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Academy for Creative Media - West Oʻahu
Associate Specialist of Creative Media

Sharla Hanaoka is the Associate Director of the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu Creative Media program. She is an assistant specialist who splits her time between curriculum development and teaching for the Creative Media program and coordinating Distance Learning for the campus.

She has her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Master in Fine Arts in Advertising with an emphasis on Art Direction. Ms. Hanaoka has over 15 years of experience with Distance Education from an online student to teaching assistant to now coordinating and teaching.

Ms. Hanaokaʻs area of interest is in the intersection of art direction and user experience. Blending her background in Psychology and Art Direction, her focus has been in understanding how consumers consume information. She brings this curiosity and solution based direction to Higher Education.

For the past 5 years, Ms. Hanaoka has also served as a web design and web development consultant and workshop presenter. She conducts annual workshops for the Small Business Fair that is presented by Hawai‘i’s Small Business Association.

M.F.A. Advertising, with an emphasis on Art Direction
Academy of Art University, San Francisco, 2008

B.A. Social Science: Psychology and Public Administration: Justice Administration
University of Hawai‘i - West O‘ahu, 2001

August 2013-Present: Assistant Specialist, University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu
Responsibilities include teaching the art courses, creative media program development, and curriculum development. Responsibilities include overseeing and development of distance learning on the campus.

August 2013-Present: Overload, Leeward Community College
Responsibilities include full time teaching within the discipline of ART and Digital Media, faculty committee participation and curriculum development

August 2012-July 2013: Lecturer, University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu
Responsibilities include part time teaching within the discipline of ART and curriculum development.

August 2010-July 2013: Lecturer, Leeward Community College
Responsibilities include full time teaching within the discipline of ART and Digital Media, faculty committee participation and curriculum development

January 2008-May 2009: Teaching Assistant, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 
Responsibilities include developing the online template (WebCT and Laulima) for faculty to teach Hawai‘i Labor History.

  • ART 112 Intro to Digital Art
  • ART 113D Intro to Digital Drawing
  • ART 221 Design for Print and Web
  • ART 311D Design in Public Spaces
  • CM 390 Creative Media Internship
  • CM 399 Directed Reading
  • CM 490/491 Senior Capstone
  • APSC 486A/490A Senior Capstone

Consultant, Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism 07.2011 - present. Provides instructional workshops as well as technical assistance on behalf of DBEDT to small organizations including non-profits on visual communication, interactive marketing, web design, and branding. Help organizations create design prototypes, including graphic design, site navigation, and layout of content, for the main web site. Ensure that the layout of the content is accessible and logical. Recommend improvements if necessary. Give creative visual concepts that match the content and the image wanted by the clients but that fit in the organizations’ global image; ensure that sites are easy to navigate. Assist the organizations build websites using technologies that conform to usability standards and make sure that they are universally accessible. Provide training on maintenance and update procedures to clients so the organizations can take charge of their own websites.

Freelance Art Director and Graphic Designer 09.2008 - present. Manage multiple accounts from strategic conception through production. Supervise, lead, inspire and mentor a team of various creative levels. Allocate resources and define scope of work. Execute projects and manage to time/budget parameters. Present and sell in work to clients. Help develop strategic business platforms with account and production teams. Shape the creative vision for clients/projects, define and maintain visual/copy identities. Support new business development and take lead in the creative process. Clients include but not limited to the following: University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu, Hawai‘i People’s Fund, Sun2Earth Hawai‘i, Ho‘omau Keola, Zion Ipuka, Kauhale Lahilahi, Kapolei Community Development Corporation, Hawai‘i State Association of Parliamentarians, Summer Institute for Union Women (2006, 2011), Town and Country Planning, Hawai‘i’s People’s Fund, Ewa Beach Community Development Organization.

Owner and Creator, Cheeks and Lola 09.2004 - present. Founder and creator of the motivational mirror back button line “Damn I’m Pretty”. Etsy seller since 2007. Online repository of all things innovative and creative through the use of visual communication.


  • Web Development, Leeward Community College, Windward Community College 2011 - present
  • Social Media How To’s, Leeward Community College, Small Business Fair 2012
  • Designing an Effective Website, Kapiolani Community College, Small Business Fair 2012 - present
  • Quality Matters, Online Digital Certification, 2018
  • YouTube Partner Certified, 2015


  • AIGA
  • Art Directorʻs Club