“The Dorrance Scholarship has become a model for providing educational opportunities to first-generation college students,” says Don Straney, UH Hilo chancellor. “(The Dorrances’) gift helps us to address that need, which is a core part of UH Hilo’s mission.”
The 2017 Dorrance Scholarship recipients and their high schools are:
Jeffrey Cushing, Kealakehe High School.
Stephanie Lewis, Kohala High School.
Jaylyn Mahoe-Subica, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School.
The Dorrance Scholarship was established by Bennett and Jacquie Dorrance at the Arizona Community Foundation in June 1999. The innovative, four-year, need-based award provides local students who are the first in their family to attend college, up to $10,000 a year in direct financial assistance. Recipients will also participate in a custom-designed summer bridge program, international travel, conservation experience, an entrepreneurship program and employment preparation, bringing the total estimated value of each award to more than $90,000.
The Dorrance Foundation began offering up to 10 scholarships a year to Hawaiʻi Island high school graduates attending UH Hilo in 2012. The latest awards bring the total number of recipients to 59.
Mathew Estrada, program coordinator, Dorrance Scholarship Programs, at mestrada[at]azfoundation.org or (808) 339-4500.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is one of the most diverse campuses in the United States, and helping students and faculty learn from our diverse cultures and perspectives is a high priority.
At UH Hilo, we have long been cultivating a diverse, multicultural university that is rooted in the indigenous history of Hawai‘i. More broadly, a key mission (Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao) shared by the 10 campuses of the UH System is to embrace our responsibilities to the Native Hawaiian people and to Hawai‘i’s indigenous language and culture.
One way we are doing this is through developing indigenous education. UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College have collaborated on many programs over the past few years to advance and strengthen indigenous education of benefit to all faculty, staff and students.
What is indigenous education?
Many of our students are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander—in some disciplines up to 30 percent—and not only are these students required to learn the content we are teaching, but also how to internalize information presented to them from a worldview distinct from their own.
If faculty, advisors, and administrators can learn to appreciate this and even re-orient or start to alter curricula and teaching methods to conform to our students’ learning styles, then we are on our way to becoming a model indigenous higher education institution and far more effective at imparting knowledge to those students.
Further, indigenous education is of benefit to all our students—those who identify as Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and also those who are not indigenous but have understandings of Native Hawaiian and indigenous culture just by growing up and/or living here as young adults. All non-native students and faculty benefit from indigenous education by learning through a new context and deepening their understanding.
Let me share a couple of programs we’re doing to develop modes of indigenous curricula and instruction at UH Hilo—these programs are primarily for faculty and staff and are supported by the Office of the Chancellor.
In addition, both UH Hilo Student Affairs staff at their annual retreat last June and the UH President’s Emerging Leaders Program (PELP) cohort last month participated in this type of special workshop.
Staff from the UH Hilo Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center of the College of Hawaiian Language held an introductory-level Hawaiian language workshop for the PELP cohort. Participants practiced dialogue and communication in Hawaiian and shared ideas about supporting and sustaining ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian culture at UH.
Also this semester, UH Hilo is holding a series of workshops for faculty in support of indigenous curricula and instruction. The workshops are being sponsored by a Chancellor’s Professional Development grant and will include faculty from both UH Hilo and Hawai‘i CC.
Topics will include creating course content and applied learning opportunities that are relevant to Native Hawaiian and Oceania students. Pacific island and indigenous culture experts are traveling here to share their knowledge and experience. There also will be local experts from the learning community Hoʻoulumau at Hawaiʻi CC. Students will also participate and share.
When learning in an environment shaped by indigenous curricula, students understand and appreciate that the classroom is being oriented to their social worlds and find the materials informative and practical. It makes the completion of a degree worthwhile and relevant to creating livelihoods on the island.
The real benefit of studying at a diverse campus such as ours is learning how people with different perspectives, contexts and cultures understand issues and challenges. We’ll continue to build a learning community that can exchange information and gain further training on how to best serve and educate our diverse and multicultural student body.
As we look to our work in 2017, a high priority at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is to improve significantly the recruiting, retention and graduation of our students. I’d like to share with you two programs showing great progress on recruiting and the success of our students: the Running Start and Early College programs.
Both programs are partnerships between UH and the State Department of Education. UH also has an Early College partnership with Kamehameha Schools.
The Running Start program has been around for years. It allows local high school students to take a college course at one of the 10 UH System campuses across the state. In this way, high school students are attending classes with college and university students and getting acclimated to college life and demands. Students receive dual credit, high school and college credit, for successful completion of the course.
Prior to spring 2015, UH Hilo had a small number of students in Running Start. It was after we started offering Early College classes a couple of years ago that we began to see a significant increase in enrollment.
In the Early College program, university courses are taught by a university professor on the student’s high school campus. Upon successful completion of the course, the student receives both high school and college credit.
The purpose is to have more high school students graduate with college credits so they are better prepared for their future degree and career.
This type of program works. I started college with credit for two high school courses. They were both required so I started by taking more advanced courses, and that let me to finish my undergraduate degree early.
I recommend high school students consider taking early college courses not just to get a head start, but to understand they are ready for college-level work and that UH may be the next step for their education.
In 2015, twelve high schools statewide were selected to participate in the Early College DOE program so as to increase the number of high school students earning six or more college credits before they graduate from high school. Four public high schools on Hawai‘i Island are participating. Kamehameha Schools also entered into a partnership with UH Hilo.
Some of the introductory classes provided by UH Hilo in the last two years are in astronomy, psychology, and sociology at Kohala High. Anthropology, art, communication, English, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and math are offered at the Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus.
Hawai‘i Community College also has partnerships with high schools on the island and UH Hilo is working closely with them to bring the Early College program to the whole island.
Kohala High School is working with Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo. Hilo High School, Kealakehe High and Waiakea High are working with Hawai‘i CC.
Collaboration for success
As we gear up for the next legislative session, it’s important to note that the DOE and the Governor have a goal of making funds available to the DOE to provide students statewide with the opportunity to complete six college credits prior to their high school graduation. This will ensure we have close working relationships with the high schools while the students take one college class per semester in their senior year or one college class per year in each of their junior and senior years.
All regular admissions criteria to UH still apply, so incoming students participating in Running Start and Early College still need to meet minimum grade point average requirements for acceptance into a UH school. But the programs greatly help with exactly that preparation and transition into college life, giving students a jump start and making it easier for them to acclimate to college life and be successful right through to graduation.
The Tsuzuki Education Group includes more than 20 private universities and colleges, as well as high school and middle schools, in multiple locations across Japan.
The agreement is a continuation of a 35-year relationship between Hawaiʻi and Fukuoka, established by former Governor George Ariyoshi, whose father came from Fukuoka Prefecture.
The agreement under Gov. Ariyoshi was Hawaiʻi’s first sister-state international relationship, and it was a perfect choice given that we are island communities with deep familial, cultural and economic connections between us.
Fukuoka City is now designated as an Innovation Hub for Japan, which parallels nicely to the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative where UH is working with the private sector and government to build an innovation, research, education and training enterprise in Hawai‘i.
It’s within this context that the new agreement with the Tsuzuki Education Group is a natural partnership, building on the longstanding relationship between Fukuoka and Hawai‘i to work collaboratively on common, modern challenges in a wide range of fields: business, pharmacy, traditional medicine, disaster resilience, technology, and sustainability.
This new system-to-system partnership builds on already existing agreements between UH Hilo and Tsuzuki including exchange programs with the Yokohama University of Pharmacy and Japan University of Economics.
UH Hilo’s Conference Center is already arranging study trips for Japanese students. Representatives from Yokohama University of Pharmacy came to visit us here and we put together a series of short visits for students—Japan students can see how we do things and vice versa for our students. We hope now to expand these types of exchange opportunities for students both ways.
The trip to Japan
The following video highlighting the research and academic strengths of the UH System was presented at the celebration of Tsuzuki Educational Group’s 60th anniversary during our trip. This is the English version:
During our trip, Carolyn Ma and I visited the different campuses and pharmacy facilities to look at ways we could establish and expand research exchanges and collaborations.
The pharmacy schools in Japan are researching traditional medicines, which dovetails nicely with the research being done on natural products at our pharmacy college.
Three campuses in Japan are working on business and economic issues—faculty there are very interested in the impact of Japanese tourism and are doing innovative work on economic development. Our new dean of the College of Business and Economics, Drew Martin, will be traveling to Japan to discuss different opportunities to collaborate on programs of benefit to both Japan and Hawai‘i.
Another area of shared interest is with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for data collection—we can share strategies for approaching challenges such as natural disaster response, collecting geographic data, and mapping areas such as agricultural lands and conservation areas.
I’m excited about the education and research opportunities this partnership will bring as we work together through collaborations with faculty and students to create a better future of mutual benefit for both the people of Japan and Hawai‘i.
One of the top responsibilities of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is to provide stewardship for the natural and cultural environment. Our campus emphasizes respect for the ‘āina, or land, and we work in partnership with the local community and government agencies to study, protect, preserve and sustain the unique natural and cultural environment of Hawai‘i Island.
We approach this work on many fronts. We provide our students myriad opportunities to create careers in conservation. Our researchers are studying the island’s flora and fauna resulting in groundbreaking findings with potential to save vulnerable species from extinction.
Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands are at the leading edge of conservation challenges because of the highly unique endemic species, with the many threats to the species and environments from invasive species, diseases and habitat change, and now with the increasing climate changes.
Let me share with you some of the things we’ve done recently to meet these challenges.
The Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Science immerses students in applied learning internships for 10 weeks each summer, where the students’ work can immediately impact and help solve emerging problems. The program’s 24th annual Student Symposium was held in August, where 42 students presented their projects ranging from monitoring erosion on Maunakea to engaging the community in little fire ant control.
Pacific Climate Boot Camp
UH Hilo hosted the first Climate Change Boot Camp in August. The event showcased recent collaborative research efforts driven by local natural resource managers across Hawaiʻi Island in a new program entitled the UH Hilo Manager Climate Corps. Local managers have teamed up with UH Hilo faculty across a diversity of disciplines to address complex needs resulting from climate change and other natural resource challenges. The goal is to support communities as they tackle climate change, invasive species, land-use, and culture.
World Conservation Congress
UH Hilo participated in the 2016 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress held last month in Honolulu. Held every four years, this conference brings together scientists and experts, policy makers, educators, politicians, non-governmental organizations, business interests, and community organizations from around the world to discuss conservation issues.
This was the first time this prestigious congress was held in the U.S., and UH Hilo played an important role highlighting our island as a model in environmental and cultural conservation. In addition to UH Hilo being a member of the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance—a group that was a driving force behind getting the IUCN to the U.S. and Hawai‘i and was involved with planning the event—UH Hilo researchers and students were engaged in many different activities across the diverse event.
Partnerships such as these can be fast, responsive and have become a well-respected and trusted source of information by conservation managers. Findings from one collaborative study resulted in a resolution at the IUCN calling for the conservation of one of Hawai‘i’s highly endangered birds, the ‘i‘iwi.
Many of our faculty and students also attended the World Conservation Congress.
A biology professor and researcher presented a talk on a computer program developed in collaboration with UH Hilo computer science students. The project is entitled Restoring Ecosystems Services Tool (REST) and uses principal component analysis graphs to identify plants that are functionally similar to one another for the purposes of ecosystem restoration. (The students presented their project last year at the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition in California.)
And students and faculty from our Kūʻula Integrated Science Program performed at the IUCN Marine World Heritage Reception. The Kūʻula students presented two chants and hula describing human relationships with the ocean and coral reefs.
A core program in our efforts to meet the conservation challenges of our island is our Tropical Conservation Biology and Environment Science graduate program, now in its 12th year with 143 graduates to date. We are proud of our graduates, entering doctoral programs or going straight to work on local wildlife management, watershed projects, fisheries, integrated pest management and more, contributing greatly to conservation measures throughout our island and state.
We are preparing students for careers in conservation, a new growth sector in Hawai‘i’s economy. Having local people engaged in solving the problems of our precious local environment is vital to success.