Our Program

The Behavioral Science Program at Chaminade University of Honolulu is centered human groups–cultures, ethnic groups and all the other ways that people socialize. We live in a time of change, both in the real world and digitally. Social networks, organizations, corporations appear to change almost daily. Societies and groups find themselves trying to both hold onto traditional values and norms while adapting to the changing world around them.  We feel that exposing our students to the disciplines of anthropology, geography and sociology, all of which look at the social aspect of the human condition, gives students the tools they need to not only understand a world in dramatic change but also how to shape social change.

Our courses range from cross-cultural interaction, social and individual identity, diasporic ethnic groups, issues of gender, age, and socio-cultural status.  We encourage our students to shape the program to fit their career goals and interests. Based in the Marianist Mission our primary goal is to provide our students with the tools they need to become servant-leaders and change agents in this complex diverse world.  Our courses specialize in examining how people identify themselves and others through the lens of anthropology, geography and sociology. The courses give students the knowledge and insight into the relationships between the individual and the group. Our courses also give students the skills to effectively apply research techniques and analysis to areas of their personal interest.

We offer courses in traditional ‘sit-down’ form during the regular Fall and Spring semesters. We also offer a number of the same courses and several unique ones (including AN 341 Digital Realities and GE 324 Tourism Geography) only online. Our faculty are all involved in a number of research projects and we welcome any interested students to become researchers in these projects. We are currently working to start making available the option of 1 credit certification for students interested in joining the projects, especially with the Old Hawai’i Google Earth project and the Second Life Cultural Landscapes project, as this would then be reflected in transcripts.

Contact Us: You can go to the Chaminade University of Honolulu website [ ] to see what we have to offer. Feel free to contact Shauna (Director of Admissions) at [] for any inquiries about Chaminade’s programs. If you’re interested in specifics about our program, feel free to contact either Dr. Bryan Man (] or myself [].

Richard Bordner (Anth/Geog):

Currently all this is housed on my website so the content is updated when I get the chance. If you’re interested, you can see my current blogs at the front page of the website. The following is a list of my current research projects and is a good example of the diverse areas and topics that we cover in the Behavioral Science Program All of my projects are open to participation by students:

My earlier work was as a contract archaeologist and historic preservation consultant has largely been here in Hawai’i.  This has given me the chance to see almost all the islands, especially more rural sections and the diverse social world here.  It also gave me educated me in the complex ways in which development, tourism impacts, social change and the complicated ways people identify with place here in Hawai’i.  Eventually I added a second career here at Chaminade University, so I’ve ended up teaching folks at the same time as I study them.

Even in archaeology my key interest has been in trying to make sense of how people perceive the land and how they value the land (usually called cultural landscapes).  This is really striking in Hawai’i–if you visualize the landscapes you go through on the way to Makena-Wailea on Maui, or Waikoloa on the Big Island, [especially if you remember Makena-Wailea back in the day when it was literally at the ‘end of the paved road’].  All the patterns of past, present and future landscapes people have placed on the land. All of this became the basis of my doctoral research in Kanaio-’Auahi, southeast Maui, where I looked at how different interest groups perceive the land and their relationship with the land.

I became interested in virtual worlds and their symbolic use of space with an introduction to Second Life in 2010, originally as a site for student field research, but this evolved as I became fascinated with how residents perceive the SL landscape.  Since 2011 I’ve worked on recording these landscapes and trying to get a grasp on perception and reality in a digital virtual world.

After a fortuitous meeting with colleagues in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, PRC I was invited to get involved in moving the Shaanxi Province volumes of the Cultural Relics Atlas (Shaanxi) into digital form, originally in DeLorme Map but later Google Earth.  This project has gone through a number of paths over the years but I’m still working on it,and in the process had to build expertise as a regional specialist in Chinese archaeology, which was entirely new but fascinating. It also linked back into my earlier interest by providing yet another way of looking at cultural landscapes over time.  Until it became public (and free), Google was generous enough to support our project with free copies of the software. You can see more details on this project by clicking on the tab at the top of the website.

As the potential for Google Earth as an educational tool became apparent I decided to expand the archaeology-history possibilities by adding Hawai’i to the mix.  There have been no successful attempts to restore understanding of the Hawaiian landscape into graphic form, so placing old Hawaiian place names, archaeological sites and legendary materials into Google Earth seemed like a good thing to do.  Candice Sakuda (Service Learning Director) and I started a service learning project to have students input data from various sources into Google Earth. A major problem resulted several years ago when Google quit adding outside data to the available materials, so for now the only way to get the map material out to you, the public, is again through this website where you can download the current files by going to the tab at the top of the website.

While putting in Emory’s Lanai info into GEarth it dawned on me that the Hawaiian board game of konane, which I have played over the years at archaeological sites (a large number of which have konane boards pecked into pahoehoe) had disappeared from view.  You used to be able to buy ‘tourist sets’ but this disappeared in the 1980s.  At the same time I was looking for a easy-to-learn critical thinking tool to engage my students in yet another project, so konane became a critical thinking tool, but also an education into Hawaiian world view (again at this website with it’s own tab).

About 10 years ago we (the Behavioral Science faculty) started to notice major changes in our students, both in the way that they approached our material (and us) but also in the issues that burdened their lives.  Several of us decided to work on modular training material intended to help students deal with social and behavioral issues in their lives, which we then started (in 2016) to use in our courses. This has become an ongoing project, with sad to say, limited success.  So for the last couple of years we’ve been looking into why the training hasn’t been more successful, and reading all the available literature on this huge topic. Dr. Darren Iwamoto (Psychology), Dr. Jace Hargis (Educational Technology and Learning) and I have been struggling with this, constantly tweaking and improving the materials.  Several years ago we came to the conclusion that a big part of the problem wasn’t the material, it was the student’s inability to take advantage of the training. The Millenial/GenZ population we now have as undergraduates face a staggering number of demands on them, many generated by social media, and they are swamped. You can see some of our analysis of all this in blogs on this website.

So our latest project is a two-part approach on this problem: Part 1 is the development of a emotional support robot that will provide users with non-judgemental friend (a battery-powered version of a comfort animal) that will help them lower their stress and improve their learning skills.  Part 2 is content (think software) that includes not only emotional training, but also college-level training skills (general and course-specific).

Oh, we’ve also started another project looking at the popularity of the Joy For All Companion Pet (specifically the cat) with elderly homes.  This started when we bought one of the cats while working on our emotional support robot project, as we were curious to see what they looked like and how students interact with them.  The level in interest from some students surprised us. This along with seeing them in action in elderly homes, got us to realize that these Pets not only have real potential, but also offer unique research possibilities especially for our students and their research.  So yet another project.