UH Faculty Named Recipients of Regents' Medal for Excellence in Teaching

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Sep 16, 2002

Awarded by the University of Hawaiʻi, the Regents‘ Medal for Excellence in Teaching pays tribute to faculty members for their extraordinary level of subject mastery and scholarship, teaching effectiveness and creative and personal values beneficial to students. This year‘s recipients are:

Michael Bitter is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Bitter‘s dynamic style of teaching helps students develop a strong interest in history with his presence capturing the attention of his classes and mesmerizing students from other disciplines as much as it does history majors. According to a former student, Bitter demonstrates his love of teaching with great depth, energy and passion.

Beei-Huan Chao is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s College of Engineering. Chao believes that education, especially undergraduate teaching, is the most important duty of a university professor. He exhibits the attributes of a great instructor—heart, knowledge and effort. Outside of class, he encourages and monitors students, helping them strengthen their skills.

Darryl Dela Cruz is the chef at Maui Community College. He is well known for his professionalism and solid rapport with students and his dedication to the culinary arts. Dela Cruz has helped the college establish a national reputation for excellence, and has led the three-time state and regional champion junior culinary team. Dela Cruz shares his knowledge of general business practices and provides students with the push to achieve.

Eric Denton is a religion instructor at Kapiʻolani Community College. In class, Denton uses personal experiences and artifacts to generate understanding. He uses challenging subject matter to increase insight and appreciation for individual beliefs. According to one student‘s observations, students appear entranced by his lecture, asking questions that spark debates, with everyone sharing their views.
Jon Goss is a geography professor in UH Mānoa‘s College of Social Sciences. Goss is passionate about education as a means to enhance social awareness and participation in civil society. He has helped implement an international collaboration on interactive distance education, and incorporates a variety of techniques including fieldwork, group discussions and reading guides to enhance classroom instruction.

Amy Hubbard is an associate professor in the Department of Speech in UH Mānoa‘s College of Arts and Humanities. She views teaching as an opportunity for students and teachers to exercise their minds. Her teaching elicits active participation from students and increases critical thinking. Hubbard also encourages her students to get involved in the community by promoting interaction with international students and with children from Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Pualani Kanahele is an assistant professor in Hawaiian Studies at Hawaiʻi Community College. She is an internationally renowned scholar, community leader and artist. She uses Hawaiian-rooted educational philosophies to motivate students to become life-long learners and to give back to the community and environment. Kanahele was a primary organizer of the 1999 World Indigenous People‘s Conference, president of the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation, and has received numerous awards including the National Governors Association Award for Distinguished Services.

Valli Kanuha is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at UH Mānoa. Her cultural sensitivity benefits her students and her emphasis on practice with diverse populations opens their eyes to issues they didn‘t know existed. Colleagues are struck by the passionate commitment she brings to her teaching.

Joy Logan is an associate professor in Spanish in the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature at UH Mānoa. In teaching Latin American literature and culture, Logan draws on her own experiences teaching in Spain, Mexico and Argentina. She has organized an award-winning photographic exhibit by a Chilean author and was involved in revamping the Spanish master of arts program.

James Leo McFarland is an associate professor in psychology at Kauaʻi Community College. According to his students, his lectures are always interesting and are given in a way that students can apply the knowledge to everyday events. He hopes to inspire his students to become active learners instead of being passive receptacles of knowledge, and believes that a professor‘s teaching philosophy should transcend discipline-specific objectives and content.

Jin-Ho Park is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at UH Mānoa. He believes that a combination of interaction, collaboration and inquiry-based pedagogy encourages students to develop curiosity and grow intellectually. Park believes that seeing his students fulfill their academic and professional potential is a great reward. His focus on the use of computers as a design tool has enhanced the architecture school‘s growing reputation in this new area of architectural practice.

Aaron Tanaka is an associate professor in the Computer Electronics and Networking Technology program at Honolulu Community College. Under his leadership, the electronics program, which enrolled approximately 150 students, was transformed into the innovative CENT program with an enrollment of 539 students. He is currently developing the curriculum for Honolulu CC‘s first baccalaureate degree.

Ingelia White is an instructor of botany and microbiology at Windward Community College. She is recognized for her role as a mentor, her endeavors in biotechnology and her contributions to enhancing science education. Her efforts have led to a new outdoor learning environment—a glasshouse used to support the college‘s plant biotechnology program and plant identification facility, which is a visual reminder of White‘s vision and role as an outstanding teacher.

Gailynn Williamson is an assistant professor of philosophy at Leeward Community College. She is an outstanding teacher who is passionate about teaching and her students. She challenges students to think critically, take risks and not accept ideas without sufficient analysis. Williamson has served as a philosophy discipline coordinator, a lead advisor to Phi Theta Kappa and as a member of the faculty senate.