Honolulu Community College Chancellor Karen Lee wants to blur the lines between academia and industry, such that both employers and students feel welcome on campus and confident that workforce needs for well-paying jobs are being met.
“I would really like that synergy to continue and to thrive,” Lee said. “I would love to invite all employers to join our industry boards. Our advisory boards are essential to our faculty doing a good job in teaching our students for the future.”
Lee became the chancellor of Honolulu CC in December, after serving in an interim role for three years. She presided over the 100th anniversary of the University of Hawaiʻi’s oldest community college in 2020.
She began her career at UH in 2001 at UH Mānoa as the undergraduate coordinator at the Shidler College of Business. Lee also served as executive director of Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, and UH associate vice president for student affairs and executive assistant to the president.
Enrollment at Honolulu CC is up 3.8% this spring, compared to last spring. According to Lee, Honolulu CC is a place with strong student support and strong teaching in diverse programs that range from trades and construction, cybersecurity, fashion technology, aeronautical maintenance and the liberal arts, to name a few.
“Success looks like a place where a student can dream and realize their dreams, and a place where faculty feel like they’re contributing to those dreams,” Lee said. “We encourage all students—young and old, male and female, out of high school, in high school—to come to Honolulu Community College.”