Looking back at the University of Hawaii Maui College’s year

Aloha to my Maui County ohana! I am very excited to begin this month as the new chancellor for the University of Hawaii Maui College, and I look forward to sharing the college’s accomplishments, as well as opportunities for learning. This month, my staff has prepared a brief “recap” of just some of the highlights from 2014.

* Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. The college was very pleased with the commission’s decision to reaffirm the college’s accreditation for eight years through June 2022. Everything from defining institutional purposes, achieving educational objectives, creating an organization committed to quality assurance, institutional learning and improvement was carefully examined. The team found that, “UH-MC administration, faculty and staff exemplify a deep commitment to the institution, to the success of its students and to the celebration and showcasing of Native Hawaiian culture.”

* Faculty/staff recognition. At a recent 50th Anniversary Gala for the University of Hawaii Community College System, the outstanding contributions and service of people and programs that have impacted Maui College’s quality and success were recognized. Among the “50 Finest” were the college’s English Department (represented by Laura Nagle, Eric Engh and Marnie Masuda), the Hawaiian Studies Department (represented by Kaleikoa Kae’o and Kahele Dukelow), Nancy Johnson, professor of nursing for Allied Health, as well as recent retirees Donna Haytko-Paoa, program coordinator of the Molokai Education Center, and former Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto. Melissa Bonnin, Maui College’s director of Upward Bound, was recognized as a “Rising Star.”

* Workforce training grant. In September, a $10 million grant – “Sustaining Health, Strengthening Security in the Aloha State” – was awarded to the University of Hawaii Community College System. Maui College is leading the seven-campus consortium to develop new training programs and support existing ones to provide pathways that lead to jobs in cybersecurity and health industries. The grant will provide data centers for four campuses, allowing students at all seven campuses virtual access to cybersecurity training. For health, the grant funds the development of expanded training for both school health aides and community health workers and pays for equipment to outfit campus health labs, including a human patient simulator, and a “smart” adolescent training mannequin. Each campus also will receive student services funding to help with student retention, job placement or veterans’ services.

* Daniel K. Inouye Allied Health Center. Construction is nearly finished for the new health center. The first floor of the college’s former science facility in the Noi’i building is being renovated to increase classroom space for the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs and to integrate the Maui Oral Health Center now located off campus. The health center provides dental care to underinsured Maui County residents while giving Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting students hands-on experience.

* PV carport. This year, construction on the PV carport was completed, part of a collaboration between Maui College and Johnson Controls with HNu Energy to make the campus greener. The PV system has increased the college’s ability to generate electricity and provides eight stalls for electric vehicle charging stations.

* “HA” of Maui, the Hospitality Academy of Maui’s “Teaching Hotel.” This year, the state released $3.5 million for Hawaii’s first teaching hotel, called the “Ha” of Maui. The former student housing site will be transformed into a learning lab, offering hospitality and tourism students hands-on training by operating an actual hotel.

* A diverse perspective. This year, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UH Maui College second in the nation as one of the most diverse four-year campuses, following UH-Hilo, which ranked No. 1. All 10 colleges in the University of Hawaii system took top spots in the Chronicle’s diversity index.

I wish everyone a happy holiday season.

* Lui Hokoana is chancellor of the University of Hawaii Maui College. Ka’ana Mana’o, which means “sharing thoughts,” appears on the fourth Sunday of each month. Prepared with assistance from UH-Maui College staff, the column covers opportunities available through the college at its Kahului campus and education centers.