UH Hilo Strategic Planning

Meeting Notes - February 26, 2021

Relationships Committee Meeting: Friday, February 26 at 3:00pm

Present: Makamae Kamaka-Mauhili, Julie Mowrer, Justina Mattos, Pat Guillen, Jennifer Stotter, Kathleen Baumgardner

Meeting purpose: Project updates and discussion of UH Hilo’s strategic planning thematic goals and how they intersect with relationships


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 our name, we will showcase five storytellers at each event - a UH faculty member, UH staff member, UH student, UH alum and a community member.

The first episode of Wailau was well received. We are in the midst of accepting applications for April’s Wailau (theme: A Just World) and need to drive applications. It has been effective to reach out personally with information and encouragement to people we know have stories to tell. We brainstormed a number of people who were top of mind (colleagues, friends, neighbors). We also discussed the possibility of duet storytelling, as a couple came up in discussion. We agreed that it could work.

Julie reached out to Andrew Polloi to serve as the topic expert, but hasn’t yet received a response. We discussed other possible candidates and the attractiveness of an expert from the community (in the nonprofit or social justice space) or this installment.

Action items for Wailau:

  • All committee members will reach out to encourage potential storytellers for April’s Wailau.
  • Jennifer will talk to her husband about the topic expert role. He has an MSW and works in restorative justice.
  • Kathleen will email Braden from the English Club to encourage them to reach out to potential storytellers.

An Update on Collaboratory, a 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 public on the web.

The challenge now is building content. Center for Community Engagement has an intern doing targeted outreach to populate the database. They are looking for information with a starting point of Fall 2019. Brad Thiessen, Director of Institutional Research, has already added course information from that date and forward. Data entry will be different with each unit. The College of Pharmacy has staff to input data. The nursing program is thinking that their students will each do entry as they engage with the community.

The database allows users to search by person, organization, topic, course, etc. One of the great benefits is that you can generate reports and pull information for grants. There are already many pull down menus. There is a tagging system. Some entry information is collected but not made public. The database tracks outcomes, impact, numbers served, etc. You are able to save work and go back to edit. Analytics are available, but we are in the early stages now. So far, the feedback has been positive.

When it is more robust, Julie will be reaching out to Susie in hopes of inclusion in UH Hilo Stories.

The common question before Collaboratory was “Who is doing what on campus?” Is this tool helpful with campus asset mapping? It is designed to track community engagement, but will not be helpful in other areas.

New Information - Committee for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This revisioned, new committee kicks off next week. Community engagement is essential and they will be a working committee, and will not only serve in an advisory role. Some of the work of our committee will likely overlap with that of this committee. We should find ways to work together and support each other’s efforts.

An Update on A Course Connecting Students with Place (UNIV101)

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), and Kathleen.

A meeting was held last week with the working group. We are trying to bring the efforts happening across campus together. Time is seemingly impossible for a rollout in Fall, but perhaps in Spring. A summer institute to prepare select faculty to teach the course is a possibility. Kerri is working with Aunty Gail. There is a meeting of Kerri, Hualani, and Aunty Gail to discuss course timing and possibilities. There is also a meeting next week that Michele has been invited to attend - we are uncertain how this fits into the conversation, and we look forward to learning more.

There was a question about how a course rooted in place will be useful to students outside Hawaiʻi. The WASC survey shows that students are interested in faculty integrating place in the classroom. We (faculty and staff) need to understand place, so we can model its appreciation to students. Some people on campus believe that only students from outside Hawaiʻi find such courses important. There was disagreement with this sentiment and feel that students from Hawaiʻi are very interested.

There was also support for place being integrated in many courses. ENG101 is one. It was brought up that it is odd the UH Hilo does not require two semesters of English, while most schools do.

The Bigger Picture

Kathleen presented the draft of the overarching thematic goals from the new strategic planning document:

  • Equity and Student Success.
  • ʻĀina- and Community-Based Education
  • Our Commitment to Place
  • Resource and Culture Support

The committee members decided to start with Goal 4: Resource and Culture Support.

We started with a discussion of fundraising. Resources are important.

Is there a fundraising plan? Athletics is beginning a campaign next week and is used to raising money. It’s a big part of Pat’s job. Julie feels that it will and must become part of her job at the Center for Community Engagement. She has been preparing and has taken a UC Davis Cousera course.

When COVID hit, our fundraising efforts were stalled. Even though this has happened, we seldom talk about fundraising. It cannot only fall on the shoulders of the Chancellor. There should also be an expectation of the VCs, Deans, Department Heads, and Director’s. Everyone should have a solid elevator speech and a plan. There should be an expectation that funding is all of our jobs. There should be opportunities to learn from each other and work together to build skills.

Corporate support is difficult in Hawaiʻi, with fewer corporations than many other areas.

Other expectations are also important. When UH Hilo faculty and staff attend events, we shouldn’t be clumped together and not talking with others. We need to know our donors. We need to thank our donors. We have lost donors because they have felt underappreciated.

What is culturally appropriate in Hawaiʻi in terms of making a donation ask? It feels like it is culturally awkward. And, what are the best ways to honor donors appropriately? Stewardship is very important. The best advice one committee member has received was to go out into the community with an extended hand of friendship/partnership, not an open hand looking for money.”

Another person mentioned that you have to spend money to make money, but spend wisely. But, how we spend money is important. Members of campus should try to get scholarships for conferences. When members of our campus go to a conference, is the knowledge shared. Are we training the trainer? When a speaker visits campus, can we make sure the cap of attendees is large and we strongly encourage wide attendance. Are we bringing knowledge back to our community?

It’s important to put these pieces in place:

  • Expectation
  • Accountability
  • Celebration

We need to move the “finish line” from the paycheck to the celebration and acknowledgement.

There are resources on this island. We could really use 1-2 development officers to work on fundraising.

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