Maui Community College degree to serve ‘star wars’ tracking station and supercomputer

New degree signals Maui CC name change

By Craig Gima

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, May 28, 2009

If the Board of Regents approves a proposal to offer a second bachelor’s degree at Maui Community College, it will likely mean a name change for the Kahului campus to the University of Hawaii-Maui, UH President David McClain said in a memo to the regents.

Established: 1964
Location: Kahului
Enrollment: 2,841
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1

Programs offered
Bachelor’s: 1
Associate degree: 20
Certificates: 37

Source: University of Hawaii Institutional Research Office

Maui CC is asking the regents to allow the campus to offer a bachelor’s of applied science in engineering technology degree. The campus already offers a bachelor’s degree in applied business and information technology, and students can take distance learning classes there for bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UH-Manoa, UH-Hilo and UH-West Oahu.

If a second degree is approved at tomorrow’s meeting, McClain said he would support renaming the campus as UH-Maui. He said community college degrees would still be from Maui Community College, but the bachelor’s degrees awarded would be from a re-named Maui College.

If approved, the changes would likely take place after McClain leaves his post in July.

“We just want to take it one step at a time,” said Maui Community College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto. “Having two bachelor’s degrees does not a university make, but it allows the university to continue to evolve.”

The proposal comes before the regents amidst some debate within the UH administration. Both UH Vice President for Community Colleges John Morton and UH Vice President for Administration Linda Johnsrud urged caution in moving forward with another bachelor’s degree on Maui.

A second bachelor’s degree would also trigger a move in accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges junior commission to the WASC senior commission, which accredits four-year colleges and universities, McClain said.

But after reviewing the concerns, Maui CC’s capabilities and work force needs on Maui, McClain said he concluded that the regents should approve the degree with the first upper-division courses offered in fall 2010.

Graduates of the program would fill a “critical need” for technicians at the U.S. Air Force observatory and supercomputer facilities on Maui, the UH Manoa Institute for Astronomy facility and high-tech firms on Maui, McClain said.

Sakamoto said the college eventually hopes to offer more than just two bachelor’s degrees.

“It’s simply a matter of our college meeting community needs,” he said.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Maui state Sen. Rosalyn Baker, who, along with other Maui legislators, has been pushing for a four-year college on Maui for decades. “I’m hoping the regents will support it because it is an important step for Maui, for higher education here.”


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