UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - March 21, 2021

Importance of Place Committee Meeting: Monday, March 22 at 1:30pm

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

Meeting purpose: Project updates and discussion of UH Hilo's strategic planning thematic goals, strategies, and actions and how they intersect with place

Gardens Project

The idea: There are multiple garden efforts across campus. Students participating in an on-campus improvement/garden project or event might learn about native plants, history, and the host culture, while getting their hands in the dirt and finding new ways to spend time in nature. These experiences will help students connect to our campus and the Hilo community in meaningful and authentic ways and provide healthy outlets to keep them grounded.

Heather and Michele shared some exciting opportunities. The UH Hilo Gardens StoryMap is set to be unveiled on Earth Day as part of this year’s virtual event. They have a meeting set with Norman Arancon, professor of horticulture, this Thursday to discuss this. Hualani is on the committee for this year’s efforts. UH Hilo’s Earth Day Fair will be virtual with earth week activities for K-12 and a 2-day symposium. Brennan VeithLow is the contact for the associated web pages.

TCBES has provided a design for a campus fruit stand. We are waiting to hear from William from Auxiliary Services about the potential build out.

We previously discussed hosting a farmers market on campus. Has one ever been hosted on campus before? We will look into this.

Action items for Gardens:

  • Michele and Heather will reach out to garden coordinators in order to discuss plans for unveiling the map and determine what details to include about volunteering.
  • Kathleen will update the Gardens StoryMap as information becomes available.
  • Heather will reach out to Kalei to talk about the idea and the potential location of the fruit stand (possibly co-locate with the food pantry)?
  • After Heather talks with Kalei, Hualani will ask Aunty Gail if she recalls a farmers market on campus before and Michele will do the same with Lorna.

A Course Connecting Students with Place

The idea: There is a working group interested in ensuring a positive student experience that includes a strong grounding in place. We are exploring the development of a class, perhaps a redesign of UNIV 101, available to students in their first two years at UH Hilo including transfer students. The working group includes Julie Mowrer (from the Relationships Committee), Kerri Inglis (who developed the Kuleana & Community course proposal), Hualani Loo and Michele Ebersole (both from this Importance of Place Committee).

There have been several meetings with different groupings of individuals to discuss next steps. There is now a spring target date to launch this new class, with summer and fall used to train faculty who will teach it. The class will include elements from UNI101 (foundational, how to succeed in college content) and Kuleana & Community (the proposal by Kerri Inglis), while using the Ka’ao Framework of Transformation. A curriculum committee will be formed and Michele has an interest in participating in curricular development. Aunty Gail will be setting a meeting sometime soon to discuss next steps. We are uncertain who will participate but look forward to supporting this project in useful ways.

Ka Leo o ka Uluau

The idea: Ka Leo o ka Uluau is a 24-episode podcast, with installments released twice monthly in 2021. The purpose of the Ka Leo o ka Uluau podcast is to hoʻokamaʻāina listeners to the island of Hawaiʻi, starting in Hilo and moving clockwise around the island (Puna, Kaʻū, Kona, Kohala, and Hāmākua). Storytellers who are associated with each place share moʻolelo with podcast hosts Drew Kapp and Leilani DeMello. Episodes acquaint listeners with key places, histories, people, traditions, and lessons from each place. The blog associated with the podcast includes StoryMaps, images, etc.

Bruce reported that Ka Leo o ka Uluau has had 2260 downloads, with 201 for the most recent episode 6 and 351 downloads in the last week. The podcast’s social followers include 372 on Facebook and 373 on Instagram. Jake Galves reports that the podcast is sounding great on air at KUHH University Radio.

Bruce, Lei, and Drew visited the Pālamanui Campus in Kona to find recording spaces to record future episodes there. The last two episodes in the Puna District will air in April and we will then move to Kaʻū. April’s guests are Piʻilani Kaʻawaloa and Kalanipua Elia.

There was a question about the HPR interview with Bruce. Check it out here. The Inoa Matters article also appeared in the UH News.

We spoke about the grant funding supporting the podcast ending in September. The plan is to finish recording before that date, so the honoraria and makana are covered. Drew and Lei have expressed interest in continuing on. We would need to find new funding sources to do this. There may be federal funding available and Hanakahi Council may be able to help. If we do continue beyond 2021, we would need a plan for content so that we are able to seek funding. Some content ideas that came up: integrating science and stories or tying each episode to a different academic area so that it serves a variety of classrooms and disciplines. What are the ways we might create useful content that will ensure it is used in classrooms (UH Hilo but also local schools)? Michele has shared the podcast with a teacher at Waiakea High School, but if we had an idea of what serves them best, it would be helpful.

Hualani reported that the Historical Society on Oʻahu may be interested in working with us. They are intrigued by our StoryMaps. They are meeting with Loke Brandt and people at the Lyman Museum to discuss a project.

Action items for Ka Leo o ka Uluau:

  • Bruce will brainstorm with Lei and Drew about possibilities for Ka Leo o ka Uluau beyond 2021. One question: how do we impact classrooms?

The Bigger Picture

At the last meeting we discussed the strategic plan goal #1, at this meeting we bagan looking at draft action plan content for the action plan goal - Affirm Our Commitment to Haumāna - Equity and Student Success.

We discussed reframing some of the language in the strategies - “barrier” and “bridge the divide.” Might it be reframed in a positive way, more focused on the desired positive outcome. We also discussed how each strategy, tactic, and action for goal #1 must tie back to our commitment to haumāna - we cannot lose sight of the student.

We discussed how to work on tensions between academic affairs and student affairs. Someone asked - What are some of the places on campus where relationships are positive and consistently working well? This helped drive the discussion.

  • People - There was a thought that it may be more about the people in those particular units that make it work well. It may be about who we hire and who is in those positions that makes all the difference.
  • Communication - We often don’t know how to solve issues. The best way to work through something now is to make phone calls, keep asking. If communications systems were stronger, there would be a stronger campus community.
  • Accountability - Promotion and tenure is about teaching, research, and service. Is the student sometimes lost in this, if the interpretation of these three categories is narrow? How often are staff members evaluated and what are the criteria? We need more policies and guidelines on paper and that are regularly communicated so that people know what is expected of them and what our values are.
  • Philosophy - Woven through the above bullets is philosophy. What does it mean to be student-centered? Many people have self-defined their own roles, and mindset changes from person to person. Example: Is it the responsibility of all members of campus to recruit and retain students? Some might say it is the sole responsibility of student affairs. If this is not the desired attitude, how do we change it? And if this attitude is somewhat common, how do we change this culture of thought?

Doing was then brought up. The doing committees have gotten work done and they do it with the help and input of others. In a time where silos may have grown stronger, we need to work together toward common goals. We need to build bridges, and not just cross divides briefly.

At this point in the discussion, the 90-minute meeting time expired. The meeting was adjourned.