Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue Vakalahi, Ph.D., MSW, M.Ed.
Dean of the College of Health & Society; Professor
Hawai'i Pacific University
Halaevalu was born in Tonga and raised in Hawai’i. She is a professor and dean of the College of Health and Society at Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU). She is privileged to have served in various faculty and administrative positions in a number of universities for over two decades. She is blessed to have contributed to the existing literature on Pacific communities and women of color in academia. In essence, her deepest commitment is to the advancement of women in academia. Her educational background and experiences with a B.S. in Business Management (BYU-Hawaii), MSW (University of Hawai’i-Manoa), and M.Ed. and PhD in Social Work (University of Utah), have informed her leadership, scholarship, teaching, and service which she hopes have forwarded social and economic justice in some small way.
Speaking to her passion for and commitment to mentorship, Halaevalu is currently the Principal Investigator on an NIH grant to create the HUI Student Research Center to support undergraduate research, preparation for graduate school, and entrance into a career in the biomedical and health sciences. Additionally, with her colleagues they co-founded Urban Social Work, a new peer-reviewed journal, a partnership between Morgan State University, Lehman College, Hawai’i Pacific University, New York Community Trust, and Springer Publishing. Several years ago, she was honored to receive the CSWE Women’s Council Feminist Scholar Award and Morgan State University Iva G Jones Award which she hopes is an acknowledgement of her deep commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity as women’s issues that ultimately impact family and community well-being.