This spring, the University of Hawaii Maui College enrolled 4,313 students, the highest spring enrollment ever. For our college faculty and staff, these students represent opportunities to extend student learning by expanding personal horizons. We desire not only to introduce students to new disciplines and fields of study, but also to new ways of viewing the world.
For those students who have already identified career interests, faculty members help them authentically apply knowledge and skills by performing real service. Our nursing, dental, culinary, agriculture, automotive, electronics and information technology programs - to name just a few - replicate settings where services can be provided, needs met and solutions uncovered.
Students in our liberal arts program expand their horizons through cultural, historical, philosophical, scientific and artistic frameworks. Exposure to new ways of seeing and understanding the world helps students discover and clarify their interests, values and aspirations.
Increasingly, our faculty members expand students' personal horizons by developing international connections. Many students have not yet had the opportunity to leave the islands. A few have never traveled beyond Maui. Sensei Hiroko DeLeon, our Japanese professor, created a Japanese/English language exchange program that permits our students to be coached, seen and heard by students from the Kure National Technology University. Maui College students, in turn, assist Kure students with learning English using Skype technology over the Internet. Video and voice technologies have also permitted the college's faculty to design opportunities with Japanese, Canadian, Filipino, Korean and other international college and university partners, and have led to faculty exchanges, such as Debra Nakama's upcoming visit to Mariano Marcos State University and a visit by their faculty to Maui.
Plans are under way to connect dental and culinary students with students and faculty at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Canada, in a unique netbook program. The college's dental assisting and dental hygiene faculty will assist the Canadian dental faculty members on their effective use of new dental software. Canadian culinary faculty members who have successfully used Web-based culinary software will be assisting Maui College Culinary Academy faculty to strengthen our student interaction with browser-based resources.
These initiatives anticipate the universal availability of global broadband Internet and telecommunications. Jose Bernier, our new vice chancellor for information technology, leads this video conferencing effort, which will eventually connect more students from other parts of the world with students on Maui. Maui College faculty members will then help design learning experiences that will challenge these global classes to better understand issues, critically evaluate solutions and act to improve our collective future.
The college's Spanish and Japanese language faculty members also regularly offer summer study abroad experiences. Sensei DeLeon's leadership over the years has inspired 37 students to study at various universities in Japan - more than any other college or university in the state.
Finally, the Maui Language Institute, led by Alice Luther, enrolls international students who come to Maui to hone their English skills, and often stay to continue their higher education here. This semester, the institute is hosting students from Brazil, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Canada (Quebec), Switzerland and Thailand.
At this month's inaugural University of Hawaii Maui College Canoe Regatta, our international and local students learned about safety, paddling techniques, Hawaiian culture and competition. They may have been in different canoes, but they were all paddling in the same direction . . . toward a future together on our campus.
* Clyde Sakamoto is chancellor of the University of Hawaii Maui College. Ka'ana Mana'o, which means" sharing thoughts," is scheduled to appear on the fourth Sunday of each month. It is penned by UH-Maui College staff and is intended to provide the community of Maui County information about opportunities available through the college at its Kahului campus and its education centers.