Testimony Presented Before the Senate Committee on Higher Education February 11, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. by Donald O. Straney Chancellor, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
SB 3093 – RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT HILO
Chair Taniguchi, Vice Chair Kahele and Members of the Committee:
My name is Donald Straney, Chancellor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UH Hilo). We support SB 3093 that appropriates funds to UH Hilo to support its memorandum of agreement with RISE 21st Century After School Program and the implementation of the agreement by the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, a unit of UH Hilo.
The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi has been cultivating community partnerships that targets greater engagement by Hawaiʻi Island youth with the resources of UH Hilo. A positive partnership has been established with the RISE 21st Century After School Program that serves as a community and cultural resource for disadvantaged Native Hawaiian youth in Keaukaha. The proposal will help to expand collaborative opportunities supported by staffing and curriculum resources to establish mentorships, initiate project-based learning activities, and offer academic and career planning. UH Hilo views our continued partnership and collaboration with RISE as a positive solution to increase access to higher education and career opportunities for Native Hawaiians on Hawaiʻi Island.
We support SB 3093 provided that its passage does not replace or adversely impact priorities in our BOR approved budget.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB 3093. Aloha.
Chancellor’s testimony on this topic to Senate and House committees:
A group of enthusiastic Big Island youth recently visited a variety of programs at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo as part of the national Job Shadow Day. The local group’s activities were organized by the Sustainable Hawai’i Youth Leadership Initiative or SHYLI.
“As UH Hilo moves towards providing an applied learning experience for every student,” says UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney, “we are excited to be working with partners like SHYLI to prepare the young people of Hawai‘i for a productive future for themselves, our island and our state.”
Members of SHYLI, made up of high school students, spent time with Bruce Mathews, dean of UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management; Michael Shintaku, professor of plant pathology; and Maria Haws, professor of aquaculture and director of UH Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at Hilo Bay, among others.
“The farm is extremely self-sustained, culturing their own algae, spawning their own oysters, and raising and selling them for profit,” says participant KaMele Sanchez, a student at Honoka‘a High.
The group also spent time with Mayor Billy Kenoi, learned about the Hawai‘i County Food Sufficiency Baseline Study, visited with local farmer and businessman Richard Ha, and talked story with experts on geothermal production.
“I for one, like to talk, and all of these folks did too,” says KaMele. “It wasn’t everyday talk story. It was about real problems happening now, serious topics and the scientific, practical, and economical stand points. I loved it!”
Participant Sherry Anne Pancho, also from Honoka‘a High, shadowed Linda Connelly and Aaron Jacobs, professors at UH Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.
“We are very impressed with Sherry Anne and SHYLI’s efforts to provide Hawai‘i’s students with firsthand experiences in potential career paths and believe this is a valuable investment in the sustainability of our future workforce,” says Professor Jacobs.
A reception was hosted on O‘ahu by Oceanit, Hawai‘i’s largest and most diversified science and engineering company, where students shared their life-changing experiences with business, government and academic leaders. Oceanit is a recipient of the Corporate STEM Award for its support of the development of future leaders.
The Oceanit reception was simultaneously video conferenced to the chancellor’s offices at UH Hilo where Big Island SHYLI youth and their mentors shared their experiences with Matthew Platz, vice chancellor for academic affairs, Steve Colbert from the marine science department, biologist Pat Hart, Dean Bruce Mathews, and Farrah Gomes from UH Hilo’s North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center.
Members of the group also visited with Hawai‘i Electric Company (Renewable Energy Program), Aloha Veterinary Center, Rainbow Friends animal sanctuary, and state legislators.
“It’s no secret that our world is facing some major challenges in the coming decades,” says SHYLI project coordinator Katie Schwind. “These challenges will take engaged, creative, individuals from our coming generations to take the reigns of change and find solutions for islands. Hawai‘i, and many rural and island areas, commonly struggle to limit the brain drain when there are limited economic opportunities available. SHYLI works with active young people who have been nominated by community members who recognize their potential to be change makers in their future.”
About National Job Shadow Day
The National (Groundhog) Job Shadow Day, a national campaign gives young people a new perspective on their studies through hands-on learning and a one-day mentoring experience. It gives youth a positive experience of the world of work, promote a good work ethic, and develop longer-lasting relationships that contribute to the global economy. It is a joint effort of America’s Promise – Alliance for Youth, Junior Achievement, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Nationwide, more than one million students and 100,000 businesses participate, and more than 2,000 restaurants and hotels hosted nearly 20,000 students. Young people are matched with businesses and professionals so they have first-hand experience about jobs in their fields of interest. SHYLI’s Job Shadow Day helps translate youth passion with practical experience for careers of the future.
About Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative (SHYLI)
Through intensive year-round fellowships, the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative is training young people with promise to become leaders, initiators of change, who may leave for periods to gain academic and life experience, and return to create opportunities for themselves and their Island communities. SHYLI targets these youth as fellows, and in our experience, many of the connections they gain throughout the sustainability community, through Job Shadow Day, the Youth & Community Leadership Forum, their Sustainability-In-Action project development, their presentations to schools, organizations, businesses greatly benefit everyone – now and in the future. SHYLI is a project of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute has been organizing Job Shadow Day on islands for ten years. Founded on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in 1997, the Institute’s trains young and emerging leaders on Islands. The Institute’s multifaceted educational curriculum, Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Everyday Heroes spotlights 100 heroes who changed their lives by helping their communities. It’s programs foster service learning, entrepreneurship, STEM-thinking, eco-tourism, workforce development, community engagement, global exchanges for best practices of island sustainability. SHYLI is especially committed to helping to build a local green workforce.
The collaborative framework aims to ensure island keiki have fair and equal opportunity to educational excellence and opportunities in pursuing academic and career aspirations without having to leave island home.
Chancellor Don Straney recently met with representatives from Kamehameha Schools, the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE), Hawai‘i Community College, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and the UH Foundation to discuss a collaborative plan on building “college aspiration” in students starting at a young age through high school, in order to increase the college going rate.
Among other goals, the Kupa ‘Āina plan is an education model designed to create direct links between Kamehameha Schools ‘āina-based learning labs and HIDOE schools in order “to develop student’s understanding of the cultural and ecological integrity of the place they inhabit.”
The Kupa ‘Āina educational model establishes a direct link between Kamehameha Schools (KS) ‘āina-based learning labs and Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) schools in order to develop a student’s understanding of the cultural and ecological integrity of the place they inhabit. HIDOE academic targets and priorities are explicitly addressed in the curriculum through emphasis on 21st century skills, alignment to Next Generation Science Standards and Career Technical Education (CTE) Standards. Inquiry through project-based learning will drive curriculum development and instructional delivery.
To maximize learner impact, Kupa ‘Āina will establish a multi-year learner pathway within a HIDOE complex that engages students from grade 4 through grade 12. A collaboration with a HIDOE high school and its feeder intermediate/middle and elementary schools will be established, and this systemic model will ensure that student engagement on the ‘āina will be diverse and scaffolded throughout their schooling.
Nine members of the Kamehameha Schools Extension Education Services Division visited the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo campus on March 4. The intent of the visit was to hear about what UH Hilo is doing to recruit, retain and graduate Native Hawaiian students, to learn more about partnership efforts that exists with Kamehameha Schools, and to explore new collaborative opportunities.
UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney hosted the event. Presentations were made by faculty, staff and students representing Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, Nā Pua Noʻeau Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children, and the Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science.
Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, interim executive assistant to the chancellor, presented an overview of Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao, the UH system initiative to become a model indigenous-serving institution. She also discussed UH Hilo’s efforts to develop a campus plan.
Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, led a hard-hat tour of Haleʻōlelo, the new College of Hawaiian Language facilities currently under construction.
Representatives from Kamehameha Schools included Stacy Clayton, director of the extension education services division; Alapaki Nahaleʻa, director of community programs on Hawaiʻi island; Brandon Ledward, director of the ʻaina-based education department; Carrie Larger, director of the career and post-high counseling and guidance department; Robert Medeiros, director of the enrichment department; Mark Ellis, director of program support; Kerri-Ann Hewett-Fraser, program manager; and Hannah Pau and Heidi Dangaran, program managers on Hawaiʻi island.
The week-long Camp ‘Imi-Possible focused on the sustainability of the earth and its resources.
Chancellor Straney shares this report about a program held last month at UH Hilo ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. “This is why Senator Inouye was so passionate about ‘Imiloa!” he says.
Camp ‘Imi-Possible was in full swing for a week last month at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. Oriented toward “junior explorers and innovators in grades K-3,” the camp provided engaging, hands-on educational activities tailored to the inquisitive minds of young children.
“We want kids to engage and have fun—to imagine and explore the possibilities in the sciences for understanding the earth, the oceans, the skies, and deep space,” says Ka‘iu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa .
The camp focused on the sustainability of the earth and its resources, exploring answers to the question, “How does the use of traditional and contemporary ways of knowing help one make sustainable choices?”
The excited voices and energetic behavior of the young students communicated their enthusiasm for the activities designed by their teachers.
Parents and children alike testified to the success of the winter camp in encouraging interest in scientific inquiry.
One parent exclaimed, “It’s so awesome! Our son comes home every day talking about his day at ‘Imiloa. He always starts off with, “Did you know?” and then explains all that he learned that day.”
Another parent said, “This week was stellar.”
After she received her certificate for completion of the winter camp, a young girl enthused, “I’m going exploring.”
The camp was supported by a gift from the Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Astronomy (JFPA).
‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a gathering place that advances the integration of science and indigenous culture. The diverse exhibits, programs and events harness leading technologies, environmental resources, and cultural practitioners to engage children, families, and communities in exciting ways. The center is an integral part of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and therefore committed to improving the quality of life of the people of Hawai‘i island and state. Through strategic partnerships with programs of the University, Hawai‘i‐based observatories, local businesses and schools, the center creates opportunities that strengthen career awareness and workforce development, and contribute to the community sustainability.
More photos below! (Photos courtesy of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center)