Ala Wai Elementary School students create sustainability-themed models to filter trash from the Ala Wai Canal.

The College of Education (COE) Department of Curriculum Studies is part of a UH Mānoa Strategic Investment Initiative program that was awarded $600,000.  SMART Ala Wai (Strategic Monitoring and Resilience Training in the Ala Wai Watershed) will fund a two-year collaboration among the COE, the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), and the Department of Geography.

“This partnership is uniquely situated to support the integration of social studies, Hawaiian language, art, and STEM inquiry practices that generate place-based knowledge oriented to sustainable, resilient communities,” explained COE Professor Pauline Chinn.

Funds will support water, soil, and biological monitoring networks in the Ala Wai Watershed – ridge to reef – with dedicated laboratory facilities on the Mānoa campus. A National Science Foundation (NSF) award for STEM professional development further supports K–12 teachers who are interested in SMART Ala Wai projects with three tuition-free courses.

Teachers may apply the following NSF classes toward an Interdisciplinary Master of Education in Curriculum Studies (MEd-CS):  EDCS 640P Place-Based Education, EDCS 623 Science Curriculum, and EDCS 632 Qualitative Research Methods. The nine credits earned from these courses reduce the overall cost of the 30 credit MEd-CS interdisciplinary degree program by 30 percent.

For more information about the MEd-CS, please contact Andrea Bartlett, For information on SMART Ala Wai and enrolling in NSF supported courses, please contact Pauline Chinn,

MEd-CS Master of Education in Curriculum Studies: Interdisciplinary Track

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