Instructionally Related Activities Funds Request Summary

Project SponsorSean Anderson
Activity TitleCoastal Resource Management in the Cook Islands (Univ 392)
Activity/Event DateJune 2015
Date Funding Needed ByOctober 2014
Previously Funded?No
Semester/Year
Proposal #
Report submitted for previously Funded Activity?
Report submitted for previously Funded Activity
Academic Program or Center NameESRM
Estimated total Course Fee revenue14,400
Amount Requested from IRA29,092
Estimated Number of Students Participating12
Conditions and ConsiderationsField Trip, International Travel
Brief Activity DescriptionWe will travel to the South Pacific island nation of the Cook Islands for an intensive, two-week long exploration of the people and ecosystems of the island of Aitutaki. We will travel from Los Angeles to Rarotonga (the Capitol of the Cook Islands) on a commercial passenger jet and on to the Aitutaki via a smaller, short-haul plane. Once on Aitutaki, we will be based out of a large “dorm style” guest house where we will sleep, eat, etc. Our days will emphasize practical exploration of coastal resources and culture, often on/in the water or “off trail.” Some of our activities will be designed to support to our local partners and colleagues and their management goals (i.e. Service Learning) while others will be designed to simply help students better understand the extant conditions on Aitutaki. Participants will enjoy a unique opportunity to study and contribute to the conservation of a small island nation at the forefront of rising sea levels and modern fisheries management pressures. Example activities include surveying fished populations for Village Councils, documenting coastal vulnerability for the government, etc.
Enrollment in our summer trip/course is conditional upon passing our preparatory Spring Seminar (1 unit). All attendees should be in good health and able to undertake strenuous activities on land and underwater. Research SCUBA certification is strongly encouraged, although not mandatory if the participant has strong snorkeling/free diving skills by the start of our trip.
Learning Outcomes and Relation to IRA to Course OfferingsThis is an upper division (3-unit) summer course (and an associated 1-unit Spring Seminar)
By completion of this course, students should by able to clearly describe:
1) a basic understanding of the cultural, biographical, and historical underpinnings of modern South Pacific Small Island Nations.
2) current issues most relevant to Cook Islanders.
3) the effects of the recent diaspora on both Cook Islands society and coastal resources.
4) the benefits and downsides of a tourism-based economy in Aitutaki.
5) the current state of reef-based resources in Aitutaki Lagoon.
6) the specific challenges climate change is posing to Aitutaki.
7) the interrelatedness of our global culture, economy, and society.
8) specific management options for improving or maintaining Cook Island resources.
At the completion of this course, students will have contributed tangibly to the resource management of the Cook Islands via contributing data and analyses to our Cook Island partners.
Description of Assessment ProcessStudents will be required to maintain a daily video journal/vlog. Over the course of the trip, students will be collecting various environmental, behavioral, and/or socioeconomic data related to coastal resources and resource use on Aitutaki which may or may not be featured in their daily entries. Students will complete topic-based reports for our local partners/collaborators (government, NGOs, villages, etc.). At the conclusion of the course these topic reports will be combined into an overall report compiled and submitted to our Service Learning partners by faculty. In addition, students will complete course assessments and Service Learning assessment instruments.

Upon completion of the course, we will also survey our partners for their impressions of the course and possible future improvements.
Activity Budgetcooks-ira-budget-2015.xlsx (MS Excel, 203KB)
CIA Budgetuniv-392-budgetworksheet.xls (MS Excel, 26KB)
CIA Proposaluniv-392-cook-islands-proposal.doc (MS Word, 113KB)
Course Syllabuscook-islands-syllabi-spring-summer-2015.docx (MS Word, 3.7MB)
CIA CertificationI certify that students attending this trip are not previous or repeat attendees of a prior International UNIV 392 Trip
Other Sources of FundingCurrently we have no other source of support. We are, however actively pursuing several funding options (National Geographic, etc.). Our initial intent is to apply for IRA funding for a maximum of two years, at which point we will either terminate the course or have the primary source of funding come from external campus funders.
We are actively partnering with several local Cook Island partners who feel confident we will be able to raise at least moderate funding in the wake of a successful class.
Target Audience/Student MarketingThis course is open to all majors/years.

The course is open to all capable (able to hike moderate distances, swim, etc. in remote locations) and interested students. While not required, we will strongly recommend that participants be research SCUBA certified by the summer of 2015. Those not wishing to SCUBA should be able to snorkel/free dive. While we are planning no high-risk or particularly strenuous aquatic activities, having students meet the higher bar of research SCUBA certification will assure we have well prepared students capable of handling any situations/opportunities in this remote island location. Having said that, the course is open to any undergraduate student from any major. When prioritizing attendees, those who have not yet attended an IRA-sponsored trip or study abroad experience will be given priority. Given the remote nature of this trip, students with significant known medical issues or conditions will be excluded from the candidate pool.
Bring Benefit to CampusAll students will participate in all aspects of our service work while on Aitutaki. Brief, draft reports (most likely PowerPoint-based oral presentations) will be generated prior to our departure and presented to Village Councils, Government Partners, and our other collaborators. Within two weeks of returning to California, the faculty will submit a master report to our Cook Island partners electronically. Both preliminary and final reports will be made available to the campus community.

In addition to written reports, each pair of students will be required to submit a 5-10 minute video or narrated slideshow about their service/experience in Aitutaki. These written reports and videos will be made available to the campus community most likely via a dedicated or class website. (Note: given the likelihood that many of our students may be graduating seniors, a Fall Semester-based poster session or presentation is not realistic for this summer-based experience).
SustainabilityNothing directly at CI per se.

However, as the central them of the course is promoting sustainable resource management, there are abundant sustainability lessons the students may take away from this experience.
Perhaps one important lesson the students may take away is the commitment of CI to dealing with climate change. Here we are formally requesting that CI acknowledge carbon emissions associated with our activities within our budget and in so doing acknowledge offsets are a responsible way to both allow for educational experiences. This would be a great first for IRA travel at CI and be a tangible move forward for campus sustainability.
Program Chair/Directordonald.rodriguez
Academic Affairs AVPkaren.carey
AcknowledgementI acknowledge that I have reviewed and accepted the Conditions and Considerations herein. Please check off boxes as appropriate.

Program Chair/Director Approval

ApprovalI approve the IRA Funds Request described on this page
NameDonald Rodriguez
Date/Time3/1/2014 11:15:20 PM

Academic Affairs AVP Approval

ApprovalI approve the IRA Funds Request described on this page
NameKaren Carey
Date/Time3/2/2014 8:04:52 AM