SENCER Hawaiʻi Hosts Spring Meeting on Sustainability Education

by Ulla Hasager, SCI-West Co-Director

On March 18, SENCER Hawaiʻi and the SENCER Center for Innovation-West, jointly hosted the 3rd Annual SENCER Hawaiʻi Spring Institute and SCI-West regional meeting at The University of Hawaiʻi West-Oʻahu (UHWO). The theme of the meeting was “Assessment and Transformative Collaboration in Sustainability Education.” The Institute was led by Dr. Ulla Hasager (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) College of Social Sciences (CSS) and SENCER Center for Innovation West Co-Director) and Dr. Robert Franco  (Kapiʻolani Community College (KCC) and SENCER Leadership Fellow). The program focused on innovative teaching and learning through high-impact practices such as undergraduate research and community engagement, and compelling civic issues, particularly related to sustainability.

As in previous years, the Institute followed and integrated activities with the University of Hawaiʻi System Sustainability Summit. SENCER leaders were involved the of the faculty development aspect of the summit, working at cultural sites important for food sovereignty and presenting several posters at the innovative dance and poster session.

Formal and informal educators were introduced to the work of SENCER Hawaiʻi and its national partners. Participants worked together in teams to create course curriculum and assessment in a workshop led by Stephen Carroll (Santa Clara University, co-creator of the Student Assessment of their Learning Gains assessment tool), Wendy Kuntz (KCC), and Mike Ross (KCC). Tom Wood of George Mason University (SENCER Leadership Fellow, and Center for Innovation Chesapeake Co-Director) delivered inspirational talks and moments of reflection at both the Summit and the Institute.

Participants were later shown a film about Nā Koʻokoʻo, the Native Hawaiian Leadership Program, which originally was created by the UHM CSS’ Native Hawaiian Initiative Team at SSI 2014. The program was implemented by Professors Hokulani Aikau (UHM General Education Director, Political Science/Indigenous Politics), Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua (UHM Political Science Chair/Indigenous Politics), and Ty Kawika Tengan (UHM Ethnic Studies and Anthropology). The film was produced by two undergraduate research assistants working with Professor Buskirk sponsored by SENCER Hawaiʻi partner, Native Hawaiian Student Services. The film was introduced by filmmaker Anianikū Chong (second cohort student) and Daven Chang (of the first cohort and student leader of the Mālama I Nā Ahupuaʻa service-learning program).

As many educators and researchers in Hawaiʻi work to emphasize links between Indigenous, social and natural sciences through academic and community engagement, SENCER Hawaiʻi continues to develop courses and programs that connect the content of courses to critical local, national, and global challenges, including the central challenge of sustainability.

SENCER Hawaiʻi would like to thank the students, staff, and faculty of SENCER Hawaiʻi, Santa Clara University, the SENCER Centers for Innovation, NCSCE, KCC, UHWO, UHM-CSS/ACCESS, and the University of Hawaiʻi System Sustainability Office.

You can view the full meeting agenda and find out more information about SENCER Hawaiʻi here.

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