The Service-Learning Cross-Curricular Emphasis and the “”2+4=Service on Common Ground”” initiative

March 23, 2015

The mission of the Liberal Arts program at University of Hawaiʻi Kapiʻolani Community College (KCC) to provide broad-based, integrated, cross-curricular general education courses for students who transfer to four-year institutions or embark on career paths, and instill a desire for life-long learning and personal development. In pursuit of this mission, KCC Provost Dr. John Morton engages in numerous campus-community partnerships and builds leadership collaborations with University of Hawai i (UH) Senior Vice-President and Community College Chancellor, Dr. Joyce Tsunoda, Dean of the UH College of Social Science, Dr. Dick Dubanoski, and UH President, Dr. Kenneth Mortimer. In addition, Dr. Morton has created an intellectual environment that supports learning-centered and faculty driven initiatives, and in particular, the Service-Learning Cross-Curricular Emphasis.

One outcome of these campus-community partnerships and leadership collaborations is the very successful “”2+4=Service on Common Ground”” initiative funded by the Corporation for National Service and the Campus Compact National Center for Community Colleges. From 1997-2000, this initiative developed five major pathways engaging more than 70 faculty and 1,500 students at KCC and UHM. The pathways were developed to engage students in service to their community, and integrate their service with academic study in general education core courses and disciplinary majors. The pathways included:

  1. Partnering with the Community – Students chose to serve at more than 70 community-based organizations and two dozen K-12 schools.
  2. Educating for Citizenship – Students tutored hundreds of elderly Chinese immigrants to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test.
  3. Adopting an Ahupua a – Students cared for the environment (our literal common ground) between Diamond Head and Manoa Valley. An ahupua a is a traditional Hawaiian land tenure division from the mountains to the sea. Both KCC and UHM students developed environmental responsibility stewardship skills in our Waikiki Ahupua a.
  4. Celebrating Teen Reading – Students led reading circles with hundreds of local teenagers and built critical literacy skills and authentic interpersonal relationships. Funding from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities also supported this pathway and an annual Teen Reading Festival where students met face-to-face with the authors of the books shared in the reading circles.
  5. Caring Long-term – Students provided direct services to 100 home-bound elderly through Project Dana, Hospice Hawaii, and numerous long-term care programs.

Faculty partnerships also resulted in a sustainable faculty community that is now exploring new collaborations in service-learning, cultural diversity, community development, technology integration and teacher preparation as well as fast-track transfer agreements.

KCC Service-Learning faculty have taken the lead in developing new General Education Academic Skills Standards emphasizing “”Understanding Self and Society”” to prepare students for lives as civically engaged local, national and global citizens. The UHM College of Arts and Sciences is drafting a new mission statement which emphasizes preparing students for lifelong active learning, productive careers, personal enrichment, involved citizenship, and the challenges of the future. Thus, for KCC and UHM, service-learning is not only changing how we teach but leveraging institutional and curricular support for what we teach the skills and intellect for engaged citizenship.

A recent Carnegie Foundation external assessment states, “”It would be wonderful if all community colleges would take up the challenge that KCC has set for itself: to educate all students to understand the connections between their learning, their work, and their larger communities, and to help them take seriously their role in improving those communities.””

Contact person: Carol Hoshiko, Dean of Business Education, Food Service, Travel Programs and Community Linkages,

Kapi olani Community College - HI, Hawaii
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