University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2000
Contact: Rose Tseng, University of Hawai`i Sr. Vice President and Chancellor, University of Hawai`i at Hilo - 974-7444
|UH Hilo Master's Degree in Education Approved - Program Begins in Fall 2000, Aims at Big Island's 1,000 Teachers|
The University of Hawai`i Board of Regents has approved a master's degree program in education for the UH Hilo campus, offering Big Island teachers significant new opportunities to upgrade their teaching capabilities on their home island.
In her presentation to the Board, UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng explained to Regents that the Master's of Education degree has been "long awaited, and has strong support from the Big Island community.
"This has been a cooperative effort between UH Hilo and the UH Manoa College of Education to develop this program," Tseng said. "The degree will address the unique professional development needs of our teachers who are unable to relocate or enroll in specialized graduate programs. This is a tremendous opportunity for teachers here to improve their teaching and leadership skills."
The program has been designed to move enrolled teachers through three semesters and two summer sessions for a total of 30 months of study. Legislative funding has been provided to support two tenure-track faculty positions, library resources and necessary equipment. The Education Department at UH Hilo now includes nine faculty plus clerical staff - resources adequate to support the program. The first cohort of teachers to enroll will begin classes in the fall semester in August 2000.
This is the second master's degree to be home based at UH Hilo. The Hawaiian Language College currently offers a Master's in Hawaiian Language and Literature, but, as UH President Kenneth P. Mortimer commented, "This is the first 'generic' masters in the history of the institution. It represents almost a change in status for the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, and it has moved forward to this point in full consultation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Committee on Substantive Change." WASC is the accrediting organization for schools in the UH system.
"Hilo's mission and strategic plan call for 'selected master's degrees,'" President Mortimer added. This is a new, higher level of service to the people of the Big Island, and we are pleased that teachers there will be now able to upgrade their professional skills and credentials more easily on their home island."
The UH Manoa College of Education has in the past offered its master's degree on the Big Island through outreach programs, and teachers have previously had access to a Professional Certificate in Teacher Education. The Certificate Program has not offered classes since 1997, however, and this home-island-based degree now replaces both. The Board officially terminated the Certificate Program upon approval of the new master's offering.
Regent Ah Quon McElrath, Chair of the Board's Committee on Academic Affairs, commended the community of teachers and UHH administrators for their efforts to establish the degree. "We do know that when test scores are published, it is too often the rural schools on neighbor islands that show lower levels of achievement as measured by standardized tests," she said. "I should hope that the establishment of the master's degree there on the Big Island will indeed help to improve not only the level of instruction in our public schools, but also increase the interest of our students in the whole process of learning,"
President Mortimer added, "I want to congratulate the University of Hawai`i at Hilo for the manner in which they have responded to this real need. We have proceeded in a very measured and reasonable way in creating this opportunity, and this is a significant event in the history of the Hilo campus."