Educating at the Science-Culture Interface in Hawaii and the Pacific

Project No.
PI Name
Helen Turner
Chaminade University

Abstract 1

Educating at the Science-Culture Interface in Hawaii and the Pacific

Presentation Type
Helen Turner Ph.D. (Chaminade university) Chrystie Kaipolani Naeole Ph.D. (Chaminade university) Dana Koomoa Lange Ph.D. (University of Hawaii at Hilo)


Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students are woefully under-represented from science degrees and are disenfranchised from the associated STEM careers. Re-enfranchisement through multi-faceted approaches to curriculum (offering a culturally-grounded indigenous sense-of-place in the science classroom), student support (addressing socioeconomic issues and serving non- Wesren cultural norms) and the building of contemporary skills (a focus on data science) is the focus of Kulia.


The K?lia project addresses
the I-USE aims of improving STEM-learning environments, broadening participation and building a
professional STEM workforce for tomorrow. We propose three specific activities: Goal 1. Introductory
research classrooms. We will use early engagement in research classrooms to create a research
mindset, in order to increase student persistence in science majors, close an initial gap in our inquiry-
based curriculum, and provide a vehicle for crowd-sourcing faculty research projects. The two semester
introductory biology courses required of all science majors at Chaminade will be converted to authentic,
semester-long, research classrooms. Goal 2. Advanced research classrooms. We will pilot authentic,
semester-long, culturally-inspired, research classrooms in senior Ecology and Pharmacology laboratory
courses. These research classrooms will be innovatively framed by Hawaiian ethnopharmacology (La'au
Lapa'au); and Hawaiian traditional ecological knowledge, respectively. Goal 3. Data lifecycle
curriculum. We will embed a data lifecycle skillset into the preparation of Chaminade science majors.
Recognizing that skills in big data manipulation, analytics and visualization are central to success in
tomorrowメs scientific workplaces, we will formalize a core data lifecycle skillset that is desirable at the
undergraduate level, produce data lifecycle modules to be integrated Chaminade research classrooms
and develop tools for assessment of data lifecycle competency in Chaminade undergraduates.


Key deliverables in the first month of the grant award are:
1. Assembly of steering committee
2. Pilots of CURE and SURE assessment instruments
3. Initial curriculum development meetings

Broader Impacts

K?lia curriculum development will
directly impact ~120 first year science majors and ~40 seniors per year at an institution predominantly
serving URM, NHPI and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The research classrooms will
broaden participation in research, especially among students whose economic and familial setting puts
REU-style experiences beyond reach. Since research is embedded in the curriculum, all students will
participate. The model will therefore deliver an undergraduate research experience without discrimination
or bias. The infusion of culturally-inspired research will help retain and inspire the targeted demographic
groups. ?lia will generate a suite of pedagogical and data-based outcomes that will benefit STEM
education as well as pharmacological and ecosystem knowledge in Hawaii, the Pacific island homes of
our students, and nationally. The development of formalized pedagogies, tools, and well-developed
models of learning supported by data lifecycle competencies will become a model for small
undergraduate institutions, especially Minority Serving Institutions, to confront the emerging digital
disparity that threatens to exclude their students from access to, and success in, tomorrowメs STEM
careers. Finally, kulia will advance a unique cohort of Native Hawaiian women faculty for future
leadership in Pacific-focused STEM education.

Unexpected Challenges

None at this time


None at this time