The need for a multi-disciplinary and community-focused public policy center had been discussed for many years by the faculty across the College and campus who have been conducting policy-relevant work in various communities in Hawai'i, Pacific Asia, and beyond. Both external and internal stakeholders discussed the need for a collaborative focal point for conducting research and disseminating results in modalities that are relevant to the important public policy decisions of the day. The establishment of the Center was expected to encourage policy leaders and citizens in the community to work together collaboratively with College faculty and students to make a significant difference in improving the quality of community life through good public policy.
Daunting policy challenges surround the state, the nation and world. There is a clear need for well-trained students to meet these future policy challenges. Training students with excellent policy analytic skills will improve the deliberation on policy issues ranging from elder care, child welfare, energy, to the environment. The blurring of economic, political and social realms calls for interdisciplinary approaches to curriculum and research so that theory and practice are better blended. The Center's goals now fit nicely within the University's strategic objectives of advancing our Pacific Community, advancing the liberal arts and advancing research and economic development.
The Center was designed to address these needs: 1) provide a single research venue for interchange between faculty and students on public policy issues concerning Hawai'i, Pacific and Asia; 2) establish a curriculum for students interested in policy studies; 3) involve the community in the deliberative process on important public issues; 4) implement a Legislator-in-Residence program for two Hawai'i State legislators to familiarize themselves with the College faculty, research endeavors and share their experiences with faculty and students during the fall semester; and 5) conduct policy conferences that engage policy scholars, faculty, community leaders and legislators on an issue of importance to the community.
The Center will build on a strong foundation of teaching, policy research and community deliberation in the areas of:
The University of Hawaii's Strategic Plan is poised to move the University into excellence in several of these areas. The Center strategically fits into several of these enterprises: