Category Archives: Initiatives

Higher education conference convenes

four people talking on lanai

College accrediting agency official Ralph Wolff, Vice President Linda Johnsrud and Chancellor Rota on arrival for the conference

The University of Hawaiʻi was honored to be chosen by APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the U.S. State Department to host the officially sanctioned APEC Higher Education Conference August 4–6, hosting delegates from the education ministry and other high-level government officials from 20 of the 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary for postsecondary education for the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. delegate to the APEC Higher Education Conference, was among the first day’s keynote presenters. Delegates considered the theme of the conference, Quality in Higher Education and what that means to colleges and universities in their home countries, among other topics related to their higher educational systems.

Read more about the conference.

New science building for Hilo campus

four people in front of building

Gerald De Mello and Donald Straney with M.R.C. Greenwood and Mary Wolshak

group of people inside building

From left, university officials Randy Hirokawa, Gerald De Mello, M.R.C. Greenwood and Donald Straney; student Ashlee Kalauli; Mayor Billy Kenoi; Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Senators Gilbert Kahele and Malama Solomon; Rep. Jerry Chang; Chancellor Emeritus Rose Tseng

During the blessing for UH Hilo’s new Science and Technology building, I shared the inspiring testimony of a Native Hawaiian Big Island student who wants to be an astronomer.

Read my remarks. For more about the facility, read the news release.

Cancer center construction underway

group in hardhats with Honolulu cityscape in background

AC Kobayashi and UH officials from left: Russell Young, Caroll Takahashi, Brian Minaai, M.R.C. Greenwood, Myles Ikeda, Kathy Inouye and Warren Leong

aerial shot of building construction

One of the major bright spots on the economic and construction horizon is our beautiful state-of-the-art UHCancer Center. I had a chance to tour the site recently and was impressed to see the progress of this on-schedule, on-budget exciting new piece of the economic fabric of our community.

Read more about the cancer center project.

Achieving the Dream

Loea Akiona, MRC Greenwood, Mike Buck

Loea Akiona, a Windward Community College graduate now working in student affairs at the college, joins me to talk with Community Matters radio show host Mike Buck, right, about Achieving the Dream. UH has had impressive success with our efforts in this multi-year national initiative to help more community college students succeed, particularly those from groups who have traditionally faced the most significant barriers to success, including low-income and Native Hawaiian students.

We also talk about increase in research grants and other great news reported at the July 7 Board of Regents meeting.

Listen in Sunday, July 10, from 6 to 7 a.m. on any of the seven Clear Channel radio stations—KSSK AM590 92.3 FM, KDNN 98.5FM, KHVH 830AM, KIKI 990AM, KHJZ 93.9FM and KUCD 101.9FM.

Achieving the Dream

group shot of Native Hawaiian graduates in regalia

Leeward Community College students Achieving the Dream!

Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting will give us a chance to boast about one of our most successful initiatives—Achieving the Dream.

We partnered with Kamehameha Schools and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs four years ago to make higher education more accessible to native Hawaiians. We invested time and money into greater community outreach, more counselors to help students apply for scholarships, increased development and training in remedial courses to bring grades up and a lot more financial aid.

Bottom line: Native Hawaiian enrollment systemwide has doubled from 4,600 to 9,200, and the number of Hawaiians graduating is up 32 percent! That includes the Ke Ala Ike Native Hawaiian Excellence Program spring 2011 graduates pictured here.

That is certainly something to celebrate and a validation that we are striving to be the model indigenous-serving higher ed institution.

Commencement Time

group shot at graduation ceremony

From left, Rep. Jerry Chang and Hawaiʻi County Councilmen Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and J Yoshimoto

Throughout my career in higher education, no time has brought me more joy and fulfillment than the commencement season. It is a time to rejoice in important student and faculty success. It is the ceremonial representation of higher education’s ability to transforms people’s lives.

The 2011 exercises also means we are some 5,000 graduates closer to our goal of increasing the number of college-educated citizens in the state. At about 9,200 degrees and certificates awarded this academic year, we’re ahead of our goal.

Jerry Chang was at the UH Hilo ceremony May 13 at Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium and sent the photo above.

I also attended the Hawaiʻi Community College, John A. Burns School of Medicine and UH Mānoa advanced degree ceremonies.

Visiting UH West Oahu

women shaking hands

Greeting faculty while Chancellor Gene Awakuni looks on

I made a visit to UH West Oʻahu a few weeks ago. We are all really excited about the state-of-the-art buildings that are starting to sprout up there on the ʻewa plains! It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with faculty and staff leaders as well as Chancellor Gene Awakuni.

The day included short speeches sharing visions of a vibrant UH West Oahu. We also had conference room presentations about the new campus, faculty research projects and community partnerships.

Staff designer and photographer Valentino Valdez captured the day in photographs, full slideshow below.

Thank you everyone for all your hard work at UH West Oʻahu!