Dr. Hye-ryeon Lee Takes the Helm as the New School Chair


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Dr. Hye-ryeon Lee
Dr. Hye-ryeon Lee

As the School of Communication and Information begins its second year, we welcome Dr. Hye-ryeon Lee as the new Chair. Dr. Lee is a professor of Communicology and specializes in health communication. She joined the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2001 after working at the University of Arizona and Stanford University as a research faculty. She brings a wealth of experience as a teacher, interdisciplinary researcher, and administrator.

Vision for the School

When asked about her vision for the School, Dr. Lee says that “the communication and information ecology around us are rapidly evolving. The ability to communicate effectively through a variety of platforms and channels and the ability to utilize information and digital technology critically are core competencies necessary for success in the current world. I envision the School being at the center of teaching these important skills to our students. As we secure additional faculty resources from the University, I would like to see that every single student who comes through the door of this University takes at least one class from our programs.”

Challenges and Opportunities

Dr. Lee notes that there are certainly challenges facing the School, the biggest challenge being the faculty shortage. Due to the hiring freeze during the COVID-19 pandemic, all five programs in the School are experiencing a critical shortage of faculty, she says. “For sure, this is a big problem because faculty is really the most important resource to build a strong academic program as well as a vibrant learning environment. But, I am hopeful that we can work through these challenges because I know there is a lot of optimism and goodwill among faculty, which was what sustained us through the lengthy reorganization process.”

A School at an Important Juncture

Dr. Lee says that she is excited to have the opportunity to serve as the Chair of the new school at this important juncture. “We all recognize that this is a critically important time in the School’s history. I appreciate that I would be able to make contributions to laying a strong foundation that is necessary to build the reputation of the School as the hub for communication and information education and scholarship nationally as well as globally. I hope I can inspire faculty, staff, students as well as the University leadership to believe in this very achievable vision of the School. I promise that I will work hard for the School, and I humbly ask for your support for the next three years.”