UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - April 26, 2021

Importance of Place Committee Meeting: Monday, April 26 at noon

Present: Hualani Loo, Michele Ebersole, Heather Kaluna, Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Project updates and discussion of UH Hilo's strategic planning thematic 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.

On April 9 there was a second student work day at Ululaumāhie Native Forest Restoration Project with a group of 6 undergraduate students from the education club. They worked with Lito and the small groups seem to work very well. One of the students got a bit faint, which underscored the need for opportunities for students to get outside.

The Garden StoryMap was updated and unveiled in April for Earth Week. It was sent to all K-12 teachers. There was a UH Hilo Stories article and some social media coverage on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We had hoped to also produce some video, but the team we reached out to at the garden sites were too busy to participate at the time.

Heather reported that she has been talking with Kaʻiu at ʻImiloa about building a Hawaiian star compass garden in honor of alumnus Kālepa Baybayan. This garden could be an educational tool, connecting people to place while honoring the Hōkūleʻa captain. The garden would be designed intentionally to place different trees and plants in different positions so observations might be made about changes in the position of the sun.

Next steps? A fruit stand and farmers market are still in focus. Might we be able to institutionalize garden volunteerism with some sort of online calendaring system?

Action items for Gardens:

  • Kathleen will reach out to Brennan to see if he has any ideas about an online volunteer signup solution or ideas of going beyond our current set up.
  • Heather will keep us updated on progress on the Hawaiian star compass garden in honor of alumnus Kālepa Baybayan.
  • Heather will follow up on possible fruit stand build out.

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 six sections of this new class, with summer and fall used to train faculty who will teach it. As part of the training, students and faculty will go on a huakaʻi together. 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 is participating in curricular development.

A meeting of many from across campus was held last week. A proposal for the course is moving forward with Kerri Inglis taking the lead. There is some concern about whether there will be institutional support for the effort, as other efforts in the past have been initiated with grant funding and fallen by the wayside when the grant was completed.

The plan is for a master syllabus in August and a course proposal submitted to the curriculum committee by October 1. We are excited that Kerri is stepping up and bringing her vision for Kuleana and Community to fruition, especially with the Kaʻao framework. Michele and Kerri are meeting every two weeks. How will faculty be identified to train/teach this course. Uluākea may be a starting point.

New Employee Orientation

This discussion to this point brought up a new project for the committee - new employee orientation.

Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center used to do a wahi pana tour for new faculty, but it was voluntary, not institutionalized as part of the onboarding effort.

We would like to see the podcast integrated into orientation/onboarding efforts. We believe that some faculty are interested in incorporating wahi pana and moʻolelo into their courses. Perhaps, new faculty could be brought along to teach the new course from the start. In the longer-term a faculty orientation program could be a pipeline for qualified teachers for the new course. Heather mentioned that sometimes faculty will receive a reduction in credit hours to set up a lab - so why not for the type of training that the new course would require?

Our discussion started with orientation and moved toward a sustained onboarding program.

Action items for Employee Orientation:

  • Hualani will check emails and talk to Aunty Gail to find out more about past coordination of Kīpuka efforts.
  • Kathleen will talk to Jennifer about her thoughts on first steps.

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.

The last episode in Puna featured Kalanipua Elia. The next episode in the moku of Kaʻū, spotlights Noah Gomes and will be released this weekend on May 1. The May 15 episode features Nohea Kaʻawa. Inoa Matters segments for Puna are released individually on social media and will be released as a group on the blog on April 29. Ka Leo o ka Uluau has had 3,685 downloads, with an additional ~400 listens a week due to Inoa Matters. The studio team has not had a chance to brainstorm possibilities for a second year of the podcast.

How do we encourage the faculty to consider incorporating the podcast in their courses? Michele will begin doing this in summer and fall, but needs time to listen and make notes.

  • Share examples of ways to use the podcast in classes at an orientation for new faculty.
  • Professional development workshop that could also serve as a venue for community building - listen, think, share.
  • Ask Kaʻiu if the ʻImiloa website might include a podcast resource area for educators.
  • UH Hilo Stories story about how the podcast is being used.
  • A teacher's guide for Ka Leo o ka Uluau appropriate to varying grade levels. Is it possible to find the resources to develop a curriculum around the podcast. Perhaps a small group of three faculty or students

Is there funding to continue the podcast beyond the first year. Hanakahi Council might have funding opportunities through higher education relief funds. This could potentially include educational tools like the teacher’s guide.

Action items for Ka Leo o ka Uluau:

  • Michele will reach out to Margary Martin, education, has a place-based social-emotional learning course and ask if this might be a student project.
  • Hualani will check on the interest for funding from Hanakahi Council.
  • Kathleen will reach out to VCAA Roney to ask about onboarding/orientation plans for new faculty.

The Bigger Picture

Katheen gave an update on the strategic planning documents - the high level document and the action plan.

We reviewed the current strategies:

  • Strategy 1: Build an equity framework with a comprehensive vision of our campus experiences defined by a commitment to equity.
  • Strategy 2: Build bridges between academic and student affairs towards successful partnerships to ensure student success.
  • Strategy 3: Effect change through undergraduate and graduate student input and disaggregated institutional data.
  • Strategy 4: Increase interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts among programs and colleges, and divisions.
  • Strategy 5: Uncover and recognize the impact that we are making and continue to communicate those efforts both internally and externally to celebrate our role in regional stewardship.
  • Strategy 6: Strengthen and support Aina- and Community-based high impact practices.
  • Strategy 7: Nurture and strengthen campus relationships and campus culture.
  • Strategy 8: Create a professional development program that targets critical skills needed on campus.
  • Strategy 9: Develop a stronger and future-focused organizational infrastructure including facilities, equipment, and workplace operations.

The group was most focused on strategy #7 - relationships and campus culture. Given COVID and other time constraints, it seems we haven’t had much of a chance to have discussions on campus about identity, Black Lives Matter, and campus culture.

We might want to schedule a meeting with the other doing committee. We also should learn more about what the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will be doing.

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