Keynote Speakers


Prof. Emmeline dePillis
University of Hawaii at Hilo, USA

Emmeline de Pillis is Interim Dean of the College of Business and Economics (CoBE). She earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science at the University of California, San Diego, and her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. Her dissertation, Predicting Entrepreneurial Intention: A Cross-Cultural Study, compared attitudes toward entrepreneurial careers in the United States and Ireland. She found that the level of achievement motivation in Ireland was no different from that in the United States. However, achievement motivation predicted entrepreneurial intention in the United States and not in Ireland, suggesting that while entrepreneurship may be revered in the United States, outside of the U.S. other kinds of accomplishments may be more valued. As a researcher in the Behavioral Sciences Group at RAND corporation, de Pillis studied depression diagnosis and treatment in managed care settings. As a management consultant for Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, she developed and delivered training for managers in HHSC hospitals on Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii Island. Her research interests include entrepreneurship, gender, virtual teams, and higher education. She is a member of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. As interim dean, her goal is to build and strengthen relationships among CoBE, its alumni, and the global business and research communities.


Topic: Kaʻipualei (“Lift Up the Cherished Blossoms”): Halving the Dropout Rate with an Instructor-advisor Model

Abstract: Advising undergraduate students is a big job, especially when up to half of incoming students are transferring from somewhere else. Incoming students need guidance on topics ranging from campus and system graduation requirements to housing and financial aid to scholarship and exchange opportunities to majors and job prospects.
At our campus, advising responsibilities have been distributed between professional and faculty advisors. Incoming students are assigned to a professional advisor in Student Services for their first year and are subsequently handed off to a faculty member in their major department. Over the years, to address perceived gaps in advising, we have added Special Program advisors including Student Support Services, Disability Services, Minority Access and Achievement Programs, International, and Athletics.
Unfortunately, having plural advisors comes with its own issues. With so many cooks in the kitchen, students often receive contradictory advice. Our students have reported being told to take courses that don’t count toward their major, to take two different classes that fulfil the same requirement, or to put off difficult classes, which then puts them behind schedule for graduation. Furthermore, having to visit a multitude of offices left students feeling adrift.
"I have bounced around from various offices due to my transfer records. It caused me to take multiple courses over again at UH Hilo. It was very frustrating not having my questions and concerns in a timely manner, especially because it meant my graduation date was delayed..."
With their teaching, research, and other service obligations, faculty advisors often cannot stay up-to-date on ever-changing general education, transfer, and graduation requirements. Nor can they spend the time required to perform graduation checks, help students schedule their classes, or research the transferability of courses. Well-intentioned faculty members can make mistakes that delay graduation. Last-minute issues get bounced between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs with no resolution.


Prof. Shaofeng Liu

University of Plymouth, UK
Shaofeng Liu is Professor of Operations Management and Decision Making at University of Plymouth, UK. She is currently the Associate Head of School for Research and Innovation for Plymouth Business School. Her main research interests and expertise are in knowledge management, decision support systems, business digitalization and e-commerce, as well as enterprise information systems applications for supply chain management, resource efficiency, process improvement, quality management and value chain innovation. She obtained her PhD degree from Loughborough University, UK. She has undertaken a great number of influential research projects funded by UK research councils and European Commission with a total value of over €40M. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for three Horizon 2020 projects funded by European Commission. She has published over 180 peer-reviewed research papers.
She sits on the Management Board for Euro Working Group on Decision Support Systems, an international professional society dedicated to decision making and decision support systems. She is the Associate Editor for International Journal of Decision Support System Technology (IJDSST) since 2015 and for Journal of Decision Systems (2013-2018), and Senior Editor for Cogent Business and Management (2015-2019). In 2020, she published a new book on “Knowledge Management - An Interdisciplinary Approach for Business Decisions”. For more details, please refer to her professional website:

Topic: The Tale of Two Strands: Knowledge Lifecycle and Deep Learning in Business Management Education

Abstract: Modern education provided by Business and Management Schools aims to train future business leaders. Business students need to be equipped with not only sufficient level of business knowledge, but also with deep learning skills that can be used to update their knowledge over their life time (i.e. the long-term benefit of education). In order to achieve these aims, it is important that business students have excellent understanding of different learning modes and the lifecycle of the knowledge they have accumulated on their education and professional journey. This talk will discuss both horizontal and vertical dimensions of learning, including the breadth of learning (at individual, team and institutional level) and the depth of learning (single loop, double loop and triple loop learning). A selection of lifecycle models for knowledge will be compared and contrasted. By learning about knowledge lifecycles, students will understand how to manage the knowledge they have acquired via education, know how to retain the useful knowledge and divest obsolete knowledge, are encouraged to share knowledge with others when needed, and update and improve knowledge via continuous learning. By integrating knowledge management skills into their deep learning process, business students will have greater potential to become competent, long-standing business decision makers. Mastering the dynamics between learning and knowledge management has been recognised as the marker of successful and promotable managers, based on feedback and research with business graduates.


Prof. Joy Kutaka-Kennedy

National University, USA

Before entering higher education Dr. Joy Kutaka-Kennedy spent over twenty years teaching students from pre-school through high school in regular education, gifted education, at-risk education, and special education. She has taught over fifteen years at the university level, emphasizing special education teacher preparation in academic course work and clinical practice supervision. Having extensive experience with online education, course development and program evaluation, she won Quality Matters recognition for innovative course design and student engagement. She has given numerous national and international presentations on creativity and collaboration in the online venue; individual accountability in online group work; emerging technological trends in higher education; implications of generational differences and technological innovation in higher education; and the future of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and deep learning in education. Her university faculty responsibilities include course design and oversight, field work supervision, and mentoring new faculty in higher education. Dr. Joy Kutaka-Kennedy serves as an officer of the California Association of Professors of Special Education, mentors prospective grant writers, completes program reviews for state and national accreditation, and performs editorial reviews for professional publications. She currently is working on designing new curricula to align with new state credentialing standards.

Title:  Humanizing the Online Learning Experience

Abstract: With the unexpected and pervasive shelter in place mandates due to COVID-19 restrictions, educators around the world at all levels from kindergarten through university colleges suddenly and precipitously were forced to adapt to online teaching and learning. After grappling with myriad issues involving technical matters including hardware, software, and internet connectivity, educators began addressing the thornier issues of new or different online pedagogy, appropriate curricular adaptations, modifications to instructional delivery, and expectations for social engagement. Educators also needed to revise HOW they presented themselves to students in the online milieu, WHAT they could do with the new technologies, and HOW they needed to find new ways to connect with their students. Educators needed to become more humane to humanize and thereby optimize online learning. They needed to go beyond lecturing and presenting static content to elicit more dynamic student engagement. They needed to deliver materials that demanded more higher order thinking skills and creative output from students. Instructors needed to develop online proxies for realistic, relevant student group work along with norms in the virtual environment. They needed to personalize learning so that each student could engage with their instructors. We are only beginning to globally revolutionize and humanize the educational learning experience in the digital environment. We can use what we know about social emotional learning to empower students to greater success by deepening our connections with them. We can grow our online presence and effectiveness to achieve greater student success.



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