55 by ’25 campaign launch

group photograph

Senator Jill Tokuda; GG Weisenfeld, Executive Office on Early Learning; David Lassner, UH System; Karen Lee, Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education; John La Forgia, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health; Governor Neil Abercrombie; Rep. Roy Takumi; and John Komeiji, Hawaiian TelCom at the 55 by ’25 initiative launch. Photo via the Office of the Governor on Flickr

We launched the second phase of Hawaiʻi P-20’s public awareness and action campaign January 28 with a news conference at Honolulu Community College. 55 by ’25 aims to have 55 percent of working age adults holding two to four-year college degrees by the year 2025. We hope this campaign raises awareness and creates urgency about the need for students to pursue education beyond high school or Hawaiʻi will not be competitive in the 21st century.

man at podium

Photo via the Office of the Governor on Flickr

In my remarks, I said, “When the state needed the University of Hawaiʻi most during the recent recession, we stepped up, enrolled more students, and increased the graduation rate by 27 percent… and we’re ready to do more!”

woman and man smiling

Hawaiʻi P-20′s Karen Lee with Governor Abercrombie. Photo via the Office of the Governor on Flickr

Thanks to all who attended our news conference, with a special thanks to Governor Neil Abercrombie, GG Weisenfeld, Director, Executive Office on Early Learning; Kathryn Matayoshi, Superintendent, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education; John La Forgia, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer of Hawaiʻi Pacific Health (our platinum sponsor); Karen Lee, Executive Director, Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education; and Richard Mizusawa, Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi (ASUH).

VIDEO: Educated workforce critical to Hawaiʻi’s future

Kauai Chamber of Commerce reception

bird's eye view of David Lassner speaking at a reception at Kauai Community College

I truly enjoyed meeting members of the Kauaʻi Chamber of Commerce and the Garden Isle community on January 22, 2014. The chamber kindly co-sponsored an after hours reception at Kauaʻi Community College.

David Lassner speaking at Kauai Community College

I had the opportunity to meet most of the guests which included chamber and community members, as well as members of the Friends of Kauaʻi Community College which works closely with the college’s chancellor to build community partners and friendships.

Other attendees included Kauaʻi Chancellor Helen Cox, VP for Community Colleges John Morton, other UH administrators and the Board of Regents.

We were on Kauaʻi for a series of meetings and engagements, including the monthly Board of Regents meeting, which was held on the Kauaʻi campus this month.

bird's eye view of a reception at Kauai Community College

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

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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.

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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.