Visit with the president of the Republic of Kiribati

portrait of two men

Interim President David Lassner and His Excellency Anote Tong, president of the Republic of Kiribati

Today I met with His Excellency Anote Tong, president of the Republic of Kiribati. President Tong is in Hawaiʻi to give a keynote speech at the Pacific Risk Management ʻOhana conference Building Communities of Practice for Resilience at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. He also gave a public lecture at the East-West Center about the impacts of climate change on Kiribati and other Pacific Islands.

We enjoyed a discussion on education, sustainability and other issues related to being small island communities in the middle of the Pacific.

Making connections at Keio University in Japan

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Participants in the Evidence Based Approach (EBA) Consortium, March 7-8, 2014 Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan

I was in Japan recently to serve on Keio University’s external reviewing committee for the Re-Inventing Japan Project which aims to foster human resources capable of being globally active. The project also provides financial support to the formation of collaborative programs with ASEAN universities that conduct study abroad programs for Japanese students.

We discussed student recruitment, an accreditation plan and other higher ed issues.

State lawmakers tour UH Manoa

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Thanks to UH Manoa Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder, who led the tour with Rep. Isaac Choy to his right. Chancellor Tom Apple follows to his left with the rest of the group as we head to Edmondson Hall.

We had a robust discussion on the physical condition of the UH Mānoa campus with several lawmakers who took time out of their busy schedules yesterday to take a brief tour of some of our facilities. Many thanks to Representatives Isaac Choy, Calvin Say, Karen Awana and Henry Aquino for joining us on the tour. Thanks also to Rep. Linda Ichiyama who sent staff members on her behalf.

Regents John Holzman, James Lee and Randy Moore also joined us as UH Mānoa Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder and UH Mānoa Chancellor Tom Apple led us on a tour of Snyder Hall which is in dire need of renovations. We also walked through Edmondson Hall which is currently being renovated, and we enjoyed exploring a couple of newly renovated classrooms in Sakamaki Hall.

Our deepest thanks to Reps. Choy, Say, Awana and Aquino for visiting our campus. We hope to host another tour for other state lawmakers in the near future.

2014-02-26

UH Manoa Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Meder gives lawmakers and UH regents a tour of a classroom laboratory in need of repair and renovation.

Building global conservation networks

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Representatives of the Smithsonian Institute, Bishop Museum and UH meet to collaborate.

It’s been about conservation this week.

Hawaiʻi is one of two finalists to host a large conservation conference here in Hawaiʻi. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 2016 World Conservation Congress is also looking at Istanbul, Turkey.  IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, and its World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most inclusive nature conservation forum held every four years.

The forum hosts 8,000 to 10,000 delegates from around the world to discuss and decide environmental and development issues and policy. This is an amazing opportunity for Hawaiʻi.

I spent Monday with forum representatives on Hawaiʻi Island and attended a couple of receptions in their honor, including one with Governor Neil Abercrombie.

I think the group was pretty impressed with what our state as to offer and the way we have pulled together to bring this important event to our state.

Also last week—the Smithsonian Institution’s National Board was here for a few events, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding around the Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network.

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David Lassner with Smithsonian Institute Secretary G. Wayne Clough upon the signing of a memorandum of understanding regarding the Marine Global Earth Observatory (Marine GEO) project.

The Smithsonian is launching a global network of coastal marine observatories called Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and the university’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology is partnering with the Smithsonian on a Hawaiʻi site (not yet determined) to potentially become the first “partner” site in the network. Exciting.

55 by ’25 campaign launch

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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.

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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!”

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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

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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.

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