Maui News

Animation is now an official A.S. degree path at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College

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UHMC ACM Principles of Video Editing Class. Students in editing classroom photo are Jay Corpuz (front) and Rowell Rabino (center).

Beginning with the Fall 2023 semester, students interested in Animation may pursue an Associate’s Degree at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College via its Academy for Creative Media.

Animation and Filmmaking graduates may transfer to UH Mānoa for just two additional years of in-person study to earn a B.A. at the School of Cinematic Arts. As the top four-year film school in the Pacific, it places an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and indigenous visual storytelling. 

Previously transfer students would have needed two-and-a-half to three additional years.


“Animation is more than cartoons and big-budget CGI motion pictures like Marvel or Pixar,” says ACM Program Coordinator Brian Kohne. “The form now merges the traditional art and technology at the heart of Virtual Reality and Video Game Design, now even larger industries than cinema. It’s where the majority of high-paying media/entertainment jobs are, but to compete for that work one must attain a four-year degree and acquire a daunting array of media skills. We can now provide our students a foundational beginning to their careers, right here on Maui.”

Arabela photo and samples of design work: Courtesy Arabela Llamelo

All ACM graduates may transfer to UH West O‘ahu (UHWO) – either in person or online – to earn a B.A. in two more years. Arabela Llamelo is one of the Maui ACM program’s Outstanding 2023 Graduates looking forward to continuing her studies at UHWO and getting her Bachelor of Arts Degree in General Creative Media.

Raised on Lāna‘i – Llamelo is the first ACM Maui graduate from either Lāna‘i or Moloka‘i – she completed her coursework completely online. “At times it can be challenging and quite lonely, but overall, I enjoyed the courses I took, the projects I worked on and was able to finish at my own pace in my own time,” she explained.


“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about going to college at all but after talking with my peers, I decided to give graphic design a try at ACM,” said Llamelo. “I focused on graphic design because it relates to what I’ve been doing for years, drawing/doodling.”

“I ended up really enjoying the program. The professors are wonderful and were a great help and inspiration in what I want to do in the future.” What she wants to do is work as a graphic designer or an illustrator.

Continuing on at UHWO is sure to make her career path easier, according to UH administrators. “Our program offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers everything from communications to graphic design, mobile app design to game development, and much more,” said Sharla Hanaoka, Director of Academy for Creative Media at UHWO.


“UH has invested heavily in technology and facilities to ensure that our students have access to a world-class education. We believe that this will give our students a competitive edge in the job market and prepare them for success in their future careers,” said Hanaoka.

“It was critical for our program to offer educational opportunities like this to our neighbor island students who may not be able to move to O‘ahu or the mainland to earn a BA degree, especially if earning a degree opens the doors to many more opportunities. Creating an articulated pathway from UH Maui College’s ACM program ensured that Brian’s students would be able to cross over easily, enhancing their student experience,” said Hanaoka.

UH Maui College’s ACM lecture/lab facility, which already houses a broadcast-ready TV studio and a recording studio, will be significantly upgraded during the summer. Additionally, ACM is committed to providing a mix of face-to-face and online courses, including night courses for those who work during the day. This is the positive legacy of work done during the pandemic to figure out how to provide a high-level experience via distance education.

For complete information on the Academy for Creative Media at UH Maui College, visit


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