The greatest reward of serving as Interim Chancellor of West O‘ahu has been the privilege and pleasure of working with faculty, staff, students, and fellow administrators. Our devoted academic Division Chairs and Faculty Senate Chair are serious about their leadership roles and provide significant direction for their respective academic areas. They work collaboratively with the administration, hold the administration accountable, urge and insist that high standards are upheld, and advocate on behalf of faculty and students. In this issue of West Winds, I proudly present the 2016-2017 faculty leadership team —
- Dr. Derrek Choy, Business Administration Division Chair, Marketing
- Dr. Kristina Guo, Public Administration Division Chair, Health Care Administration
- Dr. Mark Hanson, Social Sciences Division Chair, Psychology
- Dr. Mary Heller, Education Division Chair, Elementary Education
- Dr. Stanley Orr, Humanities Division Chair, English
- Dr. Alan Rosenfeld, Faculty Senate Chair, History
The Faculty Senate Chair oversees faculty governance and facilitates communication among UH West Oʻahu constituencies and stakeholders. Division Chairs oversee class scheduling, encourage professional development opportunities, coordinate personnel review procedures, program reviews, and assessment activities, and manage the Division budget.
Why do these faculty leaders choose to serve?
Alan Rosenfeld has been a UH West Oʻahu faculty since 2008. Inspired by his own teachers and college experience, he pursued college teaching and found, “Working with college students helps you stay young – mentally, at least!”
Derrek Choy served as lecturer in the ’80s, following a business career as a general manager, to give back to the community. At UHWO he found faculty “of the highest caliber in and outside the classroom,” who give students the knowledge to be successful. “Quite a few of our students are the first in their family to obtain a college education. To me, this is inspiring,” he said.
Mary Heller joined UH West Oʻahu in 2006 as Director of Teacher Education. The Oklahoma native started teaching in rural Oklahoma public schools, but discovered that her career in higher education is her “true calling.”
Stan Orr joined UHWO in 2004. A son of public school teachers and grandson of a minister and a school counselor, he grew up with deep respect for education. He lauds UHWO’s cultural diversity and close proximity to Hawaiʻi Tokai International College as a plurality that “fosters a vibrant ‘ohana that realizes itself through conversations about distinctive cultural experiences rather than a ‘monologue’ on a single culture.”
Mark Hanson sees his role as advocate for the interests of faculty and students. The self-described “military brat” is a great example for our students. The Radford High alum graduated from Windward Community College and UH Mānoa before pursuing his advanced degrees.
Kristina Guo joined UH West Oʻahu in 2006 to start the Health Care Administration program. Her passion for teaching and making a difference in students’ lives led her to a career in higher education.
Challenges and Solutions
Our faculty leaders are at the forefront of tackling issues and finding solutions. Amidst the positive enrollment growth and legislative support, UHWO still faces the reality of challenging budgets.
Dr. Orr says persisting “with our resilient and creative approaches to issues such as classroom space by offering online and hybrid courses alongside those delivered in-person” should address our “‘happy problem’ of rapid growth.”
Likewise, Dr. Choy acknowledges the challenges of growth. “We need to assure that the education given to each of our students is of the highest quality,” he said.
Dr. Guo added that classroom availability is a challenge. However, she said, UHWO has been innovative and continues to grow in spite of the challenges. Developing new programs and increasing course offerings through a combination of traditional face-to-face, weekend and evening classes, and online distance education allows us to provide “greater access to quality programs” in public administration and allied health disciplines.
Dr. Rosenfeld proposed a remedy for dwindling resources that relies on our UH West Oʻahu community. “The only long-term solution I can think of is for all of us – students included – to express to the greater community why we need to support higher education and this campus in particular,” he said. “I look forward to the day when the halls of the Legislature are flooded with grateful UHWO alumni!”
Dr. Hanson reminisces fondly of the Pearl City campus – trying to recapture the essence of “the old informal, friendly UHWO” while we experience rapid enrollment growth. “I miss when UHWO was a small family and the faculty and staff stuck together more,” said Dr. Hanson, who also remarked on the beauty of the new campus and how he appreciates “the view from my office every time I go in for work.”
Dr. Heller acknowledges the evolution of our campus culture amidst rapid growth. “It will be challenging to maintain the small ʻohana-friendly campus culture environment, but I’m confident that faculty, administration, and students will work together to make that happen,” she said.
All Faculty and Staff Contribute to Growth and Opportunity
I am inspired by our faculty leaders, as well as all faculty and staff who contribute to our campus at this time of unprecedented growth and achievement. There are numerous exciting new happenings at various stages of incubation and development throughout the campus. All faculty and staff contributions are valued and appreciated for your service as faculty advisors, committee members, or furthering our mission of offering a distinct, student-centered education. I am grateful that our faculty and staff lend expertise, insight, and wisdom to our campus. Your invaluable contributions will help UH West Oʻahu as we continue to serve the community of Hawai‘i by providing an accessible and affordable college experience.