Chaminade University is a proud member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence initiative, which seeks to catalyze a culture of inclusion in science education through identifying opportunities to build campus capacity for inclusion of students from diverse backgrounds, engaging in the process of institutional culture change, and reflecting on the impact of these efforts. The grants awarded as part of this initiative seek to help institutions increase capacity for inclusion of students from all backgrounds in science. The goal of this initiative is to facilitate the creation of lasting institutional capacity that will benefit all students well beyond the lifetime of the HHMI grant, and to develop successful strategies for inclusion and engagement to be adopted by other institutions.
“Rather than deficit-based thinking, the Inclusive Excellence initiative insists that schools recognize that the different perspectives that students of diverse backgrounds bring to science are assets, and then discover ways to nurture their potential,” says David Asai, HHMI’s senior director for science education.
In 2017, Chaminade was selected as one of 24 awardees from a pool of over 500 universities who applied for the prestigious recognition as a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Institution. They were joined by a second cohort of 33 awardees in 2018, and together these 57 institutions comprise the Inclusive Excellence Initiative overseen by HHMI, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the Inclusive Excellence Commission.
The Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is the home of the Hoimi Program, Chaminade University’s Inclusive Excellence initiative. In olelo Hawaii, hoimi means to look for better and best. This program’s central vision is that a new generation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander STEM professionals, grounded in science and culture, promote health, sustainability, and equity in Hawaii and the Pacific. The program funds culture-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education programs, Hawaii-centered research, and activities that link science to family and community for Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students. The goals are to (1) enculturate and decolonize the STEM education process at Chaminade through incorporation of NHPI root cultures; (2) support NHPI students and democratize participation in research experiences; and (3) train and develop NHPI scientists.