IfA Committees

Admissions Committee

The Admissions committee reviews all student applications to the graduate program and makes offers of admission. The committee consists of 5 members of the graduate faculty and one non-voting graduate student who has advanced to candidacy. They meet in the Spring of each year. Appointments to the admissions committee have a 1 year term, renewable for two terms.

Awards Committee

The Awards Committee is responsible for nominating IfA faculty for various professional awards. The Committee maintains a lists of annual deadlines for nominations, and prepares nomination dossiers for submission to the appropriate organizations by the IfA Director. It invites suggestions for nominations all awards from anyone on the faculty.

It also reviews applications for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS).

The Committee consists of a Chair and three members, all appointed by the IfA Director in consultation with the Faculty Chair. Members and Chair all serve three-year terms. The Faculty Chair and the Grad Chair are ex officio members of the Committee.

Colloquium Committee

Members serve three-year terms, which begin on July 1st. The Colloquium Chair and Committee members are appointed by the IfA Director, as recommended by the Faculty Chair.

Computer Advisory Committee

Executive Committee

Faculty Advisory Committee

Faculty Personnel Committee

Given the size and diversity of the IfA, as well as its location distribution over several islands, this committee will consist of seven (7) tenured faculty members. The term of service of the FPC is one (1) year. In accordance with B.3, no member may serve more than two consecutive terms. The FPC is elected each year, typically in September. Prior to the election, the Director will announce which faculty will be applying for promotion or tenure. Applicants will be eligible to participate in the FPC election. The candidates on the ballot are all tenured faculty members who are eligible. The electorate shall consist of the entire body of IfA BU07 faculty members. At the first meeting, the FPC shall select one of its members as the Chairperson.

Faculty Review Committee

Charge to the IFA Faculty Review Committee (May 1 2003; revised 4,2004; 1,2011)

The IFA Faculty Review Committee (FRC) will, on a biannual basis, collect, interpret and forward to the IfA Director data concerning the activities and achievements of all Bargaining Unit (BU) 7 faculty. These data are intended to provide an assessment of each faculty member’s performance, as well as to assist the Director in determining individual special salary adjustments needed to bring equity and to recognize meritorious work. The FRC evaluations will be based both on summary data provided by each individual and on additional data that the FRC may gather as required.

The FRC will consist of six tenure-track/tenured IfA faculty, four elected by a secret ballot of the tenure-track/tenured BU07 faculty, and two appointed by the Director. At the start of each review cycle, two members will be elected and one member will be appointed by the Director. Service on the FRC will be for two review cycles, so that three members rotate off each cycle. The person appointed by the Director will be chosen to provide “balance” after the two new members are elected. FRC members who rotate off the FRC may not serve on the FRC for the next 2 review cycles. The FRC Chair, to be elected by the FRC at its first meeting each year, is responsible for organizing the FRC, and for communications with the faculty and with the Director.

The schedue of each FRC review cycle shall be as follows: (1) The election of 2 new FRC members, followed by the Director’s appointment of a 3rd new member, will take place during the first 2 weeks of the Spring semester of each odd calendar year, (2) The FRC will hold it’s first meeting prior to the end of January to elect a Chair and to inform all BU07 faculty of the timetable for submitting and reviewing reports, (3) The FRC will issue its summary review report to the IfA Director by 1 May, (4) the IfA Director will meet with each BU07 faculty member to discuss their report by the end of June.

Graduate Research Oversight Group

The GROG, composed of five or more astronomy faculty and one graduate student, will offer assistance and advice in the selection of Astronomy 699 research topics and will work with the student and research advisor as necessary during the course of the project. The GROG meets formally with each student to approve their project, review progress half-way through, and evaluate the final product. Its members are also available to discuss research informally at other times. The graduate student and the GROG are encouraged to call upon the knowledge of other astronomers at the IfA.

Faculty GROG members are appointed by the Graduate Chair for a term of three years and choose one of its members to be GROG Chair. The graduate student member is elected by all the graduate students and must have already successfully completed two 699 projects. The student fully participates in the meetings but does not vote.

To ensure the best possible review of 699 projects, GROG meetings are conducted with the usual expectations of academic confidentiality. Once the committee has finalized its discussions, feedback will be provided to the students and advisors under the following confidentiality practices.

IfA Representation on Observatory Boards and Committees

Representatives are appointed by the Director in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee.

Oral Qualifying Exam Committee

Responsibilities of the Qualifying Exam Committee

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee meets monthly on the second Wednesday to plan outreach activities.

Scientific Staff Screening Committee

The SSSC is in charge of reviewing tenure and tenure-track applications to the IfA, and providing a prioritized short list of candidates to the Director. The committee will review the advertisement for any posting. It will encourage desirable candidates to apply and other IfA staff to make similar solicitations. The committee will seek out faculty opinion on selected candidates. It will also arrange and host visits for prospective candidates.

For non-tenure-track appointments the Principal Investigator with authority over the funds, and/or his/her designees has primary responsibility for the recruitment process, screening of candidates and recommendation of a specific candidate.  The Principal Investigator will forward this recommendation, along with a prioritized list of the other leading candidates for review by the SSSC and final action by the Director.  In the case of non-tenure-track appointments the SSSC’s primary role is to ensure that IfA standards and equity are maintained, that the appointment is consistent with the grant or contract proposal and that there has been a bona-fide recruitment.

The case of state-funded non-tenure-track appointments requires special consideration.  On the one hand these are sometimes used to provide bridging support for staff normally supported by external funds, and short-term (less than 1 year) appointments need not be subject to review by the SSSC.  Longer term appointments or extensions of short-term appointments will be subject to the same procedures as other non-tenure-track appointments with the Director or the Director’s designee acting as the principal investigator.


The SSSC will consist of a standing committee of four members plus between two and four additional temporary members recruited to provide additional expertise as needed for particular recruitment efforts.  Each of the four standing members will serve for four years, with two members rotating off every two years.

The four-year appointees shall be members of the tenured scientific staff and serve staggered terms starting 1 July each year.  One of the members in their final year of his/her appointment will serve as Chair for that year.  The composition of the SSSC standing committee will be broadly representative of the interests within the IfA.

Temporary members will be drawn from the tenured and tenure-track staff and will serve for periods that coincide with particular recruitment efforts – normally from the drafting of an advertisement until an appointment is made.  During this period they may participate in all activities of the committee.

When recruitment to a teaching appointment is being made at least three members of the SSSC will be members of the teaching faculty.

All members are appointed by the IfA Director in consultation with the SSSC chair.

Related policies

Under University of Hawaii (UH) policies all IfA appointments are the ultimate responsibility of the IfA Director as appointing officer.  The Director will consult closely with the SSSC and take their recommendation into full account.  However, in the event of a disagreement between the IfA Director and the IfA SSSC, ultimate responsibility rests with the IfA Director.

Any member of the Committee with a close professional or personal relationship with a candidate is expected to exclude himself/herself from all committee deliberations regarding this recruitment.  Such exclusion will commence when that candidate’s application is received at the IfA.  Examples of a close professional relationship would be Ph.D. advisor, or Postdoctoral supervisor; disagreements about conflict of interest would be resolved by the chair of the committee or, if necessary, by the Director.

For the two I3 positions, the following additional members are representing the UHM P&A department:
Sven Vahsen co-chair
Gary S. Varner
Tom Browder
Jason Kumar 


For the S3 Assistant Specialist position, there are the following additional members:

Christoph Baranec IfA
Don Hall IfA
Pierre Martin UH Hilo

Staff Awards Committee


Each year on the 1st of September the IfA Director will announce the winner of the IfA Staff Excellence Award. The award may be for outstanding achievement in administrative, engineering and technical, or support services. The award will consist of a plaque and a cash sum of $500.

The nominations for the award will be determined by a majority vote of the Staff Awards CommitteeThese nominations, normally a group of three, will be given to the IfA Director, who will make the final decision. No person may be selected for the award for the same job category (e.g., engineering) more than once every five years.

Recipients of the Staff Excellence Award will be listed in the IfA Web Pages and also on a plaque to be mounted in the corridor in the vicinity of the Director’s Office.

Web Committee

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