UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - June 17, 2020

Importance of Place Committee Meeting: Wednesday, June 17 at noon

The purpose of this first committee meeting was to begin building relationships among ourselves and building an understanding of this shared undertaking that will result in a wider network of people focused on the importance of place at UH Hilo. We began creating a safe space of trust and mutual respect where all members fully participate, feel comfortable taking risks in sharing ideas, and engage in deep focused conversations. Through this effort we will examine how place impacts everything at the University, from the student experience to our research to the physical facility and how our unique place might be at the center of all we do at UH Hilo.

In the first meeting, the team was charged to action by Chancellor Irwin. We then began by tackling this questions: Imagine the value of making our University’s unique place integral in all we do at UH Hilo - what would that look like and what would result?

Based on the discussion, a list of bullet points was created. Each is as a question, below, so that committee members might use these in order to reach out to their networks to frame appreciative questions and have meaningful conversations about UH Hilo and our unique place.

  • How might we ensure that our academic programs are anchored to our unique place from an instructional perspective?
  • Might UH Hilo plug into active community-based programs that draw from place and its unique ecosystems and traditional practices? In doing so, how might we do this well and show students how they might apply what they learn to places they will live and work outside of Hawai'i?
  • How do we encourage students to plug into the host culture and host language and encourage them to use the mana in their global life journeys?
  • Might we better connect or even push students toward service learning opportunities and outdoor experiences (academic and recreational) so they might be inspired by a connection to place?
  • How might we examine the careers coming out of UH Hilo and how they connect to place?
  • How could we more clearly define our identity and how it is rooted in our unique place?
  • What training(s) rooted in place should UH Hilo provide to members of the campus community?
  • How would we institutionalize programs like Uluākea (A project to Indigenize the academic process and culture, with aims to train faculty to teach, research, and conduct services out of a Hawaiian world view using an Indigenous place-based educational approach), which is currently operating with soft grant funding?
  • How do we ensure that faculty feel comfortable taking part in trainings/programs and are less risk averse and fearful of doing something incorrectly? How do we get rid of the impression that this "might not be for me?" Is it possible to build belonging with an explicit invitation to join in and "wash the dishes?"
  • Can we help faculty to teach from the "students' place" in order to make the largest impact on our learners and their progress to graduation? Could we learn from the DOE and their best practices regarding our kuleana and the reciprocal relationship of faculty and students? (See this one-page DOE handout
  • Are there place-based collaborations with partners that will bring more experiential/hands-on opportunities into our classrooms?How might we best encourage our faculty to become learners in front of their students?
  • Should we rethink the language/vocabulary we use in order to shift the paradigm (‘āina-based education)?

Action plan: Each committee member will reach out to their networks to explore the topics that are a fit with people they know and have conversations with those who might bring new perspectives and ideas to the conversation.