What is the student experience of Kauhale?
That is the question we put to a group of seven Hawai‘i Community College students who met in Kāneikeao on the Manono campus on Thursday, January 17.
Kauhale traditionally means the Hawaiian village, and our application of this concept at Hawai‘i Community College is designed to create an academic village that is less compartmentalized than many institutions and feels more like a community. We believe this will make students more successful, and because students are the focus of this whole initiative, it seemed logical to sit down with a “focus group” of learners and see what they think.
When asked to talk about Kauhale, students came up with a variety of replies.
Keao Hopkins, a student in the Hospitality and Tourism program, said there seemed to be a general desire on campus to help students succeed. Through his work at the student lounge, he said, he got a good view of Kauhale in action as students help other members of their HawCC ‘ohana.
“People in the lounge are helpful, offering help when they hear of a problem,” Keao said.
One liberal arts major said his experience of being enrolled in two separate classes that each touched on “laws and where laws are coming from” felt like a breaking down of academic walls, another Kauhale concept.
Tony Wilson, a recent HawCC graduate, said she was interested when she first heard about Kauhale because “for me I do better when my mind, body and spirit are connected.”
Students also said the relaxed atmosphere and friendly, down-to-earth professors are consistent with Kauhale.
Some students said there were things that did not feel in line with Kauhale, and they mentioned conflicts with instructors or professors. Though Kauhale has a pleasant connotation, it doesn’t mean we will create a campus free from conflict. It can, however, inform how we handle it.
Meeting with students was a great reminder of why we began the Kauhale initiative about two years ago. I look forward to more such interactions.
Mahalo nui loa,
Taupōuri Tangarō, Acting Director of Kauhale