Chancellor appoints first Dean of UH Manoa School of Hawaiian Knowledge

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Gregg Takayama, 956-9836
Communications Director
Posted: Jun 9, 2008

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw is pleased to announce the appointment of Maenette Kape'ahiokalani Padeken Ah Nee-Benham, Ed.D., as Dean of the newly established Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Dr. Benham, a Kanaka Maoli scholar and teacher, is currently a Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. She obtained her doctorate in educational administration at UH Mānoa (1992), and is also a graduate of San Francisco State University (BA, 1978, Theatre Arts - Magna Cum Laude; MA, 1980, Theatre Arts).

"We were blessed with outstanding candidates for this tremendously important position. Dr. Benham‘s exemplary background in educational leadership and passion for promoting indigenous knowledge make her an excellent match for UH Mānoa," said Chancellor Hinshaw.

Co-chair of the search advisory committee, interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Linda Johnsrud, commented, "Dr. Benham is a highly accomplished scholar. Her decision to come home to UHM to serve as inaugural dean of the School of Hawaiian Knowledge reflects her commitment to her culture and the potential she sees in the school's role to discover, transmit, and preserve Hawaiian knowledge."

As a scholar, mentor, and teacher, Dr. Benham‘s inquiry centers on the nature of engaged educational leadership; the wisdom of knowing and praxis of social justice envisioned and enacted by educational leaders; and the effects of educational policy on native/indigenous people. She is the author of numerous articles and books on these topics and has been an invited speaker and presenter at international and national conferences. She has worked with a range of indigenous communities including the American Indian Tribal Colleges and Universities, culture-based and immersion pre-K to 12 schools (Hawaiian, Alaskan Native, American Indian), the Wananga o Aoteraroa (New Zealand), and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium. She is past Editor (2002-2006) of the American Educational Research Association‘s leading educational journal, The American Educational Research Journal: Section on Social and Institutional Analysis.

The Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge was created last year by merging the Hawaiian studies and language programs, and is the largest school of indigenous studies in the nation. Its establishment was a major step towards promoting the study of the Hawaiian language and culture, and preserving Hawai‘i‘s host culture.

For more information on Dr. Benham and the selection process, visit

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