$9.9 million federal boost for Windward Community College

Support welcomed for childcare and STEM renovation projects

Windward Community College
Bonnie J Beatson, (808) 235-7374
Mktg & Public Rel Dir, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Oct 17, 2014

Windward Community College will soon be home to a Hawaiian immersion childcare center and renovated STEM learning environments supporting student success for Native Hawaiians thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Title III Grant Project award totaling $9,901,624 over the next five years. 

“We are so fortunate to have received this funding,” said Chancellor Doug Dykstra, “as Windward CC students desperately need a childcare center, and with more STEM degree and certificate programs being offered, advanced learning experiences are essential.”

The project grant, “Hanai a ulu: Feed and Grow—Nurturing student parents and STEM at Windward Community College,” will enhance student success through two major projects:

Student Parent Center Development

To strengthen student parents’ success, this project will create a Student Parent Center to include a student parent counselor, textbook library, and a Hawaiian immersion childcare center for infants and toddlers. This project will address a gap both in the Windward community, where infant and toddler care facilities are scarce, and at Windward Community College—the only community college in Hawai‘i lacking a childcare center.

“If a student does not have reliable care for their child, how can they attend classes, study, and succeed in college? This grant works to provide childcare services for our student parents so that they can grow and succeed in college, which helps their keiki to grow and succeed,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ardis Eschenberg.

STEM Facility Renovation and Curricular Improvement

With a goal to increase student participation and success in STEM programs at Windward CC, this project will renovate outdoor, indoor, and virtual learning environments. It will provide enhanced technology, data access, and opportunities for laboratory experience focusing on the needs of Native Hawaiian students; 42 percent of the college’s student population is Native Hawaiian. These services are vital at this time, as Windward CC has increased the number of STEM based degrees and certificates including the Associate in Science degree in Natural Science and a Certificate of Achievement in Agripharmatech, which incorporates classes on Native Hawaiian botany and plant use.

“STEM degrees create opportunity for interesting careers with living wages. We want to engage our students in STEM, immersing them in an environment that supports their learning. This grant project serves to create and renovate STEM learning spaces both on our campus and in our online courses," added Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ardis Eschenberg.

“Both activities of this grant (childcare and STEM renovation) work to nurture learning and engagement at Windward CC, to hanai a ulu “feed and grow.”

The grant was written as a result of the diligent efforts in needs assessment and planning by the Student Parent Group and Natural Sciences department at Windward Community College.

Those responsible for the planning of childcare efforts include Student Parent Group members Michelle Kam, Francine Vierra, Crystal Kamahalohanuilai, Sheila Sarsuela, Natajah Kekawa-Maynes, Joel Harding, Tanti Septiani, Lehua You, Nolan Brown and Kehaulani Pelekai.  

Windward CC’s Natural Sciences department, who provided input for the STEM portion, include Joe Ciotti, Leticia Colmenares, Samantha Craddock, John Kaya, Dave Krupp, Ross Langston, Floyd McCoy, David Ringuette, and Ingelia White. Technology portions were guided by Woody Garrison, Michael McIntosh, Elizabeth Ratliff and Michael Tom. 

Windward CC Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Ardis Eschenberg, coordinated and performed the grant writing and will serve as project director.