Medal honors faculty members who transform students’ lives
For 99 years, the University of Hawaiʻi has done more than any institution in our state to transform our citizens’ lives and thereby Hawaiʻi itself. The "DNA" of this transformational enterprise lies in the hearts and minds of a remarkable faculty—expert and enthusiastic about the subjects and able to connect with learners of all ages and backgrounds.
On Sept. 19 we celebrate some of these scholars—the 2006 recipients of the Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching. These teachers forge strong bonds with their students, Maui Community College Associate Professor Mary Kathryn Fletcher’s passion for anthropology as captivating as Leeward Community College Professor of Mathematics Manny Cabral’s use of humor. They employ various methods to connect.
Windward Community College Research Librarian Brian Richardson masters and shares new software tools. At Mānoa, Associate Professor of Special Education Rhonda Black simulates town hall meetings and Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics Associate Researcher Andrew Harris provides daily handouts of key graphs, equations and notes. Professors of Speech Keith Kashiwada (Kapiʻolani) and William Sharkey (Mānoa) stress real-life applications of their knowledge.
All of the awardees promote high standards in the classroom, emphasize critical and creative thinking and focus their students’ attention beyond the subject matter of the course. Honolulu Community College Assistant Professor in Sheet Metal and Plastics Technology Danny Aiu infuses assignments with life lessons and community service. Associate Professor of Law Denise Antolini demands courteous, fair and service-oriented professionalism. Mānoa Associate Professor of Political Science Nevzat Soguk fosters an educated and responsible citizenry.
To ensure that students can learn, UH Hilo Professor of Computer Science Judith Gersting secures scholarship support and Mānoa Specialist in Curriculum Studies Anne Freese creates an environment where students feel safe to take risks. Both Kauaʻi Community College Professor of Accounting Albert Spencer and Laurel Gregory, Hawaiʻi Community College librarian at the UH Center, West Hawaiʻi, help students learn on their own.
The dictionary defines mentor as "a wise, loyal advisor." In living that definition, these faculty members help to transform their students’ lives and equip them for success. For that, we salute them with the university’s highest honor.
President, University of Hawaiʻi System