Hawaii landscape

I am in Hawaii this week as part of a review team for the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR). The review was originally scheduled for March 2020, but we all know what happened then. I was not part of the planned 2020 review team, but for many, plans changed, and people moved on, creating an opportunity for me to learn about and from the UH CTAHR programs.

Review materials were updated since those developed in 2020. It is interesting and exciting to see how student numbers and faculty grant success have expanded over such a difficult period. Enrollment in all majors increased by 3% to 40%! Total grant awards more than doubled, primarily due to competitiveness in federal programs, including the National Science Foundation’s Early CAREER Awards. Of particular interest to me was information regarding a recent five-year strategic plan and what were identified as the grand challenge areas of focus:

  • Resilient and Thriving Community Health
  • Vibrant Tropical and Pacific Island Agriculture and Food Security
  • Ecosystem Health
  • Workforce and Economic Development

The grand challenge areas identified by CTAHR at the University of Hawaii look remarkably like pillars in the proposed CAHNRS development strategy that was submitted last week. The pillars of the CAHNRS strategy may change, but the similarity suggests we may be on to something. Another piece of the UH CTAHR strategic plan that stuck with me is the core values identified. I will be sure to confirm that I can share these and will plan to do so in a future post.

I can’t help but wonder if UH CTAHR was adequately prepared for the recent success they have had. Preparing for the Extension cuts suffered was difficult, no doubt. Just as important is preparing for success. I will learn more as the week progresses.

It is still warm in Honolulu. Meanwhile, it appears that fall arrived abruptly in the Palouse last Thursday night. I pulled out a jacket and tried my best to be grateful for rain while wandering through the Pike Place Market last weekend. I am not a fan of closed-toe shoes, but I think they will be moving to the front of the closet when I arrive back in Washington this weekend.