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UHMC Offers New Hawaiian
Studies Associate Degree

Updated 03:20 PM HST, June 8, 2012
Posted 02:16 PM HST, June 8, 2012

Students participating in the college's Maui Language Institute Rainbow Studies Program take part in a hula lesson. Courtesy photo UHMC.

By Wendy Osher

The University of Hawaii Maui College will begin offering an Associate of Arts Degree in Hawaiian Studies beginning this Fall.

“This degree has been long-awaited by Maui County residents,” said UHMC instructor Kaleikoa Ka’eo, who teaches Hawaiian studies, but he said, “it will benefit all students seeking a deeper understanding of Native Hawaiian culture and history, and is a pathway to any four-year degree.”

UHMC administrators note that the college serves rural areas that have some of the highest percentages of Native Hawaiians, including Hāna and Molokaʻi.

The degree received unanimous approval from the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents at its monthly meeting held May 17.

Students who graduate from the new associate degree program will have the option to pursue a baccalaureate degree in Hawaiian studies at either UH Mānoa or UH Hilo.

UHMC officials say the degree is also expected to be of interest to those entering the workforce or other areas of study where knowledge of the host culture is desired.

According to UHMC administrators, the degree proposal grew out of a desire to strengthen UH’s goal of being a leading indigenous-serving institution and to support the advancement of Hawaiian culture and knowledge.

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  • Dakine

    Going to college is to prepare you for a career in the working world.  What working world requires a Hawaiian Studies degree. Sounds like a waste of money.  Its just a feel good option for the local community that isnt going to actually produce graduates who will be prepared for the workforce.  Pretty sure the kind of jobs you can get wont require that degree in the first place.  I think Lahaina Luau is hiring….  no degree required.  UHMC is over selling this as part of their PR.  Its hard enough to save for college, and then waste the opportunity and end up unemployed.   Go for math, science, finance, culinary arts, or learn a trade.  This should be available as an elective and be part of a larger education that expands beyond Hawaiian Culture to be useful.  Sorry…  This is the real world.  Making this your career choice will be very limiting.  You may feel better taking this track, but in the end, you will be missing out.

  • Dakine

    the degree proposal grew out of a desire to strengthen UH’s goal of being a leading indigenous-serving institution and to support the advancement of Hawaiian culture”.   If you want to advance the Hawaiian people, teach them about astronomy or botany or marine sciences or geology.  These are areas that the Hawaiian people care about and are actually employable fields in the real world.  UH Manoa was one of the top Botany Departments in the world.   Maui and Big Island have some of the best telescopes and supercomputers in the world.  We are all surrounded by the ocean and live on Volcanoes.    These are the true paths to advance the Hawaiian people and culture.

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