Meet the New Dean of CHS!

Meet the New Dean of CHS!

Dean Halaevalu Vakalahi is an immigrant Pacific Islander woman of Tongan heritage, born in Tonga and groomed on the North Shore of `Oahu. Before HPU, she was a Professor and Associate Dean in the School of Social Work at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. She received her B.S. in Business Management from BYU-Hawai`i, MSW from the University of Hawai`i-Manoa and PhD in Social Work from the University of Utah. Her areas of teaching include social policy, human behavior and the social work environment, organizational leadership, and cultural diversity. Her two areas of scholarship are: Pacific Islander culture and community and Women of Color in academic.


Q: What excites you the most about being the Dean of CHS?

DHV: There are endless possibilities in terms of students, faculty, staff, alumni, community and location. I am so excited not only to prepare the next generation but also leaders for the 21st and even 22nd centuries. I am also very excited about the combination of disciplines with Social Work, Public Health and Nursing. This combination is an “interprofessional power force.” It also allows for transdisciplinary and transcultural experiences.


Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

DHV: At the core, is community – not just place but also how I operate. I am very inclusive and believe in the collective good. I use both transformational and transactional leadership. I think that a leader is only as good as the people around them, meaning that I can’t be a leader without the support of those around me. I am also extremely open-minded, sometimes so much so that it can be to my detriment.


Q: What is a fun fact about you?

DHV: I wanted to be a professional dancer and dance in music videos and “I still love dancing.”


Q: What are your hobbies?

DHV: I like to write, read and spend time with my family. Writing is not just academic, I also do it for fun. “Writing is my refuge.” I also love to talk story with family and friends.


Q: What is your favorite food?

DHV: All food! “I have never met a food I didn’t like.”


Q: What food were you most excited to eat returning to Hawai`i from the mainland?

DHV: Can it be two foods? Malasadas and loco moco!


Q: What is your favorite movie?

DHV: Awww that’s a hard one. Although I love the Star Wars series.


Q: If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?

DHV: I would love to meet my future grandchild.