Interstate Passport Briefing

Meet Leila Shimokawa, Director of Communications at University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu

Headshot Leila Shimokawa

Leila Shimokawa is the Director of Communications at the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu where she is responsible for developing and implementing the campus’ strategic communications plan and overseeing crisis and emergency communications. UH West Oʻahu has an enrollment of 3,100 students and Leila works closely with the student affairs team to get messages to students on any topic or issue. “The campus is very collaborative and everyone works closely together,” says Leila. “It’s very much a team effort.”

Shimokawa also serves as chair of the Interstate Passport Campus Marketing/Communications Advisory Committee, which meets several times per year to share ideas, discuss concerns, identify strategies, and agree on recommendations for all campus marketing and communications representatives at Network member institutions. Additionally, she oversees communication about Interstate Passport on the UH West Oʻahu website and in the campus catalog and consults with other campus Network representatives on any issues of concern or recommendations from program staff.

UH West Oʻahu is one of the founding institutions of the Interstate Passport program. Faculty, registrars, and other campus representatives from UH West Oʻahu have been involved with developing and implementing Passport procedures since 2011, and awarding Passports since 2016. Leila noted that each person and department working on Interstate Passport has a good understanding of what the program is, how it benefits students, and what their responsibilities are. According to Shimokawa, Alan Rosenfeld, the UH West Oʻahu Passport Institutional Liaison, “really cemented the Interstate Passport on campus, making sure people were doing what they’re supposed to do and making sure channels of communication are open.”

The University of Hawaiʻi System had very good articulation practices between institutions before joining the Interstate Passport Network, which made integrating Interstate Passport fairly smooth. This year all 10 institutions in the system became members of the Interstate Passport Network, which means that Hawaiʻi students who earn a Passport and transfer to mainland schools will have an advantage in getting credits accepted. The Passport State Transfers by Destination database shows that students from Hawai’i transfer primarily to Western states – California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Arizona.

Hawaiʻi has not experienced the chaos of the COVID pandemic to the same extent as other states, but even so, Shimokawa reported that more than 90 percent of UH West Oʻahu classes have been conducted virtually this fall.

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