UH West Oʻahu to host three-day Grand Challenges Summer Institute on water

Flier for the event that has a photo of water flowing across some sand or ground; the bottom half of the flier is gray with letters in white. it says The Grand Challenges of Water. Three intensive transdisciplinary days of radical collaboration focusing on water, Indigenous knowing and sustainability! May 13-15, 2019 @ UH West Oahu. At the top of the page is also a small gray box that was Ho'i Hou I Ka Mole. Return to the Source.

The University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu will host a three-day institute dealing with urgent water issues facing Hawaiʻi and the earth with the goal of coming up with new ways of meeting these challenges through transformative, relevant, and action-based curriculum and pedagogy faculty will be learning during this event.

The Third Annual Grand Challenges Summer Institute: Focus on Water is scheduled for May 13, 14, and 15 and is expected to attract educators, students, and others learn and talk about water issues and then work on educational and other approaches that contribute to solving the problems.

The summer institute is being held on the UH West Oʻahu campus for the first time and is an effort between the University of Hawaiʻi, the SENCER Hawaiʻi, and community organizations.UH West Oʻahu’s Konohiki of Kūlana o Kapolei, Manulani Aluli-Meyer, spoke at last year’s Grand Challenges Summer Institute in Hawaiʻi and is helping to organize this year’s event. Other organizers include MAʻO Organic Farms’ Kamuela Enos, Kapiolani Community College’s Dr. Robert Franco, Dr. Ulla Hasager of the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences and its ACCESS Department, Dr. Krista Hiser, Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator for the University of Hawaiʻi Office of Sustainability, and Matthew Lynch, UH System Sustainability Coordinator.

The institute is structured to both disseminate information on water challenges as well as inspiring new ways of teaching and learning about water. There will be sessions conveying the urgency of dealing with water issues and the need for integrating indigenous, social, and natural sciences into trans-disciplinary collaboration across institutions and communities. The agenda and keynote speakers are:

  • Monday, May 13, Overview of the traditions of Water Management. The keynote speaker is Dr. Natalie Kurashima, Kamehameha Schools Integrated Resources Manager. Kurashima has authored a number of scholarly articles regarding ethnoecology, agroecology, traditional knowledge, biocultural conversation, and socio-ecological systems.
  • Tuesday, May 14, Understanding contemporary landscape practices, and how we build curriculum/partnerships to interface + grow. The keynote speaker is Dr. Kiana Frank, Assistant Professor at UH Mānoa’s Pacific Biosciences Research Center. Her work includes environmentally tractable ecosystems in Hawaiʻi and understanding the structure and impact of microbes in native ecosystems.
  • Wednesday, May 15, Hōʻike, commitments. The keynote speaker is Dr. Lelemia Irvine, a civil and environmental engineer who has written about water issues, desalination and water treatment, storm runoff, and wastewater.

Participants will work collaboratively and individually to design practical, usable research, courses, and projects and will  examine “course and educational project (re) design focusing on water in the wider contexts of lived practice, community engagement, indigenous knowledge, sustainability, food sovereignty, and climate change.”

Participants are asked to attend all three days of the event during which they should work on a design or improvement to a syllabus or educational project related to water; and to integrate an active pedagogy and learning outcomes assessment into the project or course created.

The participation of Hawaiʻi educators and University of Hawaiʻi system faculty and graduate students is sponsored. For additional information contact sencer@hawaiʻi.edu or ulla@hawaiʻi.edu.

Besides the University of Hawaiʻi and SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities), other partners and sponsors include the SENCER Hawaiʻi, UH West Oʻahu’s Institute of Engaged Scholarship,  MAʻO Organic Farm, the Kapiʻolani Service & Sustainability Learning program, the UH Mānoa’s offices of the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Research, the UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences and its ACCESS department, the University of Hawaiʻi System Office of Sustainability, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Regional Centers for Sustainability across Curriculum, the SENCER Center for Innovation West, and the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff