UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - April 13, 2022

Importance of Place Committee Meeting: Wednesday, April 13 at 4:00pm

Present: Bruce Torres Fischer, Michele Ebersole, Franny Brewer, Heather Kaluna and Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Action plan work

Ka Leo o ka Uluau Update

The idea: The first season of Ka Leo o ka Uluau is a 24-episode podcast, with installments released twice monthly in 2021. The second season is a 12-episode offering that focuses on Hawaiian cultural practices that inform us how to meaningfully and sustainably interact with the place we live based on traditional knowledge systems. The purpose of the Ka Leo o ka Uluau podcast is to hoʻokamaʻāina listeners to the island of Hawaiʻi. Storytellers who are associated with each place or practice share their manaʻo with podcast hosts Drew Kapp and Leilani DeMello.The blog associated with the podcast includes StoryMaps, images, and other useful resources.

The podcast has now been downloaded 17,300 times. Kekoa Harman’s section of the new course Kuleana & Community is integrating the podcast in the class. Other sections are using the podcast as well, each in their own way.

Kuleana & Community Update

The idea: An entry level 3-credit course titled “Kuleana & Community” whose foundation lay in local history and service to the community. This course contributes to the stated goal of indigenizing the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo while also increasing retention, recruitment, and alumni support in the future. This entry level course introduces UH Hilo students to the diverse, multi-layered communities and histories of the island, better preparing them to more fully contribute to community engagement in their upper division courses.

There are four sections of the course currently in place. Each section is using Ka Leo o ka Uluau differently. Some are using Inoa Matters, others are using the StoryMaps. The sections also have connections with the campus gardens. The section taught by Michele and Patsy Iwasaki has a connection with the ‘Imiloa mala with the help of Lauren Dement, Native Garden Education Specialist. Service learning has been very important. Huaka‘i have been staged both in-person and virtually.

Recently, Nyssa Kushi, Director of Institutional Marketing, reached out to explore creating several Kuleana & Community video clips.

There was a mid-point session for all Kuleana & Community instructors and those who participated in the summer workshop were invited. Taupōuri Tangarō suggested that some moku may align more closely with certain majors/degrees. This is an interesting thought - rather than exploring all six moku, some sections may want to consider concentrating on targeted moku. There is another professional development session tentatively scheduled in May. Faculty members teaching the course are working with in-load status (within their normal teaching load) rather than overload status.

There is a course survey in the works, but it is currently being reviewed by UH’s Institutional Review Board, responsible for the review of human research conducted by UH personnel.

Action Plan Project: 8.1.1. and 1.1.2.

Strategy 8: Create a professional development program that targets critical skills needed on campus.
Action 1: Improve and expand the onboarding process for new employees.
Deliverable 1: Established employee orientation including how we operate, strategic framework, and sense of place: values, place, vision, mission, priorities.

Simultaneously being pursued with

Strategy 1: Provide students an equitable experience to ensure student success.
Action 1: Build an infrastructure that supports the hiring and retention of faculty reflective of our diverse student body.
Deliverable 2: Developed a detailed guide for establishing a one year onboarding process grounded in a sense of place and strategic framework: values, place, vision, mission, priorities.

An internal survey was distributed to the group prior to this meeting. The results were shared before the meeting and discussed at the meeting:

Q1: If onboarding takes place over one year, how often should place-based content be offered?

  • 80% once a month
  • 20% once a quarter

Comments at meeting: Staff are hired throughout the year, unlike most faculty. Due to this, monthly offerings that do not necessarily have a series order will likely work best. You could offer something once a month or multiple offerings of events or opportunities that already exist. Could UH Hilo’s online event calendar have a symbol or way to search for these place-based activities?

Q2: Should place-based onboarding activities be required of all new employees? If yes, then how many activities should be required - if you chose quarterly or 4x a year, should all 4 be required?

  • At least 4
  • 12 (at least 8 required)
  • Not all should be required - offer monthly or bimonthly, then set a minimum number (like 4 out of 6)
  • Yes, maybe require 2 activities
  • Several different activities should be offered each month, with all new employees strongly encouraged to participate once a month, but 6 are required

Comments at meeting: We probably can’t say “required.” Who would track this? Could supervisors be encouraged to advocate for onboarding activities? Could this be integrated into the employee’s first annual review? We need a “dedicated nagger/nudger” to contact new employees. Perhaps new employees could receive a monthly email with all the place-based events/opportunities.

Q3: Please share your ideas for place-based opportunities you believe will help new employees find a grounding in place (huaka‘i, volunteerism, workshops, films, classes, discussions - don't limit your thinking). Please indicate if any of the activities you are suggesting are already offered or if the effort would be new.

  • Huakaʻi, volunteering - campus gardens, luau/paʻina, workshops, discussions
  • Set a regular time and date to meet (first Friday of the month, second Saturday, etc). Huakaʻi and service learning should be a must, workshops (weaving, chanting, discussions, nature walks with a purpose) is a close second. Consistency and building community in these meetings is essential. The effort could be new or part of a program like Uluākea.
  • Do fun stuff outdoors! Take them out on a wa'a with a speaker who can talk about canoe and culture. Go bird watching at Hakalau or Laupahoehoe and talk about native ecology. Ask Mokupāpapa to host a tour and do a reef creature show-n-tell at Richardson's. Hold a lei workshop with a Hawaiian storyteller.
  • Huaka'i, be part of the Kuleana and Community course, doing something in partnership with someone outside of your department (like attending something or going somewhere).
  • All of the above - it would be nice to provide a schedule of place-based activities before the start of each month. These could be events that already exist or are new. Could UH Hilo's online events calendar have a designation that indicates a place-based activity so they are easy to identify? Could some Kuleana & Community activities be open to new employees?

Comments at meeting: There was support for trying to create a cohort of first-year employees so there is some continuity and new employees get to know each other and welcome others to the group as they are hired. Huakaʻi to places and service learning opportunities are very impactful. There are many great local options for huakaʻi - Moku Ola, the Wailuku River and Boiling Pots, etc. There is value in getting people in a van. The Pacific Tsunami Museum is also a good potential stop. Could there be gatherings with free coffee and a storyteller? There are places on campus known to be especially friendly, like the cafeteria and the wonderful aunties who work there. Marquee boards might be useful to indicate events. It’s nice to have activities in different locations, as new employees often don’t leave the area where they work.

Q4: What other resources should be shared with new employees to hoʻokamaʻāina or acquaint them to the island of Hawaiʻi and our campus?

  • A host-family from the community
  • Ka Leo o ka Uluau!
  • Especially in the last 2 years it seems like there have been so many webinars on various subjects from all different organizations - maybe a list of links to online video resources that already are out there?
  • Tangarō's Ka'ao Framework video
  • Ka Leo o ka Uluau; a list of volunteer opportunities; a map of the island; an appropriate book to help build understanding of history, culture or language; list of Employee Resource Groups when those are up and running

Comments at meeting: Host families may be integrated into Kuleana & Community. They would be a resource and might make invitations to go places, take a hike, come to dinner. Talks by faculty (once a month) in the community might be a wonderful bridge into the community. Perhaps there could be a program with huakaʻi that rotate to the six moku. ʻImiloa is a community-centered place that is also a “bridge” between campus and the community.

We discussed editing the survey for a broader campus survey. It was suggested that we ask participants to indicate if they are faculty or staff and how long they have been at UH Hilo. Also, we might ask them as a new employee, how many events they might envision attending and on a scale if it would be a priority to participate.

Action Items for onboarding:

  • Kathleen will revise the survey and ask the group to review it.

At this point in the discussion, the 60-minute meeting time expired. The meeting was adjourned.