Aloha Kauhale Kākou!
Since the beginning of this spring semester we have held eight wala‘au sessions to gather information on the Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao initiative, four in West Hawai‘i and four on the Manono Campus.
This effort is designed to transform the University of Hawai‘i into a model-indigenous serving institution and make sure all of our students are succeeding.
I want to extend a big mahalo to everyone who attended the informational sessions and contributed to this initiative. I know everyone has busy schedules, but it’s incredibly important that Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao comes from the ground up and that we gather information from the people who are on campus regularly working with our students. After all, this initiative is all about student success.
This recent round of wala‘au sessions was a first step on a journey toward transformation. We wanted to gather input on the things already happening at HawCC that are consistent with Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao, and we wanted your input and ideas to ensure our college is built on a foundation of Hawaiian culture, the indigenous culture of Hawai‘i.
There are three “strands” through which Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao will accomplish its goal of creating a place where all students can succeed: community, leadership, and Hawaiian culture and language parity.
Wala‘au attendees gave a variety of responses for how we are already fulfilling our goals for Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao, as well as new considerations and concerns that come with transforming a 105-year-old University of Hawai‘i System.
One member of our ‘ohana said we are already creating leadership skills through our culinary program because those students are asked to frequently work in the community and they have to work in teams.
Another wala‘au attendee, discussing the community aspect of Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao, said that the Office of Continuing Education and Training provides a good link between the college and community. OCET can also be a good first step toward more classes and/or a college degree.
Other people said that we need to build more bridges between the college and the community by forming partnerships with community organizations.
When it comes to language and culture, it was pointed out that new students often don’t understand the “jargon” of academia.
One of the most common themes heard throughout the wala‘au sessions was the need for Hawaiian language and culture orientation for faculty and staff so they better understand the people and the community they are serving.
This is just a sample of the feedback we got during the wala‘au sessions.
Members of our Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao Task Force remarked on how well-attended some of the wala‘au sessions were, how engaged the groups were, and how people asked the tough questions and gave honest and informative feedback.
I couldn’t agree more, and I thank you for your presence and participation. We will keep you informed as this initiative progresses.
Taupōuri Tangarō, Acting Director of Kauhale