Kurt De La Cruz’s presentation at regional advising conference wins first runner-up award

De La Cruz will share an overview of his presentation, “The Four Fishes,” at a panel discussion at UH Hilo on Tuesday, April 14.

Kurt De La Cruz
Kurt De La Cruz

Kurt De La Cruz, a senior academic advisor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, won first runner-up for his presentation at a recent regional conference on advising. At the 2015 National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Region 9 Conference held in Honolulu in March, De La Cruz’s presentation, “The Four Fishes: An Island Perspective Designed to Enhance Your Advising Practice,” was voted first runner-­up out of 63 total presentations that were offered at the conference.

“Being selected as a presentation was an accomplishment in itself as this conference received  135 proposals,” write Kiana Shiroma and Rayna Tagalicod, co-­chairs of the conference, in their letter to De La Cruz about the recognition. “This set a record for the highest number of proposals submitted to any regional conference in NACADA history!”

Shirona and Tagalicod add, “Kurt’s recognition brings much prestige and recognition to UH. This conference featured attendees from mainly California and Nevada but from other states across the nation as well. Not only was Kurt able to represent the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to the rest of the University of Hawai‘i system campuses, but to advisors from other states as well.”

De La Cruz says he has been doing the Four Fishes presentation for years.

“The lessons are based upon an old Ka‘u practice utilizing fishes, or ocean creatures, as a way for people to better understand and get along with one another,” explains De La Cruz, who was raised in the district of Ka‘u on Hawai‘i Island. “Over the years, I’ve shaped it to fit many different types of groups and organizations. For the NACADA Region 9 conference, I was only provided with a 50-minute session, so most of what I did was pretty much informing participants of the how of the four fishes, while simultaneously allowing for them to actively participate.”

He says the room where he gave his presentation, meant to hold 30, was packed, with people sitting on the floor and standing in the back.

“Most have never heard of the four fishes, but in the end, are left with a very powerful tool moving forward,” he says. “That is a tool of enhanced observation — key, when working with the humans.”

He adds, “Thank goodness for the fishies.”

The conference was a great success with around 440 attendees and numerous positive compliments from attendees, administrators, volunteers, and planning committee members. Organizers says the quality of Kurt’s presentation played a role in making the conference a success.

“We commend Kurt on his amazing presentation and accomplishment,” say Shiroma and Tagalicod in their letter.

De La Cruz was born in Honolulu, and raised in Na‘alehu, Ka‘u. He attended Ka‘u High School, is a graduate of the Upward Bound program, and went on to receive his bachelor of arts from the University of Northern Colorado, and a master of arts in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University.

De La Cruz will give an overview of his Four Fishes presentation tomorrow, when the UH Hilo Academic Advising Center will be hosting “Advising with Aloha,” a gathering to share the new ideas and approaches the advisors learned at the 2015 NACADA Region 9 Conference. The UH Hilo community is invited to attend the panel discussion:

Advising with Aloha
DATE: Tuesday, April 14, 2015
TIME: 3:00 – 4:15 pm.
LOCATION: Wentworth Hall 201, UH Hilo campus

For more information, contact Kainoa Ariola.