February 2008 Board Notes

NEA HIGHER EDUCATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

On behalf of
NEA Director Sally Pestana, who was attending the NEA Board of
Directors meeting in Washington, Vice President Adrienne Valdez
reported that the NEA Board of Directors were “thrilled” to see their
December lobbying efforts pay off during their February meeting when
the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the
reauthorization of HEA by supporting HR 4137, the College Opportunity
and Affordability Act.  Included in the approval was pressure on colleges to control costs and defeat the so called “Academic Bill Of Rights” language.  A detailed analysis of the bill can be found at: http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2008/02/08/hea.

In the political arena, NEA decided to withhold a presidential endorsement at this time.  The
NEA President has communicated with the candidates that, “…NEA expects
to see education issues take a higher priority in campaign trail
discussions.”

Vice President Valdez reminded Directors that it was not too late to register for the NEA Higher Education Conference.  At this writing, Joseph Chernisky, Richard Nettell, Sally Pestana, and Adrienne Valdez will be attending the conference.


PRESIDENT’S REPORT

  • President
    Joseph Chernisky complimented the Faculty Forum Agenda Committee for
    their organization of the recent Forum that was held at the Dole
    Cannery Ballroom.  There are currently 30 Faculty Representative vacancies, with the majority at the UH-Manoa campus.
  • The Annual Membership meeting has been changed to Friday, April 25, 2008.  It will be held at 3:30 p.m. in GT-105 at Leeward Community College.  Active
    UHPA members will be receiving the notice of the Annual Membership
    meeting along with important information that will require their
    approval at the meeting.
  • Due
    to the change of the Annual Membership meeting, UHPA’s monthly Board of
    Directors’ meeting, which usually convenes after the annual meeting,
    will now be held on Saturday, April 12, at 8:30 a.m. at the UHPA
    facilities on Palm Drive.  The Executive Committee meeting will be on Friday, April 11.
  • President
    Chernisky expressed his appreciation to UHPA Executive Director J. N.
    Musto for representing the union on the P-20 Council.  One
    goal of the P-20 Council for higher education is that by the year 2025
    at least 55% of working age adults would have either an associate or
    bachelor’s degree.
  • It
    was reported that some of the Faculty Senates (UHH, KCC and LCC) are
    trying to take into account the WASC and ACCJC accreditation
    requirements with respect to their roles and responsibilities as these
    Faculty Senates would like to be included in shared governance and
    decision making.
  • President
    Chernisky informed Directors of recent external and internal
    developments regarding higher education’s need for accountability and
    autonomy.  According to a higher education update by the
    NEA on academic freedom, “A strong academic freedom policy spelled out
    in the university handbook and reinforced by strong language in the
    collective bargaining contract remains the best means of ensuring that
    college or university campuses continue to provide the kind of
    education that allows all students to become fully functioning citizens
    and productive members of society.” The NEA article can be viewed at http://www2.nea.org/he/heupdate/images/vol11no4.pdf.
  • Recent events highlight the theme of accountability within the UH system:  ŒAccreditation—concern over learning objectives and the UH Speech Pathology Program; State—the
    desire to align State needs within the, UH System Strategic Plan, UH
    Community College System Plan, and individual campus plans;
    ŽExecutive—the Governor’s plans to have a Hawaii Higher Education Commission; and Legislative—the use of UH financial performance incentives to measure educational progress.
  • With
    regard to faculty autonomy, Attorney Donna Euben’s lecture,
    “Surmounting Legal and Legislative Attacks on the Academy” dated March
    31, 2007 at the AFT Higher Education Conference in Portland, Oregon,
    provides an overall picture of the autonomous dilemma academic
    professionals are being faced with.  To view her report, go to http://www.aft.org/higher_ed/conferences/2007presentations/euben.pdf. 
  • As noted above, there remains confusion over learning objectives and learning outcomes.  Learning outcomes are now being required for accreditation.  Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) should be faculty designed and directed by the respective disciplines.  SLOs should not be used as a punitive measure.  They should be used to assess the success of the course or program.  The department or division as a whole needs to develop three to five SLO.  There should be team collaboration in the development and assessment of the SLO.  It was even suggested that there be some universal training or guidelines regarding SLO.  Because the creation of SLO is new to many, some Directors wondered whether UHPA ought to be involved.  The response was that it should be the Faculty Senates’ role and responsibility.  This
    very issue was raised during the Community Colleges Classification
    Plan, which was passed by the Board of Regents without any other
    objections except those that were presented by UHPA.
  • The University of Hawaii’s operational autonomy (flexibility) does not include substantive autonomy.  A request has been made with the Legislature for repair and maintenance funding and procurement exemptions.
  • President Chernisky reported that UHPA will be sponsoring a TIAA-CREF financial education seminar on March 12 at the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus.  For the schedule and place, go to http://uhpa.org/newsitems/financial-planning-seminars/.
  • UHPA
    successfully participated in the Martin Luther King Day Parade, which
    would be reported by Josh Cooper, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on
    Special Projects.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

  • Executive
    Director J. N. Musto reported that the University administration has
    failed to meet the response deadline for the class action grievance
    filed for violation of Article XXIII, Appointment, Duties, and
    Compensation for Academic Chairs, Section D, which indicates that the
    duties of academic chairs would be in a revised UH System Faculty
    Handbook.  Executive Director Musto will be meeting with Brenna Hashimoto, the Systems Director for the Office of Human Resources.  Directors passed a motion to appeal the class grievance to arbitration should the grievance not be resolved.
  • Executive
    Director Musto reviewed with the Directors a number of issues presently
    being addressed on the various campuses, including community colleges. 
    §At
    Kapiolani Community College, the Chancellor had proposed a new policy
    that would have required faculty department or division chairs on
    11-month instructional appointments to teach summer session classes
    without additional compensation.  Although this part of
    the policy was rescinded, instructional faculty members on 9-month
    appointments are still limited by the new policy to teaching only 12
    credit hours in the summer session.  However, the 2003-2009 Agreement places no arbitrary limitation on the number of hours an individual can teach in the summer session on any campus. 
    §When
    the Community College Provosts were “upgraded” by then President Evan
    Dobelle to be Chancellors for each individual campus, new issues
    emerged in the Tenure and Promotion procedures.  Prior to
    these changes, TPRC’s were comprised of faculty that included
    individuals from other campuses but in the same discipline.  Currently,
    the TPRCs are being selected from individuals on the same campus, thus
    creating the situation where individuals that have sat on a DPC that
    reviewed a candidate may also now be part of a TPRC reviewing the same
    candidate.
  • Serious issues have continued to arise over the use of university computers and internet connections for personal purposes.  In
    the past, if the University was informed that an employee or a student
    had illegally downloaded music over the internet, outside music vendors
    would ask that a cease and desist order be given by the institution to
    the individual, and if a university computer had been used, then the
    hard drive would be cleaned.  For the first time, a
    faculty member and a student have been charged with pirating music
    through the UH IT system and a civil action has been brought against
    them.  Faculty who are charged by the recording industry with pirating down music may be sued personally for thousands of dollars.  Although
    the original suit may seek $50,000 in damages, the industry has been
    making offers to college students and others to settle for
    substantially less, but still around 10% of the claim.  Faculty
    need to be aware that this is not an employment-related matter; unless
    the faculty member is disciplined by the UH administration as a result
    of the charges brought by the music vendors; therefore, neither the UH
    nor UHPA will provide a legal defense in these civil lawsuits.
  • Associate
    Executive Director James Kardash reported that he and Michael Mottl,
    Chair of the Grievance Committee, have been discussing how to
    communicate to the faculty members the substance of grievance matters
    being addressed by the union without violating privacy and
    confidentiality rules.  Having this information accessible
    would enable faculty, especially new or junior faculty, become more
    knowledgeable of the substance of the contract and the types of
    violations that have and are occurring.  Not all
    complaints brought to the union by faculty members meet the contract
    definition of a grievance, and some faculty members choose to not file
    a grievance even when a violation of the contract may have occurred.  However,
    faculty members should know that the professional staff may be
    consulted on an informal basis on any issue that is causing problems in
    the employment environment, and much of the advice of the organization
    may fall outside a strict contractual issue.  The UHPA staff may even be asked to attend employer-employee meetings with faculty members, covering a wide variety of topics.  While
    this is still in the planning and discussion stage, once it is
    finalized the information would be available on UHPA’s website.

 

TREASURER’S REPORT

Treasurer Ming-Bao Yue reported on the fourth month of the UHPA fiscal year.  Directors
were informed that UHPA is in excellent financial standing, indicating
the expenditures from last month and the balance of the Political
Action Fund.  Directors passed a motion to receive the Treasurer’s report and to refer it to the Finance Committee.

 

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING COMMITTEE

Chair Karla Hayashi reported that
the Collective Bargaining Committee met on Saturday, January 19 and
plan to meet again on March 1.  They identified and
reviewed cost and non-cost items brought forward through the series of
surveys that have been conducted and a systematic review of the
language in the 2003-2009 Agreement with staff and legal counsel.  Faculty
Representatives were asked to list priority issues and options,
including the various methods to implement additional salary increases
in the next contract, e.g., across-the-board raises, either through a
percentage increase or a flat rate amount, established higher salary
minimums for each rank and classification, salary schedules, allocated
funds for merit awards, etc.

Executive Director Musto informed
Directors that UHPA has requested to informally discuss the timelines
and issues for the next round of negotiations, but thus far, the
employer has not responded.  UHPA would like to formally begin negotiations during this coming April.  The 2003-2009 Agreement expires
on June 30, 2009, but for salary increases to take effect on July 1,
2009, the Legislature would have to approve a new contract by the close
of the session at the end of April 2009.

 

LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

Legislative/Political Action
Committee Chair Richard Nettell reported that the second slate of
political endorsements will be brought to the Board of Directors’
March 8 meeting.  Two surveys will be sent to UHPA active members.  One
concerns faculty housing and the other will request examples from the
campuses of the “crumbling” facilities to support the effort to get
increased legislative appropriations for maintenance and capital
improvements.

Associate Executive Director
Kristeen Hanselman reported that the Legislative/Political Action
Committee plans to do an intensive assessment of the proposed UH Regent
candidates.  This is the first year a new law takes effect
that establishes an Advisory Panel that has interviewed candidates and
puts them together in a list from which the Governor must select new
Regents.  These candidates are still subject to the consent of the State Senate.  In
that regard, UHPA will provide testimony in support or opposition to
the candidates when they are being considered by the Senate based on
our own review of the qualifications and backgrounds of the individuals.

 

NOMINATIONS & ELECTIONS COMMITTEE

  • Nominations and Elections Committee Chair Adrienne Valdez reported on the eVoting Project.  In
    preparation for using electronic voting, a mock Presidential Primary
    election was conducted on February 5, which we called “sUHPA Tuesday”.  This was a good exercise.  A follow-up survey will be sent to Faculty Representatives to ask them questions about the eVoting process.
  • Directors were
    informed that in August 2007, the Board had approved conducting the
    2008 Board of Directors’ election electronically.  Unfortunately,
    the State Legislature did not take up the issue of changing Hawaii’s
    Not-for-Profit Corporation Law that would allow electronic voting and
    making it then parallel to the for-profit law.  Board elections will be conducted through written ballot that is mailed through the postal service this April.  Standing Rules were developed for the 2008 Board elections and thoroughly reviewed by the Executive Committee.  Directors passed a motion to adopt the Standing Rules Governing the 2008 UHPA Board of Directors’ Election.
  • In addition, the election of Faculty Representatives will be conducted before the end of the semester.  The
    Hawaii Not-for-Profit Corporate Law does not prohibit electronic voting
    for the election of Faculty Representatives since they do not hold any
    decision-making authority over the corporation’s actions.  Continuing under our historic practice, voting will be conducted only if there are contested races.  Those Faculty Representative elections will be conducted electronically.
  • Active UHPA
    members will be mailed materials and ballots concerning the repeal of
    UHPA’s current Constitution, proposed Amended and Restated Articles of  Incorporation (replaces Constitution) and the Amended and Restated Bylaws (replaces/amends current Bylaws).  The
    larger packet of material will include President Chernisky’s letter of
    explanation, a summary of information, the Amended proposals, the
    current Charter of Incorporation, current Constitution and Bylaws, and
    a Proxy ballot and envelope.  To prevent confusion, the ballot with return envelopes to repeal the current Constitution will be mailed under separate cover.  Active
    UHPA members are encouraged to mail in your repeal ballots and proxy
    votes, especially if you are unable to attend the Annual Membership
    meeting that is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2008, at
    the Leeward Community College in Room GT-105.
  • Upon passage
    of the above proposed amendments, Kapiolani Community College will be
    provided an additional seat on the UHPA Board of Directors.  The
    Nominations and Elections Committee will conduct an election for that
    Director as soon as possible and likely at the beginning of classes in
    the fall to allow full participation by the campus.
  • Directors were
    informed that the National Education Association (NEA) Annual
    Representative Assembly will be held from July 1 through July 6 at the
    Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.  Nominations for delegates to the NEA RA will be open shortly.  UHPA is allotted 21 delegates.
  • Directors unanimously passed a motion to confirm the appointment of Professor Yi-Yeng Chen from the Department of Meteorology, UH-Manoa, as the Faculty Representative for Primary Academic Unit 121 effective immediately.  Dr. Chen will serve a one year term, which ends on May 31, 2009.

 

AD HOC COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL PROJECTS

Chair Josh Cooper reported that more
than a dozen UHPA members, friends, and family marched in the Martin
Luther King Jr. Day Parade.  Several UHPA members marched with other community associations.  Fernando Jones and My Band played at the Kapiolani bandstand.

Chair Cooper reported that Fernando
Jones visited five UH campuses, four public schools, and four local
clubs during his ten days in Hawaii.  He performed concerts at Kapiolani CC, Maui CC, Windward CC, and UH-Manoa.  He also lectured at Kapiolani CC, Leeward CC’s Waianae Branch, and at Maui CC. 

The Special Projects Committee hopes
to participate in Human Rights Day on March 14 at the State Capitol,
bring students to the Legislature, participate in Earth Day, provide
courtyard furniture and umbrellas for some campuses, and research
sustainable material such as beverage mugs or cups.

 

FINANCE COMMITTEE

Chair Duane Stevens reported that the Finance Committee has received the financial reports from the UHPA Treasurer.  The
Finance Committee plans to review UHPA’s capital spending plan with
regard to the modifications to the Akala Building and the connecting
bridge work.  The Committee will also review the auditor’s report once it is completed.

 

NEW BUSINESS

A motion was made and seconded to
provide $500 to an organization that is coordinating an event in March
to commemorate the 60 years of the Palestine people’s dispossession
from their lands.  The request came to Director Nandita Sharma (UH-Manoa Ethnic Studies) from a graduate student.  However,
there was no written request outlining the use of the funds, the
specific events that it would support, or a full description of the
organization asking for UHPA’s sponsorship.  After lengthy discussion, the Directors moved to table the motion.

 

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Results of sUHPA Tuesday are in!

UHPA members (only) can view the results of the Mock Presidential Primary here.