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Office of the Chancellor


Rachel Solemsaas
Rachel Solemsaas

The Office of the Chancellor is responsible for the orderly and proper functioning of Hawaiʻi Community College, and is responsible for carrying out the objectives of the College. Within the rules and regulations of the University of Hawaiʻi System, the Office of the Chancellor:

  • Issues rules and regulations governing the activities of the College.
  • Develops long-range plans for the growth and improvement of the College.
  • Recommends appointments, tenure, leaves, terminations and promotions for all College personnel.
  • Maintains accreditation standards as promulgated by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the State Legislature, and other governing bodies.
  • Approves and submits a College budget to the University System.
  • Serves as the College's liaison and representative to the general community including the Hawaiʻi County Government, State Legislators, and other appropriate State and community agencies, and organizations.
  • Assures community involvement and program quality through the establishment of lay advisory bodies to critically review instructional programs, the continuance of a fund raising committee, and the establishment of other committees as needed.


Looking back to the personal mission statement I wrote in my graduate studies, I am committed to positively impacting the world today so I can provide a better future for the next generation. A generation I hope and dream to be liberated from extreme poverty, an issue I am very passionate about. I truly believed that through education, more specifically higher education through the community colleges, would make a difference in the lives of many students in poverty.


In 2011, I have been blessed to visit with Aunty Puanani Burgess from Wai‘anae, O‘ahu. Aunty Pua helped me define my island, an island where children and families are thriving, and that poverty does not exist. As I focused my life’s work in building this Island, she helped me appreciate the "boats" that I will use to get to this Island. I have been afforded many “boats” of opportunities, including in 2015 when I was appointed as Chancellor at Hawaiʻi CC.


Although my journey continues, the last 5 years have been fulfilling serving as Chancellor at Hawaiʻi CC. The Kauhale represents dedicated faculty and staff who are innovative and creative and who value a strong sense of community. Despite the many trials and tribulations of the past, each experience afforded me with an opportunity to learn and grow as a leader.


As the College enters its 8th decade as an educational resource for the moku of Hawaiʻi, I am proud to contribute to its foundation of excellence. Despite the challenges of the times such as the Kilauea eruption, hurricanes, and the pandemic, the College proves to be resilient in supporting its students, most of whom (96%) come from this Island and a significant number of them who stay (78%) on the Island. Collectively, we contribute to a vibrant Hawaiʻi

KA‘AO - KAI (Kauhale Analytics & Intelligence) Culture of Evidence Using the Kaʻao Framework

About the Chancellor

Dr. Rachel Solemsaas was appointed chancellor of Hawai‘i Community College in 2016. She previously served as the Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada. Prior to that appointment, she was Vice President for Administrative Services at Bellevue College and Vice President for Finance and Operations at Edmonds Community College, both in Washington.

Dr. Solemsaas earned a doctorate of education in higher education with an emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor of science in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila.

Dr. Solemsaas is serving as Board Director for the American Association of Community College. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 2-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students.