Journey to expand Native Hawaiian Place of Learning begins for cohort

A team from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa tasked with groundbreaking efforts to help advance the campus as a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning launched an immersive initiative with an inaugural cohort of executives, faculty, staff and students this spring. On March 18, the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office (NHPoL AO) started a weeklong professional development series guiding more than 50 participants in activities focused around Native Hawaiian values and traditions such as mapping various moʻokūʻauhau (genealogies that shape us) mālama ʻāina (care for the land), oli (chants), and pilina (connection) circles.

“If we want our students, the next generation, to be more connected to each other and to this place we have to model that and sometimes that means we have to go learn that and so we are growing the next generation by also growing the sources that nourish them,” said Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe, director NHPoL AO.

Cohort lessons to inform long-term goals

This launch marks the start of a two-year journey for the first cohort of UH Mānoa units, called Cohort Kumukahi. These efforts are part of a multi-step process to achieve goals articulated in the university’s strategic plan, which outlines UH Mānoa’s main priorities and strategies for achieving them.

The NHPoL AO team will help units, schools/colleges and departments across campus work toward creating five-year strategic plans focused on how each can take steps toward becoming a Native Hawaiian place of learning in four specific focus areas; Native Hawaiian student success, staff and faculty development, Native Hawaiian environments and Native Hawaiian community engagement.

While on this Indigenous-based path, participants will delve deeply into exercises based on Native Hawaiian ideals and perspectives.

ʻIke Hawaiʻi (Ways of knowing)

  • Moʻokūʻauhau (the many genealogies that shape us)
  • Kaikuaʻana and Kaikaina (Intergenerational interdependent relationships)
  • Kuleana (our responsibilities and privileges)
  • Hānai and Hoʻomalu (nourishing and protecting each other)
  • Mālama (tending to and caring for one another)

History Professor Karen Jolly expressed her enthusiasm for incorporating Indigenous perspectives into classroom curriculum.

“I want to be able to do that…to integrate Native Hawaiian ways of thinking and being and doing into my classroom and research,” Jolly said.

With this initiative, UH Mānoa is taking significant steps towards fostering an inclusive and culturally rooted educational environment that pays homage to Hawaiʻi’s Indigenous people.

A total of 13 units comprise Cohort Kumukahi:

  • UH Cancer Center
  • College of Arts, Languages and Letters
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Social Sciences
  • Division of Student Success
  • Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology
  • Institute for Astronomy
  • John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing
  • Office of Communications
  • Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health
  • Hawaiʻi Sea Grant
  • School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

This May, more than 90 participants will join this work and begin training.

More on Cohort Kumukahi

Read also on UH News.