Senator Jill Tokuda Proposes Incentive-Based Funding for Higher Education without Losing UH Autonomy

When Sen. Jill Tokuda (D) first joined the Hawaii legislature in 2006, making sure there was adequate funding for higher education was a challenge. Looking ahead to the upcoming 2012 legislative session, Sen. Tokuda, who has served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education since 2009, predicts funding for higher education will continue to be an issue.

“It’s become even more of a challenge because of the decline in state funding over the years,” she told the Faculty Representatives gathered at the Ala Moana Hotel on Saturday, October 15.  “Making the bucket bigger has been hard over the years. So how do we change the game?”

Although she said economists predict tight economic times ahead, she wanted to offer an “optimistic and hopeful” picture for the future, but one that is also “realistic.”

There is diversity of opinion among her fellow legislators regarding the level of funding and level of autonomy the UH should have, she said. Some legislators are in favor of more public funding for the UH, but this would come at the cost of losing autonomy for the UH.  For example, she said this may mean legislators would shape the direction of the campuses and programs in exchange for more funding.

While her colleagues’ views may run the gamut, Sen. Tokuda subscribes to a more “balanced” view. She proposes establishing a base funding for the campuses with additional funding contingent upon meeting specific benchmarks for growth.  This “earn it or lose it” incentive approach would enable campuses to obtain additional funding to add to the base.

“We know that you provide important services and programs to our constituents, you educate and prepare the workforce, and you should be rewarded for your achievements and growth,” said Sen. Tokuda, who represents the Windward Oahu neighborhoods of Kaneohe, Kailua, and Enchanted Lake.

Faculty representing the community colleges at the meeting pointed out that the benchmarks for such an incentive program need to be defined properly because typical measurements have focused on transfer or graduation rates, which may not be fair benchmarks to apply at community colleges absent other important factors.

For example, many may come to take specific courses such as accounting at a community college to help them in their current jobs, but these experiences would be discounted and be considered a failure if strictly using transfer or graduation rates as metrics of success.

Sen. Tokuda agreed that there need to be more high-value certificate programs that do not necessary require a degree because these certificate programs could be the nexus for success in the field.

Other concerns related to funding that faculty had an opportunity to raise with Sen. Tokuda included:

  • The need for cooperation on decision-making between UH administration and faculty.  A faculty member noted the Board of Regents approved an allocation of $500,000 to help with tuition for foreign students at the UH, but there was no corresponding assistance for UH students seeking to study abroad as exchange students.
  • The need to highlight faculty achievements. Sen. Tokuda said she realizes that achievements for higher education have not made front-page headlines, but that the media should highlight the successes of faculty to help avoid methodical cuts to programs.
  • The need to bridge the transition between high school and higher education. Faculty noted that many who enter the UH system need remediation courses in math and writing. Sen. Tokuda said she was aware of the issue and that each stage of education is critical to the overall success of Hawaii students. She noted that initiatives under way by the P-20 Council are exploring these inter-relationships along the education pipeline.


UH Scholarship for Dependents of Members of BU 07 For 2011-2012

Beginning Tuesday, March 15th at 2:00 pm (HST), a systemwide online application for applicants will be available on the dependent scholarship website. It should be initiated by the qualifying faculty member and completed by the dependent child.

For more information, go to:

or call (808)956-8753.


Neil Abercrombie: On the Importance of Public Education

Monday, October 25, 2010 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. at UH Manoa, Campus Center Ballroom. Light refreshments will be served. This event is sponsored by Students for Abercrombie.

Educator Unity Rally to Support the Abercrombie for Governor Campaign

We want all educators to unite at Iolani Palace/Kamehameha Statue on Thursday, October 28th to hold signs for Neil Abercrombie & Brian Schatz.  The event will run from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
Please RSVP to James Urbaniak, HSTA Leeward UniServ Director (, to reserve a seat on the bus:

Thursday, October 28th Event, Iolani Palace

RSVP by Tuesday, 10/26/10 by 5:00 pm

  1. Bus leaves from Leeward Community College parking lot at 3:30 pm and will return to the LCC parking lot around 6:30 pm.
  2. Bus leaves from Windward Community College parking lot at 3:30 pm and will return to the WCC parking lot around 6:30 pm.
  3. Bus leaves from Kapolei High School front parking lot at 3:15 pm and will return to the Kapolei HS parking lot around 6:45 pm.

Bus rides are free and drinks/snacks/t-shirts will be provided to all sign wavers.  If you have a UHPA t-shirt, please wear it to the event! 

Please spread the word and bring as many of your colleagues as possible (make sure they all RSVP if they wish to use the bus transportation).

United, we will help Neil Abercrombie and Brian Schatz get elected on November 2nd!

Joint Admin/UHPA Contract Committee on Teaching Equivalencies


On April 10th, the first meeting of administrators and faculty on the CC Teaching Equivalency committee met.  The meeting was quite productive, and the parties agreed as a first step to recommend to that Vice President Morton accept a new proportional relationship between contact hours and credit hours, for programs such as laboratory and vocational classes, based on the reduce academic year standard of 27 credit hours per academic.  The next meeting is scheduled to May 6th.  The committee must present it’s final recommendations no later than December 31, 2011. Hopefully, a comprehensive agreement can be reached well before the deadline.

In March, Vice President Morton sent a memo to all CC Chancellors which was distributed to faculty members on some campuses.  Dr. Morton’s letter caused some confusion over the question of the impact of new teaching equivalency standard of 27 credit hours.  UHPA Executive Director J. N. Musto has responded to that letter with a clarification of the relationship of teching equivalencies to the 27 credit hour workload standard.

The UHPA members on the Joint Committee are:

Joel Peralto, Hawaii CC

Derek Oshiro, Honolulu CC

Sharon Rowe, Kapiolani CC

Richard Randolph, Kauai CC

James De Ste Croix, Leeward CC

Benjamin Marquez, UH Maui College

Leticia Colmenares, Windward CC

J. N. Musto, UHPA


The UH administration’s representatives on the joint committee are:


Noreen Yamane, Hawaii CC

Erica Lacro, Honolulu CC

Louise Pagotto, Kapiolani CC

Ramona Kincaid, Kauai CC

Michael Pecsock, Leeward CC

Suzette Robinson, UH Maui College

Richard Fulton, Windward CC

Sandra Uyeno, Ofc of VP for Community Colleges



Shaping Public Policy: A UHPA Priority

Public higher education in Hawaii plays a critical role in preparing people for quality jobs and fostering a life-long commitment to learning.  Traditional students and adults returning to school to retool for new careers all benefit from the University of Hawaii system. Yet we are all painfully aware that many of our elected officials have not given higher education and faculty their proper due respect.

In an economic environment in which revenue generation and related cost cutting continue to be the order of the day, the quality of public higher education continues to be threatened.  The UH has become a target from which to take away funds.  Accessibility and affordability of public higher education will begin to emerge as key concerns among Hawaii students unless we intervene and begin to take action now.

After two years of contract negotiations, we have come a long way.  We have a six-year agreement now in place, but the battle is far from over. We must now boldly engage in shaping public policy to ensure the terms of the contract can be effectively honored with adequate funding for the UH system. This heightened emphasis on public policy may be new for many UHPA members, but circumstances demand our undivided attention and involvement in this arena to ensure public higher education remains a priority.

In the coming weeks, watch for our new web pages on the UHPA website devoted to helping you stay abreast of the latest public policy issues.  Since this is a pivotal election year, be sure to visit these pages frequently for information on issues, candidates and other information to help you stay informed and make informed choices in the polls.

2010-2013 UH Academic Calendar


The calendar conforms to the Board of Regent’s policy 5-5c and is in accordance with the Article V of the UHPA Agreement 2009-2015.

All campuses are required to begin each semester on the same date and to observe the same holidays.  As in the past, each campus establishes dates and deadlines for registration, advising, commencement and other academic activities.  These dates are usually set prior to each semester and are published with registration materials.

Summer session dates listed on the calendar are for the UH Manoa Outreach College.  Each campus schedules summer sessions according to the individual campus objectives.