UH Hilo Strategic Planning

UH Hilo 2011-2015 Strategic Plan

Download a PDF copy of UH Hilo's 2011-2015 Strategic Plan.

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Who We Are
  • What We Stand For
  • Goal 1: Provide learning experiences and support to prepare students to thrive, compete, innovate and lead in their professional and personal lives
  • Goal 2: Inspire excellence__in teaching, research and collaboration
  • Goal 3: Foster a vibrant and sustainable environment within which to study, work and live
  • Goal 4: Cultivate, sustain and reflect a diverse, multicultural university that is rooted in the indigenous history of Hawaiʻi
  • Goal 5: Strengthen UH Hilo’s impact on the community, Island and state of Hawaiʻi through responsive higher education, community partnerships, and knowledge and technology transfer
  • Goal 6: Facilitate organizational excellence through continuous innovation, responsible resource development, and effective communication


ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi.
One learns from many sources.

The purpose of our university ‘ohana/family is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom. Our kuleana/responsibility is to improve the quality of life of the people of Hawaiʻi, the Pacific region and the world.

Vision for 2020

E lawe i ke aʻo a mālama, a e ʻoi mau ka naʻauao.
Those who take their learnings and apply them increase their knowledge.

We will be acclaimed as a university community that works together across disciplines and diverse perspectives to prepare student scholars to thrive, compete, innovate and lead in their professional and personal lives. We will engage every student in applied learning that links theory with practice, connects to the distinctive natural and cultural environments of Hawaiʻi, and promotes skilled participation in a global society.

Who We Are

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is a public university with a comprehensive portfolio of distinguished undergraduate programs, complemented by select graduate and professional degrees that seek to improve the quality of life of the people of Hawaiʻi Island and state.

We are committed to excellence in higher education and learning with aloha. We inspire our students to explore, investigate and discover, through the cultivation of innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. Our faculty and students undertake research activities that enhance both our students’ learning and our university’s contribution to academia and society.

We seek to reflect Hawaiʻi, its people, history, cultures, and natural environment, and to embody the concept of a ‘Hawaiian university’. As a member of the University of Hawaiʻi system, we embrace our responsibility to serve the indigenous people of Hawaiʻi and to kākoʻo/support Hawaiʻi’s indigenous language and culture.

What We Stand For

  • Access to education: We provide access to higher education while holding high expectations for all students and providing support for their success.
  • Learning from many sources: We offer an engaging atmosphere-of-learning where knowledge is created and shared, values and wisdom are preserved, and individuals can learn from one another. Learning occurs not only in the classroom, but in the laboratory, in the field, in the studio, through performance and presentation, in partnerships with our community, and in our everyday lives.
  • Excellence in teaching and scholarship: We value the integration of teaching with scholarship, connecting instruction with research, service, and professional experiences that empower our students to achieve their academic and career goals. We strive for excellence in teaching by promoting effective and innovative teaching methods that have a positive impact on student learning, while also seeking the advancement of scholarship in its own right.
  • Student-faculty interaction: We recognize the value of dialogue, discussion and debate between and among students and their faculty, fostered by quality student-faculty engagement and collaboration, and out-of-class experiences.
  • Diversity and cultural infusion: We celebrate different people, their backgrounds and history, and the unique cultural mosaic of Hawaiʻi that brings the feel of a global community to our local campus.
  • Stewardship of the natural and cultural environment: We respect the ‘āina/land and appreciate the many lessons it has to teach. We work in partnership with the community to study, protect, preserve and sustain the unique cultural and natural environment of Hawaiʻi Island. 
  • Community partnerships and economic impact: We are dedicated to our role as a major economic and knowledge-based resource for the Island, state and region. We work in partnership with local government and agencies, businesses, non-profit groups, alumni, and other educational institutions to create a positive impact on our students, local community and economy.

Goal 1: Provide learning experiences and support to prepare students to thrive, compete, innovate and lead in their professional and personal lives

We will prepare students to contribute positively to their communities and a globally competitive workforce. We will instill an entrepreneurial confidence in students by fostering their ability to think critically, develop ideas, and act on those ideas. We will develop and support student scholars throughout their university careers, from admissions to graduation.

Priority actions

Create and sustain a culture of mentorship among faculty and students that fosters meaningful discussion about degree completion, career options and /or graduate and professional schools. This culture includes traditional advising as well as independent study, research, internships and continued dialogue beyond the classroom. 
Provide every student with an applied learning experience through, but not limited to, increased internships and practica with local businesses/agencies, greater student involvement in faculty research, and artistic and creative endeavors.
Develop an overview of academic and conduct expectations and provide these to all students to emphasize what they will need to do to get the most from their university experience.
Identify students who would benefit from academic support, particularly early in each semester, and provide targeted services to help them succeed.

Goal 2: Inspire excellence in teaching, research and collaboration

We will promote intellectual and creative freedom in support of excellence in teaching and research. We view teaching and research as complementary scholarship activities which have a significant impact on our students, our university and our broader community. We will foster a culture and organizational structure that value and support innovation in teaching. We will enhance our research infrastructure and administration to better support research scholarship across the broad range of disciplines represented by our faculty. We will promote innovation through interdisciplinary and inter-service collaborations across the university.

Priority actions

Support and recognize teaching excellence by establishing a program that is responsible for promoting the development and sharing of innovative teaching and mentoring practices
Support excellence in research by working with key stakeholders to generate and implement a strategic plan that addresses research space, faculty mentorship, the balance of teaching and research, instructional-research positions, incentives, grant-writing support, and other infrastructure required to increase extramural funding and research productivity.
Review and implement changes to the faculty tenure, promotion, post-tenure review and contract renewal policies/practices, and lecturer and instructor contract renewal processes, to fully support this goal and the strategic plan in areas of student advising and mentoring, and more comprehensive measures of teaching quality, teaching effectiveness and academic rigor.

Supporting actions

Integrate teaching and research to engage students in collaborations with faculty and infuse research into the classroom.
Forge interdisciplinary and inter-service collaborations that benefit community and student need.

Goal 3: Foster a vibrant and sustainable environment within which to study, work and live

We will work to ensure that our facilities and infrastructure meet the developing needs of our residential, commuter, and distance learning students as well as our employees. Our aim is to develop an attractive and sustainable physical, technical, and organizational infrastructure that engenders a greater sense of pride in UH Hilo as a vibrant and welcoming institution of higher education.

Priority actions

Meet current and projected housing needs by identifying funds for and developing more student housing, and converting existing on-campus residence halls into a freshman village that would enhance the freshman-sophomore experience.
Upgrade the university’s technology infrastructure including computer laboratories and classrooms, wireless broadband across all areas of the campus, and new technologies to better support student learning, teaching effectiveness, and research.

Supporting actions

Create more gathering places and identify a clear piko/center of the university to hold and promote social, cultural, educational, artistic, and recreational activities that engage our students, faculty and staff and welcome our alumni and broader community onto campus. 
Demonstrate pride and identity in UH Hilo’s grounds and surroundings by prioritizing maintenance and upgrades of existing buildings and student housing, landscaping and allocating names to university buildings that reflect the natural or cultural environment of Hawaiʻi, and improving signage in and around campus.
Enhance core facilities by providing more hours in essential university services, especially the library, to meet student needs, and by working with the food service provider(s) to broaden dining options by actively seeking and responding to student, faculty, and staff feedback.
Demonstrate responsible stewardship for Hawaiʻi’s precious natural resources by developing an environmental sustainability plan to exhibit leadership in recycling, sustainable resource use, food production, “green” building design, and use of renewable energy sources on campus.

Goal 4: Cultivate, sustain and reflect a diverse, multicultural university that is rooted in the indigenous history of Hawaiʻi

We value diversity as central to our mission and essential for effective participation in an increasingly global society.  We seek to cultivate an inclusive community of people with varied characteristics, ideas, cultures, and world-views where our students, faculty, and staff celebrate difference and respect tradition. We especially embrace our responsibilities to the indigenous people of Hawaiʻi.  We root our identity in this indigenous heritage and reflect the rich mix of Native Hawaiian, Asia-Pacific, local, national, and international cultures that embody the diversity of Hawaiʻi. We will foster cross-cultural awareness to promote an intellectual and social environment that challenges all of us to learn and grow.

Priority actions

Provide all students with a foundational understanding of, and encourage faculty and staff to learn about, the unique heritage of Hawaiʻi and its development from an indigenous base known for its history of embracing diversity.
Promote multicultural fluency through learning, training, research, and exchange opportunities for students, faculty and staff to develop awareness and knowledge of self and of others, and skills for effective interaction, communication, leadership, and organizational change.
Implement a comprehensive plan to cultivate, sustain and reflect diversity in the academic and social activities of UH Hilo. Ensure UH Hilo addresses the unique responsibilities of the state to students of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Supporting actions

Support continued revitalization of the Hawaiian language and UH Hilo's position of international leadership in language and culture revitalization by structuring an education incubator for the development of ideas, practices, and qualifications relating to Hawaiian and indigenous language and culture to serve our distinctive campus, our bilingual state, and other indigenous communities.
Improve higher education access, outreach and support for non-traditional and underserved populations through, but not limited to, select, high-quality distance learning programs island-wide and beyond, increased financial aid, and establishment of child-care facilities on campus.

Goal 5: Strengthen UH Hilo’s impact on the community, Island and state of Hawaiʻi through responsive higher education, community partnerships, and knowledge and technology transfer

We will expand upon our existing partnerships with other education providers on Hawaiʻi Island and within the UH system to help prepare students for higher education and offer programs that address critical workforce needs. We will also seek to formalize and elevate our role as a significant economic and knowledge resource for the Island by collaborating with public and private agencies to promote knowledge and technology transfer.

Priority action

Strengthen the P-20 education pipeline of Hawaiʻi Island by working in partnership with the Department of Education, local public and private schools, and Hawaiʻi Community College to help create a more seamless and integrated education experience for all students from preschool through higher education that facilitates UH Hilo degree completion.

Supporting actions

Work with the UH system and community partners to systematically assess and respond to community workforce needs to inform program improvement and development.
Collaborate with local government and private investors to spark the development of a vibrant college town serving the institution, Hilo, and the broader Hawaiʻi Island community.
Support ongoing efforts in knowledge and technology transfer through collaborations with the University Park of Science and Technology, state, national and international agencies, businesses, natural resource-based enterprises, and other community groups to advance research applications, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship.
Enhance our scholarship and partnerships with the community to responsibly preserve, protect and sustain natural and cultural resources, especially Maunakea.
Work in partnership with other universities and colleges, regionally, nationally and internationally, to identify and deliver joint program ventures and/or activities that could benefit Hawaiʻi Island and state.
Improve tracking of and engagement with UH Hilo alumni to keep better records of graduate success and to foster lifelong connections to their alma mater as well as new generations of students.

Goal 6: Facilitate organizational excellence through continuous innovation, responsible resource development, and effective communication

We will work to improve our planning, financial and human resource management, and accountability, demonstrating our commitment to the state of Hawaiʻi. We will ensure that our employees experience a collegial and enjoyable working environment that is exemplified by effective communication, clear processes and procedures.

Priority actions

Improve internal communication__and collaboration within and across units, and among the administration and faculty and staff, to foster greater trust and a culture of collegiality across the university.
Streamline, clarify and document administrative procedures, particularly related to the submission and administration of grants, fiscal management, and human resources, to facilitate an effective and efficient collaborative working environment.
Improve fiscal transparency and accountability by identifying budgeting priorities that support the strategic plan, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of those involved in decision-making processes, and regularly reporting on the university’s overall financial situation and itemized allocations.
Provide an improved new employee orientation, foster professional development opportunities and programs focused on continuous learning and improvement, and r_ecognize and reward_ significant faculty and staff contributions to the university’s mission.

Supporting actions

Enhance our visibility by investing in varied and effective strategic marketing and promotion activities that showcase UH Hilo, attract local, national and international students, and highlight the university’s positive impact on Hawaiʻi Island, the state and beyond.
Build financial strength and complement state funding by actively pursuing and developing private investment and innovative revenue-generating strategies that support the goals of the strategic plan.
Develop and sustain a culture of continuous assessment and planning that will enable the university to track its progress and respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the internal or external environment.

Archived documents including pre-planning evidence and meeting notes are available to University of Hawaii faculty and staff.