Dean Nathan M. Murata
Dean Nathan M. Murata


As the 2018–19 academic year draws to a close, I wanted to take this moment to send a huge MAHALO to all of our faculty, staff, and students for a job well done. I am filled with promise, satisfaction, and admiration. My position on promise is to continue to work hard for our college, university, community, and state to achieve positive educational outcomes for our students. Satisfaction stems from the college’s ability to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to our students and constituents through collaboration and with empathy towards others, while knowing there is still much more to be done. Admiration is for our faculty and staff who have been steadfast in their teaching, research and, service, and for our students who have been resilient in achieving their own goals. Whether it be acquiring a teaching position or becoming an athletic or personal trainer, an administrator, or researcher, our students have demonstrated excellence.

This past year saw a major reorganization on the Mānoa campus with the elimination of the Chancellor’s office, the appointment of Michael Bruno as Provost, and President Lassner maintaining his role. The next phase will include the creation of vice provost offices to replace the current vice chancellors’ offices. I am confident that our college will embrace the myriad of administrative changes with programmatic growth, increased faculty and staff support, and continued student success in mind.

We have excelled in producing more educators for the state, a very important challenge to meet. Our various online and hybrid teacher licensure programs as well as legislative support have contributed greatly to this increase. With generous funding from Senator Michelle Kidani and the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE), the college launched the Grow Our Own initiative in which emergency hires, educational assistants, and long-term substitutes were provided an opportunity for teacher licensure via tuition stipends. The Be A Hero. Be A Teacher. campaign, another UH-HIDOE collaboration, launched phase II with added social media and television coverage. Currently, the college is working on Phase III of the recruitment effort with the assistance of the University of Hawai‘i System. Faculty members have also been working diligently to create new degree and certificate options to increase professional development opportunities and pathways to teacher licensure. Our external funding has witnessed growth this past year, which includes national funding from NSF, USDOE, IES, and regional/state funding from DOH and HIDOE.

Recognizing that being a statewide institution means more than offering alternate pathways, online or hybrid courses, the college held a Neighbor Island Alumni Reception on Maui this past April. This inaugural event was our opportunity to show our appreciation of our amazing alumni, retired and current teachers, and those considering a career in education. We plan to continue visiting at least one island each year to show that we are truly one no matter where you live.

Our college continues to receive top rankings for our programs nationally and internationally. We were ranked 66 out of 258 schools in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools 2020 edition. The Master of Education in Teaching (MEdT) program was rated best master’s degree in secondary education and best full-time program by Online Masters. The Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) department was listed as one of the best online master’s in educational technology programs in the same publication. Also in 2019, Times Higher Education (THE) ranked the college 97th out of 428 universities in their World University Rankings. These rankings are a direct result of the committed faculty and staff who spend countless hours teaching, advising, and researching in order to be the best at their craft. Needless to say, their achievements have also been recognized by their professional peers, including a Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching, Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, Faculty Diversity Enhancement Award, and Outstanding Academic Advisor Award.

Our Office of Student Academic Services (OSAS), which was recently awarded the UH Mānoa ‘Oikela Outstanding Academic Advising Unit Award, has been steadfast in providing efficient academic advising and support to potential and current students. By establishing teacher academies with local high schools, OSAS has increased interest from high school students who may aspire to become teachers. The Mānoa Academy has emerged as another pathway for high school students to enroll in college courses as high school students. The Reach Out Campaign initiates contact with incoming freshman and transfer students before they have committed financially to the university. This multifaceted approach to ensure student success is a credit to OSAS and the college’s dedication to bolstering the teaching profession.

While there are numerous other accolades and recognitions – too many to detail here – I would like to acknowledge a few of our programs. The Ethnomathematics Graduate Certificate, the first of its kind in the world, completed its first cohort of students. In collaboration with the HIDOE, the Kaiapuni Assessment of Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO) has made extensive progress in creating language assessment solely in Hawaiian. Other external initiatives include collaborations with the Progressive Education Partnership with Hanahau‘oli School in Social Justice, and the Hawai‘i Education Research Network (HERN) to support collaboration between COE faculty, community members, and future supporters

The college has embarked on an aggressive strategic plan to address our future with a team representing all departments and units, together with an external facilitator. Collectively, the team is working tirelessly to re-envision and re-define our college and to remain in alignment with the UH Mānoa strategic plan. We aspire to become a true Hawaiian place of learning, collaborative in our endeavors and faculty-student-alumni driven. I am invigorated by our achievements and look forward to all of the new ones we will accomplish together. Have wonderful summer and mahalo again.

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