What do all of these things have in common? Each underwent a name change that often—at least for some of us—generates some degree of confusion. We are creatures of habit, and as a result, it can take some time to adjust to a new name, or acclimate to a break from the past.
I’ve recently discovered that this phenomenon also applies to the University of Hawai‘i Maui College—formerly Maui Community College.
It’s easy to understand why. It’s been known as Maui Community College (more so by its acronym, MCC) since it opened its doors to students in 1966. So, it’s not surprising that the new moniker hasn’t completely stuck. Even college faculty (myself included) catch themselves using the “old school” name.
But what’s the big deal, or—in the words of Mr. Shakespeare—what’s in a name? Well, in this case, the difference is significant.
In 2010, the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents voted to change the name of Maui Community College to University of Hawai‘i Maui College (UH Maui College or UHMC for short). Why did they make the switch? Here’s the short answer: The new name accurately represents the college’s programs and services, which are offered at the 78-acre main campus in Kahului, as well as its educational centers in Lahaina, Hāna, Kīhei and on Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
Here’s the longer answer: The name change reflects the approval of transfer of accreditation for UH Maui College from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ (WASC) junior commission to the WASC senior commission, which accredits four-year colleges and universities.
As a result, today, in addition to its associate (two-year) degrees, certificates and continuing education programs, UH Maui College offers three baccalaureate (four-year) degrees: a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Applied Business and Information Technology, a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Engineering Technology and a Bachelor’s of Sustainable Science Management.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. UH Maui College continues to expand by leaps and bounds—along with student enrollment, which has reached a record high (4,400 students were enrolled in Spring 2011).