As Vice President for Academic Affairs, Risa E. Dickson serves as the Chief Academic Officer for the University of Hawaii System with overall responsibility for leadership, planning and intercampus coordination of academic affairs, student affairs, policy and planning, institutional research and analysis, international and strategic initiatives, and Hawaii P–20 Partnerships for Education.
The Office of Academic Affairs leads the Hawaii Graduation Initiative (HGI), one of the four strategic directions that describe the University of Hawaii’s priorities. The work on the HGI received national attention for its 15 to Finish campaign that has been replicated nationally in 15 states through a Complete College initiative. The Office of Academic Affairs continues with aggressive developments of strategies and interventions to increase student success at all levels of public Higher Education in Hawaii.
Dickson served at California State University, San Bernardino for 24 years as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Executive Assistant to the President for planning and special programs, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies. She is an American Council on Education Fellow spending her Fellowship year at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
An attachment theorist by training, Dickson has studied attachment patterns across the life span, and has most recently focused on biological foundations of communication behavior. Dickson earned a bachelor’s degree in communication theory from California State University, Northridge and a master’s and doctorate degree in interpersonal and organizational communication from the University of Southern California.