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2016 Faculty Honors & Awards - UH Manoa

  All Photographs by: Colin Macdonald  

UH Mānoa recognized its finest faculty, staff and students with various teaching, research and service awards on May 5 at its 2015 Mānoa Awards Ceremony at Kennedy Theatre. Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman and campus leadership were joined by the awardees and their students, colleagues, family and friends to celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals.

Regents' Medal for Excellence in Teaching

The Board of Regents' Medal for Excellence in Teaching recognizes the importance that students, the faculty and the administration place on quality teaching on our campuses. This award pays tribute to faculty members for their extraordinary level of subject mastery and scholarship, teaching effectiveness and creativity, and personal values beneficial to students.


Lisette Marie Flanary

Assistant Professor

Professor Lisette Flanary brings 20 years of experience to the Academy for Creative Media in the fields of producing, directing and writing for film and television. At the core of her teaching practices is a dedication to the University’s commitment to creating a Hawaiian Place of Learning that highlights indigenous scholarship concurrent with valuing local identity, community and diversity. She has developed courses that ensure student filmmakers will receive rigorous educational experiences to well equip them professionally upon graduation. One student writes of a pivotal moment in her education when she realized that Professor Flanary believed more in her project than the student did herself. A colleague explains her teaching success as a combination of exuding tremendous respect for students with maintaining high academic standards.



David Gordon Garmire

Associate Professor

Associate Professor David Garmire of the Department of Electrical Engineering is considered by colleagues to be one of the most accomplished faculty in his college. He has pursued excellence in teaching to simultaneously accelerate his own innovation and inspire students to achieve their life goals. He merges engaged face-to-face pedagogy with unique uses of technology to create high levels of performance by students working with advanced material. He was involved in the development of the new UH iLab in Building 37, a space considered to be an “innovation incubator” because it allows students to collaborate and create inventive solutions to challenging problems. Rather than retreating to his office, he can often be found at a desk in the lab, and is fully present while students work.



Robert D. Joseph


Robert Joseph has the exceptional ability to teach a range of Astronomy courses in a way that facilitates students to learn to think like researchers and to feel comfortable to ask questions in their own fields of interest. A unique course of his own design is Astronomy 140, the historical and conceptual development within astronomy and its influence on intellectual history and other disciplines. His service to UH Mānoa students is exemplar through the Institute for Astronomy and the Honors Program, yet he manages to make time to teach the subject to inmates at the Women’s Correctional Center in Olomana and to elder students attending the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. At the heart of his teaching philosophy is that astronomy is a human enterprise.


Mari Matsuda


Law Professor Mari Matsuda had two great influences on her teaching life: her mother, a teacher of teachers in the community college system, and former Chief Justice William S. Richardson, namesake of the law school. Both taught her to value what each student brings to the table – an ability to learn and an instinct for justice. Her seminar, Organizing for Social Change, is taught in a workshop format so students can become resources for one another in problem-solving while completing projects. Many of her students have gone on to become full-time change agents in Hawaiʻi and beyond. This gifted professor has written extensively on legal education and intersections with other fields, and her inspiring work is widely read due to her ardor for the subject matter.


Jessica Nishikawa

Assistant Professor

Jessica Nishikawa of the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene is an engaging teacher and expert clinician with a focus on geriatrics. She instructs many of the School’s foundational graduate courses, and is described by students as the best professor they’ve ever had. Because she believes that effective teaching involves adaptation based on reflection and student feedback, her courses continually evolve. A colleague says she sets up students for success by being organized, approachable, having a great sense of humor, providing clear instructions, setting high expectations, and giving thorough and timely feedback. She has extended her teaching into the community through the Career and Technical Education program for public high schools and, in doing so, helped raise the quality of education in the Health Services Pathway.




Maile Taualii

Assistant Professor

When Maile Taualii arrived in the Department of Public Health Sciences, she was tasked with establishing the world’s first and only accredited Indigenous MPH specialization with no textbooks, models, competencies or guides. By working with people to define what would be of greatest use to their communities, she developed and grew the Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health Specialization. This pathway celebrates the strengths of Native peoples and educates decision-makers. Said one of her students, “Sometimes I feel I do not have the support of everyone in my family, but Dr. Taualii has been there to make sure I succeed. She has pushed me to become stronger and taught me to believe in myself, something I could not have achieved on my own.”


Regents' Medal for Excellence in Research

The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research is awarded by the Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community.

Brian W. Bowen


Brian Bowen is a Research Professor at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. He has made outstanding contributions to the conservation of marine species such as sea turtles, shrimp, sturgeon and white sharks. Since joining HIMB in 2003, he has trained 23 graduate students, and sits on the committees of another 14 graduate students. He has published approximately 200 peer-reviewed publications, garnering over 13,000 citations. This sought-after speaker has given 16 guest lectures in the past three years and, over his career, has presented 90-plus times. His competitive grants represent more than $6 million of extramural funding. This American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow earned the Kobe Award for lifetime achievement in aquatic biology.


Loïc Le Marchand


Loïc Le Marchand is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center. He has contributed significantly to the field of cancer epidemiology, and was one of the first epidemiologists to study the role of genes and the environment on cancer incidence. His work has been nationally and internationally recognized. He was a member of the 2015 IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer) committee that reviewed evidence for processed meat as a carcinogen, and was recognized on the 2015 Thomson Reuters’ “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds and Highly Cited Researchers” list. Extremely successful at obtaining grant support, he brings in several millions of dollars to the University annually. He always strives to build a research environment that fosters the training of new scientists.

Kristin Pauker

Assistant Professor

Kristin Pauker is an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Sciences’ Department of Psychology. She is described by a nominator as a young scholar whose thoughtful and careful research has contributed to developmental science with an impressive scope and breadth. She is making significant contributions to developmental and social psychology in the areas of intergroup attitudes, racial bias, interracial anxiety and essentialist beliefs. Using cutting-edge methodology, her research particularly focuses on the timely and important topic of racial prejudice. Since joining UH Mānoa in Fall 2011, she has published 12 peer-reviewed journal articles and a book chapter, with four manuscripts currently under review and a number under preparation. She has also been successful in obtaining federal funding to support her scholarly works.


Chancellor's Citation for Meritorious Teaching

Established in 1986, the Chancellor's Citation for Meritorious Teaching recognizes UH Mānoa faculty members for significant contributions to teaching and student learning.

Ashok Das

Assistant Professor



A strong philosophical foundation saturates the teaching practices of Assistant Professor Ashok Das in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. He promotes engaged learning, and stimulates multiple voices through a culture of dialogue and debate. Students know that, beyond academic accomplishment, he has leveraged an extensive network to connect them with researchers, professionals and academics on multiple continents to further their capstone. A colleague describes him as a gripping storyteller who is able to help students grasp the reaffirming relations between abstracted theory and the day-to-day problems of urban planning and policy, such as poverty, residential segregation, social conflict, municipal governance and environmental degradation. His careful use of constructive criticism is known to have led many students to transform their performances from passable to truly extraordinary.




Jeffrey C. Drazen




With a strong work ethic and unwavering dedication to his craft, Professor Jeffrey Drazen in the Department of Oceanography sets an effective example of motivation for his students as they strive to reach their professional and personal goals. Those taking his classes describe him as inspiring, provocative and engaging in his lectures and lab sessions, instilling in students an eagerness to find out more about the study of the ocean. He considers his greatest contribution to hands-on learning to be the development of a shipboard laboratory exercise aboard UH’s premier research vessel, the Kilo Moana. Said one student, “I believe it is easy for a teacher to teach the contents of a subject, but it takes an excellent teacher to teach the love for the subject.”


Robert Keawe Lopes Jr.

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor and Kumu Robert Keawe Lopes of the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language is described as a genuinely passionate and skillful educator. His work sets a new pathway for the disciplinary areas of cultural learning through creative expression, visual language presentation, and perpetuating an indigenous worldview through traditional and contemporary art forms. He bases his philosophy of teaching on fostering an educational setting where students actively invest in building a firm platform, upon which they can stand confidently both within and outside the classroom setting. He extends his creative, inspired influence to the wider student body in a number of efforts, including mentoring the Tuahine Troupe, whose members specialize in the perpetuation of mele and share their appreciation for it at campus and community events.


Georganne M. Nordstrom

Assistant Professor

The teaching philosophy of Assistant Professor Georganne Nordstrom of the Department of English is “rooted in ancient rhetorical theory that a primary function of an education is to produce responsible citizens able to participate in public discourse.” In achieving this goal of empowering the active citizen-student, she has created an environment in which learning is multi-directional and multi-cultural. Her colleagues speak admiringly of her breathing new life into a class that the department had trouble staffing regularly, and how her course offerings have renovated the curriculum. Her role as teacher and mentor has extended well beyond the classroom into the Writing Center, one of the most significant sites for transforming learning that has also grown into an engaged site of research on writing center practices.




Craig Santos Perez

Associate Professor

English Associate Professor Craig Perez visualizes the classroom to be a canoe, with his students as crew and himself as navigator responsible for mapping the journey, plotting the course, maintaining discipline and focus throughout the learning experience, and ultimately leading all toward the ultimate destination of optimum student learning outcomes. By drawing on this powerful symbol of his native Chamorro culture, he serves as a guide to teaching courses in creative writing, poetry and Pacific literature, while imparting an understanding of the centrality of creative writers culturally, socially and politically in communities from local to global. Colleagues describe his poetics and pedagogy as being informed by a deep commitment to reciprocity and mutual respect; his students call him inspiring, challenging, and a generous teacher and mentor.

Miriam T. Stark


Professor Miriam Stark of the Department of Anthropology teaches in varied settings that transcend the classroom into the laboratory and field, each requiring different approaches to teaching and learning. She seeks and experiments with innovative techniques such as flipped classrooms, flash cards as prompts, one-minute papers to assess student comprehension, worksheets for documentary segments, student role-playing panels to grasp theoretical frameworks, and station-based exercises to advance the understanding of archaeological concepts. As an anthropologist, she coordinates with staff at Bishop Museum on internships in Cambodia, where she conducts research projects and arranges for undergraduates to study for credits. A colleague shares that “no other faculty member is as invested in thinking about – and working to improve – the quality and breadth of instruction in our Department as Miriam is.”


Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

The Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching is a memorial to the late Frances Davis, who taught mathematics at UH Manoa and Leeward CC for 19 years. Davis, who modeled teaching excellence, was directly responsible for the establishment of the math and science division at Leeward CC. At the request of the Davis family, this award honors faculty members in the University of Hawai'i system for their dedication to teaching and demonstration of excellence as teachers of undergraduate students.

Assistant Professor Jamie Simpson Steele in the College of Education has a passion for teaching that is expressed through dynamic instruction, dedicated responsiveness to students, collaboration and co-teaching, and a commitment to universal design and culturally relevant pedagogy. A uniquely potent characteristic of her engaged and creative teaching derives from her background in the performing arts, which generates high-energy student learning through movement and action, thinking and talking. She sees the arts as a “rehearsal for life” and that “an engagement in aesthetic realms provides entries into how the world works in ways that traditional learning does not.” She has assumed leadership in developing, implementing and assessing a co-teaching program to engage future teachers in blended content involving general elementary and special education through redesigning courses to better meet the needs of diverse learners.

Jamie Simpson Steele

Assistant Professor



Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Service to the Community

The Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service recognizes a Manoa faculty member who has accepted a socially significant role as an intellectual leader and exemplar beyond the campus and who has applied academic expertise to the improvement of the community.

Karen Nora Umemoto


Karen Umemoto, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, is a committed and generous intellectual leader. She has demonstrated a significant and sustained devotion to higher education, as well as a unique and respectful regard for local island communities. Her legacy of service is deeply rooted in the Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander cultures, especially with respect to building capacity and partnerships. Through an exceptional intellectual activism embedded with an ethos of social justice, she creates opportunities for students to work alongside community practitioners and to employ research and planning skills in finding ways to serve local movements. In doing so, planning professionals graduate from the University prepared to continue her legacy of commendable work and empowerment.


Peter V. Garrod Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award

Established by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Graduate Division in 2005, the Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award allows graduate students to nominate faculty for excellent mentoring, one of the foundations of outstanding graduate education.


Leonard Andaya


History Professor Leonard Andaya has brought exceptional skills to his supervision of graduate students. He has made significant contributions to advancing Southeast Asian history, thanks to his mastery of the field and affinity for teaching. He has a special skill in mentoring students who are first-generation university graduates, and understands the challenges faced by foreign students, especially from Asia, as they pursue their higher education goals. He holds his students to the highest possible standards, insisting from the outset that they acquire the languages necessary for the proposed research, and to devote the required time for research in foreign archives. Throughout the entire process, he exercises rigorous oversight, asking searching questions, suggesting additional sources, reading and re-reading drafts, and shepherding students through the final stages of their graduate degrees.


Outstanding Academic Advisor / Advising Unit Award

The Council of Academic Advisors recognizes an individual or unit who, over the past two years, has demonstrated excellence and/or innovation in advising, and/or has made a significant contribution to the advising community.

Gerald Ken Hin Lau (Pakela Award)

Assistant Faculty Specialist/

Academic Advisor


Gerald Lau serves as a stellar model for integrating academic advising into the University’s educational mission. He is an Assistant Faculty Specialist for the rapidly growing Department of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). He provides major academic and career counseling for over 400 students, participates in curriculum and department policy meetings that help integrate instruction with advising, and plans and develops the department’s outreach and student engagement programs. He serves as a Faculty Ambassador – recruiting students into the ICS program and into STEM fields, and serves as the department’s liaison to the Graduate Division. He is also deeply involved in a variety of cyber security activities to engage students, including being the advisor to the Grey Hats club, whose members analyze cyber defenses.













Shidler College of Business
Office of Student Academic Services
(‘Oikela Award)


Shidler College of Business Director of Undergraduate Programs Robert Bachini leads his Office of Student Academic Services (OSAS) team, whose members include Academic Advisor Rikki Mitsunaga, Freshmen Advisor Irene Burns, Office Assistant Sherri Yanagi, former Senior Admissions Advisor Reid Kuioka, and a Mānoa Peer Advisor. The office helps undergraduate business students succeed by integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences into leadership, service and business-related activities, including international fairs, global awareness workshops, Business Night, internships, and a large career expo held each semester. Shidler’s OSAS developed a Direct Admit Program that has improved retention over three years from 79 percent to 88 percent. It also launched mentoring and monthly events for its Pre-Business Residential Life Program and created Shidler Success Seminars to introduce freshmen to the college.








Revised 1/3/17