Geosciences Education Grant To Boost Native Hawaiian Engagement

Members of Halau Ola Honua with a delegation from New Zealand sister college, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

As part of a statewide collaboration, Windward Community College, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu Community College and Kauaʻi Community College recently have been awarded over $2.6 million for the Partnerships for Geoscience Education project Halau Ola Honua, Our Living World.

Objectives of the project are to increase recruitment of Native Hawaiian high school students in science, technology, engineering and math fields at UH community colleges, increase the retention of Native Hawaiian students and facilitate the transition of these students to baccalaureate programs in earth and ocean sciences (geosciences).

“Native Hawaiians made Hawaiʻi a thriving nation because their environment was their laboratory—Halau Ola Honua (our living world, living laboratory). This project goes back to this living world laboratory to build a pathway to attract and retain Native Hawaiian students because Native Hawaiian geoscientists are key to Hawaiʻi’s future,” said Ardis Eschenberg, vice chancellor for academic affairs and lead principal investigator for Halau Ola Honua.

Halau Ola Honua components:

  • Establishing geoscience Summer Bridge programs for Native Hawaiian students
  • Increasing the number of geoscience courses available at the participating UH community colleges
  • Developing a curricular pathway that establishes an environmental science concentration within the existing Associate in Science in Natural Sciences (ASNS) degree program at UH community colleges
  • Developing a curricular pathway that connects those ASNS students with 4-year geoscience degree programs at UH Mānoa
  • Establishing a dedicated environmental science faculty member at each community college campus who will focus on recruiting new students, the retention and proactive counseling of existing students and coordinating service-learning projects and community outreach events

“Now, more than ever, it is critically important for students to have a deep understanding of the natural environment, knowledge of how our environment is changing and why, and the ability to communicate these complex scientific issues clearly to the community,” said Margaret McManus, professor of oceanography at UH Mānoa and one of seven co-principal investigators for Halau Ola Honua.

For more information about the Halau Ola Honua project, contact McManus at (808) 956-8623.