by Kelly Uchiumi, SCI-West Administrative Assistant
A team of SENCER representatives and practitioners returned in October and November to Hawaiʻi for six intensive days of meetings, consultations, and site visits to celebrate and continue supporting the SENCER Hawai’i state model. A large component of this visit was to bring the SENCER Hawai’i leadership team together for strategic planning meetings to continue building the state model and set milestones for the next three years. The Hawai’i SENCER state model has a strong emphasis on integrating the natural, social, and indigenous sciences with civic engagement, and supports statewide initiatives that address important issues, such as the University and State Legislature work in sustainability.
A big mahalo to Ulla Hasager (Director of Civic Engagement for the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences and Ethnic Studies faculty, Native Hawaiian Initiative and Hui o Moku SENCER team leader), Denise Konan (Dean of UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences, economy professor, SENCER Leadership Fellow), Hokulani Aikau(UH Mānoa General Education Director and Associate Professor of Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Politics, Native Hawaiian Initiative team leader), and Bob Franco(Kapiʻolani Community College, Director of the Office for Institutional Effectiveness, anthropology professor, Hui o Moku SENCER team leader, SENCER Leadership Fellow) for organizing a great week and series of meetings.
Some highlights of the week included:
- A site visit at Kauai Community College (KCC), a school new to SENCER, with Cammie Matsumoto (Director of Community Relations), Helen Cox (Chancellor), and others to learn about student work around issues of sustainability. Some of the projects include Ulutopia, an orchard of 64 breadfruit trees as a partnership between KCC and the National Tropical Botanical Garden to promote reforestation, a hybrid electric car program, and solar paneling program to involve students in conversations of climate change, and an aquaponics garden that grows lettuce and other vegetables for the catering class to promote sustainability.
- Follow up meetings at University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu’s campus with Sherry Proper (Director of Strategic Initiatives) and Albie Miles (Professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems) to learn more about how SENCER can support their sustainability and research projects, one of them being a community garden run by students with an organic papaya orchard.
- Stephen Carroll (senior lecturer at Santa Clara University, SENCER SALG leader) of the SENCER team held a workshop on the Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains (SALG) with Hokulani Aikau and her staff in the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa General Education Office, providing information and answering questions about the assessment instrument. Dr. Carroll and Dr. Aikua also hosted a general assessment session for faculty.
- Participation in a coral reef survey in Kāne’ohe Bay at Windward Community College led by David Krupp (Biological and Marine Sciences Professor, WCC, Hui Moku SENCER team leader) as a part of the Pacific Center for Environmental Studies (PaCES) program, which encourages and supports undergraduate and K-12 environmental science education, research, and stewardship.
- Amy Shachter (Senior Associate Provost for Research and Faculty Affairs and professor of chemistry at Santa Clara University, SCI-West co-director) and Stephen Carroll conducted video interviews with Patricia Buskirk (Assistant Professor in Communications, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa) to share their thoughts and experiences working with SENCER to begin building a media resource library for promoting SENCER’s work.
- A collaborative meeting with Sea Grant, hosted by Darren Learner (Director at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Sea Grant) at the beginning of the Sea Grant annual meeting. Amy Shachter shared about SENCER in a presentation which led to a productive discussion about collaborative work between SENCER and Sea Grant for the future.
In addition, the core leadership team met consistently during the week to discuss vision, strategies, and goals as the SENCER Hawaiʻi state model continues to evolve. The leadership team’s efforts and hours of meetings facilitated by SENCER consultant Jonathan Bucki resulted in the identification of four major strategic directions for the state model that include:
- Advancing development of infrastructure of the Hawaii state model
- Integrating SENCER into faculty development
- Developing outreach and external communication, and
- Developing networking internal resources.
The work of SENCER Hawai’i will be shared at the March 10-12, 2016 4th Annual Hawaii Sustainability in Higher Education Summit, the SENCER Hawaiʻi Faculty Institute and SCI-West Regional Meeting on March 13-15, 2016, and at several national meetings throughout 2016.
At the closing meeting with the leadership team, all were reminded of why they are inspired to work together in a strong, collaborative network throughout Hawai’i to continue to improve STEM education across disciplines and sustainability in the islands. As the Hawaiian proverb says, Ma ka hana ka ʻike (the knowledge is in the work), and amazing work is certainly happening in the Hawai’i SENCER state.
Pictured above: Some of the participants from day three of the strategic workshop (from left): Wendy Kuntz (KCC), Jonathan Bucki (workshop facilitator, SENCER), Krista Hiser (KCC), Stephen Carroll (SCU), Amy Shachter (SCU), Sherry Proper (UHWO), Ulla Hasager (UHM), Robert Franco (KCC), Kanesa Seraphin (Sea Grant, Kauaʻi), Patricia Buskirk (UHM), Darren Lerner (Sea Grant), and graduate assistants Kyle Kajihiro and Kanaloa Schrader (both UHM College of Social Sciences). Photo: Kelly Uchiumi (SCU).