Leeward Community College has received two five-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education—a Title III Program Grant for $3,647,951 and a Title III Renovation Grant for $9,996,551 for a total of $13,644,502. The $9.99 million renovation award is the largest single grant award in Leeward’s history. Both grants support the college’s STEM programs and student success for Native Hawaiian students.
The program grant, entitled: E ʻAuamo Kākou: A Shared Commitment to Improving Student Outcomes, captures the spirit of the college. The project goals are to increase a variety of success indicators among Native Hawaiian students at Leeward CC. The project will create cohorts for Native Hawaiians and other students and provide assistance to help them graduate on time. Patterned after the “Going to Finish on Time” cohorts that were successfully piloted at Leeward’s Waiʻanae Education Center, the initiative involves block scheduling of classes to give students clear pathways to associate degrees. The grant funds six positions and includes $90,000 for student scholarships and $200,000 to support faculty course redesign and open educational resources.
The renovation grant will fund three major activities: completion of the college’s Native Hawaiian Student Success Center, Hālau ʻIke O Puʻuloa; a science lab and Student Success Center at the campus’ new facility in Waiʻanae; and renovation of six science labs on the Pearl City campus. Funding is included for support positions in the Business and Facilities Offices to handle the increased activity over the next five years.
Hālau ʻIke O Puʻuloa's renovation will offer the Leeward CC campus and Leeward and Central Oʻahu residents a functional, culturally vibrant, and environmentally responsible facility with interconnected learning environments both inside and outside of the building. The project includes expansion of an indigenous plants garden that currently produces ingredients for the Leeward CC cafeteria and culinary arts program, a multi-purpose, multi-disciplinary outdoor amphitheater; a workshop/classroom; an imu and a star compass.
Chancellor Manny Cabral credits a talented, collaborative Leeward core grant team for envisioning and writing the proposal. “These grants will support the research that shows there is a definite link between higher success rates and better-prepared students and access to high quality labs and experiences. These funds will enable our faculty and staff to support our STEM programs which are now our fastest-growing programs.”
“Native Hawaiian students constitute 26 percent of our student population, and the college also serves the largest number of Native Hawaiian students in the UH Community College System,” adds Vice Chancellor Mike Pecsok. “The importance of these grants to support their success will be measurable, substantial and life-changing.”
Cabral acknowledged the work of the core grant team: Summer Helms, grant writer; Mike Pecsok, vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer; Laurie Lawrence, Leeward CC Waiʻanae coordinator (currently interim dean of student services); Auliʻi Silva, Native Hawaiian student support coordinator; Jennie Thompson, math and sciences division chair and the Leeward science faculty.