University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Don Straney will move to a UH Systemwide leadership role as vice president of academic planning and policy, effective August 1, 2017. A national search for a permanent UH Hilo chancellor will begin in fall 2017. During the transition, Marcia Sakai, UH Hilo vice chancellor for administrative affairs will serve as interim UH Hilo chancellor. Both appointments are subject to Board of Regents approval at their July 20, 2017 meeting.
Straney has served as UH Hilo chancellor since 2010 and is credited with improving graduation rates and increasing the number of Native Hawaiian, STEM and transfer students from local community colleges. Under his leadership, the campus worked closely with local educational, agricultural and business communities to address economic, workforce and quality-of-life issues.
“Don has done an outstanding job at UH Hilo, and I know he will excel as our vice president of academic planning and policy, a position critical to the entire UH System as we continue to improve our collaborative efforts to meet the needs of the entire state,” said UH President David Lassner. “Don has 38 years of proven higher education experience on campuses and within systems, including here in Hawaiʻi.”
Sakai joined the UH Hilo faculty in 1991 after distinguished public service to the state and was promoted and tenured there. She was the founding dean of the College of Business and Economics, leading the college through its initial AACSB accreditation, and has brought her experience and ability to bear in serving as Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs since 2011.
“Marcia has been a highly successful faculty member, dean and senior administrator at UH Hilo,” said Lassner. “She truly understands and appreciates the university, its mission and its importance to Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island and the state.”
Straney is replacing Risa Dickson as vice president of academic planning and policy. Dickson notified UH leadership in fall 2016 of her intention to return to faculty at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year and the 2017 legislative session. She is assisting during the transition period.
“Risa has a laid a solid foundation that will allow us to move the university into the 21st century,” said Lassner. “She has accomplished so much in her time here at UH, and we thank her for all of her hard work, which will have a long-lasting impact on the university.”