Online Graduate Program at Arizona State University has New Native Hawaiian Track

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By Lisa Kubota

Education empowers people to help change the world around them. A new online opportunity is now available to learners looking to uplift the lāhui by pursuing a graduate degree with a Native Hawaiian track.

Arizona State University (ASU), in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools (KS), will launch the first Hawaiʻi cohort this August for its online Master of Arts in Indigenous Education. ASU launched the degree two years ago to give a voice to Indigenous teachers and those working in Indigenous education as well as to improve the educational achievements of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

Out of the 10 required courses, Hawaiʻi-based kumu will teach four of them: History of Indigenous Education, Language and Literacy of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Knowledges in Education, and Current Issues in Indigenous Education. These courses will be based on Native Hawaiian curriculum.

“This initiative will help prepare the next generation of education leaders to make the necessary shifts in the way keiki are taught and what our haumāna learn, and that’s transformational to other aspects of society,” explained Kāʻeo Duarte, KS vice president of Community & ʻāina Resiliency.

Duarte praised ASU’s innovative online training platforms and dedication to incorporating a Native Hawaiian cultural lens into its Indigenous education curriculum.

“By working together, we’re able to promote ʻÖiwi leadership and also share our rich history and culture, reaching students far beyond Hawaiʻi,” he added.

Bryan Brayboy, vice president of Social Advancement at ASU, noted, “It is such an honor to work with Kamehameha Schools. Extending this program to create something that generates possibilities for kumu to better serve keiki is a natural step for our relationship. It also demonstrates what we can do together.”

This latest initiative stems from a partnership that began in 2016. Both ASU and KS share a mission to enrich the communities around them through advancement of education and sustainability.

The partnership led to several initiatives, including a series of virtual huakaʻi (field trips) exploring Kahaluʻu Ma Kai and Makalawena in West Hawaiʻi. It also resulted in the establishment of the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes in which members join forces to implement and scale solutions that address sustainability challenges.

The collaboration also produced career exploration internships for students, the Mauö Scholarship, and additional support services for Hawaiian haumāna attending ASU.

KS and ASU built upon their relationship by renewing their partnership in 2020 with a virtual signing ceremony of a three-year agreement. Together, they agree to cooperate in key areas including research and innovation, distance learning, student success, and Indigenous leadership.

Also last year through the ASU partnership, KS unveiled KS Digital, providing a gateway to an array of educational technology tools, accredited K-12 education and Hawaiian culture-based content.

A virtual information session for students interested in ASU’s Master of Arts in Indigenous Education program will be held on May 28, 2021. To register, visit bit.ly/ASUOnlineInfoSession. For more information about the program and to apply, visit asuonline.asu.edu/indigenousedma. The application deadline is Aug. 1, 2021.


Lisa Kubota is a senior consultant with Kamehameha Schools’ Strategic Communications division.