Faculty Reflections


Robert Cooney, UHM Department of Public Health Sciences (Summer 2017 in Dublin)

The Resident Director experience: something every faculty member should pursue!

I had been asked many times to embark on a study abroad experience as a resident director and there always seemed to be too many things going on in my life to commit to the time of being away for so long.  Finally, the lure of visiting my ancestral roots in Ireland while helping to build an opportunity for Public Health undergrads led me to overcome my initial reluctance.  The rewards were so great that now I wonder why I waited so long!   The best part of the experience was the close interaction with students that I accompanied, both in Public Health and Nursing.  Getting to know students outside of class is both amazing as well as enlightening for both sides.  The diversity of student interests and talents was incredible.  One of our students was a gourmet cook, while another excelled as an artist.  All had amazing stories to share and I think they found our shared experiences amusing on occasion as well.  The ability to learn about student interests outside of class and provide input to them was invaluable.  In addition, the interaction between our nursing students and public health students was gratifying as each discovered how the different disciplines have their own unique approaches to the issues of health care.  Over the four week period the growth in student maturity and self confidence was readily apparent and gratifying to observe.  Interestingly I noticed a remarkable decrease in anxiety levels of all the students after study abroad and I do believe their ability to cope with future uncertainty has been greatly enhanced by their experiences.   Knowing that you can travel half way around the world through strange airports and adapt to a new environment and have a good time is extremely empowering.

Image of University of Hawaii at Manoa Summer in Dublin, Ireland, students enjoying lunch on the UCD campus between classes.

UH students enjoying lunch on the UCD campus between classes.

One of the most important lessons that I came away with from my experience was how we have failed to communicate and transmit a larger world view to students.  Too often we teach our focused classes in a vacuum and do not help students integrate the specialized knowledge they receive in school into either a larger world view or to assist them in putting together a life plan that incorporates their talents, desires, and experiences.  The study abroad experience helps accomplish this in two ways.  First, the extended time spent with peers and the resident advisor in a semi-monastic setting of a dorm provides a fertile environment for discussion and exploration of ideas.  Second, the experience provided by study abroad opens students (and RD’s) minds to issues and conditions that are new and thought-provoking.  For example, we all learned that in Ireland sporting events, such as the Gaelic games, incorporate cultural values that are deeply embedded in Irish tradition and were instrumental in liberating Ireland from English oppression and restoring a sense of self-worth in Irish society.  Unlike American sports that are corrupted by money with little team loyalty, Irish sporting events such as Gaelic football and hurling are club-based and athletes proudly represent their communities and play for a higher social goal.  The return of Gaelic games after being banned by the English has led to the restoration of language and traditional culture in Ireland after centuries of their suppression by English overlords.

The history I learned about Ireland during my stay was incredible.  The Irish take great pride in their history and as I gradually integrated a picture of Irish history, I found it to be reinforced through my interactions and discussions with men and women from all walks of life.  I came away with an appreciation for 10,000 years of history that I could never have gained from reading history books alone.  Seeing some of the castles that my Norman ancestors had built and learning the stories of my Irish ancestors brought the history alive for me.  All in all, it was an amazing experience for me and from what I heard from the students, for them as well.

Image of Prof. Robert Cooney of the University of Hawaii Manoa Office of Public Health Studies, Summer in Dublin, Ireland, faculty resident director, posing in front of Trim Castle, built by his 26th great-grandfather Hugh De Lacy around 1200 AD and used for the filming of the movie “Braveheart”.

Exploring Trim Castle, built by my 26th Great Grandfather Hugh De Lacy around 1200 AD and used for the filming of the movie “Braveheart”.

Mark Branner, UHM Department of Theatre & Dance (Fall 2013 in London) 

Image of Prof. Mark Branner, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Theatre and Dance, faculty resident director of the semester in London, England program, and his three children exploring Kensington Palace.

Branner and his three children exploring Kensington Palace.

Mark Branner brought his whole family (with three kids under the age of 10) with him to London where he served as the faculty Resident Director in the Fall 2013 semester, and advocates other faculty members should too. Click here to read about his experience.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Abroad Center (UHMSAC) offers summer, semester, and year-long programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Pacific, and South America. During the 2012-2013 academic year, 293 students studied abroad and enrolled in 360 courses.  Twenty-eight of these courses were taught by eight UHM faculty members in semester/year-long programs and eight faculty in summer programs. A total of  20 instructional faculty taught and/or conducted research abroad through the UHM Study Abroad Center.

Judith Kellogg, UHM Department of English (Spring 2013 in Florence) 

Image of Prof. Judith Kellogg, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of English, faculty resident director of the semester in Florence, Italy program, and the Spring 2013 students

Prof. Kellogg and the Spring 2013 group

The program is not just transforming for students, but for faculty as well. As a medieval scholar with a strong interest in the Renaissance, the benefits of having been in Florence are immeasurable. The most immediate benefit will be to my teaching. Context is so important to the study of literature, and I have been able to assemble a wealth of visual materials, particularly focused on medieval art, Dante, and the markers of the transformation of perception from medieval to Renaissance. And since one of my research interests involves the relationship between texts and images, this will feed into my research as well. Exploring Florentine culture and artifacts has contributed profoundly to an understanding of the transition from medieval to Renaissance thought, and the different ways of interfacing metaphysically with lived experience within these two periods. This material will be immediately incorporated into my Fall classes at UH.

During my stay I also had productive interaction with several academics that I met through LdM. Lucia Soldi teaches the LdM course on “Text and Image,” and we had a number of good discussions about theory and specific works. In addition, at my public lecture on “The Legacy of Eve” I met Dr. Eva de Clercq, who has just published The Seduction of the Female Body: Women’s Rights in Need of a New Body Politic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Her work relates to my own on medieval women writers. In fact, we wished that I were around longer so that we could do a collaborative series of lectures, where I would lay the cultural foundation for Western attitudes towards the female body, and she would follow up with her vision of where we go from there. I am confident that we will continue our interaction.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Abroad Center (UHMSAC) offers summer, semester, and year-long programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Pacific, and South America. During the 2010-2011 academic year, 355 students studied abroad.

Tom Brislin, UHM Academy for Creative Media (Summer 2011 in Annecy)

My experience as resident director was very satisfactory. I conducted a weekly meeting with the UHM group, and was on campus at least three days a week to facilitate individual meetings. Since those taking a morning class were pau by 12:30, and those taking an afternoon class began at 1:30, I made sure I was in a central area during that hour to catch them coming or going. Discussions in our weekly meetings covered their unique experiences as well as antidotes to culture shock. They were able to share experiences that were helpful to each other, including inexpensive places to eat, drink, shop, and have fun.

Annecy was a good location for professional development. It has instituted one of the world’s top rated annual animated film festival (earlier in June), and its art conservatory focused on historic, contemporary, and interactive animation. Because of the festival, several digital animation and effects companies have located in the Annecy region. In nearby Lyon, the Lumiere Institute is a premier museum and library for the study of film. It hosts the Lyon Film Festival, as well as a summer screening series. I was able to visit the library, study early camera and projection devices, and screen tribute films to the Lumiere brothers made my contemporary international directors. I was also able to attend a screening of their classic film series focusing on Cinemascope productions.

Glenn Man, UHM Department of English (Spring 2011 in Paris) 

Image of Professor Glenn Man, University of Hawaii at Manoa department of English, faculty resident director of the semester in Paris, France program, being celebrated by the students.

Three cheers for Prof Man!

My professional benefits derived from teaching the French Cinema course and being able to do research on the European multi-narrative film at three venues—the bibliotheque of the Cinémathéque Française in Paris, the British Film Institute Archives and Library in London, and the archives and library of the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. In addition, I was able to broaden and deepen my film repertoire through retrospective cinema programs at the Cinémathèque Française (Hitchcock, Kubrick, Mexican melodrama) and at the BFI’s National Film Theatre in London (Spanish cinema, classic Russian cinema).

Personal benefits derive from immersion in Parisian and French culture and language, interaction with an ethnically and nationally diverse group of students, development of good relations with the staff of ABS, bonding with the Hawaii students and their friends, and working with Sarita and her staff to provide a fulfilling academic study abroad experience for our students.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Abroad Center (UHMSAC) offers summer, semester, and year-long programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Pacific, and South America. During the 2008-09 academic year, 433 students studied abroad and enrolled in 295 courses.  Thirty-one of these courses were taught by eight UHM faculty members in semester/year-long programs and seven faculty in summer programs.  A total of  18 instructional faculty taught and/or conducted research abroad through the UHM Study Abroad Center.

Jonathan Okamura, UHM Ethnic Studies Department (Fall 2008 in London)

I gained professionally as an ethnic studies scholar by acquiring new theoretical and empirical knowledge of London and the UK in general as another important setting of race and ethnic relations, besides Hawai‘i and the continental United States. As a specialist in Asian American studies, I learned quite a bit about the status and experiences of British Asian groups, including Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Chinese, and how they are both similar and different from those of Asian groups in the United States. Being here, I was able to observe and make direct inquiries about the nature of race and ethnic relations and of different minority groups in London rather than have to rely on only published materials. I will make immediate use of the knowledge and perspectives I gained by incorporating them in my course next summer on ethnic identity and in a course on comparative race and ethnic relations I am proposing for the new master’s degree program in ethnic studies. I also established a friendship with Prof. John Eade, director of the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism at Roehampton that should result in a mutual exchange of publications and research information.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Abroad Center (UHMSAC) offers summer, semester, and year-long programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Pacific, and South America. During the 2007-08 academic year, 462 students studied abroad and enrolled in 338 courses.  Twenty-one of these courses were taught by seven UHM faculty members in semester/year-long programs and three faculty in summer programs.  A total of  14 instructional faculty taught and/or conducted research abroad through the UHM Study Abroad Center.

Robert Hughes , UHM English Department (Spring 2008 in London):

Once again, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in the U.H. Study Abroad Center’s program in London in Spring, 2008.  It was perhaps the most memorable teaching experience of my career.  And, as I am retiring in August of this year, it was also my last teaching experience.  If I could work only with SAC, and not have to deal otherwise with U.H., I would consider staying on, but no faculty member could be so lucky.

I did benefit from being on location where some of the most famous British mysteries have been set and filmed.  I tracked down not only the Sherlock Holmes museum and pub, where I took my students, but also several sites from various Poirot mysteries and numerous Oxford and London locations for the Inspector Morse series.  As well as sites from the Dalgleish and Cordellia Gray mysteries of P.D. James.  And I attended again with my students Agatha Christie’s landmark play, The Mousetrap, as well as frequented “Murder One,” the only dedicated mystery bookstore in London.  I also corresponded with several literary agents in London about my Surfing Detective series, attempting to generate interest in its publication in the U.K.  And finally, I did some significant research for the fourth mystery in the series, Barking Sands, thanks to the wireless internet hookup in the Chaplaincy.  The Program offered much more opportunity to develop myself professionally than I was able to take advantage of.

Kristin McAndrews, UHM English Department (Spring 2008 in Paris):

Image of Kristin McAndrews, University of Hawaii at Manoa department of English, faculty resident director of the Spring 2008 in Paris, France, program, posing with some other faculty members and students.

Kristin McAndrews poses with some other faculty members and students.

In the Fall of 2007, I committed to a research project regarding the visits to Paris by Hawaiian royalty from 1850 to 1900.  I began chronologically with the 1850 visit of Prince Lot Kamehameha.  In addition, I decided to do some research into Garritt Parmele Judd, then finance minister of Hawaii.  They came to Paris on a diplomatic mission in order to facilitate a treaty with France. I wondered what the French might have thought about the efforts of the small party to negotiate a treaty.

Before I left Honolulu, I worked at Bishop Museum researching Lot and Judd.  I focused on Lot’s journal from that time period and Judd’s letters as two different types of autobiographical discourse. In Paris, I planned on looking at French newspaper archives in order to see what the French thought about the visiting Hawaiians.  In Paris, in order to proceed, I had to create a dossier at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in order to use their library facilities at the Mitterand and the Richileiu. Fortunately, I was given a lecturer’s card and quite a thorough tour of the facilities and archives. I researched at the Bibliotheque for three months both in house and on-line.  In addition, I visited the National Archives and the Musee de Paris in order to find more information about the ali’i’s visits. Now I have a substantial research project on tourism in relationship to visiting ali`i.  I recently gave a presentation at the International Conference of Autobiography and Biography held in Honolulu at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa regarding aspects of Lot’s grand tour in relationship to the well-established tourist culture of Parisian society in 1850.
My project has grown into a book length project that will contribute to studies of tourism, autobiography, biography, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian studies and the intersection of all these disciplines with French culture and history.

Rebecca Knuth, Library & Information Sciences Department (Fall 2007 in London)

Image of Prof. Rebecca Knuth, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library and Information Science program, having tea with the Fall 2007 in London, England students.

Rebecca Knuth and some friends have a bite.

I had one of the best experiences in my life. It was a wonderful break from administrative duties and committee work. I was able to read extensively, take notes for my book, go to a conference and lectures, meet with colleagues, go to the British Library, travel, etc. I was able to do so much note-taking, coding, and thinking that when I arrived back in Hawaii I was able to write two chapters in five weeks. The book I am currently writing sprang from the preparation I did on the syllabus for the class I taught In London. And I revised that class and am teaching it as a new LIS special topics course over HITS this semester. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE EXPERIENCE!!!!

Patrick Woo, East Asian Languages & Literatures (Fall 2007 – Spring 2008 in Machida, Japan)

This Resident Directorship appointment is an excellent opportunity for professional development. While here in Japan, I was able to do research for my doctoral dissertation. I have successfully located many academic articles, especially those published in Japanese university journals that would not otherwise have been available if I had not come to Japan. Visits to the National Diet Library further helped with my research. I also received a lot of help from the school librarians in obtaining research materials from other universities through inter-library loans.

In addition, I am looking forward to attending the Twelfth Asian Studies Conference in Japan to be held from June 21-22, 2008 and the annual conference of the Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language to be held from May 24-25, 2008. Participation in these conferences helps keep me abreast of the latest developments in the fields of Japanese language teaching and Literary Studies.

Furthermore, I benefited a great deal from my interaction with the Japanese language teaching staff at J.F. Oberlin University. I was able to see how differently a Japanese language program is run here in Japan, as opposed to in a JFL environment in America. Exchange of teaching ideas with my Japanese colleagues has been stimulating and as a result I will be able to experiment with new teaching approaches upon my return to the University of Hawaii.

Finally, during my stay in Japan, I was also able to gather a lot of instructional materials such as books, albums, films, videos, recordings of TV programs and other audio-visual teaching aids that will be very useful for teaching both Japanese language and literature in the future.  Most of these learning resources are not readily available in Hawaii and will no doubt enrich students’ learning experiences in many years to come.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Study Abroad Center (UHMSAC) offers summer, semester, and year-long programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Pacific, and South America. During the 2006-07 academic year, 464 students studied abroad and enrolled in 342 courses.  Twenty-eight of these courses were taught by nine UHM faculty members in semester/year-long programs and six faculty in summer programs.  A total of  20 instructional faculty taught and/or conducted research abroad through the UHM Study Abroad Center.

Jennifer Engels, SOEST (Summer 2007 in Annecy, France)

The summer study abroad program in Annecy functioned as a professional sabbatical for me and allowed me to catch up on months of backlogged research, while at the same time preparing for next year’s course load.

While in Annecy I was able to work 6-8 hours a day on my own research projects via internet, and actually got published a scientific paper that had been in preparation for nearly three years.  Though physically at IFALPES for 2 hours a day, the rest of my time was my own, and far from my phone and professional duties here in my department I was able to work extremely productively.  In addition, the institute’s excursions and my own outings allowed me the opportunity to explore and photograph dozens of outcrops that I will use in my classes back here at UH.  Hawaii is fortunate to have world-class volcanology and beach processes close at hand, but we have no ancient continental rocks, no metamorphic rocks, and no fossils.  I was able to find excellent examples of Alpine and Jurassic fold belts, metamorphic textures, and marine fossils to complement my growing collection of geologic photographs, and hiking these features in person gave me a much better understanding of their formation mechanisms and emplacement origins.  There is no doubt that my summer in Annecy was more productive to me professionally than had I spent that month here at UH.

On a personal note, living in Annecy with a host family afforded me the opportunity to improve my French language skills, and I will have a lifelong attachment to my large, highly cultured and extremely open-minded host family, as well as the beautiful environment of Annecy and its surrounding.

Denise Antolini, UHM Law School (Spring 2007 in Florence)

Image of Prof. Denise Antolini, University of Hawaii at Manoa William S Richardson School of Law, faculty resident director of the Spring 2007 in Florence, Italy, program, with her son at a fountain in Italy.The semester was very rewarding for me, both inside and outside the classroom.  The courses turned out very well, both substantively and in terms of process.  By teaching my subject area (environmental law) in a new way, to undergraduates, I was able to read (and use) some new textbooks, cover material in a different way, and learn more about both systemic and cutting-edge environmental issues in the EU and Italy.  I enjoyed teaching the oral and writing skills to beginners; it allowed me to return to and relearn some fundamentals that will help me in my own work and my teaching at the Law School.

Being in Florence for the semester was also essential for my completion of my own research and writing projects.  While I found it very difficult to make progress on my projects while I was teaching, this is more feasible now that the semester is over.  LDM was helpful when I asked about connections with particular academic institutions here, and by talking to the other instructors in natural resources issues, I made some good connections.  I already had a good friend at the University of Florence, so that allowed me to visit there to observe classes and lecture in my field (environmental law), which was really rewarding.  For my research on comparative environmental law topics, Italian language skills are essential, so I also have to thank LDM again for allowing me to have a personalized course in Italian with an excellent professor.

Mire Koikari, UHM Women’s Studies Department (Spring 2007 in London)

Spending a semester in London gave me opportunities to mature as a scholar-educator who is concerned with issues of gender, nationalism, and imperialism. To understand the history of colonialism and its legacies, there is no better place than England, the old empire that continues to struggle with its imperial legacies. With various cultural facilities close at hand, I was able to devise and develop my teaching methods and to draw on various resources (such as museums, libraries, communities of scholars, etc.) to add to my current research on the roles of feminism in Western nation- and empire-buildings.