David Kekaulike Sing, a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Hawaiʻi Hilo recognized for his tireless advocacy to enhancing enrollment, retention and graduation rates of Native Hawaiian students, has been appointed to the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Selected by President Joe Biden, Sing was officially sworn in as a member of the National Council on the Humanities. This council plays a pivotal role in supporting research and advancing learning in history, literature, philosophy and various other disciplines within the humanities. It achieves this through choosing to fund selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.
- Related story: President Biden to nominate David Sing to National Council on the Humanities, July 13, 2023
At UH Hilo, Sing assembled a council of faculty and staff to devise campus policies and strategies to boost Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) student recruitment, persistence, and degree completion outcomes. UH implemented and established a system-wide council mirroring UH Hilo’s model. He also developed educational frameworks for both K–12 and higher education that are deeply rooted in the history, culture, language, and experiences of Native Hawaiian students.
“Professor Sing’s innovative educational models have not only enhanced the learning experiences of students but have also been acknowledged and embraced by Indigenous communities across the United States and Canada, signifying a transformative impact on educational practices,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin.
Sing applied the groundbreaking models as director of K–12 programs at Nā Pua Noʻeau, and at the college level through the Ke Ola Mau Health Pathways, Hawaiian Leadership Development Program. He has garnered numerous accolades and held various esteemed positions within educational organizations.
Native Hawaiian expertise
In March 2024, Sing will attend his first National Council of the Humanities meeting. The 26-member council meets three times a year to review grant applications and to advise the NEH chair.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Sing to NEH’s National Council on the Humanities,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “A trailblazer of Native Hawaiian education, Sing has shown us the transformative power of pedagogies and curricula that incorporate students’ cultural and linguistic experiences and values. We look forward to his contributions as an advisor on NEH’s grantmaking.”