Why I voted no confidence on Dr. Richards at Kapiolani CC

I first began teaching at KCC in 1989. Since then I have moved from being a part time lecturer teaching multiple disciplines to a full professor and the current Chair of the Arts and Humanities Department. I voted no confidence on a personal level because I have watched myself and many of my colleagues shift slowly and inexorably from professionals who joyfully engaged students, sharing our passion for the subjects we teach, to feeling like we must put our heads down, disengage and just treat our profession like a job. The accompanying apathy and cynicism I felt was simply too distasteful.

On a more professional level I have discovered since becoming department Chair of one of the largest units on campus, that I had been placed in an untenable situation due to what seems clearly to be inaction and ineptitude on the part of the KCC administration over many years and across several prior department chairs. The atmosphere I walked into was one of hostility and manipulation. I believe I have been lied to and used as a pawn in the administration’s broader agenda because under Dr. Richards’ leadership fundamental problems, which have been widely acknowledged by virtually all those involved, could not be resolved.

If Dr. Richards is genuinely shocked by the current state of affairs, then he is out of touch with the sentiments of a large body of the KCC “ohana.” He is not the engaged leader he envisions himself to be and those most close to him have served him poorly by allowing him to think he had broad support. The vote of no confidence has been a long time coming. Many efforts over many years have been made to communicate low faculty morale and the myriad problems and frustrations many experience in their daily work life at KCC. These efforts have been met with deflection, derision and dismissal.

Yes, numbers can be manipulated but the consistent 3 to 1 or greater margins registered by all four groups that raised the issue of no confidence sends a clear and unambiguous message to Dr. Richards, Vice President Morton, President Lassner and the Board of Regents. I am proud of what my campus has done. This is not a time to negotiate but to reiterate: Dr. Richards must leave.

Sharon Rowe, PhD, MFA
Professor of Philosophy
Chair of Arts and Humanities
Member of the KCC ‘Ohana

Harold Fujii: A Home-Grown #HeroProf


Real-life heroes have a way of gaining the respect and admiration of others without any fanfare.  Harold Fujii, a professor with the Automotive Mechanics Technology (AMT) program at Hawaii Community College in Hilo, fits that bill perfectly.

Over the course of his career, Harold has prepared men and women to be ready to take on auto mechanic jobs after graduating from the program. Virtually all of those employed at car dealers and mechanic shops on Hawaii Island are his students — a clear measure of his success.

Harold also estimates 90% of the employers of auto mechanics on the island are his students. This attests to the solid foundation on which his students have built and furthered their careers, thanks to the education they received from Harold.

Harold’s Secret to an Outstanding Track Record

“I take a student at face value. Others may say, ‘no way this person can do it,’ but these students become leaders in the industry and in the community. That’s rewarding to me.”

Harold creates an environment for continuous learning. “I tell my students, ‘When you think you know it all, you’ve stopped learning,’” Harold said. That’s especially true in the automotive industry in which the technology is constantly evolving and continuous learning is critical. “You do it or you get obsolete.”

Harold also points out the importance of mutual learning. “I tell my students, “I learn from them; it’s not only you learning from me.’”

A Punk with a Love for Teaching

Perhaps the reason Harold can relate to students so well is that he was a graduate of the program himself. He admits that as a student he was not really into auto mechanics and did not consider himself a “gearhead.” “I had to work hard because there were others in the class who were more advanced than me,” he recalled.

I was a young punk, and now I’m an old punk,” he laughed, noting that one of his current students is older than him.

Harold says he spends more time with his students than with his family. He spends six hours a day with them, five days a week, so they get to know each other very well.  Yet, for some of students that is not enough time together. “I love teaching one-to-one, but I literally have to tell them, ‘I have to go home.’”

An Experienced Teacher

A minimum qualification for teaching at Hawaii Community College is actual private-sector experience. Harold easily met that requirement. After graduating from Hawaii Community College, he went to work at the Ford dealer on the island, and eventually was promoted to First Class Technician, before finally being named manager and was running the shop. That all happened within a span of about 10 years.

As with most heroes, Harold is quick to acknowledge support from another professor, Kenneth Shimizu, another graduate of the Hawaii Community College’s program. “I am blessed to have him,” Harold said.

The two of them are the program’s only faculty, teaching a total of 40 students each semester about auto transmission, engines, fuel systems, electronic systems, emissions, brake systems, suspension and steering, and more. Students can earn either a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate in Applied Science degree.

A Win-Win for Students and the Community

The Automotive Mechanics Technology program at Hawaii Community College services about 20 vehicles each week.  The program creates a win for both students and the community. The students are able to work on real-world vehicles, based on their skill level, under the watchful eye of their instructors. They receive college credit, while those who bring their cars in for service receive quality service at affordable prices because they are charged only for parts, not labor.

In addition, Harold says the program also services a number of state government vehicles, providing a cost-effective way for other state agencies to receive to service they need for their fleet of vehicles.

Norman Arancon: a Sustainable Agriculture #HeroProf

Most of us do give a second thought about where our food comes from or how it got to our plate, but we should. The majority of our food is imported into our state, making us vulnerable to forces outside Hawaii. And with limited space for landfills on our islands, there is a great need to recycle as much as possible. Lack of awareness of these issues hinders demand for more local food products to drive local agriculture.


It takes a hero who can see things that do not yet exist and to help us connect the food dots to create positive change – even our food preferences — no matter how challenging it may be. Norman Arancon, professor at the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management at the University of Hawaii at Hilo for the past seven years, is one of those visionaries.

Norman is using his expertise and extensive knowledge of composting, soil ecology, tropical fruit production and organic farming to address these issues in practical, concrete ways. His ultimate goal is to help Hawaii move toward more sustainable agricultural practices so that the state can become more self-sufficient.

Growing more of our own food allows more consumers to “buy local” and reap the benefits of fresher, more nutritious produce without the carbon footprint for transportation. Norman’s research focuses on vermicomposting — the use of earthworms to create a nutrient-rich fertilizer for soil. This reduces the need to import fertilizer for farming, which is an important but often overlooked component of sustainable agricultural practices.

Helping Farmers in the Philippines and Hawaii

Norman became interested in agriculture when he saw small farmers in his native Philippines struggling to make a living for their families. He graduated from Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, a private university in Northern Mindanao, Philippines, with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture.

Many of his professors at Xavier were graduates of Ohio State University, and Norman decided to follow in their footsteps. He received both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in environmental science from Ohio State University.

After receiving his PhD, Norman was able to travel throughout the Philippines to share his expertise, with support from a USDA grant. He held a nationwide symposium in 2006 on vermicomposting at the University of the Philippines at Los Baňos, Luzon. He also held workshops at the two other major island groups in the Philippines: Visayas and at his alma mater, Xavier University in Mindanao.

Norman eventually made his way to Hawaii because there was a need for someone with expertise in sustainable agriculture and his experience in crop production made him a natural choice, especially since the tropical climate of the Philippines is similar to that of Hawaii.

Today, in addition to teaching at UH-Hilo, Norman is a regular teacher for The Kohala Center, which provides training for beginning farmers. He also reaches out to provide farming advice to churches in the Hilo area.

Recycling Organic Wastes

Norman said he is able to take the “number one waste” product on the UH-Hilo campus – paper – and convert that into food for his earthworms.

He started the program in 2009 as part of the Zero Waste Initiative. It is now a campus-wide effort, but Norman supervises the composting process and incorporates as a major activity of his sustainable agriculture class. Students involved with the UH Hilo Student Association pick up and collect post-consumer waste – leftover food from meals — from the dining halls to add to the compost. The program receives funding from UH Hilo’s Student Activities Center.

Everyone benefits. He is able to use the compost for the organic garden on the UH-Hilo grounds and the eventual goal is to grow enough produce the campus dining hall needs for a day or two each week.

He also uses the liquid extracted from the compost enriched by the earthworms for the school’s hydroponic system on the campus. The compost is brewed into a “compost tea” and is used to replace half of the recommended chemical fertilizers used in the hydroponic system.

The Campus Farm: A New Ivory Tower

Norman and his students cultivate pockets of small land areas totaling less than an acre throughout the Hilo campus. They grow tomatoes, zucchini, squashes, peanuts, ipu (gourds) and herbs such as basil. Norman said he also tried growing corn, but stopped because corn has a voracious appetite for nutrient fertilizers.

In addition, the students grow “sacrificial plants” such as leafy vegetables to attract bugs that are natural predators of other pests. Using these organic methods instead of resorting to synthetic chemicals strengthens the health of the plants.

While synthetic chemicals destroy harmful pathogenic organisms in the soil, they also destroy beneficial microbial organisms. Organic methods help to maintain the long-term health of the soil and plants.

A Growing Interest in Sustainable Agriculture

Norman teaches three courses each semester, reaching 50 to 70 students each semester. One of the course requirements is a two and a half-hour lab spent in the garden, but Norman says many students say they wish they could spend even more time gardening.

Not all of the students are majoring in agriculture. Some are majoring in communications, business, kinesiology, or nursing and are taking courses in sustainable agriculture to fulfill general education requirements, but Norman noted there has definitely been an increase in interest in the subject over the years.

In the fall of 2017, a new course will be added on vermiculture, which will add to the knowledge for the next generation of prospective farmers.

Generous Naalehu Neighbor

About two years ago, a Naalehu resident asked Norman and his students to help redesign his two-acre backyard. They seized the win-win opportunity. The resident would get a beautifully landscaped backyard garden, and the students would gain valuable experience in selected and designing a tropical orchard. They studied tree characteristics and plotted out where each of the 300 trees on the property. Norman and his students continue to make this another real-world classroom.

Entertaining Education

Besides sustainable agriculture, Norman also has a passion for music theater. He has performed in a number of musical productions at the Performing Arts Center of UH-Hilo, the Hilo Palace Theater, and the Kilauea Drama Network. His acting and singing credits include roles in Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, La Cage Aux Folles, Mary Poppins, and the King and I. Norman has demonstrated his acting and singing talents by playing the role of the sleazy, slithering Engineer in Miss Saigon and the King in the King and I, with a relentless drive to modernize Siam.

Norman seamlessly merges the two worlds together and seeks to excel in both science and singing. “If I’m not entertaining my students, then I have no business teaching in the classroom,” he said, noting that he has occasionally broke out in song during the classroom when it is appropriate to drive home a particular lesson.

This is the kind of creativity, courage, and boundless energy required to make Hawaii a better place to live. And the multi-talented Norman is just the kind of hero we need to lead the way.


E-Portfolio Pilot Project Plan underway for Community Colleges

Two Years in the Making

A joint “E-portfolio Committee” composed of Community College administration and UHPA has been engaged in a planning process since Spring 2014 to upgrade the current paper-based technology in the tenure and promotion process to an electronic, paperless process that will support rich media (e.g. video & audio) among other features in the dossier.

A Pilot Project Starting this Summer

The committee is planning to start a pilot project this summer which will take a representative sampling of UHPA faculty from community colleges who would normally be submitting an application in the fall.   Relevant administrative and TPRC members will be trained to use the system. This group will then evaluate the performance of the entire project from start to finish in a real-world setting with a genuine application process.

A pilot project, not a full scale implementation

It is important to note that this is a true pilot project, meaning it is “…a small scale preliminary study conducted in order to evaluate feasibility, time, cost, and adverse events…”.  Once the process has concluded in the spring of 2017, community college faculty participating in the process will submit their report on the experience along with a “Go/No-Go” recommendation going forward.

Pilot projects allow UHPA faculty to fully evaluate the system in a real world setting, providing the most accurate portrayal of what others will experience if a full implementation were to go into effect.

Clear, simple evaluation principles

Our committee members established these foundational principles during discussions over the past 2 years that will guide us in evaluations going forward:

  • The system cannot adversely change the existing portfolio evaluation methods.
    • Any policies currently in effect will not be changed.
    • We are changing the technologies used, not the policies that guide them.
  • Faculty must have complete control over the content submitted after the review process has completed to the same degree they do with today’s procedures.
  • Administration must provide adequate staffing, training, and equipment enabling faculty to adequately complete their e-portfolios.


Three sides to the pilot project evaluation

It is important to note that in addition to evaluating the suitability of the software, the pilot project will evaluate two other critical elements as well: the faculty and administration.

The three sides of this pilot project evaluation include:

  • The software and its vendor in terms of end-user experience, features, usability, support, performance, cost, and benefits.
  • The faculty in terms of acclimating to electronic document production (e.g. PDFs), using online forms, executing a different production process and acquiring the necessary skills to operate in a digital environment.
  • The administration in terms of providing clear leadership in transitioning to e-portfolios, supplying the necessary support structures in terms of IT-related resources and training, and acclimating to an environment involving online collaboration and electronic workflows.

UHPA believes it is important that all three sides are clear that everyone’s respective performance will incorporated in the evaluation. When UHPA delivers its findings about the pilot project experience in Spring 2017, our report will encompass the experiences reported as they pertain to each of the three sides.

This project is really about the ability to execute

This pilot project is more about the UH Community Colleges ability as a whole to execute on a complex project with deep implications more than it is evaluating the features of a software program and it is key that all stakeholders take this into account as they prioritize their resources to execute this project.

UHPA Member savings totaled over $100,000 on home closing costs

UHPA is happy to offer a nationally recognized, award winning home ownership program to all of its members in partnership with HomeStreet Bank.

The Hometown Home Loan Program recently won the American Bankers Association Community Commitment Award for affordable housing, celebrating more than two decades of giving back to its communities. The Hometown Program has become a uniquely significant resource by eliminating common barriers to affordable home ownership for UHPA members. The program’s primary focus is to provide access to local down-payment assistance programs, home ownership education resources, and significant savings on closing costs.

In the years since UHPA began offering this program, UHPA members have saved a total $133,000 on closing costs by working with the Hometown Home Loan Program. As a UHPA member you can contact Shad Woodland (NMLS ID#502166) at 808-447-1412 to learn more about your benefits or just click over to the HomeStreet Bank website for more information.

GM 855 Gubernatorial Nominee, J Musto, Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor

Monday, April 18, 2016

9:30 a.m.,  Room 325

RE: GM 855 Gubernatorial Nominee, J Musto, Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board

Attention: Chair Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair Maile Shimabukuro and Members of the Committee


The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) supports the confirmation of Dr. J. N. Musto to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board as the labor representative.

Dr. Musto offers a range of experience and knowledge that is both substantive and practical in addressing the challenges of  21st century collective bargaining and dispute resolution in Hawaii. His philosophy and practice over many years  have made Dr. Musto an exceptional candidate. His approach to a bargaining recognizes that the best contracts are those that result from the parties having a shared purpose; and that employees and employers function best when there is  mutual respect and trust. Recognizing there are occasions when dispute resolution processes must be invoked  Dr. Musto has demonstrated, as  UHPA Executive Director, that these processes must be used judiciously but are fundamental to ensuring  settlements when parties cannot find common ground. His knowledge of the strengthen and limitations of Chapter 89 are unprecedented  and lead to a long history of innovative and dynamic contracts that have served both UHPA members and the University of Hawaii well.

Collective bargaining and contract maintenance are dynamic processes that often require creativity and the flexibility to find avenues not written or previously contemplated  by the parties. Dr. Musto has often solved problems by an openness to continually negotiate and set new perimeters so a contract remains relevant when unanticipated issues arise. That is the heart of understanding the ongoing nature of employee and employer relationships.

UHPA urges the Committee to confirm Dr. J. N. Musto to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman                                                                                                                                                            Executive Director

Please support Dr. Musto’s appointment to the HLRB

Governor Ige has nominated Dr. J N Musto for State Senate confirmation to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

Dr. Musto was our executive director for over 30 years and UHPA strongly feels his appointment to this board would be of great benefit to all Hawaii workers.

It is always good in these matters to show as much support as possible and we are asking all interested UHPA members to testify in support of his appointment. You can quickly and easily do so online with something as simple as filling out a short form or you can upload a longer document if you wish.

Simply state in your own words why you believe Dr. Musto should be appointed.

Here is our testimony in favor of J N Musto’s appointment.  For reference, you can view the notice of hearing that will be held by the Committee on Judiciary and Labor on Monday, April 18, 2016 at 9:30am. You do not need to be present to testify.

How to testify – no later than 4/17/2016 9:30am.

Click this link that will take you to the status page for Governor’s Message 855, then click on the “Submit Testimony” button and follow the instructions. Please submit testimony BEFORE Sunday 4/17 9:30am.

You’ll have to sign in to easily testify online and if you haven’t done so previously the registration is free and extremely simple.

Mahalo for your support!

Kristeen Hanselman
Executive Director

EUTF Open Enrollment Tools

We are in the middle of the EUTF Active Open Enrollment Session, which runs from April 1st through April 29th.  Kaiser Permanente has created an easy to use tool for those of you who are considering a switch to the Kaiser Standard Plan. The tool will easily provide you with a cost savings comparison of your EUTF health care premiums by selecting the Kaiser Standard Plan.  Kp.org/switchandsave

Kaiser Permanente also put together a youtube video of EUTF Member and Honolulu Firefighter, Blaine Shimizu, who in addition to fighting fires, also works as a nurse at Kaiser Permanente.

Rate My Administrator – all editions available online

If you’re interested in viewing previous (or future) results of UHPA’s Rate My Administrator initiative, they can all be accessed online at our private Member-Only website.

You will need your UHPA Private Member website login and password to access this content

HB 1556, HD1, SD1, Relating to The University of Hawai‘i

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

9:05 a.m., Room 016

RE:  HB 1556, HD1, SD1, Relating to The University of Hawai‘i

Attention: Chair Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair Maile Shimabukuro and Members of the Committee

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) urges the committee to support the passage of HB 1556, HD1, SD1,  that provides faculty the opportunity to serve their communities not only as an educator but as a public servant.

The UHPA has advocated for faculty members to be allowed to participate as all other citizens without being subjected to a loss of employment for holding public office.  Over the years UHPA has testified on this issue and has proposed contract language that would extend the right to hold public office to UH employees.  UHPA has not been successful in these efforts and we believe that this has been detrimental to our faculty and their voices.

The current UHPA contract permits faculty to:

request leave of absence without pay or use vacation leave while campaigning for elective political office.  Faculty Members may continue working while campaigning for elective political office as long as the campaigning does not interfere with the duties and responsibilities of the Faculty Member, as determined by the Chancellor or Vice-President, and the Faculty Member complies with Board of Regents’ Policy, Section 9-5 [RP 9.205] (see R-04 of Reference Section), Political Activity (and subsequent amendments) and other applicable rules of the University.

The University of Hawai‘i faculty are members of communities throughout the State of Hawai‘i and must be provided equal opportunity, just like other citizens of Hawai‘i to hold public office.

UHPA urges passage of HB 1556, HD1, SD1.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman                                                                                                                                                            Executive Director