UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - August 21, 2020

Importance of Place Committee Meeting: Friday, August 21 at 10:00am

Present: Bruce Torres Fischer, Heather Kaluna, Michele Ebersole, Hualani Loo, Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: The committee will work toward finding its direction, determining the place-related action with the greatest potential right now for impactful positive transformation at UH Hilo. At the close of the July meeting, the individual members were tasked to answer these questions: What is the most impactful place-related action that we could work on? What is your ideal vision for work in this area? At the August meeting we discussed the answers to these questions in order to narrow the committee’s focus.

We also discussed the difficulty in narrowing focus, as there is much we would like to accomplish. Timeframe is variable because some ideas may unfold quickly, while others will be long-term. We may choose to work on projects simultaneously, so we see progress quickly on short-term projects while taking steps to move forward on longer-term initiatives.

Possible place-related actions (in order of how the discussion unfolded):

1. The University 101: Paths to Academic Success Class (Internal)

(Note: Michele took the initiative to mesh documents created by Hualani and Julie Mowrer, Center for Community Engagement, along with the discussions the committee has had related to UNIV 101. This document, bringing multiple efforts into alignment, spurred discussion and provided some clarity. There is interest and effort but not enough communication.)

The course has not found a consistent home in terms of planning/leadership and has not seen much continuity. Coordinators change, teachers change. It is currently tied to housing, but could be opened up to a broader student audience. This year, it shifted back to Student Affairs, but has now been canceled due to COVID-19 complications.

Do faculty who participate receive course release? Are faculty paid for their participation in teaching UNIV 101?

If the course remains themed (natural sciences, creative arts, sustainability, etc.), should these sections be tied to housing or to departments/programs? Currently, students who are part of UNIV 101 live together based on major and/or interests. In the past, UNIV 101 was meant as an introduction to both UH Hilo and Hilo, a transition into University life. UNIV 102 Career and Major Decisions was designed to introduce students to the UH Hilo colleges, major areas offered, and how to connect major choices to potential career paths. This was previously coordinated with the assistance of the Career Center. UNIV 194 was then more community based, more similar to the Center for Community Engagement proposal. Each of these courses have varied in number of course credits. Is there a useful historical record or someone (Auty Gail, perhaps) who might provide the institutional historical memory for these courses? What is the optimal design of these courses in order to provide the best student experience?

Is ‘Imiloa a potential meeting space or home base for this/these courses? This might offer many benefits, including the Center being more readily recognized as part of the University. In terms of community-engaged education, what does the new VCAA think of this - is community engagement a focus?

(Related in the conversation: Careers/Internships are an important piece, but what is the status of this after the departure of the career advisor who was a casual hire? If this position has been swept, how will the work continue and where will it be housed? There are pockets of success like PIPES. Astronomy encourages students to intern with faculty and they host a meet and greet with faculty. There are individual efforts, but shouldn’t there be an institutional effort that offers coordination and support.)

2. Annual Community Partnership Fair (Outreach)

(Note: This is an initiative that Julie outlined as a potential project for the Center for Community Engagement.)

This annual fair would feature an open invitation to all and could be staged online and be formatted as a problem-based event seeking to build collaborative efforts. This annual conversation could build common goals and establish projects between all interested parties with the common goal to improve Hawai‘i Island.

3. Hoʻokuaʻāina for the Campus Community (with potential broader impact)

(Note: a new grant-funded video was mentioned and more information is being uncovered about this effort which has been developed since COVID-19.)

We could develop a podcast with stories linked to on- and off-campus locations on the Island. For maximum impact, a listener could visit the spaces while listening to the podcast. If that is not possible, the podcast content should be designed so that the resource is still relevant and helpful.

This podcast could provide content for UNIV 101, allowing non-Hawaiin faculty to participate in community-based teaching in a way that might feel more comfortable, where they are not trying to serve as the storyteller. The podcast could also be made part of the First-Year Experience.

There could also be a podcast website that includes online resources, related to individual episodes and more generally.

4. Garden or On-campus Improvement Project/Event

There are multiple garden efforts across campus. Students on campus participating in an on-campus improvement/garden project or event could learn about native plants, history, and the host culture. This might have the potential to provide content for a podcast episode.

How many students are on campus this semester, given the move to online learning? Is there a schedule for campus work days?

5. Policies Regarding Applied Learning / Community Engagement

UH Hilo might require all students to have an applied learning/community service experience that includes interacting with the host culture beyond the campus and broader Hilo community. We might work with the campus to create an integrated community-engaged course requirement in every major, which could work like a Writing Intensive or be a part of the Global and Community Citizenship requirement. The GCC requirement could be revisited.

We see Hawaiian Ohana on transfer student transcripts and it counts toward UH Hilo’s general education requirements. Students are exposed to history, culture and language.

If this became a requirement, would there be content support? Might we identify what existing courses may already satisfy this requirement? Efforts are happening in silos now. Being small should give us an advantage. Might we schedule 1-2 days each academic year for faculty development?

The team discussed these as potential first projects:

Short term: Hoʻokuaʻāina Podcast for the Campus Community

Long-term: Policies Regarding Applied Learning / Community Engagement

Keep in mind that these projects are smaller pieces of much larger issues, but they are solid entry points. For example, a Hoʻokuaʻāina podcast could be an excellent project, but does not satisfy a much greater need that we will want to visit and explore.

Action Plan:

Each meeting participant volunteered to explore and gather information associated with these potential projects. Those unable to attend the meeting have also been asked to complete assignments. And, alternate committee members have been asked to take on items specific to their areas of experience.

  • Bruce - Reach out to contacts regarding a potential Hoʻokuaʻāina podcast and assemble a list of podcast resources that we might have access to (storytellers, technical assistance, etc.). What obstacles must we meet to produce a high-quality podcast experience?
  • Michele and Heather - Reach out regarding campus garden projects and campus improvement projects - Don Hemmes (Botanical Gardens), Malu Dudoit (work days), CAFNRM, Project at Hale‘ōlelo, etc. I leave the division of labor to you.
  • Hualani - Talk with Aunty Gail and any other contacts to gleam info about the history of UNIV 101/102/194. Who were the coordinators, instructors, credits, how and when did the content change over time? I'll let you know about scheduling a meeting with Julie. Also, please find out roughly how many students are on campus.
  • Kathleen - I will report back on Monday's meeting with Julie regarding the Center for Community Engagement projects and set a meeting with Hualani, Julie and myself. Make contact with Aly Kakugawa-Leong from University Relations to see if they are able to provide assistance with the promotion and production of the podcast.
  • Ka'iu - Consider 'Imiloa as a potential homebase for future UNIV 101 courses. Is this possible and is there a role for "imiloa staff in this endeavor? And, how might 'Imiloa be involved in a problems-based Annual Community Partnership Fair? If we develop a Hoʻokuaʻāina podcast, could 'Imiloa participate and help to promote the episodes?
  • Ulu - If we staged an Annual Community Partnership Fair (perhaps virtually given current circumstances), what problem-based topics should we start with in order to gain the most interest, on and off campus? It should be open to all, but who are the important people who might serve as moderators?
  • Janice - What online resources might we provide on a website supporting a Hoʻokuaʻāina podcast? Who are the storytellers in the community who will bring Hilo and other areas of the Island to life in this podcast, as well as in our classrooms, post COVID? Are there currently any local podcasts that we might learn from? We would also like your thoughts on a potential Annual Community Partnership Fair.

For our alternate committee members:

  • Joseph - Is there any record in the Library regarding UNIV 101/102/194? Even old UH Hilo catalogues might have some information regarding people involved, number of credits, etc.
  • Franny - If we staged an Annual Community Partnership Fair (perhaps virtually given current circumstances), what problem-based topics should we start with in order to gain the most interest, on and off campus? It should be open to all, but who are the important people who might serve as moderators?
  • Todd - Weigh in on potential changes to policies regarding applied learning / community engagement, especially given your membership with the first Chancellor’s Engaged Scholars cohort and the curriculum review committee.