Monday, May 23, 2016

The power of people working collectively

Tracy Tangonan (right), 2016 Golden Apple Excellence in Service by a Staff Member awardee, with Office of Academic Affairs colleague Joseph Agudo, administrative coordinator
The people make Hawai‘i Pacific University a special place, according to Assistant to the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Tracy Tangonan. She joined the university on August 30, 1993.

“I started working on the same day as Lori Nakayama, (Administrative Specialist, School of Education),” Tangonan said. “Darlene Young Ramos (Academic Advising Specialist) was hired a few weeks later, and Joan Ramos Ishaque (Assistant to the Dean, College of Liberal Arts) was already working in the Senior Vice President’s Office.” 

Nakayama, Ramos and Ishaque are just three of the many staff Tangonan works with in the Office of Academic Administration (OAA).

“In OAA, we have a good network,” she said. “These are people I know I can rely on.” 

Over Tangonan’s nearly 23 years in academic affairs at HPU, she has supported the Vice President of Academic Affairs, now Provost, in various capacities. Until this past year, one of her primary responsibilities was processing faculty contracts. Through this function, she interacted with many of the faculty.

“Just getting to know faculty has been a great experience. Talking with them and getting to know them beyond academics is pretty amazing,” Tangonan said. “I miss our offices in the MP building (1188 Fort Street) as we were right next to the Faculty Support Center. I got to chat with both faculty and students daily. I guess this is one of the reasons why I look forward to opportunities when I will be around faculty, like at forums, Commencement, or Convocation.”  

Part of the volunteer team for Spring 2016 Commencement Tracy Tangonan (back), assistant to the provost and vice president of academic affairs; Cassie Carter, Ph.D. (front, left), associate vice president of university relations; and Darcy Query, executive assistant to the vice president and chief financial officer    
Also working with faculty, Tangonan supported academic grants management, in her earlier years at the university. In the late 90s, she ran a 12-week lunch-time speaker series funded by a Hawaii Council for the Humanities grant.

"This grant was a by-product of the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) grant that Dr. Michael Pavkovic (former Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences) brought in to HPU,” Tangonan said. “The open to the public lectures featured HPU and external community speakers. It was rewarding to be a part of this series.”

Two years ago, she became more involved with the Provost’s division budget. Tangonan now works closely with Budget Manager-Academics Sheldon Miyakado. As requests come through the Provost’s office, Tangonan helps to ensure that funds are available, for personnel and operating expenses.

“It can be challenging as we all need to make the most of a fixed amount of funds," she said. "When we are able to present to the Provost a way to make a new opportunity work, it is like a puzzle has been figured out.”

A central component of Tangonan’s job is supporting the Provost by scheduling and planning his work life.

“My days vary. I could be helping to plan functions such as HAICU (Hawaii Association of Independent Colleges and Universities), or whatever project the Provost has for me,” she said. “I think that if you summarized my job in a sentence, it’s that last sentence on all position descriptions — and other duties as assigned!”

Additionally, Tangonan serves on the Staff Council’s Special Events and Recognition Committee and the Staff Relations Committee. In February, the Council presented the inaugural Ke Kaukahi Award to Student Life, recognizing the team’s dedication and commitment to excellence. There were several great groups nominated for the award, and after much discussion, the committee decided to award the Student Life staff, Tangonan said.

“Marites (McKee) and her group continue to go beyond their job description in their quest to provide balance to our students’ academic lives. The programming that they do for our students is unbelievable," she said. "They’re so important, and I see how hard they work. I was so happy to be a part of that inaugural award decision.”
Tangonan also received an award — the Golden Apple Excellence in Service by a Staff Member — in May. With the Golden Apple, the Scholarship and Learning Resources Committee of the Faculty Assembly is recognizing and commending her skills and contributions to the advancement of teaching, scholarship and service at HPU. 

Being given a Golden Apple is an honor Tangonan said. She then makes it a point to focus on the collective group of individuals, comprising the HPU community.   
“Each of us is like a thread, and as we get woven together because of our interactions, we become fabric,” Tangonan said. “And as we work closely together the fabric is stronger. That’s what really makes us great as an organization.”   

No comments:

Post a Comment