UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - November 16, 2021

Relationships Committee Meeting: Wednesday, November 16 at 3:00pm

Present: Justina Mattos, Jennifer Stotter, Julie Mowrer, and Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Discussing future projects

UH Hilo’s Action Plan

The UH Hilo Action Plan Dashboard that accompanies the UH Hilo 2021-2031 Strategic Plan has just launched. Both are available on the UH Hilo Strategic Planning Home webpage. This dashboard will assist in tracking our progress towards meeting our goals. You are able to view draft implementation plans for each action item deliverable. Semi-annual progress reports will also be viewable through this dashboard.

Wailau update

The idea: The purpose of Wailau events is to build connections across campus and with the wider community that go deeper than the roles we hold while honoring our complex, fragile and brave selves. In keeping with the meaning of Wailau, we will showcase five storytellers at each event - a UH faculty member, staff member, student, alum and a community member.

Editing of the Fall episode is completed and the episode is being captioned. Justina and Kathleen have done two rounds of edits, and a third draft just became available for a final review.

The English Club has set the theme for Wailau’s spring episode - Tales of Misunderstanding. The storyteller application is now open and the graphics are in place on the web. We brainstormed a number of possible candidates to serve as topic expert from various disciplines including international relations, counseling, human resources, etc.

Justina spoke with our student host, Kuʻuhiapo Jeong about taking the lead on finding the host(s) for next year. We also reviewed our draft budget for an institutionalized Wailau, with figures for a live event and online event. All expenses are included, from venue rental to ASL interpretation.

Action items for Wailau:

  • Kathleen will edit the Wailau draft budget so that editing and captioning are lumped together on one line with one cost.
  • We will all work together to determine who to ask to serve as the topic expert.
  • Justina and Kathleen will review the fall episode captioning a final time.

Online Recognition System

Per our last meeting, Kathleen put together a short idea statement for this project: A recognition system that affords faculty, staff and students (community members?) an opportunity to celebrate individuals and teams who work across campus. This online system offers an easy way to recognize extra effort, innovative thinking, student focus, collaboration, and other qualities that support UH Hilo's values, mission, and vision for the future. It benefits faculty or staff members being acknowledged but also the persons who are expressing their gratitude, helping to build a culture of appreciation.

We focused on this recognition system in our last meeting (see the notes, sharing program details from other campuses and sifting through some of the basic features we would like to see on our campus.

We took a few minutes to talk about the purpose of the system. If you want to thank someone you can at any time by dropping by their office, making a phone call, or sending an email. Formalizing these opportunities to give and receive thanks in a public way (recorded on a website, cc’d to supervisors, etc.) is what sets this apart.

What about those who are hesitant to share some of the services they provide on specific projects because their office doesn’t have the bandwidth to do more? If we limit the detail through checkboxes or word counts in the system, we may solve that issue.

We would like to start small, either with a product that exists or a homegrown system, and then incrementally broaden the effort. Perhaps we start on campus and after it is established, open it for off-campus submissions. Marketing will be crucial.

We hope that the system opens up more opportunities for those who do a lot of the work across campus and are not often celebrated. After the system is established, and people have been recognized for qualities - extra effort / going above and beyond, innovation, kindness, student focus, productivity, supporting diversity - we may be able to generate cool word clouds by person.

As mentioned in the last meeting, we would like to name the system. Since the last meeting, Kathleen pulled the information that Malu requested prior to naming Wailau. We must have a solid understanding of the recognition system and its purpose before we request help with naming.

Action items for Recognition System:

  • Jennifer will email her former boss to get info about the recognition system that they used at CVS.

Affinity Groups / Employee Resource Groups

Jennifer walked us through basic information about these goal-oriented groups:

ERGs are voluntary, employee-led efforts that foster a diverse workplace and align with the organization’s mission and vision. These affinity-based groups are a resource to its members and should be supported by the organization’s leadership. ERGs are dedicated to diversity and inclusion.

Jennifer also shared the potential impact of ERGs: - Serves as a source for mentors, connections and access to information - Showcases and develops leadership skills and expertise - Advises organizational leadership and partners with community leaders - Breaks barriers - Increases employee engagement and retention - Builds a sense of unity across the organization

And, she shared the benefits to ERG members: - Provides opportunities to find mentors and become mentors - Showcases work or skills so members are better known - Develops skills - Allows members to gain new experiences - Offers relationship building opportunities - Created channels to advocate for cultural change

Benefits to ERG leaders: - Builds leadership skills - Creates opportunities for leaders to be more visible to organizational leadership - Provides opportunities to become involved in service and be recognized for leadership contributions

And, potential benefits to the campus and community: - Builds understanding - Expands cultural awareness - Creates opportunities for innovation

These groups are not social groups, but exist to set and reach goals and make change. Jennifer discussed the expectations of ERGs: - Groups align with the University’s strategic plan - They are more than social groups - Groups are inclusive and membership extends to all UH Hilo employees - There is a service component - Groups are not limited to race/gender

Proposals for ERGs should have an executive sponsor, as well as goals that align with the strategic plan, meeting a need. Outreach and measures of evaluation should be included in the ERG proposal. Seed monies may be issued to accepted groups, and will likely be important for startup.

Best practices or indications that an ERG will be successful: - The group centers on an area of critical need - There is an active, executive-level ERG sponsor - A toolkit is available so the group has direction - Proposal review is done thoroughly - They have seed monies to start up - Monitoring is done by OEO or HR

We may want to start with a few groups in order to focus and show early wins. A strong core group should be established to develop programming. Marketing should be done properly to encourage attendance at events and participation by all members.

One concern that was expressed: Some people participate on committees to check a box for their review process. How do you find the right people who are there for the right reasons?

Action items for Affinity Groups / Employee Resource Groups:

  • Jennifer will reach out to several friends/colleagues who have worked in this space to see if they might share their thoughts and experiences.

Our 90 minutes expired and we signed off after a great conversation.