Nathan Murata has been named dean of the College of Education (COE) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, effective January 1, 2018. He is currently professor and graduate chair of the college’s Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science (KRS).
Murata earned his PhD in health, physical education, recreation and dance from Ohio State University. He earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in secondary education and a certificate in special education from UH Mānoa, and taught special education as a Honolulu District physical education teacher. Murata also taught at Saint Louis School and was later hired as director of its athletics department.
Prior to being hired at UH Mānoa, Murata was an assistant professor at Chaminade University’s College of Education and an assistant professor at the University of Toledo’s Department of Health and Human Performance. He then returned home to Hawaiʻi and was hired at COE in 1997 as an assistant professor. He was promoted and received tenure as associate professor in 2001 and subsequently promoted to professor in 2008. Murata held two separate terms as KRS department chair from 2004–2009 and again from 2013–2017, and served as interim associate dean for academic affairs from 2010–2012, when he provided oversight for the college’s academic affairs.
While at COE Murata coordinated the physical education teacher program, created Pre/K–12 teacher curriculum for majors and completed the first folio report for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. He works closely with graduate students interested in the field and was instrumental in obtaining more than $2.5 million in U.S. Department of Education training grants, and contracts worth $1.2 million from the state Department of Health in collaboration with the state Department of Education.
Murata plans to continue promoting teaching as a career to address the critical shortages facing Hawaiʻi schools by integrating teaching and research, and collaborative teaching across different disciplines. He is a strong advocate for social justice, diversity of programs and distance education. Given Murata’s experience and commitment to UH Mānoa and COE he intends to work closely with faculty, staff and external constituents to lead the college’s academic programs, research opportunities and services.
“Professor Murata has a passion for teaching and for bringing leading-edge research into the classroom. When combined with his impressive accomplishments across the broad spectrum of secondary and higher education, scholarship and academic administration, he is the perfect person to lead the college as it continues to expand its impact at UH Mānoa and throughout the state,” said Michael Bruno, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice chancellor for research.
Added Interim Chancellor David Lassner, “We enthusiastically welcome Dr. Murata’s leadership in this new capacity. And our deepest respect and appreciation also go to Dean Donald Young for his remarkable 47 years of service to UH Mānoa, including the last five years as dean. Mahalo nui loa to Don and our best wishes to him for a fulfilling and relaxing retirement.”