UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - September 22, 2021

Relationships Committee Meeting: Wednesday, September 22 at 1:30pm

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

Meeting purpose: Re-engaging and looking at our action plan role

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.

The Wailau lineup has been determined by the English Club. We are awaiting confirmation from a couple of storytellers before updating the website and generating a press release. Justina is scheduling stage time, offering both filming slots and meetings on the stage so storytellers are more comfortable with the space and process. Hawaiʻi Lit Production Company, a women-run social impact company that rights history and heals through storytelling, has expressed interest in coaching Wailau storytellers. We will make contact to see if they are interested in Zoom sessions with our participants. Justina will serve as a fallback for coaching.

The topic expert is still in question. Diane has reached out several times to a possible candidate, but has not heard back. Several other options were discussed.

Action items for Wailau:

  • Kathleen will update the Wailau website with storyteller lineup/bios/photos when the information has been confirmed and is available.
  • Kathleen will write and submit a press release to announce the storyteller lineup as info is available.
  • Julie will reach out to the two contacts from Hawaiʻi Lit Production Company who expressed interest in coaching our storytellers.
  • Kathleen will check with Diane to see if she has heard back from the possible topic expert or if we should move on. If we move on, Jennifer will reach out to a contact about their availability and interest in serving as the fall topic expert.

Collaboratory Update, a Searchable Database of Community-Engaged Efforts

Background: Collaboratory is a relational database that uses data to develop the story of an institution’s meaningful contributions to the health and vibrancy of communities, and builds acceptance of community engagement and public service as integral to higher education mission and culture. UH Hilo is harnessing this tool for our campus and it is now on the web.

Work on Collaboratory continues. At this point we don’t have enough entries and getting people on board is a lot of work. There was an attempt to hand over some of the work to a student, but that wasn’t successful. The workload is growing but the number of staff is not.

Center for Community Engagement (CCE) is currently reaching out to people who they know are engaged. They have had luck with the School of Nursing. Patricia Hensley is taking the lead and using the tool regularly to enter information for the School. And the system becomes much more easy to use when entering data on a regular basis. There have been some misconceptions about Collaboratory - like it not being for reporting research activities. The College of Education and other units need to consider their strategy for use. Do they make one entry for each engagement or enter some efforts as groupings under one entry?

Justina mentioned that Collaboratory is difficult to learn and then relearn each time you use it. The “enter by proxy” option may help if one person from a unit does the work regularly rather than individuals. Also, Julie mentioned that people are welcome to phone her/CCE for support during data entry. Other institutions have the same issues. Some have put AmeriCorps VISTA members in charge of data collection and entry.

Ultimately, when the database is populated, the search function will be very helpful in illustrating the quality of community engagement at UH Hilo, the impact the University makes for the community, as well as the impact on student learning. There is not enough data now to get meaningful search results. Tagging is possible, including tags by geographic area. It also has a reporting function, generating an annual report on university engagement. Other institutions have seen an increase in use of the database after reports are released, when people don’t see their efforts reported. There is also a Collaboratory P&T section that hasn’t yet been explored. Might Collaboratory plug into UH Hilo’s website.

Jennifer mentioned that some of the work they do in OEO could be a fit for Collaboratory, like the domestic violence summit, where they worked with speakers and community organizations. Also, efforts to integrate cultural values into the workplace.

Other relationship-related projects reported by members

CCE Bonner Program

The CCE was awarded funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) to pilot a Bonner Leader Program, grounded in engaging with community. It is a 4-year service-based student leadership program. The first cohort will consist of 6 UH Hilo sophomore and junior students, who will then serve as mentors for the next cohort of freshman and sophmores.

CCE Professional Development Workshops

The CCE was also awarded GEER award monies that will allow the hosting of faculty professional development workshops in three areas:

  • Inclusive pedagogy
  • Mentorship
  • Community-engaged teaching

Pilot program that supports a community resource liaison related to gender-based violence

Jennifer reported that her unit received grant funding to help connect students with basic needs (housing, food, etc.) stemming from circumstances that students face due to violence in the home. They are currently seeking applications for a casual hire to fill this role.

UH Hilo’s Strategic Action Plan

The group was sent the draft action plan in advance of the meeting and the latest action plan was shared during the meeting. Kathleen highlighted some of the potential action areas where we might plug in:

Strategy 2: Ensure student success by building bridges between academic and student affairs towards successful partnerships.

  1. Offer shared professional development activities, intentional events and celebrations that allow for relationship building.

Strategy 4: Improve interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts to ensure student success.

  1. Develop affinity groups across campus in order to build bridges and bring people together whose paths might not normally cross.

Strategy 5: Build our level of engagement and communicate those efforts internally and externally to celebrate our role in regional stewardship.

  1. Map community efforts and interests so we might identify potential partnerships.

Strategy 6: Strengthen and support ʻĀina- and Community-based high impact practices.

  1. Strengthen and support service-learning and community engagement.

Strategy 7: Nurture and strengthen campus relationships and campus culture.

  1. Increase opportunities to express gratitude and celebrate success in large and small ways across campus.

Strategy 8: Create a professional development program that targets critical skills needed on campus.

  1. Improve and expand the onboarding process for new employees.

Strategy 9: Develop a stronger and future-focused organizational infrastructure including facilities, equipment, and workplace operations.

  1. Build community and political clout

The group discussed what stood out to them in the action plan as a fit for the Relationships Committee, and two areas emerged:

Strategy 7: Nurture and strengthen campus relationships and campus culture.

  1. Increase opportunities to express gratitude and celebrate success in large and small ways across campus.

There is an interest in developing an “instant good job award” online system. This was mentioned as an idea in our group meeting with Jennifer and Todd bringing up examples from both industry and another university. The group feels that this type of system will help develop a positive campus culture of both thanking people and being thanked or acknowledged. Some potential features of this system include a notification of the awardees supervisor and possible incentives of some sort.

Strategy 4: Improve interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts to ensure student success.

  1. Develop affinity groups across campus in order to build bridges and bring people together whose paths might not normally cross.

There seem to be many overlaps that lead us to help assist and promote affinity groups across campus. These are groups or communities of practice working toward goals, in alignment with “doing.”

Kathleen will talk to Lei about plugging the Relationships Committee into the action plan as sponsors/collaborators.