My mother, Ellen Kekalokeaokekaulike (Kane) Freitas, drilled education into my brain daily. She worked as the secretary to the elementary school principal at Kamehameha Schools, where I attended from kindergarten through high school graduation. One day when I was in the sixth grade, she stormed into my class, and scolded me in front of the class. I don’t remember what I did, but my teacher told her that I did something wrong. By that time, I was 6 feet tall. My mom, who was 5-8, yelled at me in front of my classmates. I was crying. But I never forgot that lesson – stop getting into trouble!
When I was in the seventh grade, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She battled the disease for 15 years. She was able to see me graduate from Oregon State University. In fact, in 1970, after I made all-Pro in the NFL, she told me to quit playing football and go to graduate school! In the offseason in 1973, I enrolled in graduate school at UH Mānoa.
My mom, who passed when she was 55 years old, told me about the importance of getting a college education, advice that stayed with me throughout my life. I don’t know where I would be today without her pushing me.
March is Women’s History Month, which is a great time for us to remember the women in our lives who push us to be better. Without them, where would we be?
Interim Vice Chancellors
Last month, I announced the appointments of Dr. Doris Ching as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Kathy Wong-Nakamura as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration.
Dr. Ching is an Emeritus Vice President for Student Affairs for the UH System. She began her career as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Education at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. She served in various executive roles at the University of Hawai'i, including the Associate Dean of Education, Assistant to the President of the UH System, and the Vice President for Student Affairs for UH Mānoa and the UH System. In 2014, she served on UH West O'ahu’s Strategic Planning Committee, helping to facilitate and coordinate our updated Strategic Plan.
As the Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (VCAA), Dr. Ching is the campus' Chief Academic Officer and will serve as a champion of faculty and staff support and development, and student success, academic quality, and rigor at UH West O'ahu. The VCAA is responsible for academic planning and curriculum development for the campus and directly manages the faculty and instructional activities involving the operation of the library and resource center, course scheduling, new academic program growth and priorities, partnerships with other campuses and the business community, and non-credit program development that enhances the educational breadth, depth, and vibrancy of the campus.
Dr. Ching earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, fifth Teaching Certificate, and Master’s in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Hawai'i, and her Ed.D. with a focus in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University.
Kathy Wong-Nakamura most recently served as our Director of Information Technology. She joined us in August 2014 after serving as the Managing Director at Hawaiian Airlines where she was responsible for Applications, Enterprise Project Management Office and Business Intelligence. Prior to joining Hawaiian Airlines, she spent 13 years at Kamehameha Schools. As Kamehameha Schools' Integration and Development Manager, she led the IT portion of the Keeau and Pukalani K-12 new campus development, working closely with the Facilities group.
As the Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration (VCA), Wong-Nakamura will serve as the Chief Administrative Officer for the institution and is charged with the day-to-day operation and oversight for and the development of long and short-range plans in the areas of finance and budget, human resources, information technology, facilities maintenance and repairs, environmental health and safety, and auxiliary services, among other duties.
VCA Wong-Nakamura has Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (Food Science and Human Nutrition) and General Studies in Computer Science from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She also received a Project Management Professional Certification.
Meet and Greet with the Interim Vice Chancellors
Let’s welcome our new Vice Chancellors, along with Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Judy Oliveira, at a meet and greet on March 11. The event, in the Campus Center Multipurpose Room (C208), is from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The entire campus is invited to attend and get to know the Vice Chancellors and their experiences, philosophies, and goals. I encourage everyone to attend and to get to know our campus leadership better. Thank you to Kaiulani Akamine, Lokelani Kenolio, and Leslie Opulauoho for organizing the event.
The WASC Commission’s report will be released in March. However, we are uncertain of the actual timing of the release. UH West Oʻahu met with the WASC Commission on February 19. The report should be released no later than 30 days following that meeting. We are working on a method of announcing the information to the campus. Please stay posted.
I want to share the remarks that I made to the WASC Commissioners. I spoke about creating a learning-centered university for students at our new campus; refining our work in assessment of student learning, program review of both academics and student services, and overall educational effectiveness with better processes, greater faculty support for assessment, and strong personnel to lead in this area; and improving our financial position by increasing enrollment and by securing stronger support from the state.
I especially want to thank Eun Ahn, who spearheaded the WASC process for the campus as the chair of the Educational Effectiveness Committee, and Jacque Honda, our Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation Liaison Officer. Both were instrumental in the preparation of the campus for the WASC Visit and follow-up meeting with the WASC Commission in February.
Aloha Donna and Linda
We said aloha to two of our Vice Chancellors last month. I want to extend my thanks to Donna Kiyosaki, the former Vice Chancellor for Administration, and Linda Randall, the former Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Donna has moved on to become the UH System’s Associate Vice President for Administration, and Linda is returning to UH West Oʻahu faculty. Both were extremely helpful in moving our campus forward with positive initiatives that will continue to help our campus prosper.
Photos courtesy of Terri Ota
Chinese New Year
Happy Chinese New Year. Thanks to the Student Activity Fee Board for hosting festivities in the Courtyard. I had some fun in the Lion!