Woman set to
lead UH-Manoa

Being the first woman to lead the University of Hawaii's flagship research campus doesn't faze Denise Konan.

"It seems natural to me," new interim Manoa Chancellor Konan said, noting that she was also the first woman to head the economics department at UH-Manoa. "I'm in a field where it's not unusual to be a first."

Konan's appointment to the $254,016-a-year job was confirmed by the Board of Regents yesterday. She will serve until July 31, 2006, or until she is replaced.

One of her major tasks will be to find her replacement. She'll be in charge of the search for a permanent chancellor.

Konan took herself out of the running for the job. But it doesn't mean she'll be a lame duck.

Coming up this fall is the decision, with interim President David McClain, on whether to proceed with a Navy research center on campus that would conduct some classified research. It's a decision that's sparked protests and a sit-in in the president's office.

Konan said she and McClain are "agnostic" on the issue of a University Affiliated Research Center. She said she hasn't made up her mind.

"We need to hear more voices on the issue," Konan said. "It should not be an issue that divides our campus."

McClain called the chancellor position "the hardest job at the university."

"Leading it certainly takes skills of the highest order," McClain said yesterday.

Konan emphasized teamwork yesterday in an interview.

She said her major goal is to help people work together on common issues.

Konan also may become the first woman to represent the university on the Western Athletic Conference board of directors, a position that has traditionally gone to the chancellor or UH president.

McClain said he, Konan and Athletic Director Herman Frazier will meet in the next week to 10 days and Konan will make the decision on who will represent UH-Manoa on the board.

Konan said she's a sports fan who "occasionally" goes to games. She declined to say what sports she follows.

Konan also declined to say how old she is. She's spent her entire academic career at UH-Manoa beginning in 1993 after receiving her doctorate in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Konan said she was attracted to Hawaii because of its ethnic diversity. She said she wants to raise her children in that kind of environment.

"This is my home. I plan to stay here," she said. "I plan to be at the university for a very long time."

Konan's a student favorite, winning the Excellence in Teaching Award in the 1997/1998 school year, an award selected by students.

Konan said she won't teach any classes but will continue advising economics students during her time in the Chancellor's Office.

She's worked in administration as the interim assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs part of the time under Chancellor Peter Englert. Englert's contract was not renewed and he will take a faculty position.

When Konan's appointment ends, she will also return to the faculty where she currently makes $122,480 a year.

McClain said he's also authorized a one-time $50,000 research and training grant for Konan, which she can use to further her research activities.

Konan specializes in computer economic models and international trade, with an emphasis on North Africa.

New leaders named in UH system

John Morton, the former chancellor at Kapiolani Community College, was appointed to the new position of interim vice president for community colleges at a salary of $178,000.

Leon Richards, the current senior academic dean, will become acting chancellor at KCC.

On Monday, the regents elected Kitty Lagareta, chairwoman and chief executive of Communications Pacific, as the board chairwoman. Alvin Tanaka, president and CEO of Pacific Transfer LLC, was elected vice chairman. Both are UH-Manoa graduates. Student regent Trent Kakuda's term on the board was extended at the request of Gov. Linda Lingle.

University of Hawaii

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