Aloha! Welcome to the Virtual Annual Membership Reports

As President of UHPA I am pleased to present our annual reports to you, our UHPA members, in electronic format while we are practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. Included as links to Google documents you will find a President’s Report, a report from our Executive Director Christian Fern, and a report from Tom Apple, Treasurer.  Please email with any questions you might have. We also welcome ideas for ways to continue to reach out to new and existing members. We all look forward to seeing you when that becomes feasible.

Warm regards,
Ashley Maynard

UH Key to Hawaii’s economic recovery

Editor’s note: the below opinion piece by UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern appeared in the April 26, 2020 Honolulu Star Advertiser

Hawaii is caught between a rock and hard place. Our state constitution requires us to have a balanced budget, with a plan that shows anticipated revenue to cover projected expenditures. Although we’ve had budget deficits in the past, as a state we have generally been good about not spending more than what we generate.

Aggressive strategies worldwide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have been necessary, but it has come at a cost. State government officials project an estimated $1.5 billion drop in state tax revenue. It’s painfully clear difficult decisions must be made.

Although the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges, this is not our first encounter with an economic downturn in our state. We can learn from our experiences from the Great Recession that started in 2009. Good decisions helped to position us for better recovery, but bad decisions continue to haunt us and we are still paying for those.

Now is the time to make prudent, collaborative decisions to accelerate our economic recovery and plan the future we want for Hawai‘i.

Yet, Gov. David Ige unilaterally proposed a 20% pay cut for public employees. To many in the public sector, the pay cuts seemed to be a knee-jerk reaction that lacked careful thought and input. To make this more palatable, he later offered to cut his own pay and that of his cabinet team members, and then back-pedaled by offering to “look at all options” to balance the budget.

Those words offered a glimmer of hope that he is not focused only on cutting public employees’ pay. 

 During the Great Recession, we saw a significant decline in visitors to Hawaii and reduced spending by those visitors. We also saw a substantial loss of jobs in tourism, transportation, construction, retail and service industries, with a significant rise in unemployment rates. We also saw wages decline.

In the midst of those dismal trends, there was a bright spot. We saw enrollment in the University of Hawai‘i increase by nearly 20% at the four-year campuses and nearly 30% at the community colleges. 

Counterintuitively, state general funds to support the UH dropped by about 30% per student during that time. The budget cuts forced the university to raise tuition rates, placing a burden on families already struggling to send their kids to college.  We should not make the same mistake this time around and instead invest in Hawaii’s people appropriately. The University system must be ready and supported to offer relevant, quality training to its residents to restart the economy. A hiring freeze or staff reductions would only increase class sizes or cut entire classes.

Universities generally have countercyclical experiences during downturns in contrast to other sectors of the economy. Enrollment soars during downturns because while many are looking for a job, they return to the UH to learn new skills to become more job-ready and attractive candidates to employers. Faculty played a key role in preparing the workforce for the state’s recovery efforts in 2009, and need to continue to be on the frontlines to support our local economy. If Hawai‘i is to reduce its dependency on tourism, education through the UH is key to creating new opportunities for economic diversification and resilience. 

Academic research led by UH faculty is another economic engine for the state that is often overlooked. The expertise and reputation of the faculty are able to attract millions of dollars in funding for research, which also creates jobs for graduate students and support staff. 

When we receive the green light to venture out of our homes again, we know the world will be different from when we left it just about a month ago. We’ll need to be ready to hit the ground running. We cannot afford to make hasty decisions that create more harm than good, now and for our future.

2020 Newly Elected UHPA Board of Directors & Officers

On Saturday, April 25, 2020 the UHPA Board of Directors met via Zoom and welcomed six (6) newly elected and two (2) re-elected Board members from across Hawai‘i .

Elected to represent their campus for three-year terms are:

  • Norman Takeya (re-elected), Assistant Professor of Architecture Engineering & CAD Technologies, representing Honolulu Community College
  • Kelli Nakamura, Assistant Professor of Arts & Humanities (History), representing Kapiolani Community College
  • Sarah Gray, Instructor & Librarian, representing Windward Community College
  • Jason Kenji Higa (re-elected), Assistant Professor of Anatomy, Biochemistry & Physiology, representing the University of Hawaii at Mānoa
  • Sarita Rai, Director of the Study Abroad Center, representing the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Joe Ramos, Researcher & Deputy Director of the UH Cancer Center, representing the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Susanne Still, Professor of Department of Information & Computer Sciences, representing the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Chun Han Wang, Professor of the Academy for Creative Media, representing the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

An election of new officers for the UHPA Executive Committee was conducted at this BOD meeting. UHPA President Ashley Maynard’s term continues through 2021.  Congratulations to the newly elected officers:

Vice President: Karla Hayashi, UH-Hilo
Secretary: Jason Kenji Higa, UH-Mānoa
Treasurer: David Duffy, UH-Mānoa
Members-at-Large: Harald Ebeling (UH-Mānoa), Alphie Garcia (UH-West Oahu), Samuel Giordanengo (Hawai’i CC)

UHPA Members stepping up to the challenge – published

When the COVID-19 outbreak began, we asked you to nominate UHPA Members that were stepping up to the challenges.  We’ve published those on our COVID-19 status page and invite everyone to review those and also submit more nominations. We’ll be publishing them on a regular basis.




Volunteer to help process unemployment claims

There has been an overwhelming amount of unemployment applications filed and despite the fact that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has added an additional 100 people to process them, they need volunteers to reduce the backlog so that families depending on unemployment compensation can receive those badly needed checks as soon as possible. 

We are working collaboratively with HGEA and HSTA, along with Senator Brian Schatz, leadership of the State House of Representatives — Speaker Scott Saiki, Finance Chair Sylvia Luke, and Labor Chair Aaron Johanson — to find a solution to this problem.

We are helping to do our part. Please go to and fill out a very simple form to indicate your interest in volunteering.  Details are on the website and you will be contacted for further instructions. 

With the help of hundreds of volunteers we believe that claims can be processed in a few weeks which otherwise would take months to process. We are doing this on our own to step up and help our community.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused unprecedented challenges for us all and sometimes it’s during those most difficult times there can be great comfort in knowing your volunteer efforts are helping other families in Hawaii. 

If you have time available to volunteer, we urge you to go to and fill out the volunteer form. 

Who can volunteer?

Current State workers.  No Oahu State worker volunteer will be turned away.


To help process unemployment claims.


Starting Wednesday, April 22.


Please be sure that any volunteer work does not interfere with your normal faculty responsibilities.  


To help our community.


Hawaii Convention Center. 

Please do not show up until your scheduled is confirmed.

Joy K. L. Andrade nominated for addressing mental health issues

Submitted Nomination:

NameJoy K. L. Andrade
Campus, DeptJohn A. Burns School of Medicine, Psychiatry
Categorythe top 3: dedication to teach; harm’s way; innovations
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?Joy K. L. Andrade, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is currently the Assistant Director of Medical Education and Patient Care (DMEPC) for the psychiatric services in the Emergency Room of the Queen’s Medical Center (QMC). She is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Imi Ho‘ola Post-Baccalaureate Program, and John A. Burns School of Medicine. Dr. Andrade has really stepped up as a leader by rapidly adapting to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and addressing mental health issues in the QMC Emergency Room. She has convened critically important meetings with the Department of Psychiatry’s partners in the QMC ER, taken the lead during brain-storming meetings, developed new protocols to provide quality patient care, and organized telemedicine across multiple clinical service sites to increase safe social distancing. As an educator, she has also developed new protocols for psychiatry residents to maintain quality clinical learning experiences for our future psychiatrists of Hawai‘i, and to optimize their safety by providing them with personal protective equipment (PPE; e.g., masks, goggles) and implementing ways to maximize social distance. In addition, in the midst of all of this chaos, she remains focused on her scholarship, including leading a quality improvement project of telepsychiatry in the QMC Emergency Room. Finally, Dr. Andrade has done all of this with a positive, practical, can-do attitude, and demanding that she be the “go-to” person to solve problems, despite the day-to-day obstacles.
Any other comments?Dr. Andrade is one of the “unsung” UHPA faculty members who deserve such recognition.

Do you know of other faculty worthy of nomination?

Fill the form below or open it in a new tab for easier use on a mobile device.

Cheryl Maeda and Joyce Yamada nominated for making masks

Submitted Nomination:

NameCheryl Maeda and Joyce Yamada
Campus, DeptUH Maui (Cheryl – Fashion Technology Program Coordinator); Joyce (Faculty & Staff Development Coordinator, Associate Professor)
CategorySewing custom-designed non-surgical masks for front line workers
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?The UHMC Mask Making Project is led by Fashion Technology Program Coordinator Cheryl Maeda and includes mask makers from Maui College Fashion Technology (FT) students (Current students: Emily Engh, Joy Tabon, Lia King and Alma Hieda; Other students and alumni are also sewing masks independently for the community), UHMC faculty Joyce Yamada, retired UHMC staff June Iwamoto, and UHMC alumni Emily Wong. The recipients are UH Maui College Campus and community members, including Hale Makua, Hale Mahaolu, Hospice Maui, Doctors on Call, Pukalani Superette, UHMC Student Center, IT Department, and UHMC faculty and staff and their families.
Any other comments?Cheryl custom-designed the mask pattern with input from healthcare professionals. The mask features elastic at the chin area, metal nose strips and either back of the head straps or ear loops, creating a close fit to the wearer’s face. The group is pleased to contribute to UH Maui College and our Maui Nui ʻohana by providing fabric masks in the spirit of A ʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia – Together, we will get this done.

Please note that this published nomination has been minimally edited, if at all, and strictly reflects the views of the submitting author and not UHPA.

Do you know of other faculty worthy of nomination?

Fill the form below or open it in a new tab for easier use on a mobile device.

Robyn Tasaka nominated for creating online learning platforms

Submitted Nomination:

Nominee nameRobyn Tasaka
Nominee Campus, DeptUHWO, No‘eau Center (Student Learning Center)
CategoryDedication to teaching and their students
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?Robyn Tasaka has created online platforms for students to use as they learn from a distance and she implemented some of these practices before COVID19. The No‘eau Center remains open in the sense that there are numerous guided workshops students can access. These workshops are essential when constructing a research paper, revising, and comprehending the process to writing a solid essay. She also works closely with No‘eau Center tutors, ensuring that students can submit papers online and receive timely feedback.

Please note that this published nomination has been minimally edited, if at all, and strictly reflects the views of the submitting author and not UHPA.

Do you know of other faculty worthy of nomination?

Fill the form below or open it in a new tab for easier use on a mobile device.


Kawena Komeiji nominated for creating a check-in app for students visiting the library

Submitted Nomination:

NameKawena Komeiji
Campus, DeptUHWO, Library
CategoryPutting themselves in harms way
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?Kawena Komeiji worked collaboratively with our IT Department to create a check-in app for students who still needed to visit the library in person, on March 23rd. She also created or improved on innovative technology platforms for students and faculty to use as they work from home, and she created a comprehensive list of resources for the larger community to access during this crisis.
2nd Nomination reason: Dedication and reporting to work before closure of the library, Kawena Komeiji collaborated with the IT Department on creating a check-in app for students. She also worked diligently to ensure students and faculty would have access to resources as they worked from home; she also worked swiftly to create various community based resources to keep the larger community informed.

Please note that this published nomination has been minimally edited, if at all, and strictly reflects the views of the submitting author and not UHPA.

Do you know of other faculty worthy of nomination?

Fill the form below or open it in a new tab for easier use on a mobile device.


Nani Fox and David Duffy nominated for bringing us a little humor

Submitted Nomination:

NameNani Fox and David Duffy
Campus, DeptMaui College and Manoa
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?People have always used humor to deal with life’s challenges. There is nothing funny about this corona virus but there is humor in how we deal with it. Nani and David created a Facebook page Covid-19: The Resistance Strikes Back which looks at the humor in such things as toilet paper hoarding, protective gear, staying sane during home isolation, and what pets think of all this. They warn “Not everyone has the same sense of humor. We try to avoid politics and unladylike language but sometimes we can’t resist.”

Please note that this published nomination has been minimally edited, if at all, and strictly reflects the views of the submitting author and not UHPA.

Do you know of other faculty worthy of nomination?

Fill the form below or open it in a new tab for easier use on a mobile device.