North Hawai╩╗i Education and Research Center (NHERC)

NHERC Mission, Mission & Values

Sharlene Bala and Ceorgette Mercado attending Math 100 at NHERC
Students attending Math 100 at NHERC

At NHERC, we envision a North Hawai╩╗i where all people thrive and are empowered to attain their dreams.

NHERC is a branch of the University of Hawai╩╗i at Hilo located in Honoka╩╗a, Hawai╩╗i, that primarily serves the people of H─üm─ükua and North Hawai╩╗i by providing access to quality educational opportunities. NHERC is the home of the NHERC Heritage Center, it is a community gathering place, and it supports research activities.

exterior of NHERC campus
University of Hawai╩╗i at Hilo's North Hawai╩╗i Education and Research Center

Organizationally, the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) administers this unit.  NHERC is designed to serve the approximately 19,000 residents in North Hawaiʻi currently underserved by higher education.

NHERC Values:  ╩╗Ohana, Respect, Service to Others, People and their Dreams, Quality Education and Life-Long Learning, The History and Heritage of North Hawai╩╗i

Act 177, SLH 2002 enabled the release of $1,700,000 for Phase I of NHERC.┬á In May 2006 the construction of Phase I was completed.┬á Phase I establishes a higher education presence in the North Hawai╩╗i region and provides for the start-up of the center.┬á NHERC currently houses a 20-seat classroom, a 30-seat classroom, a computer lab, a distance learning classroom, a 150-seat conference room, two faculty offices, two storage rooms, a director’s office, and reception and work areas.

The proposed reorganization will establish NHERC and provide for positions as authorized by the 2005 State Legislature.┬á The State’s biennial budget provided $123,750 for fiscal year 2006 and $125,000 for fiscal year 2007 for the hiring of a director (#96600F), an academic support position (educational specialist) (#96601F) and a secretary (#96100F).┬á The academic support position and the secretary will report to the director of the center and the director will report to the dean of CCECS.┬á ┬áThe community-based advisory board will assist the staff in developing a comprehensive center.

In addition, a budget allocation of $133,120 in the State’s 2006 supplemental budget passed through the legislature.┬á These monies, which fully fund UH Hilo’s original biennial request, will augment the funds already allocated for NHERC for both furnishment and operations in fiscal year 2007.

Act 41, SLH 2004 authorized Phase II and provided for the release of $3,700,000 in general obligation bonds.  However, construction problems involving removing hazardous materials and other modifications in Phase I caused UH Hilo to redirect $364,000 from Phase II to Phase I.  Therefore, the balance remaining for Phase II totals $3,336,000.

Phase II houses the NHERC Heritage Center. It also provides additional multi-purpose classrooms, a proctoring laboratory, and faculty offices. A beautiful outdoor pavilion is the latest addition to the campus.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and former NHERC director Farrah-Marie Gomes celebrate
Photo By: Sarah Anderson

Current plans include using general funds for NHERC staffing.  Like other CCECS operations, the cost of instruction will be self-sustaining.  Minimum enrollment requirements would ensure that courses generated revenue.  Other potential sources of revenue include an active grant effort as well as charging overhead for the use of the facility for research activities. 

Other organizational alternatives did not receive consideration because the legislative intent is to have NHERC administered by UH Hilo.

Both quantitative and qualitative measurements will measure the success of NHERC in fulfilling its missions.  Quantitative criteria will include:

  • The number of student semester hours generated by distance learning programs
  • The number of student semester hours generated by live instruction courses
  • The number of area students assisted in enrolling in college level courses
  • The number of lifelong learning programs conducted and the participants enrolled
  • The number of research projects utilizing the center
  • The number of community events held at the center

Qualitative criteria will include the breadth or range of credit and non-credit courses offered, the range of community activities supported by the center, and the perceived level of services provided to the community and regional high schools. 

The presence of UH Hilo in this area illustrates the State’s and the university’s commitment to provide educational opportunities and to contribute to the economic recovery plan for the North Hawai╩╗i region.

The Chancellor’s Executive Council supports the proposal.