A team of SENCER representatives and practitioners traveled to Hawaiʻi in February and March for ten intensive days of meetings, conversations, consultations, and site visits with the state’s students, educators, community partners, administrators, and public figures. The goal of the trip was for the SENCER team to learn about the important and inspirational work Hawaiʻi does to advance science and civic engagement, and to share methods and resources that SENCER can provide to further support existing and future projects. This represents the sixth and final article in a series recapping SENCER’s visit to the islands.
SENCER’s final site visit while in Hawaiʻi was to the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu, where the SENCER team and 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 member) met with faculty and community partners for a morning meeting.
The discussion brought together West Oʻahu faculty from many different disciplines, including political science, mathematics, nutrition, ecology, indigenous Hawaiian science and culture, nursing, and education, along with representatives from a local nonprofit, an after-school literacy support program, a learning center, and an on-campus academic support center.
The University and West Oʻahu community have many strong, smaller-scale programs in place that bridge education and civic engagement. Moving forward, they are looking to advance cohesion and become more centrally organized, involving more faculty and institutionalizing service learning. To further the discussion and help the group reach their goals, Ulla offered support for a follow-up summit at UH West Oʻahu.
Later that evening, Amy Shachter (Santa Clara University, Senior Associate Provost for Research and Faculty Affairs, SCI-West co-director), Bob Franco (Kapiʻolani Community College, Director of the Office for Institutional Effectiveness, Hui o Moku SENCER team leader), and Denise Eby Konan (Dean of the College of Social Sciences and professor of economics at UHM, SENCER Model developer) appeared on Hawaiʻi Public Radio for an in-depth interview with Beth-Ann Kozlovich, host ofThe Conversation.
During the program, Amy, Bob, and Denise answered questions from Beth-Ann and callers about SENCER, STEM education, civic engagement, and Hawaiʻi. To listen to a recording of the interview, click here.
The next morning, on SENCER’s final day in Hawaiʻi, Amy and Christine DeCarlo (NCSCE’s SENCER Program Assistant) gave a presentation at the Hawaiʻi Strategy Institute describing how NCSCE resources and the SENCER method of teaching can help community colleges engage in best practices, innovations, and strategies that lead to increased student success.
As Denise said during her radio interview, “Science tends to make people nervous, and … there’s a great danger in that because so many of the consequential problems and issues that we face today have a real science base.”
NCSCE and SENCER would like to thank Hawaiʻi for dedicating their time and energy to making science more accessible to students and members of the larger community, and at the same time drawing connections between the discipline and its real world applications. The work being done in the islands helps us as a society move closer to the solutions to our most consequential problems, and inspires others to do the same. Mahalo and aloha.
To read the previous articles in this series, click the titles below:
- Hawai’i Diaries: SENCER, Sustainability, and the Hawaiian Islands
- Hawai’i Diaries: Faculty Institute
- Hawai’i Diaries: Kapi’olani Community College Site Visit and SENCER Reception
- Hawaiʻi Diaries: Windward Community College Site Visit
- Hawaiʻi Diaries: University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College Site Visit
Connect with SENCER on Twitter at @SENCERnet.