Charles Laughlin, headBy Helen Altonn
of tropical agriculture and
human resources, leaves
the Manoa campus in June
Another top job is open at the University of Hawaii.
Charles Laughlin,dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, has resigned and will leave in mid-June to begin work July 1 as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative States Research, Education and Extension Service.
"This is the kind of position that pulls together everything I've been doing the last 30-plus years," he said. "It is the main link of the USDA with the land grant universities."
He said UH, a land grant college, "will have a friend in Washington."
Laughlin joined the UH as dean of the agriculture college three years ago, coming here from Colorado State University where he directed the agriculture research system.
There are six other major posts open at the UH, and two other deans are leaving or retiring.
The UH is recruiting for the astronomy and medical schools, engineering, business administration and outreach colleges. The astronomy and medical school positions have each been rejected by two candidates.
A search launched for an Institute of Marine Biology director was closed after a candidate turned down the job.
Although morale has sagged at UH-Manoa because of budget cuts and other problems, he said, "I'm not going away from anything . . . I think the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is on a very positive projectory."
Construction of a new $27 million Agriculture Science Facility, a state-federal project, is expected to be completed in the fall.
The college, meanwhile, has taken steps to reorganize and integrate research, extension and teaching functions under the dean. Research and extension have been under a separate director.
"What we'll miss the most in leaving Hawaii are the people, because they are so very special," Laughlin said.
Also, he said, "When you look at the industry we're dealing with, which is a growth industry of Hawaii, it was not an easy decision."
Considering multiplier effects of marketing, transportation and other factors involved from the raw products to consumer items, Hawaii's agriculture industry is worth nearly $3 billion a year, he said. "Agriculture is much more than farming."
Since "everything really is very positive," he said he hopes the university will be able to recruit a new dean without the same problems it's had filling other high-level positions at Manoa.
He said he doesn't know who will be appointed as interim dean but assumes the administration will ask the faculty for recommendations.
Three associate deans and directors recently were named in the reorganization: Mike Harrington, for research; Charlotte Nakamura for cooperative extension, and Wayne Iwaoka, for academic and student affairs.
Top jobs at the University of Hawaii-Manoa without permanent occupants:
Institute for Astronomy director. Robert McLaren is interim director.
John A. Burns Medical School dean. Dr. Sherrel Hammar is interim dean.
School of Public Health dean. William Wood is interim dean.
Outreach College dean. Victor Kobayashi is interim dean.
College of Natural Sciences dean. Chuck Hayes is interim dean.
Institute of Marine Biology director. E. Gordon Grau is interim director.
In transition are:
College of Engineering dean. Paul Yuen is retiring but staying on until a successor is named.
College of Business Administration and School of Travel Industry dean. Chuck Gee is retiring.