Time: 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Location: Campus Center 301
A virtual symposium featuring interactive online presentations exploring lessons learned while teaching to the Grand Challenges of Water.
Panel: “Meeting of Wisdoms” with Pualani Kanakaʻole Kanahele, Christian Giardina, Luka (Kanakaole) Mossman, Kealakaʻi Kanakaole, Ulumauahi Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani. Moderated by John DeFries.
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Campus Center 301
Panel will explore the meeting of wisdoms between indigenous ancestral knowledge systems and western empirical sciences.
UH Hilo to host Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit.
By Marcia Sakai
University of Hawaiʻi students, faculty and staff will gather for the 6th Annual Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit Feb. 8–10 on Hawaiʻi Island. This year’s theme is on the “Meeting of Wisdoms,” with focus on indigenous ways of knowing and western empirical science. Delegations from all 10 UH campuses will learn together from local practitioners, national experts on sustainability, and each other.
Understanding indigenous ways of knowing is critical to UH’s success in being a model of sustainability in our state. The university’s geographic location puts it in a unique position to serve as a leader and model in how institutions steward finite resources of for the benefit of all.
The university recognizes that an important knowledge base in sustainable island systems resides in the indigenous people of Hawai‘i and all those for whom Hawai‘i is home. We are committed to learning from local cultural practitioners and sustainability experts on best practices in sustainable resource allocation and use for the well-being of our communities and state.
Part of Friday’s program includes a “Meeting of Wisdoms” panel where I will welcome Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, president of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation and director of Hawaiian Traditional Knowledge Research at Hawai‘i Community College; research ecologist Christian Giardina of the USDA Forest Service; Luka Kanaka‘ole Mossman, a fishpond manager; Kealaka‘i Kanaka‘ole, a natural resource land operations manager with Kamehameha Schools; and Ulumauahi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani, lead ‘ōlapa/dancer with Hālau O Kekuhi and a UH Hilo senior majoring in geography. Moderator is John DeFries, president of Native Sun Business Group.
The Student Sustainability Summit will take place Feb. 10 in Volcano, where students will learn how to work with campus leadership on zero-waste campaigns on each campus.
For the first time, this year’s summit will include a Virtual Symposium, where sessions and activities will be livestreamed to the internet with capacity for remote interaction.
Sustainability is a top priority at UH Hilo
UH Hilo is proud to be a leader in sustainability efforts ranging from academic courses and degrees, to energy use, food purchasing and composting. Some highlights of what’s happening on campus follow.
A Certificate in Sustainability is under development. So far 29 courses have been designated as focusing on sustainability in agriculture, anthropology, engineering, geography, Hawaiian studies, and business management.
New Data Science program is also under development to help produce a generation of big data scientists. First area of study: water resources. This program is funded through the National Science Foundation as a part of a statewide water sustainability research project.
We are a leader in the UH System on sub-metering and baseline data recording, bi-level lighting, energy requirements in design contracts, a reinvestment account, and Hawai‘i Energy Rebates.
We are implementing full energy metering and monitoring of campus buildings. Currently, 100 meters record and report photovoltaic array data for all PV installations on campus. The data helps us assess and calculate savings.
To date, LED lighting conversion has been completed in 20 buildings, saving a calculated 217,524 kWh annually, and power savings continue to increase.
Over 65 percent of food served in our campus dining rooms is locally produced. On the first Wednesday of every month, 100 percent of the food served in the main Campus Dining Room is locally produced food.
We just opened a new gathering place on campus with food service and four picnic tables with solar powered stations for students to recharge electronic devices, helping to make our campus more sustainable in its energy use.
Many of these projects respond to action steps identified in the UH Strategic Directions Plan to “improve the sustainability and resource conservation of the built environment including facilities and grounds by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas production, water use and waste production.” Kudos to our students, faculty and staff for their hard work to implements these initiatives—well done! The UH Hilo campus can be a model for businesses across the island.
Growth and progress demand persistence—and we are continuing our momentum this year.
By Marcia Sakai
Aloha and Happy New Year!
I’m looking forward to the coming year as the momentum of progress and growth continues at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. During our day-to-day life on campus, when progress is often challenging, it’s easy to lose sight of just how far we’ve come over the years in serving the higher education needs of our island.
In 2017, UH Hilo celebrated its 70th year providing access to higher education for the people on Hawai‘i Island. We began our journey in 1947 as the Hilo Program, a UH Extension Division program where courses were taught at the old Hilo Boarding School. In 1951, the University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo Branch was founded with an enrollment of 100 students. After several transformations, the four-year Hilo College began in 1969, and by the following year merged with Hawaiʻi Community College, becoming the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
More recently, in 1991, UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College separated, but continue to share many of the same resources. Over the years since, Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo have worked together closely on many initiatives, most notably on the seamless transition of students into the university and on developing Native Hawaiian protocols in our teaching, research, and outreach activities.
Over the years, the university established five colleges, most recently the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy with its inaugural class ten years ago in 2007. It is the only accredited pharmacy college in the region, with a presence not only on Hawai‘i Island but also on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Maui and in the South Pacific in Guam, American Sāmoa and Saipan.
In 2018, we will celebrate several more noteworthy milestones.
Mookini Library and Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall opened 35 years ago. The names remind us of people who helped build this university. The library is named after former Chancellor Edwin H. Mookini who served from 1976 to 1979. Edith Kanaka‘ole was a beloved Hawaiian practitioner, kumu hula, composer, and founder of the Hawaiian studies program at UH Hilo.
Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language will be 30 years old. The college is named in honor of Ruth Keʻelikōlani Keanolani Kanāhoahoa, the 19th century high chiefess known for her strong advocacy of Hawaiian language and culture. Internationally recognized for successful cultural and language revitalization curriculum, the college’s staff and students honor the chiefess’s legacy as they do their work and study for the benefit of all Hawaii’s people.
The University Classroom Building is 15 years old—when it was built, it was the first construction of a major building at UH Hilo in over 20 years. It’s now our signature building at the entrance of campus, housing classrooms, offices and gathering places for our university community and the general public.
And five years ago, the Hale ʻAlahonua residence hall opened, the first new student housing project since 1989.
The program is part of a statewide project funded by the National Science Foundation, which awarded the UH System $20 million last year to do a five-year study of water sustainability issues throughout the state.
I am pleased to share an update on the exciting new data science degree program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The program is multidisciplinary in scope with elements of geophysics, microbiology, cyberinfrastructure, data modeling, indigenous knowledge, and economic forecasting. Students will learn how big data sets, from seemingly unrelated areas, can be used to solve complex problems.
Data science is a field that can have great impact on our local communities and environment. The collection and analysis of big data in areas such as water resources, for example, can reveal patterns and trends that can alert decision makers such as lawmakers and policymakers about the directions needed to ensure future stability for our island and state. This is especially important in relation to human behavior—for example, analyzing statewide water resources can reveal things our communities can do better to use and conserve water more efficiently.
The UH Hilo data science program is part of a statewide project funded by the National Science Foundation, which awarded the UH System $20 million last year to do a five-year study of water sustainability issues throughout the state. The project is called ʻIke Wai (Knowledge, Water) and has the overall goal of gathering new data on groundwater flow, sustainable yield, and economic impact. The data will help communities and state decision makers preserve Hawaiʻi’s water resources for the future.
Four tenure-track professors will lead the UH Hilo program. The first two were hired over the summer: Travis Mandel, assistant professor of computer science and Grady Weyenberg (who grew up in Hilo), assistant professor of mathematics and statistician. They will be joined in the near future by the others in the natural and social sciences.
While developing the UH Hilo data science program, our faculty team will work with ‘Ike Wai data scientists and water researchers around the state, collaborating alongside local communities, indigenous peoples, government agencies and businesses to generate the scientific data. Partners also include undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty to address water challenges at the academic and policy level.
‘Ike Wai student scholars
As part of our program, a cohort of ‘Ike Wai student scholars will be chosen each year to do research and analyze the data collected (this year’s scholars are currently being chosen). The scholars will work with six faculty across natural science fields on research projects including investigation of local flora and fauna, genetics, and improving educational software. This is an invaluable training ground for our students, and when they graduate, they will have the background and skills needed to start professional careers in related fields. This is of immense benefit to our local communities and state.
Since Travis and Grady’s arrival, they have been hard at work on the process of getting approval for a certificate program in data science, which will be followed by a baccalaureate degree.
Meanwhile, proposals have been submitted to launch four new courses: three in computer science and one in math, which will form the core curriculum. Two of these courses will focus on computer programming and language, statistical techniques, and data plotting.
Grady is primarily involved in the development of the math course with focus on computing language and statistics, which will be attractive not only to students who are earning a data science certificate, but also to anyone in a natural science program (or even beyond) who needs an introduction to applied data analysis techniques. Target date to launch the new course is fall of 2018.
Travis is the new data science hire in computer science. He is also working on the design of the certificate and its courses, proposing a new course on cutting-edge machine learning techniques that will take students to the “next level” of data analysis. His research interests lie in the realm of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Specifically, he is interested in how we can use data to automatically improve human-focused systems.
While the university is developing curriculum, we also need to ensure that students are getting a good background in specialized techniques that will be useful for local industries, such as renewable energy and agriculture. It will be this practical application that will make the biggest impact on our local communities and economy.
Faculty have recently begun reaching out to local schools and businesses, with the intent to ensure that a smooth transition can be created from secondary education to the university and through the data science program to the workplace. It will be wonderful to see high school students exposed to some of the interesting problems that can be addressed with data science before they get to the college level.
The development of the data science initiative makes us very proud of our campus—we are educating our students to be the problem solvers of our state’s future while helping to protect and conserve the islands’ precious natural resources.
Visit the EPSCoR website to learn more about the data science program and the ‘Ike Wai project.