Hawaiian master’s degree approved after heated debate
"After University of Hawaii regents approved proposals to create new master's degrees in Hawaiian and Hawaiian Studies at UH-Manoa, students and faculty began a mele, which spoke of Hawaiians moving forward in education.
The chant, in the Hawaiian language, followed three hours of testimony before the regents yesterday.
Students and faculty at UH-Manoa spoke about the need for the program, noting that to continue their education in Hawaiian studies and language, they had to pursue other graduate degrees, like English, anthropology or linguistics.
They also noted that the Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH-Manoa has been working with the College of Education to train teachers for Hawaiian immersion programs in public schools.
But the testimony also made public a long-simmering rivalry between the Hawaiian language programs at UH-Manoa and UH-Hilo.
UH-Hilo associate professor Larry Kimura testified that he had concerns that the UH-Manoa program needed to be more academically rigorous, with requirements as tough as other languages like Chinese or Japanese.
UH-Hilo already offers a master's degree in Hawaiian Language and Literature.
Kimura said that when Hilo offered its master's program, it was required to consult with UH-Manoa professors. But UH-Manoa did not consult with UH-Hilo in developing its program. He also noted that the Hilo program has yet to be fully funded.
An angry Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, director of the Center for Hawaiian Studies, criticized Kimura, noting that he only has a master's, not a doctorate.
"We're not duplicating (UH-Hilo). We're outdoing them," Kame'eleihiwa said.
Leilani Basham, the coordinator for Hawaiian language programs at UH-Manoa, said the master's program, which faculty at Manoa have been working toward for at least four years, will focus on more than Hawaiian language. It will also involve political science, history, art and a broad range of knowledge.
Neil Smatresk, UH-Manoa vice chancellor for academic affairs, said Kimura's concerns were considered as the UH-Manoa administration and the UH-Manoa faculty senate approved the new master's programs.
"These are groundbreaking fields," said Smastresk. "We trust faculty to bring high- quality degrees to us.""
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/04/22/news/story5.html