Categorized | Education

Updates from University of Hawaii


The University of Hawaii has assumed ownership of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea. The UKIRT is one of the world’s leading astronomical infrared observatories.

UH President David Lassner said, “We are pleased to steward the UKIRT, a telescope that has made remarkable discoveries supporting the advancement of astronomical science. It is fitting to add it to our world-class portfolio of research assets, as the UKIRT has pioneered many operational innovations, including flexible scheduling and the provision of data reduction pipelines.”

The UKIRT has been operating at peak productivity, with more than 200 scientific publications annually. This is largely based on a very successful scientific program, which has extended infrared survey imaging to unprecedented depths and areas.

Despite the UKIRT’s success, its funding agency, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), announced in 2012 that it could no longer continue to support the telescope.

This decision followed a review of the UK’s suite of observational capabilities in a tightly constrained financial environment.

Upon the cessation of UK-funded operations, the existing sublease for the UKIRT will be terminated. The facility and responsibility for the site, including the telescope, all instruments, associated equipment and software, will transfer to the University of Hawaii.

UH has negotiated a Scientific Cooperation Agreement with the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin Space Technology Advanced Research and Development Laboratories to provide for the UKIRT’s continued scientific operation, initially using only the large infrared camera used for the survey work.

The new operators have also started to refurbish and re-commission several of the UKIRT’s other instruments.

Guenther Hasinger, Director of the UH Institute for Astronomy said, “We are delighted that the UKIRT will continue to produce top quality astronomical research. With a capable new operator and state-of-the-art instrumentation, UKIRT can continue to be a world leader in infrared astronomy for at least 10 more years.”


Tangaro, Reichel open art exhibit

The art exhibit created during the past year by Hawaii Community College Professor Dr. Taupouri Tangaro and the musician Kealii Reichel was, in a sense, 34 years in the making.

In 1980 as a 17-year-old high school student, Tangaro was volunteering at the Lyman Museum in Hilo. There, he read archival information about corded pa‘u, which are ritual corded skirts found on kii, or carved images.

“The kii are in a dance pose and have these corded skirts,” Tangaro, now a Hawaii Life Styles Professor at Hawaii CC, says. “I was intrigued with that. My 17-year-old mind was intrigued by something I’d never seen — the photo with the kii with the paʻu. Now that I’m 51, I’ve finally arrived at a point in my life where I was able not just to recreate that but to innovate that.”

The results of Tangaro’s innovations are on display at the Hawaii CC campus in Hilo. Corded skirts; kokopuupuu, which are traditional knotted carrying nets; large photos; corded sashes; and other unique types of regalia decorate the exhibition space in Piopio Hale.

What unites the exhibit is the use of traditional Hawaiian knotting techniques.

Interspersed with the corded clothing are traditional kokopuupuu that contain wooden bowls.

Reichel, who is a scholar in residence at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, collaborated on the exhibit and made the kokopuupuu. An expert in traditional knotting, Reichel taught Tangaro the ancient techniques.

As a hula practitioner, Tangaro naturally took some of those knotting techniques and used them for wearable articles.

“I needed to figure out how to take that and make it into regalia,” Tangaro says.

Though based in tradition, the regalia resemble couture fashion.

“It’s traditional in many points but really innovative in the sense that this is not exactly what it looked like in the old days,” says Tangaro. “We’ve taken something very old and reordered it.”

The blend of tradition and innovation is at the heart of a University of Hawaii initiative called Hawaii Papa O Ke Ao, which seeks to make UH a global example of a modern indigenous-serving institution.

“Like kokopuupuu, we come from well-defined cultural practices, but with innovation we can take those cultural practices and introduce them in a new light,” says Tangaro.

The exhibit is also a way of expressing our connectedness, he says.

“When we step into this seemingly Hawaiian exhibition with couture outcroppings, we want to celebrate the traditional and innovative, but bigger than that is the desire to celebrate the cord that connects us all and reminds us we might be isolated in the middle of the world or ocean but we have a cord that connects us to the entire world and the world to us,” says Tangaro. “This exhibit is about celebrating that connection in a way that is Hawaiian.”

For a spring 2015 viewing of the exhibit, contact Tangaro at


Young named CFO

Former State Budget Director Kalbert Young has been appointed to serve as the Vice President for Budget and Finance and Chief Financial Officer (VPBF/CFO) of the University of Hawaii System.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has approved Young’s appointment.

Young served the last four years as the State Director of Budget and Finance, where he was responsible for the development of long-term financial plans and strategies, and coordinated the state’s $11-billion budget. In this role, he also worked closely with UH on significant components of the university’s budget, including campus-level initiatives.

Prior to that, Young served more than six years as the Director of Finance for the County of Maui.

His private sector experience includes government relations, budget and financial planning, and internal audit at Kamehameha Schools.

He has also worked in the area of land planning and development for the Kapalua Land Company, a subsidiary of Maui Land & Pineapple.

He holds two degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa – a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in American history.

Young also serves as a trustee of the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System and as a trustee on the state’s Deferred Compensation Plan.

UH President David Lassner said, “Kalbert Young is highly regarded as a finance professional and as an outstanding communicator. He will be a tremendous asset to the entire University of Hawaii as we work together with Gov. Ige and the legislature to build a better future for our students and residents.”

The VPBF/CFO position serves as UH’s chief financial affairs officer and is responsible for leading and directing the University’s system wide financial management and budgetary functions.

Young said, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with everyone on the UH management team and within the UH community to implement improvements that will advance everyone’s goal of evolving, growing and building our state university toward even greater prominence. I look forward to my role in guiding the System’s financial, fiscal, and budget aspects in order to improve transparency and accountability for UH and our stakeholders – including students, faculty, staff, Regents, Legislature, and taxpayers. As the only public university system with our state, UH is a valuable asset that is essential to Hawaii’s economic progress. ”

Young was recommended for the appointment to the VPBF/CFO position after a comprehensive, nationwide search. He succeeds Howard Todo, who has served in the position since October 2005 and who notified Lassner of his intent to retire in October 2015.

Young’s appointment is effective on or about Jan. 5, 2015 and is subject to renewal based on satisfactory annual evaluations.


Yoshimi named VP for Information Technology, CIO

Technology executive Garret Yoshimi has been appointed to serve as the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (VPIT/CIO) of the University of Hawaii (UH) System.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has approved Yoshimi’s appointment.

The VPIT/CIO is responsible for UH systemwide information technology systems and services, and provides executive leadership in collaboratively setting forth the overall vision, goals, strategies, and plans for the effective and appropriate use of information technologies to advance the UH system.

Yoshimi most recently served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for eWorld Enterprise Solutions and brings to the University more than 35 years of experience in information technology in both the public and private sector in Hawaii.

He has served as the first CIO for the Hawaii Judiciary, senior technology executive for the East-West Center, and CIO for DTRIC Insurance.

Yoshimi also previously served as Telecommunications Manager before being promoted to Director of Technology Infrastructure for the University of Hawaii. He actively represented the University of Hawaii in state and national venues as a member of EDUCAUSE, Internet2, and the Association for College & University Technology Advancement (ACUTA), which awarded him the Bill D. Morris award for individual leadership.

A native of Honolulu, Yoshimi earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and a graduate certificate in telecommunications and information resource management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

UH President David Lassner said, “Garret is an outstanding IT leader and I am very pleased that he has agreed to join our team. His broad IT experience, understanding of higher education issues, and vision for the future will be instrumental in moving the university and state forward.”

Yoshimi said, “The chance to return to the University of Hawaii and follow in David’s footsteps is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. Having worked in the UH system, I can appreciate this chance to create change by leveraging technologies to benefit multiple communities, including students, faculty, and staff. Together, we can promote innovative uses of technologies in teaching and learning as well as research, while supporting broader community efforts to benefit the entire State of Hawaii.”

Yoshimi was recommended for the appointment to the VPIT/CIO position after a comprehensive, nationwide search. He succeeds Steve Smith who has been serving as Interim VPIT/CIO since September 2013 and will return to his permanent position as Associate Vice President for Information Technology.

Yoshimi’s appointment is effective Jan. 5, 2015 and is subject to renewal based on satisfactory annual evaluations.


UH’s “15 to Finish” initiative gains local, national traction

The University of Hawaii has announced more than 55 percent of first-time freshmen entering UH Manoa, UH Hilo and UH West Oahu enrolled in 15 or more credits in the Fall 2014 semester, which will help more students graduate on time and enter the workforce sooner.

The increase is attributed to the “15 to Finish” campaign that was launched by UH’s Hawaii Graduation Initiative in 2011 and the many campus initiatives focused on improving on time graduate rates (2 years for an associate degree and 4 years for a bachelor’s degree).

As a result of the campaign’s success, universities in 20 states have also adopted similar initiatives.

“We are pleased to hear that an idea we created and implemented to help our students is being adopted across the country,” said Joanne Itano, UH interim executive vice president for academic affairs. “Our long-term goal is to increase the number of citizens with a college degree to prepare a highly skilled workforce and promote the economic vitality of our state.”

Across the nation and Hawaii, the norm has been to take 12 credits per semester, which results in an additional one to three years to complete a degree. The University of Hawaii was the first university system in the nation to put together a comprehensive strategy to encourage students to take 15 credits each semester in order to graduate on time.

The strategy was developed based on research that showed students who took 15 credits or more perform better academically than students taking fewer than 15 credits.

The campaign to communicate with students supports individual campus procedures to improve on-time graduation.

In addition to the increases at the four-year campuses, the UH Community Colleges almost doubled the number of first-time freshmen taking 15 or more credits.

The overall strategy has been endorsed by Complete College America, a national non-profit group that works with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees.

“It’s nice to know that I’m on track to graduate on time and what I’m trying to do is unusual,” said Micah Gowen, a Social Sciences student at UH West Oahu.

UH Maui College student Kelcie Rapoza said, “I was taking 12 credits already, so three more credits isn’t too bad. Plus, I’m the first in my family to go to college, and I just wanted to graduate on time to make my family proud.”

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