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Mirasol Espanola new dean of advising

by Siv Palm, staff writer

 
Mirasol Espanola is not like most people. She earned her doctorate while working full time at Hawai‘i Pacific University. She has a license to drive a motorcycle, loves to cook, and is currently teaching herself how to play the ‘ukulele. On top of all this she was just promoted from assistant dean to dean of Undergraduate Academic Advising and Personal Counseling.
 

Her new job involves working a lot on student retention. She works on getting students more involved in the University, finding programs they want to study, and making attending HPU an even better experience.

She works closely with advisors and faculty and is described as a problem solver by students she has helped in the past. Former public relations major Earlene Dowell, ‘03, said “She’s wonderful. She listens. I had to see her about a very difficult situation and she was very responsive, compassionate, and wonderful. She solves problems.”

Helen Varner, dean of the College of Communication at HPU, joins Dowell in praising Espanola: “I have dealt with her since she came to the University. Not only is she incredibly efficient, but she is also a student advocate. She has an extremely complicated job that is often not appreciated. She is a problemsolver, a confidant, an organizer, a facilitator, and she is excellent at all of that,” said Varner.

Espanola herself is no less positive towards her co-workers. She said she works with the best group of people ever. “These people go the distance for the students,” she said. She added that she learns from the people she works with, as well as from the students. She loves working with students, she said, but doesn’t get much direct contact with them now as she has a lot of administrative work and meetings.

Of Filipino descent herself, Espanola has a great interest in different cultures and traveling. She hasn’t had much spare time the last four years, but she makes up for it by traveling vicariously through her students. She enjoys meeting them when they first arrive, seeing them grow, and especially seeing them graduate.

One day she wishes to travel herself. A trip to her parent’s homeland, or maybe getting on a motorcycle and driving across New Zealand, is among the alternatives she’s considered. But for now she enjoys being at HPU, because she really loves her job.

 

 

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