Donald Straney, dean of the College of Science and professor of biology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, has been appointed as the next chancellor of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Straney’s appointment is for three years beginning July 1, 2010.
“Dr. Straney will be an excellent addition to the UH Hilo campus. His credentials are well-suited to guide the campus into its next phase,” UH Board of Regents Chairman Howard Karr said Thursday, after the Board approved Straney’s appointment at its monthly meeting at UH Mānoa.
Straney joined Cal Poly Pomona in August, 2002 after spending 23 years at Michigan State University where he served as chair of the Department of Zoology and assistant to the provost for faculty development. He is also on the National Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation-supported Center for the Integration of Teaching, Research and Learning at the University of Wisconsin.
“Donald Straney brings an impressive set of talents and expertise to the position of UH Hilo chancellor and we are pleased to have him on board,” said University of Hawai‘i President M.R.C. Greenwood. “His solid leadership record and background in the sciences will be great assets, as the campus continues to grow and develop in this area.
“The UH Hilo Chancellor Search Advisory Committee did an excellent job in presenting a strong pool of candidates for our consideration. I also want to commend the faculty, staff and students who met with the candidates and took the time to share their perspectives with me,” Greenwood added.
Straney has been a principal investigator for three large grants at Cal Poly Pomona: a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to enhance undergraduate instruction in biology, a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to support the professional development of science and engineering faculty, and a U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement grant to prepare the next generation of teachers.
Within the California State University system, he serves on the board of directors of both the Desert Studies Center and the Ocean Studies Institute as well as on the Strategic Planning Council of CSUPERB, the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. An evolutionary biologist by training, Straney has studied patterns of change in a variety of organisms, most recently focusing on ants. He received a doctorate in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in zoology from Michigan State University.
“I’m honored to join the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I am impressed with its strong programs, faculty and staff and by the energy of its students,” said Straney “I look forward to talking with people on campus and in the community about ways we can expand our impact on student learning and the lives of people in the state.”
The UH Hilo Chancellor Search Advisory Committee selected five candidates that visited the UH Hilo campus in late April for meetings and public forums with various constituent groups. Greenwood appointed the search committee to provide recommendations for candidates to succeed UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng, who is stepping down. The national search firm Isaacson, Miller assisted the committee with the search.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, a comprehensive university of nearly 4,000 students, is located on Hawai‘i Island, a natural living laboratory of active volcanoes, deep oceans, the world’s best telescopes and a rich cultural landscape. UH Hilo, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.