Search Begins for New UH Astronomy Director

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Galaxy NGC7331 captured by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope’s MegaCam. Courtesy photo.

The University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy is in the market for a new director and as of Tuesday, the search has officially begun.

UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno has selected a Search Advisory Committee who will oversee the process, according to a UH press release.

The selection — which the university hopes to have in place, or at least named, by Fall 2020 — will run the department and manage facilities at UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, Haleakala and atop Maunakea, where protestors continue to block Maunakea Access Road and the construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).


“Given the current issue of the day, it’s a very important position, not only to advance astronomy and knowledge,” said Dan Meisenzhal, communications director at UH. “Obviously, there’s a little bit more to the job given the current nature of things.”

He added part of the committee’s mandate will be to clearly define the position for whomever they choose as director.

Guenther Hasinger left the post in the Spring of 2018. The director’s role has been filled in an interim capacity by Robert McLaren since that time.


The search committee will recommend finalists to Bruno, who will then recommend a selectee to UH President David Lassner, the release said.

The search process will convene over the fall semester (formal job announcement forthcoming) with finalists invited to campus in the Spring 2020 semester.


  • Newton Chu, Director, Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris and Knorek (Hawaiʻi Office)
  • Randall Holcombe, Director, UH Cancer Center

Committee Members

  • Gregory Chun, Executive Director, Maunakea Stewardship, and Board Member, Office of Maunakea Management
  • Mark Chun, Specialist and Chair, Institute for Astronomy (Hilo)
  • Zach Claytor, Graduate Student, Institute for Astronomy
  • Shadia Habbal, Astronomer and Chair, Institute for Astronomy
  • Daniel Huber, Assistant Astronomer, Institute for Astronomy
  • Hope Ishii, Researcher, Hawaiʻi Institute for Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
  • Kaʻiu Kimura, Executive Director, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center
  • Hilton Lewis, Director, W. M. Keck Observatory
  • Haosheng Lin, Astronomer, Institute for Astronomy
  • Michael Maberry, Assistant Director, External Affairs and Business Development, Institute for Astronomy (Maui)
  • Caroline Piro, Undergraduate Student, Institute for Astronomy (Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi)
  • Noelani Puniwai, Assistant Professor, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, Hawaiʻinuiākea, School of Hawaiian Knowledge
  • John Tonry, Astronomer, Institute for Astronomy
  • Emilee Turner, Graduate Student, UH Mānoa Graduate Student Organization
  • Jennifer van Saders, Assistant Astronomer, Institute for Astronomy
  • (Ex officio) Michele Tom, Executive Search Coordinator, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

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