Chancellor’s Column

October 2023

UH Hilo’s colleges of agriculture and pharmacy are focused on strengthening ties with the community

In my ongoing series of columns on the six colleges at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and their impact on the community, this month I’d like to focus on the College of Business and Economics and the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

Our College of Business and Economics is one of only two business schools in the state accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This is a distinction shared by fewer than 10 percent of business schools world-wide. Attending an AACSB-accredited institution ensures our students are receiving their education and degree from one of the best business schools in the world.

As of last year, the college is under new leadership with Todd Inouye, an associate professor of management who started teaching at the college in 2019. Within two years, he was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor, and last year received tenure, something he feels is a great honor and validation of his hard work, offering him a sense of belonging.

He is now focused on expanding community-engaged opportunities at the college for both students and faculty, and on how the college can contribute to cross-disciplinary collaboration both within and outside of UH Hilo. A great example of this is Delta Sigma Pi, the college’s co-ed business fraternity, that holds events to introduce students to local business owners to jumpstart internships and practical experience opportunities of benefit to both.

The college is also engaged with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce, and hosted a “fireside chat” with HICC members and the college’s leadership and faculty last spring.

Plans are underway to update the college’s advisory board membership for a more community-oriented approach. This development is in conjunction with meetings with stakeholders such as the UH System’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization, Hilo Fish Company, Waiakea High School, and Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School, to explore options to grow and enhance student learning. The college is well-positioned for success in these initiatives.

At the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy we are currently searching for a permanent dean. For the past year-and-a-half, the college has been under the leadership of interim dean Miriam Mobley Smith, who came to us with experience in this kind of role. She immediately focused on the college’s transition between deans and in stewarding the college in its vision of the future.

Finding faculty at the college most concerned about enrollment, curriculum, revenue, research, and the college community’s environment and atmosphere, the interim dean set her priorities to strengthen and enhance those areas, including the expansion of research, community collaborations, and clinical services. Notably, she has created pathways for students from the other nine UH campuses into our pharmacy program. Placing emphasis on making a difference in the local community is the driving force behind it all.

As the interim dean says, the bottom line is that good medicine can help communities, and it is our responsibility to make positive differences in our community. The action plan to achieve this is in strengthening connections between students and the resources offered through both the college and local community. A crucial connecting point for this is through faculty who can serve as mentors, assist with community networking, arrange volunteer experiences, and be aware of local health care niches in which students can intern and then later develop their careers.

I’m excited about the future for both these colleges as their ties become stronger with the communities we serve and our students are trained and educated in a way that makes them productive and responsible global citizens even before they graduate.

With aloha,

Bonnie D. Irwin