH Hilo Chancellor search

UH President David Lassner meets with students and faculty to discuss the search for the next chancellor.

Editor in Chief Nick Carrion

Photographs by Nick Carrion

President David Lassner taking a picture of students

UH Hilo is seeking someone to permanently take on the roles and responsibilities of chancellor of the university. UH President David Lassner recently visited our campus to hold an open forum before the search officially begins. His focus was to find out from the UH Hilo community what they would like to see in their next chancellor.

And the UHH community was not shy. Requests were as numerous as they were varied, as everyone was quick to describe their ideal candidate, one who could grant all their wishes and solve all their problems. But there were certain themes that most could agree upon.

One quality that stood out from the rest was a passion for the people that live and work here. Faculty members expressed a disconnect that exists between them and the larger Hilo community. They want someone who will be able to bridge that gap, and bring two worlds together.

Lassner agreed with the idea, but was also forced to point out that community outreach can’t be placed on the shoulders of just one person. “That’s part of the connection that everyone needs to be making.”

Another issue that was important to faculty members was that the chancellor be attuned to the needs of current and future students. It was stated that the University’s “infrastructure needs to adjust to a new generation of students.” Here at UH Hilo, this is particularly important. The median age for a Vulcan is 25. Many students work, have families, commute, or take the majority of their classes online. The idea that all students have the same needs, or that these needs aren’t constantly changing, is anything but accurate, and the next chancellor needs to be aware of that.

In the vein of awareness, student leaders who met with Lassner after the forum reminded him of the unique culture of our island, and made sure to point out that someone coming from a mainland university would need to be prepared to deal with sensitive issues such as the Thirty Meter Telescope and appropriation of native culture.

President Lassner took notes diligently throughout the afternoon, making note of each request, comment, and complaint. Whatever the final outcome, at least our voices here at UH Hilo are being heard.