2017 Grand Challenges Summer Institute on Water

The Institute took place on May 15,16, and 17 (2017) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

This institute synergizes multiple professional development opportunities including the first Annual SENCER Hawaiʻi Summer Institute, the UH Sustainability “Many Minds One University,” the Kapiʻolani Service & Sustainability Learning Institute, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Social Sciences’ ACCESS/Program for Civic Engagements Workshop Series. The Institute will focus on Indigenous and Western knowledge systems and how they meet to take on the grand challenge of water.

Participation included Water Institute Fellows and General Participants. Fellows were expected to a) attend all three days of the Institute; b) develop a syllabus for a (re)designed course that includes teaching to the grand challenges of water issues; and c) integrate an active pedagogy into the course. Participants will have an opportunity to obtain a UH Sustainability Designation (“S-designation”).

Additional interested formal and informal educators, administrators, and community partners are invited as General Participants to attend and/or present at the Institute (without course (re)design obligation and stipend). Presentations will take place as either TED-style brief inspirational and informational talks or posters focusing on water initiatives and engaging pedagogy. These sessions are intended to convey urgency of dealing with water issues in Hawaiʻi and globally and the need for interdisciplinary research, learning, and collaboration across campuses and with community partners.  

Funded and sponsored by


SENCER Hawaiʻi Blue Symbol onlySENCER Hawaiʻi Spring Institute and SCI-West Regional Meeting

Assessment and Transformative Collaboration in Sustainability Education

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9 am to 4 pm
University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu

SENCER Hawaiʻi and the SENCER Center for Innovation-West are jointly hosting the 3rd annual SENCER Hawaiʻi Spring Institute/SCI-West Regional Meeting focusing on innovative teaching and learning through high-impact practices (e.g. undergraduate research and community engagement) and compelling civic issues, particularly around sustainability.

Formal and informal educators will be introduced to the inspiring work of SENCER Hawaiʻi and its national partners and given an opportunity to create and collaborate across the disciplines.

The morning sessions (9am-12pm) include an in-depth hands-on workshop on creation and assessment of SENCERized sustainability-focused courses. A poster session over lunch is followed by interactive afternoon sessions (1-4pm) focused on transformative collaboration around SENCERized and sustainability programs and courses.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

A limited number of registration scholarships are available.

Hawaiʻi neighbor island participants can apply for travel support.

Accommodation is available as long as there is room (first come, first served) without additional costs from Wednesday (13th) to Saturday (18th) at the unique Camp Palehua close to the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu.

The joint Regional SCI-West Meeting and SENCER Hawaiʻi Institute is linked to and follows the March 16-17, 2017, 5th Annual Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit which also takes place at the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu. The Summit has both open and closed sections. Friday afternoon 2-4 pm is open to the public.

SENCER faculty are contributing to several sessions at the summit. If you are interested in full participation in the Sustainability Summit, we have a limited number of slots open for SENCER delegates ($150 registration fee).

For additional details, scholarship and travel-support applications, accommodation, and updates, please contact SCI-West co-director Ulla Hasager at ulla@hawaii.edu, or Kelly Uchiumi, kuchiumi@scu.edu, Assistant for SCI-West. Please also contact us, if you are interested in proposing a presentation for one of the Saturday sessions.

The final schedule for Saturday’s presentations will be available shortly.

Integration of SENCER theory and practice into a broader course base provides students with an engaging and relevant learning environment, which is proven to lead to improved learning outcomes and retention rates. We invite formal and informal educators to consider how to thread sustainability issues and Indigenous sciences and ways of knowing through courses and research.

Come and share your experiences, network, create, and learn more about:

  • How to use the SENCER assessment tools — and create your own SALG (Student Assessment of Learning Gains) survey instrument
  • How sustainability and climate change can be the cornerstones for active and project-based learning
  • How to utilize existing inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional programs and network as well as develop collaborative, civic-engagement initiatives as part of sustainability education

At this meeting, we have a focus on documenting learning gains of the incorporation of indigenous knowledge as a central combining factor in our joint work. We will inspire and provide professional development and networking opportunities for faculty and other formal and informal science educators in Hawaiʻi and the SCI-West Region by promoting awareness of SENCER ideals and fostering a culture of academic transformation and support.

As we continue to build on the work many educators and researchers in Hawaiʻi are doing with a strong emphasis on linking social and natural sciences with Indigenous knowledge through academic and community engagement, we develop courses and programs that connect the content of courses to critical local, national, and global challenges, including the central challenge of sustainability. By focusing on real world problems, the impact of learning is extended across the curriculum to the broader community and society.

Our specific goals are to improve assessment, evaluation, and documentation as well as strengthen and expand the trans-disciplinary and trans-institutional civic and community engagement initiatives of the SENCER Hawaiʻi state network.

To be able to continue this work in higher education, there is a strong need to improve assessment and evaluation for documentation reasons, inspire sustainability-focused and SENCERized courses and projects, and create large collaborative assessment projects and pools of comparative data, including improving course articulation between two- and four-year institutions.


8:30 am    Registration opens – light breakfast

9:00 am    WELCOME (Albie Miles) and Oli (Daven Chang)

Film “Why SENCER” (Patricia Amaral Buskirk)

Introduction to SENCER and SENCER Hawaiʻi (Stephen Carroll, Thomas Wood, and Ulla Hasager)

9:30 am    Stephen Carroll, Wendy Kuntz, and Mike Ross: SENCER and Sustainability Course Creation and Assessment Workshop (with support from the UHM General Education Office)



Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua and Anianikū Chong: Nā Koʻokoʻo. The Native Hawaiian Initiative and Leadership Program

Jaclyn Lindo: Principles of Iʻa-nomics (Econ 130, S-focused course): Microeconomics in the context of Hawaiʻi’s fisheries

Tom Wood and Stephen Carroll: Returning Nature to Natural Science Learning

2:00 pm    Albie Miles: Continuing the Momentum of the Sustainability Summit: An on-site introduction to UHWO’s innovative Bachelor of Applied Science with a concentration in Sustain­able Community Food Systems. Includes both in- and outdoor activities.


Patricia Amaral Buskirk: Conservation Impacts Through Multimedia Storytelling

Robert Franco: Meeting of wisdoms and grand challenges – invitation to transformative collaboration around SENCERized and sustainability programs and courses: Programs, proposals, and professional development opportunities.


4:00 pm    Pau