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Straney tapped for UH-Hilo post


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POSTED: Sunday, May 16, 2010

An evolutionary biologist from California is being recommended to succeed Rose Tseng as the chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Donald O. Straney is currently dean of science and professor of biology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood is recommending his appointment under a three-year-contract starting July 1 with an annual salary of $306,504. The amount is adjusted to $285,072 this year because of UH salary reductions.

The Board of Regents will act on the appointment at a meeting Thursday.

Tseng, UH-Hilo chancellor since 1998, is retiring this summer.

Straney was one of five finalists for the position who visited the campus last month.

An evolutionary biologist, Straney has studied patterns of change in various organisms, most recently focusing on ants. He earned a doctorate degree in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and master's and bachelor's degrees in zoology from Michigan State University.

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He joined Cal Poly Pomona in August 2002 after 23 years at Michigan State University where he was Department of Zoology chairman and an assistant to the provost for faculty development.

He is on the National Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation's Center for the Integration of Teaching, Research and Learning at the University of Wisconsin.

He has been principal investigator for three large grants at Cal Poly Pomona. He led the university's efforts to establish a program in biotechnology, computer science, business and mechanical engineering with Technology Park Malaysia College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and with Al Akhwayn University in Morocco.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the Desert Studies Center and Ocean Studies Institute within the California State University system, as well as on the Strategic Planning Council of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology.