Welcoming Our Members to Fall 2023

Aloha UHPA Members:

Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed a well-deserved summer break and are ready for the fall semester.

Our Hearts Go Out For Maui

I’m sure the Maui wildfires are top of mind for many of you. Over the past three weeks, we have seen the tremendous devastation to Lahaina and cannot help but feel a deep sense of loss. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or have suddenly become houseless as a result of being displaced or because their homes have been burnt to the ground.

Crises like these stir a range of emotions. We have witnessed expressions of sorrow, despair, anger, and blame. It is no doubt a trying time for everyone. But crises can also bring out the best in people.

Supporting Our Maui ‘Ohana Affected By The Fires

When we learned about UH Maui College faculty who were impacted by the fire, the UHPA wanted to offer support. Without hesitation, the executive committee of the UHPA board of directors unanimously voted in favor of providing support for them. I’m pleased to let you know that UH, through the UH Foundation, partnered with UHPA to support the impacted faculty members.

Michael Young

It is this kind of lōkahi that is vitally needed now as those on Maui start their journey toward recovery. We were able to provide financial support for Michael Young, an instructor and apprentice program coordinator, who offers UH Maui College students a range of on-the-job training options to prepare them for meaningful careers, from architecture to culinary, from healthcare to construction trades. He received the 2021 Volunteer Award from Habitat for Humanity Maui for leading students in helping renovate substandard housing to address homelessness in Lahaina. We are glad we are able to support Young, who has invested so much into Maui and Valley Isle youth. 

Velma Panlasigui

We were also able to provide financial support for Velma Panlasigui, who attended Lahainaluna High School, UH Maui College, and UH-Mānoa, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in speech. She was able to return to her home island and give back to the Maui community as the coordinator and student advisor for the UH-Mānoa outreach program, serving Maui students in distance degree programs.

Laureen Ampong Kodani

UHPA and the UH Foundation were also able to provide financial assistance to Laureen Ampong Kodani, assistant professor and educational, communications and technology developer for instructional design at UH Maui College. Kodani has been a part of the UH Maui College ‘ohana for more than a decade, starting as a lecturer before being named to her current position. Kodani received degrees in accounting as well as applied business and technology from UH Maui College before earning a master’s degree in education focusing on educational technology from UH-Mānoa. 

Happy To Have Helped

These faculty have contributed so much to Maui and the next generation of leaders. UHPA is glad to have a small role in helping them through this challenging time. While many of us have not had time to reflect on the tragic events and process all that has happened, we know that aloha shines through in the darkest moments. 

Join Us and Help All Faculty

As always, UHPA is committed to helping all of our faculty and empowering them so they can remain true to their calling for conducting research, instructing, supporting students, and serving the community. Please consider joining our ‘ohana and letting other faculty know about the UHPA. There is power in unity. Now is the time to embrace others and welcome them.


Christian L. Fern 

Submit Your SCR 201 Feedback and Recommendations

UHPA has created a SCR 201 Google Form to collect your feedback on the proposed Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 201 Policy Changes. Any recommendations that you provide will be used to assist and guide UHPA in advocating and conveying faculty questions and concerns to management over the proposed SCR 201 changes during the consultation process. While these recommendations will be brought forward for discussion, they in itself do not guarantee policy language changes in line with the recommendations offered.


What is SCR 201 All About?

Read our SCR 201 Primer to bring yourself up to date on this issue.

Rate My Administrator 2022 Published

UHPA members can now download the “2021 UHPA Rate My Administrator Surveys” PDF. Nearly 700 faculty members participated system-wide across all campuses. 

Summary of Findings

Market Trends Pacific – the company hired to conduct the survey now in its second year, summarized the results of the 2022 report thusly: 

“In this second year of fielding the Rate My Administrator survey, overall scores generally declined slightly, with larger changes (both positive and negative) at the campus level. In some cases, campus scores decreased substantially, which may merit further attention and/or monitoring over time.”

The summary report contains:

  • Highest and lowest scoring statements
  • Average score for each statement
  • Average scores by campus
  • Both overall satisfaction by average by campus
  • Likely to recommend
  • Profile of respondents

The results of this survey will be shared with the UH Administration. We intend to annually repeat this process and publish trends over time.

UHPA’s long-term goal is to use these trendlines on faculty feedback to identify where administrative performance has been demonstrated as well as where it requires attention and improvement.

For UHPA Members only:


Not a member yet? Join now via this instant membership online form.. Are you already a member but can’t access the content? Click here to troubleshoot or just call our office.


Last Call for UHPA Professional Excellence Award Nominations

Nominations Close on December 7

The UHPA Board of Directors proudly announce the establishment of an annual Professional Excellence Award open to all UHPA faculty members that recognizes the outstanding and superior performance of University of Hawaiʻi faculty that significantly contribute their dedicated service and commitment to the UH system and its respective campuses.  The award proclaims and bestows the Boardʻs respect and appreciation for the accomplishment by its faculty members that is purely member driven as all nominations and selections are determined by their peers.

A Formal Recognition of UH Faculty Excellence

The award recognizes the key and essential role that all UH faculty fulfill in advancing the mission of the UH system in the areas of instruction, research, service and extension.  It also recognizes the service and commitment that all UH faculty provide to the UH system in serving its students, staff, community and citizens of the State of Hawaiʻi.

All Classifications To Be Recognized

The Board will recognize one faculty member for each faculty classification in instructional, research, specialist, extension agent, librarian, and lecturer.  There will be one awardee per each faculty classification for the entire UH system.

Submit Your Nominations Now Before the 12/7 Deadline

The call for nominations begins today Monday, October 31, 2022 and runs through Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. Use this online form to submit your nominations.

Evaluations Conducted by Our Board

A committee of faculty of the Board will review the nominees for instructional, research, specialist, extension agent, librarian, and lecturer, as applicable, and will make its recommendations to the Boardʻs Executive Committee for final confirmation.

Awardees Announced in Spring ‘23

At the April 2023 UHPA Annual Board Meeting all nominees will be announced and the Board will formally announce the awardees of the UHPA BOD Professional Excellence Award during its “Celebrating Excellence” event.

The Board looks forward to recognizing its outstanding faculty members and thank all of you for your heartfelt support of our member driven organization.

Unraveling UHM’s Debacle on Specialists

Unraveling UHM’s Debacle On Specialists

Demystifying The Process

Over the past week, there has been a lot of discussion, confusion, and questioning as to the purpose, intent, and meaning as to why the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa (UHM) Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Excellence (OVPAE) sent out an email request to the UHM Administration to document a “guesstimate” on percentages in the work faculty Specialist perform under five distinct categories of: 1) % Student Support including Advising; 2) % Academic Support to Departments, Curriculum; 3) % Research and Research Support; 4) % Classroom Instruction as Instructor on Record; and 5) % Other.  The email gave the perception that the SCR 201 Task Force that UHPA was part of was still operational and that they were the genesis behind this request for information from Specialist faculty.

Since then, there has been a lot of speculation, suspicion, perception, and twitchy feelings about this on-going review process by a non-existent Task Force.  Thus, clarification and a full explanation is needed.

SCR 201 Task Force Has Concluded

There seems to be a speculation and connection that this current UH Faculty Classification Review is being driven and/or directed by the Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 201 that was adopted by the Legislature during the 2021 Legislative Session.  As noted in SCR 201, the task force was requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022.  On Friday, January 28, 2022, the SCR 201 Task Force submitted its report to the Legislature which can be found here.  Though the Senate Committee on Higher Education (HRE), through its Chair Senator Donna Mercado Kim, initially claimed that they were unaware of the report, and therefore, were supportive of the recommendations of the Tenure PIG, which was the basis for SB 3269.  SB 3269 was supported by former Board of Regent (BOR) Jan Sullivan and former BOR Chair Ben Kudo.  Regardless of whether the Senate agreed or disagreed with the SCR 201 Task Force Findings and recommendations, the report was submitted and the SCR 201 Task Force was dissolved.

Board Of Regents Moved Forward

Based on the SCR 201 Task Force Report, the Board of Regents at the February 17, 2022 meeting passed a motion on what they wanted to see as the next steps.  This includes but was not limited to, establishing a four-member steering committee that includes the Executive Director of UHPA and the President of the University to address the recommendations noted in the SCR 201 report; actively engage in determining whether the effective resolution of each task will necessitate changes to various policies, agreements, or campus guidelines; and agree to co-manage the consultative process for each change as necessary.  The steering committee was requested to meet on a weekly basis to ensure that work progresses in a timely manner.

Steering Committee Established

The BOR Chair Randolph Moore established the Steering Committee and set forth the charge and deliverables to the Steering Committee based on the BORʻs motion in which the BOR set its expectations and desired outcomes.  The Steering Committeeʻs charge and deliverables based on the BOR mandate are:

  1. Develop written processes for addressing the few instances when the productivity of a tenured faculty member has declined and s/he is unable to perform faculty duties satisfactorily, including following a periodic review and professional development plan.
  2. Clearly define “faculty” and develop (a process involving the administration, the faculty, and the University of Hawai‘i Professional Assembly) 
    • Classification system for the faculty more aligned with its benchmark institutions. 
    • Determine criteria for reclassifying positions currently classified Specialist (S) to a tenurable general faculty position, a non-tenurable faculty position, a non-instructional faculty position, or a non-faculty staff position. 
    • Examine each Specialist (S) position and determine once the position becomes vacant how it should be classified. 
    • Develop a process whereunder an incumbent in a Researcher (R) or Specialist (S) position could apply to have that position reclassified while the incumbent is still in it.
  3. Develop policy relating to job security and periodic evaluation for Specialist (S) positions that upon becoming vacant are reclassified as non-instructional faculty.
  4. Develop guidelines for general faculty “buy-out” of teaching assignments with extramural or other sources of funding in a manner that is consistent with the new work assignment template for faculty.

The Steering Committee (SC) believed that the research, data, and work done by the SCR 201 Task Force would be helpful to review and analyze to ensure that the committee wouldnʻt replicate or perform tasks already performed, as well as, to be used as a foundation for determining what further research and data needed to be obtained before the Steering Committee engaged in their work.  

Therefore, the Steering Committee began by identifying and determining what the different faculty-composed working groups that would be required to be developed to meet the four (4) areas as outlined in the report adopted by the BOR.  It was determined that Charge 2. above would require more than one working group to accomplish the work efficiently and effectively.  

Thereafter, the Steering Committee began reviewing what information, data, metrics, etc. would be or might be needed by any of the considered working groups.  The Steering Committee discussed the information that had been received by both the BORʻs Permitted Interaction Group and the SCR 201 Task Force in determining what information, data, and metrics might be useful and whether further fact gathering was necessary if such material was determined by the Steering Committee to be incomplete.

After further review and analysis, the Steering Committee realized that for items 2. b. and c., as listed above, the data was incomplete.  The SCR 201 Task Force noted at its October 22, 2021 meeting that “Faculty specialists remain a challenging category because of the range of different job descriptions included in the category. During this meeting the TF also discussed what kinds of faculty positions are actually in policy and where they can be hired. And the history of why some of the classifications were created was considered in the context of relevant HLRB decisions. It may be useful to do additional investigation into how specialists are divided by type of work assigned. It was noted that generally there appear to be four categories into which the percentage of workload for specialists fall: classroom, research, student support, and academic support. To acquire data on Specialists, supervisors will have to be surveyed because there is no consistency across this category. There are non-instructional CC faculty as well and so identifying their job descriptions will also be relevant.”  While the UH Community Colleges, UH Hilo, and UH West Oahu performed their due diligence in gathering this information from their respective campus supervisors when the initial request was made by the SCR 201 Task Force last year, UH Manoa unfortunately did not.  

The Steering Committee determined that when such working groups are established such information would be beneficial to these committee members as generalized data, information, and metrics to start their review and evaluation process.  Therefore, Debora Halbert (Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy) under the direction of President David Lassner sent another request to the UHM Campus to provide the information that was requested previously for the SCR 201 Task Force for the Steering Committeeʻs review and information.

Misdirected And Misguided Message From OVPAE

Unfortunately, this is where all the confusion began.  If the process was followed and adhered to pursuant to the Presidentʻs first directive to the UHM administration under the initial SCR 201 Task Force request this debacle and perplexity wouldʻve been avoided and the resulting anxiety and confusion – non-existent.  UHPA can only make its assumption that President Lassnerʻs second request for information to the UHM campus was taken as a message that this needs to be addressed and resolved ASAP since it was the second request by the President.  Unfortunately, it was treated and handled without regard to how the process should be driven and the impact it would have on Specialist faculty at UHM.  Moreover, rather than requiring faculty supervisors to complete the survey as intended, the message sent on Thursday, April 14, 2022, was unclear about the directive that the Steering Committee planned.  Therefore, it was conveyed incorrectly that Specialist faculty rather than their supervisors were required to individually complete the survey within a quick turnaround time being the close of business, Tuesday, April 19, 2022.  Adding to more confusion and anxiety was the message that Researchers, Librarians, and Extension Agents werenʻt being requested to provide such information at this time without further information and context.

While we are not surprised by the recent events that have transpired, we are disappointed since this is not the first time UHPAʻs name and reputation has incorrectly been put forth as the justification and means for managementʻs actions.  While we cannot control, dictate, or direct how information is provided by the UH Administration to the campuses, we do believe that in some instances and cases UHPA is justified in providing the clarification and relevant and pertinent information to our faculty so that they understand the intent and purpose of managementʻs actions.

Clear And Unambiguous Facts

The information that had been requested by the SCR 201 Task Force on the survey of Specialist and Community College Non-Instructional Faculty work assignments has not been used, referenced, or noted in the report to either the Legislature or the BOR.

The SCR 201 Task Force is now dissolved.  No further action by this task force has been taken since it completed its report to the Legislature.

The information the UHM Administration was seeking was originally a request from the SCR 201 Task Force.  However, the information is now being requested by the Steering Committee as general data and information gathering for the sole purpose of providing this information to working groups that the Steering Committee will develop that will be composed of faculty members in the Specialist classification.

Matters dealing with the review of teaching equivalencies, buy-outs, 5-year review, faculty productivity, and faculty classification are all part of this new charge to the Steering Committee who will then formulate various working groups composed with faculty members to begin this process of review and analysis.  

Moving Forward

The recent debacle and confusion has brought awareness that UHPA cannot rely on the communication, information, and management of the Steering Committeeʻs work and UHPAʻs involvement on the Steering Committee.  UHPA recognizes and appreciates the numerous emails, phone calls, and messages we have received from the membership expressing its concerns and confusion over this matter.  UHPA respects and welcomes faculty to address any and all concerns directly with UHPA in that we can be apprised of matters and situations that we are unaware of, and in that we can respond, take action, and address accordingly.  Moreover, we do acknowledge that these matters are dear and close to faculty interests and that we cannot rely on either the BOR or the UH Administration to convey accurate and complete reports on this BOR agenda and directive.  Therefore, UHPA is committed to provide the membership with its own organizational updates on this subject matter as this process moves forward.

UHPA wants to reinforce that our goal, intent, and purpose is to manage and control the process through providing meaningful input through open dialogue and communication in that the collective bargaining rights and processes are followed; that the classification process, review, and evaluations are followed; and to ensure that matters are determined and decided with objectivity, consistency and equity.

In Solidarity And Unity

Rate My Administrator Summary Report Published

UHPA members can now download the “2021 UHPA Rate My Administrator Surveys” PDF. Nearly 700 faculty members participated system-wide across all campuses.  The summary report contains:

  • Highest and lowest scoring statements
  • Average score for each statement
  • Average scores by campus
  • Both overall satisfaction by average by campus
  • Likely to recommend
  • Profile of respondents

The results of this survey will be shared with the UH Administration over the week of 1/17/22. We intend to annually repeat this process and publish trends over time.

UHPA’s long-term goal is to use these trendlines on faculty feedback to identify where administrative performance has been demonstrated as well as where it requires attention and improvement.

For UHPA Members only:

Not a member yet? Join now via this instant membership online form.. Are you already a member but can’t access the content? Click here to troubleshoot or just call our office.

New UH Telework Policy Published

UHPA & UH Reach Agreement 

UH and the UHPA Negotiations Team have reached an agreement on a new Telework Policy that will go into effect on January 3, 2022 and runs through June 30, 2023.  The existing COVID-19 Voluntary Telework Policy will be expiring on December 31, 2021.  

Similar to What We Have Today

The new Telework Policy will essentially maintain the current requirements and exemptions for Faculty from: 1) exemption from the submission of work plans; 2) the completion of Online Leave Entry depending on job; and 3) the completion of WFH/Telework Form depending on job.  Please follow this link to UH Office of Human Resources  for details.  If you are currently teleworking under the COVID-19 Voluntary Telework Policy you will need to submit a new request pursuant to this policy if you are intending to telework from January 3, 2022.

A Viable Option to Minimize Risk

The new Telework Policy is intended to provide the UH with a viable alternative work option that they may utilize to improve program effectiveness and employee productivity, as well as, improve morale; reduce traffic congestion; and to effectively continue operations in times of an emergency and/or natural disasters.  While we all recognize that we are still in the COVID-19 pandemic, telework also provides a viable alternative work option for employees to maintain social distance between themselves and others in hopes of minimizing the risks of exposure to infections or illness.

The Opportunity For Faculty To Participate In Telework Is Still A Management Prerogative

However, the policy encourages the campuses to approve any telework request where: 1) job functions are suitable to be performed remotely; 2) the employee can be and demonstrates they are as functional and productive as when they are in the workplace and records are kept to document this; and 3) telework is consistent with the Universityʻs strategic direction and vision.

Faculty interested in participating in telework should consult their Department Chair or respective Dean, Director or Supervisor.

UH Publishes Tenure Task Force Website

SCR 201 Tenure Task Force Meeting Notes Published

In response to a common element in the tenure PIG testimony of many faculty at the last Board of Regents meeting, UH has now published a SCR 201 Tenure Task Force website.  Of particular interest are the published notes of 3 meetings (at the time of this post).    

We Are in that Task Force

You can expect UHPA to keep you apprised of important developments, especially since you’ll note that two of the task force members are UHPA executives. That said, we urge all concerned faculty to review published meeting notes and reach out to the designated UH contact on the page. Of course you can always contact UHPA with any concerns.

Tenure PIG Quick-Reference Guide


University of Hawaii Board of Regents Immediate Past Chair Ben Kudo established a Permitted Interaction Group (PIG) on February 18, 2021 and charged it with looking into three specific areas of tenure:

  1. Overview, history and purpose of tenure;
  2. Evolution, current views and developments on tenure (outside of the University of Hawai‘i); and
  3. The current process, criteria, and decision making on tenure at UH.

Former UH BOR Jan Sullivan was assigned to serve as the Tenure PIG Chair.


The PIG did not carry out its assigned scope of work. The Tenure PIG instead based their discussions on the misconception that tenure provides absolute job security or lifelong employment and that the UH administration has virtually no ability to take action when warranted. The PIG’s recommendations were based on this erroneous understanding and therefore the proposed amendments attempt to dismantle tenure.    

UHPA’s Position

UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern, who served as a member of the Tenure PIG, issued a dissenting letter on the PIG’s recommendations to the UH Board of Regents. Fern, numerous faculty members, and UH administrators testified in strong opposition to the Tenure PIG recommendations at the UH Board of Regents meeting held on Oct. 21, 2021. More than 600 pages of written testimony were submitted to the Board of the Regents.

Key Tenure Issues Raised in Testimony

Tenure safeguards academic freedom

The purpose of tenure is to safeguard a faculty member’s right to academic freedom which is essential to those who teach and conduct research in higher education institutions.  Tenure provides the essential conditions and optimal environment for faculty to educate students, to pursue research and innovation, and to draw upon evidence-based conclusions that are free from undue political interference or corporate pressure.

Ongoing tenure is based on faculty performance

All other peer institutions who grant tenure can terminate a faculty member for cause, substandard performance, or for extraordinary circumstances like fiscal exigency or program discontinuation. The UH is no different. These managerial rights to terminate faculty under those conditions mentioned above are clearly outlined and defined in the UHPA/BOR Unit 7 Agreement.

A solution for a non-existent problem

The PIG’s proposed recommendations offer “solutions” for a problem that does not exist. UH Administration and UHPA have also worked collaboratively with a common goal to ensure that students remained the focus. Dismantling tenure and proposing to overhaul the tenure system is a drastic way to fix any perceived problem.

Faculty classifications are misleading

The PIG especially attacked the practice of providing tenure for “non-instructional” faculty. All faculty are involved in the instruction of students, including those who are teaching in a classroom setting. There was an outpouring of testimonies that provided examples of faculty who teach students in different ways. They should not be not be treated differently.

Five-year reviews subject to management scrutiny

The PIG’s recommends the current system of five-year reviews of tenured faculty be extended beyond a faculty member’s peers and include UH administration, who would have the latitude to decide whether a faculty receives tenure based on market conditions. This capriciousness undermines the academic freedom and the purpose of tenure and makes the UH subject to commercial forces.

Impact on quality standards

The PIG’s recommendations adversely impact the UH’s ability to attract and retain faculty. This ultimately will impact the quality of the UH as a R-1 research institution, and this will affect the ability to secure extramural research funding and maintain and grow student enrollment.

Next Steps:

Fortunately, the testimonies gave the Board of Regents pause and the Tenure PIG’s recommendations were not implemented. However, the Board of Regents voted to defer these recommendations to an ad hoc committee for review. UHPA and faculty must continue to monitor the status of these recommendations.

To defend their recommendations, the PIG leaders publicly mentioned the intention of the amendments was to encourage dialogue with faculty. Faculty had not been consulted for the PIG recommendations and have accepted this as an invitation for further discussion.

Additional Reading

These related articles (listed in descending chronological order) are published on the UHPA website under the Academic category:

Faculty Taking Charge of UH’s Future

Mahalo to all of the faculty who took the time and effort to share their concerns and perspectives regarding the findings and recommendations of the Tenure Permitted Interaction Group (PIG) at the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents meeting held last Thursday, Oct. 21st.  

Don’t Mess with Tenure

There were 634 pages of lengthy and meaningful testimony and those testifying virtually overwhelmingly opposed the Tenure PIG recommendations. This sent a very strong and powerful message and point to the BOR: Faculty need to be actively engaged in building and strengthening the University of Hawai‘i as a land grant R-1 research institution. The ill-advised dismantling of UHʻs existing tenure system, as recommended by the Tenure PIG, would be ruinous and destructive, and start the downfall of the quality of Hawai‘i’s public higher education system.

The passion of the faculty behind the testimonies, both written and oral, came through loud and clear. It was clear the Tenure PIG was an epic failure. It strayed from its intended purpose and charge and obviously did not include faculty input in its recommendations.

Support from UH Administrators

Faculty concerned about upholding the quality of the UH inspired several UH administrators. Typically, administrators are at odds with the faculty, but on this Tenure PIG issue, they fully supported the viewpoints of the faculty and stepped forward to also voice their concerns during the Board of Regents meeting and in the media.

A Major Victory

The faculty efforts paid off. Faculty set the tone for the meeting, single handedly stopped the recommendations of the Tenure PIG in their tracks, and prevented them from being implemented. This was no small feat and will go down in history as a major victory by the faculty.

Not Out of the Woods Yet

But we cannot celebrate just yet. The policy recommendations in the Tenure PIG remain intact and although implementation has been averted for now, the Board of Regents voted to defer these recommendations to an ad hoc committee of the whole for review. We have come very far and cannot afford to let our guard down. But from the unabashed display of boldness by the faculty last week, we know that faculty are being taken seriously and are a force to be reckoned with.