As vice president for academic planning and policy, Donald O. Straney serves as the chief academic officer for the UH System with overall responsibility for leadership, planning and intercampus coordination of academic affairs, student affairs, policy and planning, institutional research and analysis, international and strategic initiatives and Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education.
From 2010 to 2017, Straney served as chancellor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. He served on the board of directors of the Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce and the Hawaiʻi County Workforce Development Board. He was also on the National Advisory Board of the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Research and Learning, a National Science Foundation initiative at the University of Wisconsin.
Previously, he served eight years as dean of the College of Science and professor of biology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. While there, he was on the board of directors of the Desert Studies Center, the Ocean Studies Institute, and the Strategic Planning Council of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology.
Before that, he spent 23 years at Michigan State University as chair of the Department of Zoology and assistant to the provost for faculty development.
Straney currently serves on the board of directors of the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and the Hawaiʻi Aeronautics Advisory Committee.
An evolutionary biologist by training, Straney studied patterns of change in a variety of organisms. He earned his PhD in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MS in zoology from Michigan State University.