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Rotary Club of Honolulu luncheon

shaking hands at the Rotary Club meeting

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting members of the Rotary Club of Honolulu at a luncheon at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on January 14th. It was my privilege to speak to the distinguished group about a wide range of issues, including my role as interim president, what the Board of Regents is expecting from me and the next permanent president, the search for the next UH president and what I envision in the coming months and years for one of the state’s most important institutions.

I also took some tough yet insightful questions from the group about the Cancer Center, the UH presidential search and funding.

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Honolulu, President Dave Shanahan, Haumea Ho, Alice Tucker and many others for the warm welcome and their interest in our University of Hawaiʻi.

Below is video of the talk I gave, and you can go to UH News for video of the question and answer session.

Agreement for international exchange with Tokai University

Japan-Hawaii international exchange agreement

UH Interim President David Lassner and Dr. Yoshiaki Matsumae, Vice President of Tokai University Educational System, renew the agreement for international exchange between the two university systems.

We had the pleasure of meeting officials from the Tokai University Educational System in Japan, who visited us at the University of Hawaiʻi on January 10. The purpose of the visit was to sign an agreement for international exchange between UH and Tokai. An agreement signed by former UH President David McClain in 2008 has expired.

The agreement will provide for the exchange of scholars, students, and academic information and materials to enhance the research and education processes at our institutions. In turn, we hope these exchanges increase the mutual understanding between our respective faculties, scholars and students.

Japan-Hawaii international exchange agreement

University of Hawaii and Tokai University administrators at the international exchange agreement signing.

Trends in educational technology for 2014

chronicle for higher education screen cap

Click to enlarge

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured some of my thoughts on trends in educational technology in 2014. Without a doubt, technology can help navigate the choppy waters of higher education funding, or what is being called “the new normal.”

My predictions? Openness, analytics and cloud computing will help us save money, be more effective and lose 10 lbs. OK, maybe not that last one; we’re all on our own with that! But they will make us leaner and more innovative.

What do you think?

IT Center dedication and blessing

group shot in front of Information Technology Center

We were elated to dedicate and bless the University of Hawaiʻi’s new state-of-the art Information Technology Center on Dec. 16. We have been dreaming of this day through a long string of UH presidents and support from so many.

We broke ground on this six-story, 74,000 square-foot building in February 2012 and completed the project on budget, so there was much to celebrate at the dedication ceremony. Following the blessing and untying of the maile lei, the media and guests took tours of the IT Center, including Reps. Gregg Takayama and David Ige.

There are so many people who helped make this dream possible, so I will keep it short and thank Interim Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Steven Smith and Iris Takamiya, Information Technology Specialist who worked tirelessly on this project. Mahalo!

See more photos of the blessing and the building on Flickr.

Media Coverage

Education and IT in Fiji

seated dignitaries at conference

Attendees at the opening ceremonies at Fiji’s first conference on Information and Communication Technology in Tertiary Education. From left to right: Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Fiji Chandra Dulare; Vice Chancellor of Fiji National University Ganesh Chand; Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General of Fiji Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum; Vice Chancellor & President of University of the South Pacific Rajesh Chandra; and Lassner.

I had the honor of attending opening ceremonies at Fiji’s first conference on Information and Communication Technology in Tertiary Education (post secondary ed). I was the invited keynote speaker.

More information and photos from the conference are on the University of the South Pacific website.

Keaukaha Technology and Resource Center

group shot

Front L-R: Joanne Loa, Resource Center Community Volunteer, Lori Veincent, Resource Center Community Volunteer
Back L-R: Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, Interim Executive Assistant to the Chancellor UH Hilo, David Lassner, Interim UH President, Patrick Kahawaiolaʻa, President, Keaukaha Community Association, Bobbielyn Akoi, Resource Center Community Volunteer, Mapuana Waipa, Vice President Keaukaha Community Association and Interim Director, Ke Ana Laʻahana Public Charter School, Don Straney, UH Hilo Chancellor

While on Hawaiʻi Island, I also had a chance to visit the Keaukaha Technology and Resource Center, a multipurpose community center for adults and children that is located in the Keaukaha Hawaiian Homestead Community. The center offers learning and leadership activities, technology programs, meeting space for community events and much more.

Visit with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce

speaking before a group

I was on Hawaiʻi Island today to speak to the Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce at UH Hilo’s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center. About 70 local business owners and guests attended the meeting and presentation.

We discussed ways to educate our future generations on how to be participating citizens, roles the university is playing in building the society of the future and serving under-served populations.

presentation in front of giant powerpoint

My presentation emphasized that higher education is an excellent investment of public funds and how that investment in the UH System economically impacts Hawaiʻi Island.

We also enjoyed some great stories from UH Hilo, particularly the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

group shot

With Big Island Regent Barry Mizuno, Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce President Judith Fox-Goldstein and UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney.

Supporting student veterans

press conference podium

With Tracey Betts, Director of the Honolulu VA Regional Office, and Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Administration, General (retired) Eric Shinseki.

We had the honor of meeting with the Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Administration, General (retired) Eric Shinseki. After a productive discussion we held a joint news conference to announce our plan for a new UH task force that will make recommendations on what UH campuses across the state can do to improve the UH System’s support of veteran students.

In fact, I’m looking for UH staff, faculty, community members, government officials, UH veteran students and graduates who are interested in working together to make those recommendations.

Please send your nominations and self-nominations for task force members to president@hawaii.edu.

Find out more and see the whole press conference in UH News.

Aloha United Way UH Oahu Campaign

supporting Aloha United Way

I had a chance to donate to the Aloha United Way’s UH Oʻahu campaign today by running downstairs to buy some lunch at the Bachman Country Store and Bake Sale.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who donated and brought together a wide variety of items, food and baked goods for our 2013 AUW campaign. Our coordinators tell me we raised about $1,200 in just a few hours. Great job!

Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council

meeting

David Lassner with Peter Crouch (Dean, UH Manoa College of Engineering), Charlie Bass (Trustee, The Bass Trust), R.J. “Zap” Zlatoper (Ret. Admiral, USN), Scott Seu (Vice President, Energy Resources and Operations, Hawaiian Electric Co.)

I had the pleasure of speaking before the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Council last week. The council is similar to a corporate board of directors that provides guidance on strategic and political matters that aim to advance educational and research programs within the college.

The meeting included council members, the College of Engineering Dean Peter Crouch, his leadership team and department chairs.

We discussed a wide array of issues, and I outlined my goals and objectives as Interim President. They include improving the university’s image, the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative, the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative, the deferred maintenance backlog and my willingness to assist the college in becoming an effective and important component of the UH System.