College of Natural and Health Sciences

College of Natural and Health Sciences Philosophy

Purpose

The College of Natural and Health Sciences provides rigorous, practical and high-quality education, preparing you to pursue careers or graduate work. We emphasize traditional aspects of natural sciences, computer science, mathematics, nursing, and kinesiology and exercise science—particularly those with special relevance to Hawaiʻi.

Molten lava cascades down the pali as students collect data

A group of students views photos of birds while tagging a bird's leg for future correlation

A scuba diver writes notes while observing a coral reef

Educational Philosophy

We offer a diversified curriculum, and have the flexibility to meet the needs of every student.

This flexibility provides you with an opportunity to achieve a common basis for intellectual discourse and will prepare you to meet the demands of both profession and citizenship. You will receive an education which enables you to:

  1. Communicate in both the written and spoken media with precision and cogency;
  2. Think critically and engage in reasoned discussions about complex issues;
  3. Understand major historic and philosophical concepts, and scholarly, literary and artistic accomplishments of the past and present;
  4. Comprehend the physical universe, our own and that of other societies, the mathematical and experimental methods of the natural sciences, and
  5. Achieve a depth of understanding and competence in a specific field of knowledge.

School of Nursing Students

Geology Students

KES Professor

Instructional Methods

We use various instructional methods to implement our philosophy.

Class sizes are generally small for course lectures, allowing more student-teacher discourse.

Laboratory courses provide experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of research in real and simulated settings. These courses, which are taught along with lecture classes, offer you the chance to develop skills in:

  • observations,
  • data collection,
  • problem-solving,
  • interpretation,
  • and working effectively in small teams.

Seminars are important because they provide an opportunity for you to study in your major fields of interest at an advanced level and in small groups.

UH Hilo students dive in scuba gear as they study the reef.

UH Hilo Geology student measures the height of a GPS instrument in the field.

Geology students use a thermal heat gun to measure the temperature of flowing lava; photo by Jack Dykinga.

Independent study and the senior thesis capstone courses provide opportunities for you to pursue knowledge of particular interest, under the supervision of an instructor. This specialized study is limited to students who have sufficient background in the field.

Field trips introduce you to real situations outside of the classroom. These trips are particularly valuable in areas of study relating to the physical and cultural environment. Field trips offer you the chance to visit research facilities on the island.

Internships and practica are extremely important to the instructional process, bridging the gap between the classroom and the community and natural world. These experiences provide you with opportunities to apply the knowledge and techniques acquired in the classroom by placing you in the community. They also serve as a means of strengthening the relationship between the College and the community.