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  • University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
    Ethnomathematics & STEM Institute

    1776 University Avenue
    Everly Hall 224
    Honolulu, Hawai'i 96822


  • Ethnomathematics Logo tree  Ethnomathematics and STEM Institute



    (SUMMER 2018)

    We are pleased to announce that after nine years, the Ethnomathematics and STEM Institute is becoming institutionalized as a new academic program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education. The Ethnomathematics Graduate Certificate is designed for teachers, other educators, and graduate students who want to gain deep knowledge in the area of ethnomathematics. The program prepares teachers as leaders to transfer culturally-sustaining mathematics knowledge to classroom, school, and district levels by strengthening P-20 college, career, and community readiness networks. This program incorporates Mathematics Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and Nā Hopena A‘o values-based frameworks. Candidates may choose to pursue this program within the MEd in Curriculum Studies (such as the Math Education or STEMS2 tracks).

    Ethnomathematics Overview
    Program Objectives
    Coursework and Dates
    Program Partners
    Program Brochure


    Over the past nine years, the Ethnomathematics and STEM Institute has grown through successes, challenges, and promising practices. For the first five years at the University of Hawai‘i - West O‘ahu (2007–2013), performance measures included a 1400% increase in the number of students enrolled in mathematics courses as the general student body population grew from 940 students in 2007 to 2,361 students in 2013 (UH IRO, 2017). This led to the development of 11 new mathematics courses tied to institutional learning outcomes, accreditation, and graduation requirements, all of which are grounded in ethnomathematics frameworks. Over the past four years at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (20013–2017), the Ethnomathematics and STEM Institute transitioned into a yearlong professional development program for K–12 public, public charter, and private school educators, and has had participation from all 15 complex areas and seven districts of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education. This has formed an integrated network that demonstrates commitment to improving learner outcomes, particularly in traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations in mathematics.

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    Ethnomathematics Overview

    Ethnomathematics is a vehicle to explore sociocultural, cognitive, conceptual, educational, epistemological, historical, and political dimensions through real-world problem solving via place-based, experiential learning (Bishop, 1988; D’Ambrosio, 2001; Kyselka, 1987). Through wayfinding experiences, we strive to prepare high-quality K–12 teachers as leaders and transfer culturally-sustaining mathematics that bridge Indigenous wisdom and 21st century skills to classrooms, districts, and communities (Barton, 2017; Greer, Mukhodpadhyay, Powell, & Nelson-Barber, 2009; Paris, 2012). We work with educators to discover pathways that foster student engagement through investigating, conceptualizing, and adapting multiple approaches to learning mathematics in local and global contexts (Furuto, 2016; Goetzfridt, 2008). By drawing on the assets and backgrounds of our students and communities, we acknowledge the importance of strengths-based approaches in accessing diverse funds of teaching and learning experiences (Boaler, 2002; Jaworski, Wood, & Dawson, 1999; Tuhiwai Smith, 1999).

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    Program Objectives

    We create opportunities to develop teachers as leaders through the following program objectives:
    • Increase knowledge of culturally-sustaining mathematics content aligned with K–12 federal and state   standards and values-based frameworks such as Common Core State Standards, Next Generation   Science Standards, and Nā Hopena A‘o (HIDOE, 2015);
    • Prepare teachers as leaders to provide instruction and professional development in ethnomathematics   in their schools, districts, and communities; and
    • Strengthen sustainable campus-community networks leading to college, career, and community   readiness.
    Our foundation is built on respecting, celebrating, and sustaining all participants’ inventions, experiences, and applications of mathematics in a shared commitment to equity, empowerment, and dignity (Rosa, D’Ambrosio, Orey, Shirley, Alangui, Palhares, & Gavarrete, 2016).

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    Coursework and Dates

    *Application deadline: February 15, 2018.

    Summer 2018 (1 week intensive in-person) - Tentative dates July 9-15, 2018.
    • EDCS 654 Ethnomathematics (3 credits)

    Fall 2018 (online) - Online classes once a week. Day and time to be determined based on geographic location of participants.
    • EDCS 622G Curriculum Leadership: K–14 (3 credits)
    • EDCS 653F Mathematics in the Schools: Integrated Math Content (3 credits)

    Spring 2019 (online) - Online classes once a week. Day and time to be determined based on geographic location of participants.

    Spring 2019 (1 weekend in-person) - Tentative dates May 4-5, 2019.
    • EDCS 606 Introduction to Research in Curriculum and Teaching (3 credits)
    • EDCS 642G Seminar in Diversity Issues: K–14 (1 credit)
    • EDCS 699 Directed Reading and/or Research (2 credits)

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    Program Partners

    Program partners, including the University of Hawai‘i System, Hawai‘i State Department of Education, Hawai‘i P–20 Partnerships for Education, Pacific American Foundation, Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and the Polynesian Voyaging Society, collectively model effective teaching practices and support strategies that encourage ourselves and our students to “identify kuleana and work hard to fulfill these responsibilities to families, ‘āina, community, and future and past generations” (Hawai‘i P–20 Partnerships for Education, 2013, p. 2).

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    Program Brochure

    For more information on the ethnomathematics graduate certificate, including general dates, an application overview, adding a field of licensing in ethnomathematics, and stipends and scholarship opportunities, please refer to the program brochure. Please note, accommodations will be made for those who are not physically able to participate in all learning activities.
    Program Brochure PDF

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    Barton, B. (2017). Mathematics, education, & culture: A contemporary moral imperative. In G. Kaiser (Ed.), The Proceedings of the 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education. New York, NY: Springer.
    Bishop, A. (1988). Mathematical enculturation: A cultural perspective on mathematics education. Ann Arbor, MI: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Boaler, J. (2002). Learning from teaching: Exploring the relationship between reform curriculum and equity. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 33(4), 239–258.
    D’Ambrosio, U. (2001). Ethnomathematics link between traditions and modernity. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
    Furuto, L. (2016). Lessons learned: Strengths-based approaches to mathematics education in the Pacific. Journal of Mathematics and Culture, 10(2), 55–72.
    Goetzfridt, N. (2008). Pacific ethnomathematics. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press.
    Greer, B., Mukhodpadhyay, S., Powell, A., & Nelson-Barber, S. (2009). Culturally responsive mathematics education. New York, NY: Routledge Press.
    Hawai‘i P–20 Partnerships for Education. (2013). College, career, and community readiness definition. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from
    Hawai‘i State Department of Education. (2015). Nā hopena a‘o. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from http://www.

    Jaworski, B., Wood, T., & Dawson, A. (1999). Mathematics teacher education: Critical international perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge Press.
    Kyselka, W. (1987). An ocean in mind. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Lipka, J., Hogan, M., Webster, J., Yanez, E., Adams, B., Clark, S., & Lacy, D. (2005). Math in a cultural context: Two case studies of a successful culturally based math project. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 36(4), 367–385.
    Paris, D. (2012). Culturally-sustaining pedagogy: A needed change in stance, terminology, and practice. Educational Researcher, 41(3), 93–97.
    Rosa, M., D’Ambrosio, U., Orey, D., Shirley, L., Alangui, W., Palhares, P., & Gavarrete, M. (2016). ICME-13 topical surveys: Current and future perspectives in ethnomathematics. New York, NY: Springer.
    Tuhiwai Smith, L. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples. New York, NY: Zed Books.
    University of Hawai‘i Institutional Research Office. (2017). MAPS enrollment projections. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from

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