Cynthia Hunter nominated for Dedication to teaching and their students

Submitted Nomination:

NameCynthia (Cindy) Hunter
Campus, DeptManoa, Life Sciences
CategoryDedication to teaching and their students
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?“She went home for Spring Break to take care of her mother who was awaiting heart valve surgery. After the March 12 announcement that UH was switching to online instruction, while taking care of her mother, she arranged to switch her two courses to online, setting up Zoom and encouraging guest lecturers to use a format most had never tried. Directing from the mainland, her two courses went online both synchronously and asynchronously, as students now live everywhere from the East Coast to Australia. Her mother’s operation on the 24th was a success but she has continued taking care of her, while juggling lectures, grading, and mentoring two grad students who are defending their theses this month. Asked if we could mention her, she replied: “I would be honored but there must be thousands of us doing the same!”

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.

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Ken Leonhardt and JP Bingham nominated for producing hand sanitizer

Submitted Nomination:

NameKen Leonhardt and JP Bingham
Campus, DeptCTAHR
CategoryCreate bio-based products to reduce the spread of COVID-19
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?“The two have been working together to produce hand sanitizer. Ken has donated over 70 pounds of aloe with another 50 pounds on the way. Jon-Paul cooked this up into 80 gallons of sanitizer. But they are just getting started, with their eyes on aloe plants throughout Oahu which will be sustainably harvested to meet the needs of frontline nurses and doctors treating Covid-19. Ken’s advice to us all: “Be kind, drink beer, and wash yo hands!”‘

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.

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UHPA Responds to Governor’s 20% Pay Cut Announcement

Aloha Bargaining Unit 7 Faculty:

Yesterday, Governor David Ige announced a unilateral decision to impose a 20% pay cut for State employees, effective May 1, 2020. (First responders will receive a 10% pay cut.)

Many UHPA members have expressed their outrage and confusion. We want to reassure you that the Governor has no legal authority, right, or privilege to unilaterally negate or disregard our current Unit 7 contract. While he and other State officials may attempt to impose this pay cut as part of his emergency proclamation, we want to make it clear that imposing a 20% pay cut on May 1, 2020 or any future date is not allowable.

As part of our existing contract, changes to existing wages, hours, and working conditions of Unit 7 faculty members require the Governor to negotiate in good faith and obtain mutual consent. To date, this has not occurred or even begun.

While the Governor may have attempted to soften the blowback to him by convening a face-to-face meeting between his cabinet staff and Hawaii’s public sector labor union leaders, his proposal did not come with any specifics on how this will be accomplished, who will be affected, or how long this will be in effect. Even UH President David Lassner and the UH Board of Regents were not included in the Governor’s proposed “solution.” It was irresponsible to make such an announcement without details and, as expected, this fueled a lot of anxiety and generated a lot of questions since his cabinet staff did not have concrete answers.

UHPA along with its 3,500+ members recognize these are unprecedented and difficult times for all. Taking the next crucial steps in dealing with this situation and restoring Hawaii’s economy will take careful thought and prudent decisions that are based on projections supported by facts, data and evidence. Knee-jerk, reactionary measures based on faulty assumptions, innuendoes, and political aspirations do not demonstrate leadership during a time when true leadership is needed.

We hope that our Governor and our leaders will rethink their strategy and approach and begin to engage in meaningful dialogue and discussions on how to deal with the financial exigency the COVID-19 virus has created for our State.

Christian L. Fern
UHPA Executive Director

Dr. Markus Wessendorf nominated for sewing masks

Submitted Nomination:

NameDr Markus Wessendorf, Assist Prof Maile Speetjens and Production Manager Rick Greaver
Campus, DeptTheatre and Dance
CategoryDeveloping innovations to fight COVID-19
Why is this faculty member worthy of your nomination?University of Hawaiʻi researcher and Department of Theatre and Dance initiate effort to sew masks for health care workers

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) Assistant Research Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and the Pacific Biosciences Research Center Angel Yanagihara, along with faculty, students and staff of the UHM Department of Theatre and Dance (T&D), are sewing homemade fabric masks to help with Hawaiʻi’s increasing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. On the T&D side, the effort is spearheaded by the head of the Costume Shop, Assistant Professor Maile Speetjens, and the Production Manager, Rick Greaver, with the support of the Chair Markus Wessendorf.

This effort is in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. The masks will be pleated for better fit and made of 100 percent densely woven “breathable” cotton with pockets that can be inserted with a disposable near N95 non-woven filter material, Professor Yanagihara said. After use, the cloth masks may be treated with regular laundry soap then laundered and reused.

The first batch of cloth masks will be distributed through the University Health Partners of Hawaiʻi, the faculty practice plan of the UH medical school, with priority given to providers and staff in primary care and emergency care specialties, who provide first contact care for the majority of patients. In addition, JABSOM medical students are assembling plastic face shields that are needed by frontline health care workers.

With public contributions for materials, it is hoped that these masks and shields can be extended for the support of other primary care providers (including those assessing nursing home patients) across the state of Hawaiʻi.

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.

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Handy list of shortcut links to COVID-19 State Resources

Governor David Ige’s – Third Supplemental Proclamation
DLIR – How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance
DOH – How to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
DOH – Up-to-date COVID-19 Hawaii Statistics
DOT – Coronavirus Info and Resources
DOA – Inter-island Travel Declaration Form
DCCA – Landlord-Tenant Code
Hawaii State Senate YouTube Channel
To participate in the 2020 U.S. Census
From U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), information about the CARES Act (H.R. 748) and Family First Coronavirus Response
SBA – Paycheck Protection Program Application
CDC – How to Wear a Cloth Covering

Mahalo Senator Kanuha for this information.

Tell us about faculty stepping up to the Coronavirus challenge

COVID-19 is creating difficult challenges for UH Faculty and we are rising to the occasion. All of us know someone who is going beyond the call, for example: extraordinary work with students and our community, putting themselves in harm’s way, developing innovations to fight COVID-19, creating bio-based products to reduce the virus’s spread, increasing food security and sustainability, and other efforts to help our community cope with this pandemic.

Please share with us stories about our faculty stepping up to the Coronavirus challenge so we can share their stories and underscore (or highlight) our ongoing labor/work how they are playing key roles in this ongoing battle.

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