Message from the Dean

Denise Konan, Dean, College of Social Sciences, UH Mānoa
Denise Eby Konan

One of the College’s greatest achievements is our dedicated effort to redefine how we engage students and provide them with opportunities to transform into global citizens. Our innovative programming allows students to experience a dynamic learning environment in classrooms integrated with peers from across the United States and the world, giving them access to a more global perspective—both nationally and internationally. This culturally diverse experience enables students to learn more about themselves and connect with others, transforming them into bold, engaged global citizens who affect change, break down barriers, stand out, speak up, defend and question.

A few examples of how the College has made a tremendous impact on the lives of our students and the broader community include:

  • The launch of the Mānoa Academy of Social Sciences, a pilot program offering Hawaii’s high school students the opportunity to gain early entry to the university and earn dual credits at their high school and at UH Mānoa.
  • The establishment of Nā Ko’oko’o, a leadership program that is part of the College’s Native Hawaiian Initiative. Rooted in Kanaka Maoli perspectives and led by Native Hawaiian faculty in the College, the program’s students learn how to meaningfully take their academic work beyond the university campus and to see themselves as emerging leaders who carry responsibilities to the ‘āina (land/water) and kānaka (people) of Hawai’i.
  • Partnerships with institutions throughout the world – from the U.S. West Coast and Canada to Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, and Korea – enable students to experience diverse cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds.
  • Prominent faculty additions such as renowned Polynesian archaeology expert Patrick V. Kirch, who brings decades of rich Pacific archaeological expertise to the college and whose presence enables the college to expand research in Hawaiian and Polynesian archaeology, build programs that create rich learning opportunities for students, and work with local communities to preserve archaeological sites and promote cultural heritage.
  • Sponsorships of events such as the three-day disaster risk reduction conference that culminated in the free public presentation of the U.S. world premiere of The Great Tsunami in Japan: Reflecting on the 2011 Disaster. The film offered a rich compilation of the personal stories of survivors and an exploration of the resolute spirit of those who inhabit this disaster-prone region of Japan.

At the College of Social Sciences, we empower students to explore their interests, discover what they excel in and learn how to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom. We are inspired by our students … by the potential of who they can be and who they will be. They will change the way policies are made. They will influence the way communities are developed. They will help others stand up for their rights. They will uncover the next big story. We take great pride in being a part of their lives and their stories.