Honolulu Community College
The award of professor emeritus is an honor that lasts a life time.
Retirement is a happy/sad occasion.
ON TEACHING AT HCC: AN ESSAY UPON RETIREMENT
By Doric Little
Last December 2005, I gave an assignment to my advanced Communications Class at Osaka Gakuin University to participate in a Lincoln-Douglas debate. After the class I told my sister that one of my female students was outstanding. She was well-researched, analytical and articulate. I asked her what her future plans were and she replied, “I’m going to be a teacher.” I asked her “Have you considered Law?” At this point in our discussion, my sister scolded me and said, “We need people like her in teaching.” Upon reflection, I realized that I had had that choice in my own career and chose teaching. I will never regret my decision.
Prospective lecturers were interviewed by the Assistant Dean, and I had a pleasant interview with Al Yonan in 1972. This was in extreme contrast to my interview with Provost Clyde Yoshioka, when I was interviewed for full-time the next year. Clyde’s technique was to shock and challenge his applicants. His questions would never pass EEO/AA standards today. For example, “Are you planning to get pregnant again?” Or even better, “You have good recommendations and talk a good game, but you are a Mainland Haole, and we’ll have to see if you can relate to our students.” Talk about a challenge!
Excellence in Teaching Award
I felt vindicated and honored in 1980 to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award. It was a bittersweet occasion as my dear brother, Chuck, died the month that I was notified of my selection. While I treasure my medallion on its green and white grosgrain ribbon, the satisfaction and pride I felt on this special occasion has been repeated time after time, year after year with words of appreciation from individual students. As I reach retirement, I am receiving “thank you” emails from students of the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s. A much appreciated blessing of the electronic age!
Doctor of Education (EdD)
During my thirty-three years at HCC, I took one six-month Sabbatical. The purpose was to write my dissertation and I did. The topic dealt with sexual harassment law in higher education, and, upon completion, I began writing and speaking on this and other subjects. Although my traveling, speaking and writing were not the norm, HCC was supportive of my adventurous activities and I am appreciative. It was at this stage of my career that I took 27 credits (9 classes) of law. I decided that the legal knowledge I gained would be used to augment my teaching. I was definitely not interested in practicing law.
One Foot on First Base
During the 1980’s I worked as the Employee Relations Administrator in the University System’s Office, and in the 1990’s I worked as Chair of Student Development in the John A. Burns School of Medicine. During these two adventures off-campus, I continued to teach at least one class at HCC. Former Provost Pete Kessinger used to explain my need to continue my HCC teaching by saying, “Doric always keeps one foot on first base.”
In addition to teaching in a nurturing, encouraging environment, I was blessed with two mentors. Terry Haney and Al Yonan were consistently supportive of my teaching, studying, writing and speaking. For many years, I spent as much time with Terry Haney, my office mate, as I did with my husband. To both Terry and Al, I will be forever grateful.
A Special School
I have always appreciated teaching at a school whose faculty were devoted to teaching. Whether it was automotive or auto body repair, cosmetology, welding, carpentry, fashion design, liberal arts or any of our excellent programs, student learning came first. My family and have been delighted recipients of the learning experiences of many of our vocational programs. The Birthday cakes produced by our bakery were phenomenal!
I think that the greatest asset Honolulu Community College has is its students. HCC students are special people – honest, earthy, real, and appreciative. From the perspective of someone who has taught junior high school in California, medical school in Honolulu and all academic levels in between, you can’t ask for more interesting, challenging and. ultimately, satisfying students than those at HCC. It is with confidence that I leave their speech instruction in the skillful hands of Grace Ihara and Amy Stehlik. I will miss you all but I take comfort in the fact that my fond memories of the people of Honolulu Community College will be with me always.