students walking, photo courtesy HEI
photo courtesy: HEI

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education (COE) and the College of Arts, Languages, & Letters (CALL) announce a new Graduate Certificate in Multilingual Multicultural Professional Practice (MMPP) to begin this summer. One of the first cross-college certificate programs in the UH System, the MMPP graduate certificate is a 15-credit interdisciplinary program that educates and trains graduate students from various disciplines to collaborate and enact multilingual multicultural awareness and understanding in their professional practices.

The MMPP engages other UHM professional schools, such as the William S. Richardson School of Law, to promote social justice, equity, and sustainability. Part of the UHM Multilingual Multicultural Strategic Initiative, the certificate cultivates a strong sense of place, building upon Hawaiʻi’s unique cultures and languages, while also preparing graduates to be leaders in multilingualism, multiculturalism, and linguistic human rights.

“We use the term ʻmultilingual’ to be consistent with current perspectives in the field of second language studies,” shared Second Language Studies Professor Graham Crookes, one of the designers of the program. “Instead of using terms such as ‘English Language Learner’ (ELL), multilingual emphasizes the cultural and linguistic assets of people and recognizes the need for fostering heritage language maintenance and language acquisition broadly, not just English. These perspectives can lead to educational, social, and economic benefits both for professionals and for the communities they serve.”

Structured so students across diverse disciplines will share two core multilingual multicultural courses, the remaining three courses of the MMPP program will be elective multilingual multicultural courses connected to their professional field in the context of Hawai‘i. Hawaiian culture, history, and language are foundational across the curriculum. Students will collaborate on an integrative final project drawing on their newfound multilingual multicultural understanding of their professional field.

“It will be exciting to see students network across different disciplines, professions, and orientations, to identity problems and create solutions and programs to better serve our multilingual multicultural communities,” stated Professor Patricia Halagao, one of the program designers and Chair of the COE Department of Curriculum Studies, which is administering the certificate.

For educators, the MMPP coursework addresses essential local policies and national professional standards to ensure they have the needed knowledge, skills, and values to support their multilingual multicultural learners in Hawaiʻi.

Brook Chapman de Sousa, COE Institute for Teacher Education associate professor and collaborating designer, said, “We’ve design a specific set of coursework aligned to the Hawaiʻi Department of Education Nā Hopena A‘o place-based policy and the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) standards. We are in the process of seeking approval from the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board so MMPP graduates may earn their TESOL license.”

The UHM Vision statement, Ka lamakū o ke aloha ʻāina: A leading light of aloha ʻāina for Hawaiʻi and the world, is central to this certificate.

“This graduate certificate is grounded in the belief that UHM should be a leader in this respect and must cultivate deep understanding, respect for, and competencies in this place’s cultural and linguistic diversity and interconnectedness,” said collaborator Dina Yoshimi, Associate Professor and Director of the Hawaiʻi Language Roadmap. “This vision will only be enhanced if we better understand each others’ languages, cultures, and various ‘rich knowledge systems’ to serve our local and global communities.”

For more information about the Graduate Certificate in Multilingual Multicultural Professional Practice application process and program, please contact Dr. Patricia Halagao at phalagao@hawaii.edu.

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