Dr. Pam Scheffler, TEAM and Sherri Fujita, Intensive English Program
Through the Taste of Hilo Fundraiser 2010, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry generously donated funds to support Hawaii Community College. The Hawaii Community College International Education Task Force offered $2,000 from these funds as a grant for faculty and staff. This grant is to provide a source of funding to allow faculty to engage in international professional development relevant to instruction, such as internationalizing the curriculum or pre-study abroad exploration. Awards were to be competitive and based on the merit of the proposal and the budget details.
In February 2011, the International Education Task Force selected Dr. Pam Scheffler, of the Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management (TEAM) Program http://hawaii.hawaii.edu/forestteam/main.htm as the recipient of the internationalization grant.
According to Dr. Scheffler’s proposal, the funds will be used for her to travel to Zamorano University http://www.zamorano.edu/english/ in Honduras, Central America and establish a relationship with them. Honduras is an excellent choice as a study abroad destination for Hawaii Community College TEAM students. Honduras is environmentally similar to Hawaii, with similar agricultural crops such as commercial coffee and tropical fruits. The skills learned in this environment would be immediately pertinent to Hawaii, and would have the added benefit of expanding global awareness and developing a broader sense of the issues affecting agriculture and the environment around the world.
At Zamorano University, Dr. Scheffler will make arrangements for a study abroad experience in the Zamorano summer agriculture program, a world-renowned program conducted in English. The summer program offers courses in tropical crop production, organic agriculture, ecology, and rural development to name a few. Students will also be able to study Spanish while they are there.
In addition to creating a study abroad opportunity for Hawaii CC students, Dr. Scheffler plans to bring back knowledge gained from her experience in Honduras to internationalize the TEAM curriculum, which will in turn benefit all students in the program. Dr. Scheffler has also agreed to conduct a seminar for HawCC faculty so that they can learn from her experience.
We are very excited about the opportunity that the Japanese Chamber has given us to broaden our horizons and internationalize our campus. Because very few of our students will ultimately have the chance to study or travel abroad it is vital that we bring the world to our students.
On behalf of the International Education Task Force, and Hawaii Community College, we would like to offer our sincere gratitude to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their generosity and support of our students and faculty.