Save the date: Oct 30-Nov 1 for this year’s Aulani UHPA Offer!

Last year UHPA members enjoyed an exclusive offer of discounted rates at the Aulani Resort that featured special Halloween events, great for the whole family.

By popular demand, we’re repeating that offer year so save the date with reservation info to come!


Stop Flu at School

Stop Flu at School, Hawaii’s school-located vaccination program, is an innovative partnership between the State of Hawaii Departments of Health and Education, the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, and Hawaii Catholic Schools. This program is endorsed by the Hawaii Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Hawaii Association of Family Practitioners.

The Stop Flu at School program aims to improve the health of Hawaii’s keiki, families, and kupuna by preventing the spread of influenza (flu) through vaccination.

Through the Stop Flu at School program, all children attending participating elementary and middle schools are offered FREE flu vaccine at school, during the school day. The program is voluntary for schools and students. Vaccinations will begin in October 2015.

For more information or to view the 2015 Statewide Clinic Schedule (in alphabetical order), please go to:

Dealing with Today’s Students

Guest post by Rosiana (Nani) L. Azman, Ph.D.  Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Hawai’i Maui College

I am a teacher. Technically, I’m an Associate Professor of Psychology, and by training, I am an educational psychologist; but if you ask me what I do, my response will most likely be that I am a teacher. I believe in facilitating learning. I do not enjoy professing my supposedly superior knowledge in a subject at students. I believe in interacting with them to help them to learn for themselves.

When I first started teaching, I knew that my students weren’t necessarily going to be like me. I am lucky. I have wonderful, supportive, and encouraging parents. I had a pretty good private school education with amazing teachers who didn’t just teach me what to learn, they taught me how to learn. Add on top of that that I am an overachiever, and it’s pretty safe to say that I was not a typical student. By the time I entered college, I knew that I loved to learn.  A very small percentage of my students are lucky enough to have the kind of background I did. I think a large part of my job is to inspire them, to show them that it’s fun to learn. It’s not too hard in psychology. I can tie anything back to real life, and we have fun.

Parents have the right intention

helicopterparentslargeNow some of my students also had parents and teachers who invested in them. Many of my students are definitely smart.  Their parents and teachers want nothing more than to have these children succeed. These parents and teachers also want to make sure that these students had high self-esteem so that they believe that they can take on anything. They have been closely and carefully watched to ensure that they always succeeded. And most of them do, as long as mom and dad are there to run interference, just in case something starts to go awry. What parents don’t want to protect their children from hurt and failure? Wouldn’t it be great if we could give our children a perfect world in which to live?

But the truth is, we don’t live in a magic bubble.

There is no conceivable way for me to be able to protect my daughter completely and eternally from ever having any hurt or disappointment. It breaks my heart to see her cry from pain, both physical and emotional, and I wish I could magically keep her safe forever.

Trying to protect our kids keeps them from learning about life

I’m pretty sure some of my students’ parents feel the same way I do. They want their children to have a better life than they did, free from cruelty, harm, and failure. Doesn’t that sound nice? But somewhere, at some point, something went wrong. In trying to protect them from all of life’s evils, these students missed learning an invaluable lesson: what to do when life doesn’t go your way.

Many of today’s students don’t know how to fail.

They have no coping skills whatsoever to know how to handle adversity. I’ve had students drop a class because they think they failed the first exam. My tests aren’t easy. They’re application based. They are meant to show how well you understand the material, not how well you can regurgitate that which you have shallowly and temporarily memorized. The ones who disappear after that, I cannot help. The ones who stay learn a crucial lesson.  Many of them finally hear me and actually use all those study tips I’ve been building into the lessons. They change their approach to studying and to learning. I can’t tell you how good it feels when they come back to see me after the semester, sometimes after they’ve graduated, to thank me.  I was even once told that nearly flunking that first exam was the best thing that ever happened to that student, but that’s because he saw the near failure as a learning experience, not as a time to brood in incorrectly perceived defeat.

Like the student I thought took a job to help her family with the bills

I once had a twenty-something-year-old student who emailed me mid way through the semester to say that her mother had been in an accident, and so she would be mostly likely missing some classes.  This was a smart student who seemed to do well on exams and was a pretty strong writer.  I didn’t see this student for three weeks.  I finally got a call, asking if she could come see me during office hours to discuss her hardships.  I was expecting to hear something to the effect that she had to stop going to school because she had to go to work to pay the family’s bills. I was trying to figure out if I could give the student an incomplete and help her to finish up the work after the semester was over.

The student came in, and it was pretty obvious that she was distraught. She started talking about how hard it had been since her mother’s accident. Her mother was essentially on full bed rest and would be for the next couple of months. She kept saying how the extra work she had been doing was just completely exhausting her and how she hasn’t been able to keep up with her schoolwork. I assumed she was referring to the job I thought she had gotten to help pay the family bills and made some comment about how admirable and responsible she was being, taking care of her family.

Until I realized she hadn’t

She gave me a confused look. She hadn’t gotten a job. Her stepdad was paying all the bills for the house and for her family. That’s when I got confused. I asked her what extra work she had to do. She kept saying how it’s just been so hard, how she’s never had to do so much before. Since her mom’s accident, her stepdad has been making her wash the dishes and clean the kitchen after dinner.  Her stepdad was cooking every night after coming home from work and said he was too tired to clean up, too, so he needed her to pitch in.  After all, it was just the three of them in the house, and mom wasn’t allowed to get up.

Until I realized she really meant doing chores

I was still waiting to hear about these hardships.  She continued, so I thought I was going to find out now.  She had also been asked to do the laundry.  When it dawned on me that washing the dishes and doing the laundry were her hardships, I did my absolute best to curb my sarcasm and tried to explain that I had been helping out with the dishes and the family laundry since I was nine. I was then corrected.  Her stepdad did the laundry for his wife and himself. My twenty-something-year-old student was just being asked to do her own laundry. She said her mom kept apologizing that her daughter had to do so much around the house.

Sorry, but chores aren’t hardships

I really wish I was exaggerating right now to make some great point, but this is a true story that made me realize that I should never coddle my daughter. If I try to protect her from all of life’s harms, she may still end up intelligent, but she would be unequipped to handle real life, and she might confuse chores for hardships like this student did.

Having standards makes me mean

I asked my student how doing the dinner dishes and her own laundry had stopped her from coming to my 1:45 class two afternoons a week.  When the student couldn’t give me an answer, I gave her one week to make up all of the missed work, and I told her that I expected to see her in class on time next week, and that she would be expected to keep up with the class from this point forward.  I’m pretty sure she thought I was the meanest teacher in the world, but she managed to finish her course and do a couple of household chores, all in the same semester. As far as I’m concerned, I was probably too nice because dishes and laundry aren’t extenuating circumstances to anyone but that student (and sadly, probably some of her classmates).

Parents, who will do their laundry in the “Real World”?

I’m pretty sure that that student’s mom thought she was doing what was best for her daughter.  She was just trying to take care of her daughter and protect her. She did not realize that she was forgetting to teach her daughter how to handle adversity.  If we all go through school and life thinking that everyone is a winner and that everyone deserves a trophy, regardless of how much we actually tried or did, what is going to happen when an entire class of these students enters the real world and all apply for the same job? They all won’t get the job.  One will, and then his or her reality will be challenged when something else doesn’t go his or her way, a little later on. The rest will run home to mom and dad, who will hopefully send them right back out the door with another job application, maybe after a nice pep talk and a hug.  Other parents will just hug them, tell their grown child that the executives of that company must be incompetent, and then tell their child to go rest, while the parents continue to prepare dinner for the family and do everyone’s laundry.

J.N. Musto’s Final Testimony as Executive Director at the Board of Regents Meeting

UH Board of Regents Meeting
August 20, 2015

Testimony Pertaining to Agenda Item VIII.B.1

On behalf of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, I will once again speak to the organization of the University of Hawai’i System and its relationship to the various campuses. I have spoken on this topic many times before, and I would refer you to the letter I sent to Representative LoPresti during the last legislative session.

I applaud President Lassner for his comments at the last Board of Regents meeting where he stated that in the absence of any fundamental restructuring of the University, the UH System Office must become a value-added service to the campuses. After more than three and half decades of working within the various manifestations of the University of Hawai’i, I would say that implementing organizational “efficiency and effectiveness of support services” is the least that needs to be done to justify the current structure of the UH System, but unfortunately it is likely to prove insufficient to address the major issues the facing the institution going forward.

It is my observation that the University of Hawai’i as currently constructed is not sustainable even over the near term. The shift in the relationship of the University to the State of Hawai’i has forced a fundamental change in the nature of this public university and the competing missions that it is now being asked to carry out with ever fewer state resources and support. I continue to carry the strong belief that the University is more than just a public higher education “job training center,” no matter the level of complexity attendant to those jobs. The answer to creating a sustainable university will not be found in a simplistic adoption of a “corporate” or “market” approach. A university education, especially at the baccalaureate level, is a unique life experience of enduring value, and not just a commodity to be purchased.

The University of Hawai’i is a public treasure which makes Hawai’i a better place for all of us. It is not just a location where students learn and faculty members teach, or where football and volleyball teams play games, even as important as those aspects are to the institution. Its mission goes beyond instruction to the creation of new knowledge. The University is the repository of our shared cultures and historical experiences. It is the critical responder to changing environments, public needs, and crises. If the Regents do not understand the real nature of a university or are unable to promote the value of the institution to the citizenry, then truly all hope is lost.

In order for our University to better serve this state, it is my conclusion that the Regents should move forward with more than just a reordering and consolidation of the UH System Office. I believe the legislators, the students, the faculty, the UH staff, and the citizens of Hawai’i will accept responsibility to, and accountability from, the institution if it were composed of three distinct parts: University of Hawai’i (including Manoa Valley all baccalaureate offerings on Oahu), Hawai’i State University (including all post-secondary education on the Island of Hawai’i), and the Hawaii Community College System (including Maui College, Kauai CC, and a unified Oahu CC comprised of all campuses on the island.) Each of these entities would have a President that directly reports, and is responsible to the Board of Regents.

Under this model, the UH System would become an expanded Office of the BOR led by a Chancellor. The UH System Office would be responsible for: establishing a unified budget proposal integrating all three post-secondary elements of the statewide System for presentation to the Governor and State Legislature, the ownership, distribution and sale of property, the issuance of general obligation and capital bonds, internal auditing of the campuses, the collection and dissemination of institutional research data, the provision of general counsel to the Regents, and the hiring and the evaluation of the performance of each President. All other matters, including human resources, payroll, and budgeting, would reside with each of the three institutional entities.1/

I envision the University of Hawai’i, Hawai’i State University, and the Hawai’i Community College System as academically autonomous entities, subject to the approval of degrees, programs, and certificates by the Board of Regents in the same historical manner that has been utilized. The Regents would also approve course articulation agreements between campuses, and facilitate cooperative academic and research endeavors between the three entities. The final approve of the granting of tenure (which is more than just “job security”) would still require the approval of the Regents upon the recommendation of each of the Presidents. Faculty, administrators, and Presidents of the three institutions would carry out all procedures for hiring, the recommendations for tenure, and the decisions with respect to academic promotions.

I understand how difficult and unlikely it is that such a major organizational change will occur at the University. However, I hope this recommendation is not dismissed out of hand. At the very least, the University would be advantaged by a broader public discussion of such a proposal that brought together all the members of the university community with other citizens of our state.

This is my final testimony to the Board of Regents on behalf of the faculty union. Despite the many times that I have presented written statements and spoken before the Regents over the last thirty-five years, I feel that I will leave with many important messages unsaid. It has been my honor and pleasure to have served the faculty of the University of Hawai`i, and in doing so, I hope, to have advanced public higher education in our State. UHPA succeeds in its mission only when the University thrives as place of higher education.

We all have our parts to play if we are to succeed.

Mahalo and Aloha,

J. N. Musto, Ph.D.
Executive Director


1/ I would suggest that under the provisions of HRS Chapter 89, a broad UH System Agreement would be negotiated through the Chancellor’s office, with contractual provisions governing the three separate entities be negotiated by each of the Presidents. This would not require a change in Chapter 89.

Senator Schatz Addresses Bias in Letter to NASA

In a memo issued in March 2013, NASA grant-awarded faculty were surprised to see Hawai’i classified with “foreign destinations” for the purposes of travel approval. Despite a correction issued a year later in March 2014,  lower-level NASA officials continued to restrict approval, asserting to Hawai’i faculty that their travel monies were non-domestic. After hearing from concerned faculty, Senator Schatz wrote to NASA Administrators in an effort to bring awareness to the difficulties which state researchers frequently face; namely, that it can be challenging to overcome stereotypes about Hawai’i in efforts to maximize research opportunities in what happens to also be a popular tourist destination.

In a response dated August 18th, Chief Financial Officer, David Radzanowski clarified the proper procedures and identified points of contact who would be able to assist grantees in remedying the misconception. Now faculty should be able to acquire approval without undue burden. Mahalo Senator Schatz.

Read the Correspondence Between Senator Schatz and NASA Officials

UHPA Files Prohibited Practice for a Failure to Bargain Wages at Cancer Center

UHPA has requested that the Hawaii Labor Relations Board address the employer’s unilaterial implementation of wages through the UHCC Consortium, an entity that is not regulated by the employer. A number of UH administrators are on the Board of the Consortium and are agents of the University. The payment of wages through an external mechanism evades the employers bargaining obligations. It also denies UHPA income as allowed by law for dues deductions. Employees may have also have been deprived of ERS contributions which could cause a reduction in retirement income.

UHPA is seeking to establish the appropriate relationship between the Consortium and the Cancer Center. The  presence of a third party, which may exercise significant influence over the work and compensation of Bargaining Unit 7 members, violates the University’s duty to negotiate and attempts to limit the scope of bargaining with UHPA.

The Hawaii Labor Relations Board will establish a timeline for a hearing over the course of the next few months.

Read the Prohibited Practice Complaint

ERS Filing Sessions

If you are planning to retire this year, please refer to the schedule for individual counseling/filing sessions on the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) website under Members Retirement Planning

Employees wanting to request an individual counseling session on O‘ahu should call ERS at 586-1735, as the individual counseling sessions are filling up fast.  A registration form is also available on the last page of the ERS Counseling Appointments for Employees Retiring schedule.  On the form, please enter the last 4-digits of your social security number and your month and date of birth (the year is not required) and mail or hand-deliver the completed form to the ERS Office.  NOTE:  If it is too early to register for a session, please regularly check the ERS site for the schedule of sessions.

For neighbor island employees, please contact the neighbor island ERS representative for an appointment.  The ERS has scheduled pre-retirement workshops and informational sessions on the islands of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Lāna‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i.  The pre-retirement sessions schedule and instructions to register on each island may be viewed at:

Additional information regarding your retirement benefits is located on the ERS website at  Should you have questions related to retirement, please contact ERS at:

O‘ahu – (808) 586-1735
Maui – (808) 984-8181
Hawai‘i – (808) 974-4077
Kaua‘i – (808) 274-3010

So You Want to Run the University Like a Business? Part 2: What is your educational product? (updated)

By David Duffy, UHPA President

The creation and transmission of knowledge have been the traditional products of higher education. Learning and scholarship acquired through study are acknowledged by the awarding of a degree. Students are not taught a particular trade. They are taught to think for themselves, to write and to speak in ways that convince others, to understand what they read, to learn how to learn, and to continue to educate themselves, wherever life takes them.

But more recently, other views of universities and their products have emerged, reflecting different values.

Workforce training

One of the most popular new products is workforce training, preparing students for today’s jobs. While this seems logical and more efficient than the liberal arts, it is actually a fool’s errand. A degree suitable for today’s market may soon be out of date. Where are the jobs for COBOL programmers, reporters, editors, stenographers, photo lab technicians, illustrators, bookstore clerks, travel agents, farmers, and elementary art and gym teachers?

Or put another way, ten years ago jobs as app developers, sustainability experts and data miners didn’t exist. Going forward, the future of lawyers and accountants doesn’t look so good as they can be replaced by apps on an iPhone, and, as we will see below, even university professors may become obsolete.

Workforce training also ignores the human element.

Most six-year olds want to be firemen, sports stars, doctors, or astronauts, but the world is not awash in any of these. Even 18-year olds rarely know what they want to become. As they take courses, they may find their planned professions are not what they wanted, or the prerequisite courses deter them. This more or less guarantees a certain level of inefficiency in earning a degree.

Buying degrees

A more insidious product for academia is what is essentially the buying of degrees. Education becomes a purchase, not learning. From the student and parental point of view, they pay good money, and lots of it, and they expect good grades and a degree. Enrollment in a course, not mastering its contents, has become the product. Professors under pressure have found it easier to succumb to grade inflation. If they don’t, they may not be promoted. Of course, quality doesn’t enter into this equation.


At an increasing numbers of universities, efficiency has become the product. Degrees awarded, time to degree, and cost of a degree have become the metrics of success for politicians and university governing bodies applying production line business models to education. Learning is just too difficult to measure. The logical responses by the university are easier grading, fewer course requirements, and lower expectations for a degree. Costs can be cut by hiring temporary faculty who lack medical and retirement benefits and are disposable if enrollments fall. Without permanent faculty to oversee academics, administrators take over and by necessity they dance to the tune of efficiency, not academics. And again, excellence doesn’t enter into things.

Economics or making a profit from the non-profits

There have always been for-profit academic institutions. With the easy availability of privately financed student loans, the for-profits could rake in the tuition dollars. However, with the federal government taking over the student loan business and going after the greediest of the for-profits, the financial awards became less attractive.

Although not guilty perhaps of such conscious avarice, the non-profits also benefited from the easy availability of money, enabling them to raise tuition, to raise faculty salaries, to construct new academic buildings and ever more luxurious dorms, and to pile up highly paid administrative cadres. The result for students, whether they graduated or not, was the massive accumulation of debt that could take decades to pay off.

With academic aid taken over by the government and for-profits increasingly brought to heel, the solution to the search for profits turned next to the non-profits, the traditional institutions of higher learning. Admittedly universities are rarely models of economic efficiency, so fast-talking financiers and venture capitalists teamed up with academics to try to sell MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses). One professor could teach a thousand or a hundred thousand students via well-produced lectures. Students would never interact with the faculty. If they needed assistance, they could interact amongst themselves on-line or with poorly-paid assistants at the academic equivalent of calling centers located around the world. Once produced, MOOC’s cost little and would represent a pure and continuing profit.

The immediate economic benefit would be elimination of the need for faculty except for the few who could be contracted to star in the MOOC’s: indeed actors could replace faculty, reading from a script. An unanticipated intermediate benefit would be the demise of most universities , except for the most prestigious which could and would charge a premium for small in-person classes taught by real life faculty and yielding prestigious degrees.

Good, Cheap or FastThe eventual result might be economically efficient but devastating for society.

Higher education would be controlled by a few large entities, which would market to a common denominator, oblivious to local or regional needs or even to innovation.


There is a saying in business that you can have two of the following three: cheap, fast, or good. American higher education seems to have chosen cheap and fast over quality. Is this good for America?

Closer to home, is cheap and fast good for Hawai`i?

As the most isolated inhabited island on the planet, we need a population that can adapt and solve new challenges as they arise. We also need educational approaches that speak both to the indigenous Kanaka Maoli, and to our many minorities who may not fit the cookie- cutter approaches of MOOCs.

Perhaps in the end maybe we need to have only one product: excellence.

Students can learn how to be excellent in some one area, be it English poetry, Latin, mathematics or sports, and to appreciate the effort needed to be excellent. During their careers, they would continue to pursue and achieve excellence in whatever fields they chose, be it law, business, academia or farming.


Added on August 2, 2015:

University of Phoenix under investigation

The ultimate university run as a business, The University of Phoenix, is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, has experienced a 54% decline in enrollment and its stock has gone from 34 to 12 dollars per share since the start of the year. Its business products included a graduate rate of just over 7% and a 19% student loan default rate. Phoenix targeted veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars as its customers, as they get support from the GI Bill to attend college.

source: Daily Beast, and Reveal