Agreement reached over Covid-19 impacts on promotion, tenure and renewal.

Agreement reached with President and Governor over Covid-19 impacts on promotion, tenure and contract renewal 

Last week the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with President David Lassner and Governor David Ige on addressing the possible negative consequences and impacts the unanticipated switch to on-line instruction due to COVID-19 may have on tenure, promotion, and contract renewal.  

Agreement result of combined efforts

These concerns were raised by UHPA Faculty Members who are serving on Temporary Work Group which was a combined effort of the UHPA and UH Administrators to discuss health and safety issues, as well as making sure Faculty Members received the required support, services, resources, etc. to help with the transition to on-line instruction and other conditions as they have arised.  The Faculty Members recognized how adverse and negative the Spring 2020 semester could have in the areas of tenure, promotion, and contract renewal processes which are based on face-to-face evaluations, peer evaluations, student evaluations, application deadlines, research endeavors, and other related measures.  

Exemplary decision making via the collective bargaining process

“The Temporary Work Group epitomizes the intent of Hawaii’s collective bargaining law, by providing for joint decision-making; having employees granted a right to share in the decision-making process; and having a venue to exchange ideas and information with administrators to help the government become more effective and responsive in these unprecedented times.”  Christian Fern, UHPA Executive Director

Highlights of the MOU

  1. Faculty Members employed during the Spring 2020 semester may elect to extend their probationary period for an additional year, but not to exceed eight (8) years;
  2. Faculty Members expected to undergo contract renewal in the Fall 2020 semester may elect to extend their contact and postpone their contract renewal by one year; and
  3. Faculty Members or Lecturers holding multi-year limited term contracts in Spring 2020 who are up for contract renewal and who are not being paid via extramural funds will be extended for one (1) additional year.

The temporary work group consists of Faculty Members and UH Administrators and has continued to meet on a weekly basis since Spring Break.  

Tenure and Promotions: UHPA’s Supporting Role

Congratulations to all University of Hawai‘i faculty who have recently been tenured or have been promoted!

UHPA recognizes your hard work and diligence. Your commitment to academic excellence is admirable and you deserve to celebrate this important milestone in your professional career.

It’s Based on Your Contract

The success of these faculty is based on the foundation established by UHPA in the UHPA-BOR Agreement. It’s important to point out that this is not a state statute. Unlike many other states, tenure is only possible because of the UHPA-BOR Agreement, not statute. The UHPA Negotiating Team makes sure that policies and procedures for tenure, promotion and contract renewal evaluations and recommendations are always included in the faculty contracts. View an entire section of the contract dedicated to this subject.

Did You Know…

Here are some other safeguards in the faculty contract to ensure you receive a fair assessment when you are being considered for tenure or a promotion.

  • The majority of bargaining unit faculty members must approve the policies and procedures of each respective department or division within the University of Hawai`i. UHPA must also approve any amendments.
  •  The written procedures for a department or division must include a secret ballot for final votes on faculty members being considered for tenure or contract renewal, and the faculty member who is voting must be a tenured Bargaining Unit 07 member.

Share This with Your Colleagues

Others in your department or division may not be aware of the role UHPA plays in establishing the framework for tenure and promotion. Please share this with information with them, and if they are interested in becoming a UHPA member to support themselves and fellow faculty, please direct them to this instant online membership form.

View the list of faculty who have been tenured or promoted.

HomeStreet Bank offers free financial education and resources

UHPA membership partner HomeStreet Bank sent us this information below which we believe will be of benefit to UHPA members.

Recognizing that members are dealing with financial concerns as well as physical and emotional, we have expanded the on-line member financial support services offered through the Inside Edge Program. In addition to the Inside Edge exclusive discounts on home loans and refinance loans to reduce monthly payments, your members now have access to expertly-crafted financial education and resources at no cost.

HomeStreet Bank is partnering with an organization called “BALANCE”:

Your financial wellness is important. HomeStreet Bank’s Inside Edge Program is partnering with BALANCE, a non-profit financial fitness program to provide you with free access to financial education and resources. It’s easy to set up an account and sign up under “employee” category to utilize online tools such as financial calculators and videos, and search for articles based on your current financial life stage or register for money-management webinars. We hope these online resources address some of the financial needs you may be facing during these uncertain times.

Click the button below for the UHPA Member-only content and follow the links to “Access free educational content”

 

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.

Adjustment to UHPA Statutory Dues Deduction

For most UHPA members, the scheduled Statutory Dues (SD 725) deduction for the May 20, 2020 payroll did not get processed.  UHPA was notified by the Hawaii Information Portal (HIP) Service Center that they had experienced an issue with their system configuration last pay period. Therefore, the missed deduction amount will be processed on the June 5, 2020 paycheck as a “SD 726” deduction along with your regularly scheduled deduction “SD 725” amount.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please feel free to contact UHPA via email at feedback@uhpa.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Coronavirus-related assistance on mortgage or rent

Message from our benefits partner at HomeStreet Bank that may be of interest to those encountering challenges with rent or mortgage payments:

If you’re among those financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, you might be concerned about how to pay your mortgage or rent. As a result of the CARES Act, Federal and state governments have announced plans to help struggling homeowners during this time.

Major mortgage relief options during the coronavirus pandemic:

Mortgage forbearance

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time.  Forbearance doesn’t erase what you owe – you’ll have to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future – but it can protect your credit if you miss part or all of your payments during this period.

  • If you can’t pay your mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer immediately
    • It may take a while to get your loan servicer on the phone due to the extremely high call volume they are receiving.
    • Have your account number handy.
    • You may need to explain why you’re unable to make your payment and provide details about your income, assets, and expenses
  • Once you’re able to secure forbearance or another mortgage relief option, ask your servicer to provide written documentation that confirms the details of the agreement.

NOTE:  If your mortgage is serviced by HomeStreet Bank and you have been impacted by COVID-19 and would like to request a payment forbearance or deferral, you may email loanservice@homestreet.com.  Please provide your full name, loan number, and a good contact phone number and they will reach out to you within 48 hours. You may also call 1-844-544-9071 to reach a dedicated Loan Counselor. Please be aware call volumes are high and hold times are longer than normal. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.   

Protections for renters

The CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions if your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, and you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020.  If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic.

Editor’s note:

This article was provided by HomeStreet Bank as a courtesy to UHPA members and has been published here with minimal, if any, editing- please contact them directly if you have any questions or comments.

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 feedback@uhpa.org 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

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)

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.

Faculty Working From Home

Message from UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern and UH Vice President Don Straney on behalf of the UHPA-UH Joint Workgroup

This message is to clarify the University’s intent regarding its new “work from home” form and its application to University faculty. To reiterate, instructional faculty (including lecturers), research faculty, graduate assistants, and other faculty who are not normally expected to be on campus during set working hours, are not required to fill out the work from home form or create a work from home plan. These employees also are not required to input their status as “Covid-19 Work From Home” in the online leave system. Faculty who, under normal conditions, are required to have a physical presence on campus during set working hours (for example, Librarians, or some Specialist Faculty), are the only faculty expected to fill out the work from home form (and the online leave system) to indicate the days they will be working from home or on-campus. Because the Covid-19 Work From Home status in the online leave system was intended to apply to all University employees working from home, including our hourly employees, it includes an “hours” and “minutes” data field; however, these fields are not intended to apply to faculty. The intent was not to “keep track of” faculty’s work.

The campuses may request faculty to self-report when they will physically be on campus. Again, the intent is not to keep track of faculty’s work, but for logistical purposes of tracking building use. If buildings are not being used, or are only partially being used, the campus may be able to close certain buildings or portions of buildings and reduce custodial and other services to those buildings. We appreciate the cooperation that faculty have shown in this regard, and ask that you continue to help us assist our facilities’ staff in dealing with the emergency situation as best we can.

If you have any questions regarding this memo, please contact your designated campus human resources department.

Message from UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern and UH Vice President Don Straney on behalf of the UHPA-UH Joint Workgroup

Last week, the Temporary Remote Teaching Workgroup—a combined effort of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and UH administrators—met to review the support and resources available to faculty preparing for the transition to working with students who were not on campus. Several recent proclamations from the Governor and Mayors probably made your preparations more challenging. This week, we have been monitoring the initial stages of implementing last week’s planning on each of the 10 UH campuses.

The initial reports are that you have made a great start on this new mode of working at UH. We have heard from faculty on each campus and from some of their administrators how the first two days have gone. There have been issues, glitches, and problems for sure, but far fewer than one might have expected. The resources and mini-courses provided by instructional designers last week are definitely paying off. Most impressive to us have been the reports of faculty pitching in to help one another: explaining to colleagues how to use Zoom, offering advice on posting videos to YouTube, even videotaping each other performing lab experiments for students to critique and analyze. Librarians, advisors and other faculty supporting student learning have also had to adapt to delivering services in a climate of uncertainty about health and safety. The hard work of last week (and it has only been that long) is beginning to pay off for our students. Your professionalism, creativity and commitment to the students will carry the University of Hawai‘i community through this difficult time.

We have heard reports that some people are uncertain if they can come to campus under the current stay-at-home orders. People who provide education can leave home to come to campus for work. Instructors should feel free to use their offices and the various teaching resources on campus, including HITS classrooms. The campuses are implementing all of the CDC recommendations to maintain a safe work environment and the facilities staff have stepped up the cleaning protocols to meet current needs. The University is providing any protective equipment your work requires and you should talk with your department chair or supervisor if you have concerns, questions, or ideas.

One common report in the past few days has been that students are not all fully engaging with remotely-delivered classes and don’t always respond to instructors’ or advisors’ emails. It is important to continue reaching out to your students to help keep them engaged with the university. We have also heard of increased interactions students are having in some classes, where chat boxes, for example, make it easier for them to ask questions and interact with each other. Engaging students with learning tasks has always been the challenge for instructing, advising, or supporting learning but current situations are making it more difficult while also presenting new opportunities.

The working group will continue to meet over the next few weeks so faculty and administrators can provide input to each other on how the semester is progressing and what issues, concerns and problems arise. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via our email address with concerns you have.