Law Professor Kapua Sproat wins BOR Excellence in Teaching Award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: May 2, 2014

Law Professor D. Kapua‘ala Sproat
Law Professor D. Kapua‘ala Sproat

Law Professor D. Kapua‘ala Sproat, ’98, has won a 2014 Board of Regents’ Excellence in Teaching Award. She received the recognition for her exceptional teaching record, and multiple contributions to the university and the community, as well as her legal expertise in the vital arena of Hawai‘i water rights.

This is Sproat’s seventh year at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the UH Mānoa campus.  The Law School nominated her because of her skillful teaching of courses such as Environmental Litigation Seminar, Environmental Law Clinic, Water Rights and Second Year Seminar.

"Kapua brings great pride and honor to the Law School, her ʻohana and all of us, and she joins a long line of distinguished Law School faculty who have received the University’s highest teaching award,” said Law Dean Avi Soifer.  “We are so pleased that the university community is recognizing and celebrating Kapua’s extraordinary skill, creativity, effectiveness, and dedication to her students.

Sproat’s areas of expertise and scholarship include Native Hawaiian law, indigenous rights and natural resource protection and management. She plays a major role in the Law School’s Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law as well as in its Environmental Law Program.

Richardson’s Environmental Law Program Director David M. Forman called Sproat “a critical partner in the success of our Environmental Law Program.  Said Forman, “Her classes are exceedingly popular with students, because she combines theory and practice with a deep knowledge of place, in a way that few can match.”

Sproat was born and raised in Kalihiwai on Kaua‘i’s north shore and is a member of the Akana and Sproat families of Kaua‘i and Kohala on the Island of Hawai‘i. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Mills College in 1995, and her JD at Richardson three years later.

While at Mills, Sproat was one of 30 students selected internationally to participate in a nine-country study abroad program focusing on environmental issues with an emphasis on indigenous people.

Before joining Richardson Law School in 2007, Sproat spent nine years as an attorney in the Hawai‘i office of Earthjustice, a national public interest environmental litigation firm. Working to preserve natural resources, she developed a special interest in water law and worked on groundbreaking litigation on the islands of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i and Maui to return diverted stream flows to public trust and other community uses, including traditional Hawaiian agriculture and aquaculture. She handled litigation involving the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and State Water Code.

Sproat has written numerous academic articles on water rights and natural resource management, and she is the recipient of a number of awards, including being named as an outstanding young leader by Hawaiʻi Business Magazine. She is married to Kahikukala Hoe; they are new parents of a baby boy.

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