UHMC Offers New Hawaiian Studies Associate Degree

June 8, 2012, 2:16 PM HST · Updated June 8, 3:20 PM

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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