Big Island Faculty Members Honored for Excellence in Teaching

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Fourteen University of Hawai‘i faculty members were selected statewide as recipients of the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching this week.

From left: Erick Cremer, Adam Pack and John Hamilton. Photo Courtesy

Two Big Island professors, Erick Cremer of Hawai‘i Community College and Adam Pack of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, were awarded The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes faculty who exhibit an extraordinary level of subject mastery and scholarship, teaching effectiveness and creativity, and personal values beneficial to students.

Another Big Island instructor, John Hamilton of University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, was awarded the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. This award recognizes dedication and demonstrated excellence as teachers of undergraduate students.

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner said, “Our outstanding and dedicated faculty are second to none. We honor them and thank them for their work in uplifting our students and the communities we serve.”

Erick Cremer: As the Nursing Learning Resource Center instructor at Hawaiʻi Community College’s Hilo campus, Cremer collaborates with teaching faculty to support student learning in the laboratory setting. He leads skills workshops, provides math tutoring, delivers academic and career counseling and conducts outreach in the community.

Students describe Cremer as an indispensable guide on their academic journey who is dedicated to their success from the moment they are accepted. He is an approachable, helpful, knowledgeable and encouraging mentor for students.


An exceptional teacher who finds creative ways to simplify difficult concepts, Cremer is aware of different learning styles and tailors his teaching approach for each student. He creates a supportive learning environment to help students become nurturing and thoughtful nurses.

Adam Pack is a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. He is regarded by students and colleagues as an outstanding, engaging and enthusiastic professor at the graduate and undergraduate levels, an extremely effective advisor and a wonderful mentor who operates both inside and outside the classroom.

Pack also serves as chair of the Department of Psychology, co-director of the Listening Observatory for Hawaiʻi Ecosystems Bioacoustics laboratory and holds a joint appointment in biology. He is a world-renowned mammal behavior expert with a passion for research. Students are inspired by his teaching, which includes the infusion of relevant examples from his own marine mammal research and the use of whole class experiments to communicate complex material.

Outside the classroom, he joins students on field expeditions where he motivates the entire research team, even under the worst of weather conditions and the roughest seas.

The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to:


Erick Cremer, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Hawai‘i Community College

Adam Pack, Professor, Psychology, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Albert S. Kim, Associate Professor, College of Engineering, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Kenneth L. Lawson, Associate Faculty Specialist, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Winona K. Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


Nicolas Logue, Theatre instructor, Windward Community College

Michelle A. Manes, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Tara B. OʻNeill, Associate Professor of Curriculum Studies, College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Derek Otsuji, Assistant Professor, English, Honolulu Community College

Shane B. Payba, Counselor, University of Hawai‘i Maui College

Georgeanne Purvinis, Assistant Professor, Electronic Technology, Kaua‘i Community College

Scott C. Sinnett, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Cheri Souza, Counselor, Kapi‘olani Community College

Carleen S. Yokotake, Professor, Speech, Leeward Community College

Click here for the bios for each recipient.

The Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching was awarded to:

John Hamilton, Instructor, Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

Nyle S. Kauweloa, Graduate Assistant, School of Communications, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Monica LaBriola, Assistant Professor, History, University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu

Denise Nelson-Hurwitz, Assistant Professor, Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

John Signor, Assistant Professor, Music, Leeward Community College

Mark A.J. Wilding, Graduate Student, Department of Second Language Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Click here for the bios for each recipient.

John Hamilton is an instructor in physics and astronomy at UH Hilo. His students note his genuine love for astronomy and a true passion for sharing it with them.

Hamilton tirelessly excels at helping students gain real-life experiences through his work with various projects, including the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems and the UH Hilo Robotics Team. Students find these experiences, such as volunteering with NASA scientists for live experiments, to be incredibly valuable in advancing their careers by connecting them with scientists from prominent space agencies.

His students say his teaching has shown them that learning is much more than equations and memorizing facts; it is about the work they put in and the skills they develop along the way.

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