UH Implements Emergency Grading Policy During COVID-19 Crisis

In response to the exceptional circumstances of the spring 2020 semester, the University of Hawaiʻi has worked together as a system to develop an option for students to be able to choose to take their courses on a Credit/No Credit basis for this semester only. 

UH recognizes that the academic, personal and financial situations of students, faculty and staff have been abruptly transformed. Based on consultation across our campuses with faculty, feedback from students, review of UH system and campus policies, and emerging practices nationally, UH campuses will offer all students the option of taking courses as Credit/No Credit for spring 2020.

Background

Over the last two weeks, the campus Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs developed a set of guidelines for this emergency policy that attempt to balance the disruption caused by the sudden need to move all courses online mid-semester with our usual grading standards. The guidelines developed by the vice chancellors were then distributed to each campus faculty senate for consultation. The campus faculty senates provided valuable feedback and suggestions on the guidelines that shaped the final policy.

Next Steps

An Executive Policy memorializing this emergency policy will be available by Friday, April 17, 2020. An implementation plan and general FAQ for faculty and students will be available as well. Here, the general scope of the new policy is described.

General Policy Guidelines

For spring semester 2020, students in all undergraduate and graduate UH classes ending after March 20, 2020 will have the option of taking their classes on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.

Process for implementing the CR/NC for spring 2020

  1. Faculty will continue to award letter grades for spring 2020 classes by entering their grades into MyUH during the regular grading period. Courses already established as CR/NC will continue to use those designations instead of letter grades.
  2. Once the faculty have entered their grades, students will be able to view the assigned grades in STAR-GPS.
  3. Until May 22, students may choose to retain their letter grades or convert their letter grades to the CR/NC designation for one or more classes.
  4. After May 22 when students have made their choice, registrars will make the grades final and will include a notation indicating this is a “semester disrupted by COVID-19” on the transcript.

For the purposes of this policy, Credit (CR) may be awarded for a grade of C or better. Establishing credit at a C allows for those students opting for the Credit option to continue to meet the requirements for entry to major and minor courses, as well as prerequisites for courses in a sequence. The CR designation will not be counted in the GPA. Students with a letter grade of C-, D, or F may opt instead for No Credit (NC). If they opt for No Credit, that course will not be counted towards their GPA.

By Graduate Division policy, a grade of C or better is required for students to receive credit.

Implications

Within the UH System, students will be “held harmless” by the choice to select CR/NC in spring 2020. Choosing the Credit/No Credit option will not negatively impact their academic journey within the UHSystem, including transfer between UH campuses, nor will it be a barrier to entry into subsequent courses. Furthermore, academic probation will be extended to the following semester for any student who does not move off academic probation based on their spring 2020 GPA. Students should understand that taking an Incomplete in a course may preclude them from changing a grade to the Credit/No Credit option before May 22.

Additional information regarding the implications of this emergency policy will be provided to students by Friday, April 17 so that they can make an informed decision regarding their choice between letter grades and Credit/No Credit.

Exceptions

Some professional accreditation organizations may not permit alterations to the grading process. In such cases, a very limited number of exceptions may be granted upon request to the president via the campus chancellor or provost.

More Than $200K Awarded as Students’ Needs Grow

A week after access to a fund for University of Hawaiʻi students experiencing urgent financial distress was opened, more than $200,000 has been awarded to more than 500 students. Work is continuing on all 10 campuses to process additional funding relief to even more students as the needs continue to rise.

“A big mahalo to the companies and individuals who have already stepped forward to begin to address the urgent needs of our University of Hawaiʻi students across the state,” said UH President David Lassner. “We invite the community to help us to help our students with necessities such as food and shelter in these turbulent times, as they also strive to complete their studies.”

Applications to the UH Urgent Student Relief Fund are due each Wednesday by 4 p.m. with notification by the following week.The Urgent Student Relief Fund is not a replacement for financial aid. Examples of unexpected financial hardships considered include (but are not limited to):

  • costs encountered due to an unanticipated situation or emergency
  • loss of employment or housing
  • family emergencies
  • natural disasters or pandemic
  • food insecurity
  • medical/dental expenses
  • changes to childcare or transportation needs

Applications and criteria can be found online. Applicants should contact their UH campus directly with any questions.

Donations to support the urgent needs of UH students can be made to the UH Foundation.

UH Hilo Grad Student Awarded Prestigious APA Minority Fellowship

A graduate student in the MA program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has been awarded the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship in the area of Services for Transition Age Youth. This is the first award of its kind for a student at UH Hilo. 

Rachel Gibson is a first-year graduate student whose specialization is in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The APA Minority Fellowship provides financial support of up to $10,000 for one year, and is funded by a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Gibson has a strong commitment to a career in mental health services and serving ethnic minority transition age youth and their families. Before entering the MA program, she worked with incarcerated and/or at-risk youth, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, including Mexican American youths. Gibson noted that during this time, although most of her clients spoke proficient English, many of their families were Spanish-speaking. Gibson studied Spanish for six years and lived in a Spanish-speaking country for some time, which helped her greatly in connecting with the clients’ families.

“I’m very honored and humbled and am eager to get started with this Fellowship program,” Gibson said. “I see this as a tremendous opportunity to further my knowledge and skills and am grateful to APA for giving me this award.”

“The Fellowship is very prestigious and I’m so happy for Rachel,” said Dr. Bryan S. K. Kim, professor of psychology and director of the MA program. “The Fellowship is a testament to her commitment to addressing diversity issues in mental health and her past and present efforts in this area. 

“I interpret the Fellowship as an investment by APA in Rachel to be a leader in this underattended area of work in our communities,” he added. 

Kim will serve as a training mentor for Gibson per the Fellowship requirement.

UH’s 10 Campuses Move Summer Courses Online

Summer school at the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi will be held online, allowing students to continue their academic careers while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first session runs from May 26 to July 3, and the second session runs from July 6 to August 14. The exact dates may vary slightly from campus to campus.

By May 15, the university will decide whether in-person classes will be added to the second summer session depending on the status of the COVID-19 health crisis. 

Summer registration begins on April 6 for UH West Oʻahu, UH Hilo, UH Maui College, Kapiʻolani Community College (CC), Leeward CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauai CC and Hawaiʻi CC in Hilo. Registration is already underway for UH Mānoa with more than 450 UH Mānoa Summer Session courses being offered. 

“We have such a great range of course offerings during the summer session and we hope our students take advantage of the opportunity,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Everyone in the community is invited to take a class or two. With many of us confined to our homes, it is a great opportunity to begin work towards a degree or to take a course in an area of interest.” 

New Funds to Assist UH Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation and University of Hawaiʻi have partnered to establish two new funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to help those on our campuses.

“As we adjust to a new reality amid concerns about the novel coronavirus, friends and alumni have been asking us how they can help,” said University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner. “Many of our funders and donors have reached out expressing concern for the welfare of our students. They also want to hear what UH is doing on the research front to participate in the fight against COVID-19.”

Urgent Student Relief Fund

The Urgent Student Relief fund supports students statewide.

In times of emergencies like this, some students at UH’s 10 campuses find themselves in urgent financial distress. The usual pressures of finishing the semester are exacerbated by the pandemic’s pervasive upheaval of routines and constant concern for family and friends.

Financially, many UH students who are already living on a shoestring are even closer to the edge. Students relying on jobs for tuition are being laid off. Others need childcare as schools temporarily closed, access to computers as classes moved online, transportation when living arrangements shift and food when their meals off campus may be in doubt.

“The type of assistance our students need is evolving, but UH is ready to respond,” said Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Hae Okimoto. “Additional resources will support our students to stay on track with their academic journeys so they can help us build the strong economy of tomorrow.”

COVID-19 and Infections and Emerging Diseases Research Fund

UH researchers are working fervently to detect, prevent and cure COVID-19, and other infectious and emerging diseases in the islands and abroad.

Among other efforts, scientists at the John A. Burns School of Medicine are expanding ongoing development of heat-stable vaccines for viruses, to include coronaviruses causing COVID-19. Success means rapid, efficient manufacturing of vaccines with broad application for the general population, including our children and seniors. 

Our experienced UH scientists are also working on the development of processes for rapid screening and surveillance of COVID-19 in the islands and abroad.

Tim Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and UH Foundation CEO said, “Our donors and community want to be part of the global solution. As the nonprofit that raises funds to support UH students and research, we are committed to supporting our community in every way we can. We are all in this together.”

More information is available at the UH Foundation website.

UH Extends Application Deadline to August 1

The University of Hawaiʻi is extending the deadline to apply for admissions to its three universities to August 1, 2020. This will give prospective students additional time to consider UH Mānoa, UH Hilo and/or UH West Oʻahu for the 2020–21 academic year under the new uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prospective students can apply to the seven UH Community Colleges right up to the start of the semester. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, particularly if they are interested in financial aid.

The announcement was made during a Wednesday, March 25 news conference by Gov. David Y. Ige, a UH graduate.

“For parents and students who are now thinking about staying home for college, you canʻt beat the opportunities across the University of Hawaiʻi System,” said UH President Lassner, adding that there is something for everyone at UH—from graduating high school seniors, to students on the mainland wanting to return home, to adults looking for improved economic opportunity through a career change.

“The UH system offers a wide range of amazing higher education programs across the state,” said Lassner. “Weʻre recognized around the world as affordable at every level, from our amazing community colleges to our welcoming baccalaureate universities to one of the world’s great research universities.”

Data show that people who earn a college degree or certificate earn more money over their lifetimes, are less likely to become unemployed in a recession, return to the workforce faster after a recession, live longer, live healthier, are less likely to become incarcerated, vote more, volunteer more, and their children are more likely to also pursue a higher education and experience these same benefits.

Go to the University of Hawaʻi application website for more information on how to apply. 

Course Withdrawal Deadline Extended for UH Campuses

The University of Hawaiʻi has extended the deadline to withdraw with a “W” grade to Thursday, April 30, at 4 p.m. for semester-long classes. Students and faculty are encouraged to follow up with procedures for their individual campuses.

The deadline was moved to provide students additional time to adjust to the new delivery mode of their courses before making decisions about withdrawal. Students are urged to reach out to advisors, counselors and faculty if they need assistance with academic decisions and any impact they may have on summer and fall registration.

UH Campuses Closed to All Except Students & Employees

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi are closed, effective immediately, to everyone except current students and employees.

The UH campuses are UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu, UH Maui College, Leeward Community College (CC), Kapiʻolani CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauaʻi CC and Hawaiʻi CC.

This is the latest step being taken for the health and safety of UH students and employees. The university announced on March 18 that it is transitioning to an online delivery of courses for the remainder of the spring semester. The closure of public-facing facilities and establishment of a process for employees to work remotely from home are in effect. Employees who are working on campus and students who come to campus or reside in student housing are instructed to practice social distancing.

MANA WAHINE Coming to UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC) presents the Okareka Dance Company of New Zealand‘s all-female production MANA WAHINE, on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Their performance combines dance, theatre and film to tell the true life story of Te Aokapurangi, a young maiden from Rotorua. Captured in battle by a tribe from the far north, she returns many years later to single-handedly save her people from slaughter, as well as experiences within their own lives.

“MANA WAHINE is a vision of strength that empowers women around the world, and above all, a rich fusion of choreography, music, tikanga, Maori and performance practices, video projections, lighting and performance design . . . enriched and enlivened by the dancing of five powerhouse performers,” wrote Raewyn Whyte of Theatreview Magazine in New Zealand.

Tickets are reserved seating and priced at $25 General, $20 Discount and $12 UH Hilo/Hawaiʻi CC students (with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17, pre-sale, and $30, $25 and $17 at the door. Tickets are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 932-7490, Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., or ordering online at artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu.

UH Hilo Interns Join Scientists on Marine Research Expedition

Two interns from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Option Program (MOP) have recently returned from a 25-day expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where they took part in the 2017 Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) cruise conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

School of bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) and a NMFS PIFSC CRED diver conducting fish counts at Swains Island, American Samoa, as part of the Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP). NOAA photo by Ben Ruttenburg of NMFS SEFSC.

UH Hilo’s Roseanna (Rosie) Lee and Keelee Martin were joined by UH Mānoa MOP intern Colton Johnson aboard the Research Vessel Hi’ialakai on the journey to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM), where they worked alongside regular NOAA divers as full members of survey crews, conducting Rapid Ecological Assessments (REAs) of reef fish, corals and non-coral invertebrates. Their work was guided by NOAA scientists and researchers from Papahānaumokuākea, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and UH Hilo.

The survey crews visited Lehua, French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Midway Atoll and Kure Atoll within Papahānaumokuākea to conduct their various activities. The results of their research will help scientists gain a better understanding of the health of coral reef ecosystems throughout the archipelago.

Martin worked on the benthic (sea floor) team that counted, measured and assessed the health of the coral reefs, which are home to over 7,000 marine species. She said the experience made her a better diver, scientist and team player.

“This was a humbling and gratifying opportunity that allowed me to work in an area few people will ever see alongside acclaimed scientists mentoring me the whole way through,” Martin said.

Lee was assigned to the fish survey team, whose work included identifying, counting, and sizing fish for set intervals of time and taking photographs of their habitat. She is now a far more confident researcher and scientific diver.

“The kind of experience you get by jumping into the field and actually getting to do the same work as the established scientists you are working with is a learning experience you can’t get any other way,” Lee said.

Their work drew praise from the scientific leads on their respective teams, who both predicted amazing futures for the interns. REA fish team head Jason Leonard said Lee and Johnson “both performed at very high levels of professionalism and overcame obstacles.” Benthic team leader Stephen Matadobra said of Martin “her excitement and enthusiasm to be in the Monument and collect data gave the team a positive mood every morning.”

Martin, who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science, a minor in English and a MOP certificate, wants to become a science writer. Lee, a senior, seeking a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and a MOP certificate, is still considering her career path.

The UH Hilo internships are made possible through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the NOAA PMNM Division and are available to MOP students who complete the two-week field SCUBA diving course QUEST (Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques). The agreement provides funding to hire up to four students each year to work on the RAMP cruises. Lisa Parr, Instructor of Marine Science, MOP Site Coordinator at UH Hilo, and Principal Investigator on the MOA says the research opportunities the program provides to work with established scientists on important research prepares the students well for careers in marine science.

“Our partnership with NOAA provides an invaluable opportunity for our students, who consistently receive outstanding reviews for their performance on the cruises, and we’re extremely proud of how well they represent UH Hilo, the Marine Option Program, and QUEST,” Parr said.

Additional information on the RAMP cruises is available at
https://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/cred/pacific_ramp.php. For more information on the UH Hilo internships with NOAA email lparr@hawaii.edu.

Live Stream with Bernie Sanders at UH Hilo – Proposed Legislation to Make Tuition Free

Tomorrow, Tuesday October 10th, the University of Hawaii Hilo registered group Global Hope, will be showing a nation-wide streaming of Bernie Sanders proposed legislation to make public colleges and universities tuition free.

The presentation will be at 7:00pm at University of Hawaii Hilo in UCB 100.

Many in Hawaii support Bernie Sanders and will be interested in this proposal.

Maunakea Speaker Series – The Growth and Evolution of Maunakea, a Geologic Story of Sibling Rivalry

The next scheduled program in the Maunakea Speaker Series will be held Tuesday, October 17th from 7 pm to 8 pm at UH Hilo Science & Technology Building (STB) Room # 108.

Is Maunakea volcano the tallest volcano in the world? Or is there another side of the story? Ken will unravel what we know about the growth and evolution of Maunakea volcano and its complicated relationship with its nearby siblings Kohala and Maunaloa.

Dr. Ken Hon is Professor of Geology and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Ken is an enthusiastic instructor of courses including Physical Geology, Volcanoes and Earthquakes, Geology of the Hawaiian Islands, Mineralogy, Petrology, Volcanology, and Remote Sensing; with his research focusing on these same topics.

The Maunakea Speaker Series is free and open to the public. On-campus parking is open and available without charge after 4:00 pm.

For more information, visit malamamaunakea.org or call 808-933-0734

UH Campuses – Graduation and Recruitment Continue to Improve as Overall Enrollment Declines

Enrollment at the University of Hawaiʻi’s 10 campuses dropped slightly in fall 2017 to 51,674 total students, a decrease of 1,746 students, or 3.3 percent compared to fall 2016.

UH West Oʻahu is up 4.9 percent to 3,082 students, continuing the trend that began in 2012 when the school moved to its Kapolei campus. UH West Oʻahu was recently recognized as the fastest growing public baccalaureate campus in the nation. Windward Community College enrollment remained unchanged, while the other eight campuses experienced varying declines.

The overall decline was no surprise, as UH continues to graduate more students on time while competing for students with a tight local labor market experiencing extraordinarily low unemployment. University leadership remains committed to reversing the enrollment declines through a proactive enrollment management program informed by statewide data and analysis.

“We need to continue our great work increasing timely graduation of students while building greater successes in our recruitment, retention and transfer programs,” said UH President David Lassner. “There are a number of positives in this fall’s data, but it is just a start.”

For the full story, including the fall enrollment numbers, go to UH News at: http://www.hawaii.edu/news/2017/10/03/graduation-recruitment-improves-as-enrollment-declines/

Class of 2021 to Recite Pharmacist Oath at UH Hilo White Coat Ceremony

Eighty-two student pharmacists will hear words of inspiration from the president of one of Hawaiʻi’s few remaining independent pharmacies at this year’s University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) White Coat Ceremony on October 8 in the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. The event, which takes place from 2-4 p.m., is open to the public.

Kimberly Mikami Svetin, the third president in the 82-year history of family-run Moloka`i Drugs, will be the keynote speaker. Svetin will give the student pharmacists her view of “how to get the most out of life.” She also plans to talk about how the pharmacy staff at Hawaiʻi’s oldest independent pharmacy focuses on the community and how that benefits their personal and professional lives.

The ceremony, where new student pharmacists recite the Oath of a Pharmacist, signifies a rite of passage for individuals entering their first year in the professional program. Students will be cloaked with a white coat symbolizing their student status and the values of the profession.

Three pharmacy residents who are continuing their training with DKICP faculty on Kaua`i and O`ahu, as well as a new Ph.D. student at DKICP, also will take part in the ceremony.

Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language will perform the mele ho`okipa, or welcoming chant, Ua Ao Hawaiʻi.

The students will also be addressed by UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai and DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma.

The event is sponsored exclusively by Walgreens. Erin Samura, Pharmacy Manager from Hilo, will speak on behalf of Walgreens.

Online Bachelor of Social Work Option Extends Education Opportunities Statewide

A new Distance Education (DE) Option for the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree delivered by the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa will launch in Fall 2018, providing increased accessibility for students statewide to pursue the degree.

Developed by the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work in partnership with Outreach College, the online degree is designed for eligible students who have completed the General Education Core Requirements and BSW prerequisites.

Courses are offered in a five-week, asynchronous format that allows for flexibility and busy schedules. Students take the online courses sequentially as a cohort, and practice real world skills under the supervision of social work professionals in community agencies.

Students and community members are invited to attend informational sessions regarding the BSW-DE Option:

• Maui. UH Maui College, 9/20/17, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Transfer and College Fair, Ka Lama Building. Also, 2 to 3 p.m.: Outreach College on Maui hosted session in HITS (for Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Hāna and Lahaina).

• Hawaiʻi Island. Hawaiʻi Community College Manono Campus (Hilo), 10/03/17, noon to 1 p.m., Building 379A, Room 6B. Hawai‘i Community College – Palamanui (Kona)10/03/17, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Koali 101.

• Kauaʻi. Kaua‘i Community College, 10/06/17, noon to 1 p.m., Learning Resource Center, LRC-124B.

For more information, contact the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at (808) 956-9470 or by email sent to sswde@hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: www.hawaii.edu/sswork/

Pahoa High Alumna Awarded Audrey S. Furukawa (ASF) Study Abroad Scholarship

Chrisovolandou Gronowski, a senior psychology major and chemistry minor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, has been awarded the Audrey S. Furukawa (ASF) Study Abroad Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for the fall 2017 semester.
Gronowski, a Pahoa High and Intermediate School alumna who carries a cumulative 3.96 grade point average, is currently attending Anglo-American University in the Czech Republic.

The ASF Study Abroad Scholarship was created to provide a UH Hilo student with the opportunity to study abroad and begin their global education journey. The recipient must have at least a 3.2 GPA with preference given to Hawaiʻi high school graduates.

To help support future students from Hawaiʻi to study abroad, or to learn more about the study abroad program, call UH Hilo’s Center for Global Education and Exchange at 932-7489 or visit www.hilo.hawaii.edu/studyabroad/.

UH Shines in 2018 U.S. News and World Report Rankings

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo once again made the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings, along with UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business. The 2018 U.S. News and World Report rankings were released on September 12.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa moved up 10 spots to 159 on the 2018 U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings. UH Manoa is also ranked 6 in Best Ethnic Diversity (National Universities), 83 in Top Public Schools, and 177 in High School Counselor Rankings.

“We continue to be gratified by the upward movement in recent academic and research rankings, both on national and international levels,” said Michael Bruno, UH Mānoa interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice chancellor for research. “They show that our faculty and staff are working hard, and working together, to give students the best and most accessible higher education experience.”

The announcement of UH Mānoa’s upward mobility on the U.S. News and World Report ranking follows the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings that rated UH Mānoa 63 in the U.S., up from 69 last year—representing its best showing ever in the Times ranking.

UH West Oʻahu ranked 25 among Best Regional Colleges (West), placing it in the top 38 percent of schools in their respective category.

“The faculty, staff and students are thrilled to be recognized as it is an affirmation of the great work we do to prepare 21st Century leaders—career creators who are making a positive difference in our communities!” said UH West Oʻahu Maenette K. P. Ah Nee-Benham.

UH Hilo ranked 66 among Best Regional Universities West, placing it in the top 47 percent in their respective categorory.

“We are very pleased to see UH Hilo recognized for its excellence in providing a quality educational experience,” said UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai. “This ranking is a testament to the work of our faculty and staff, who are deeply committed to providing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed when they graduate and enter their chosen professions.”

The U.S. News and World Report rankings surveyed 1,600 colleges among more than 3,000 four-year institutions throughout the U.S. Its methodology considers, among various factors, endowment size, rate of alumni giving and student-to-faculty ratio, which tend to favor private institutions.

U.S. News and World Report profiles:
UH Mānoa
UH West Oʻahu
UH Hilo

UH Hilo Student Participates in International Human Rights Summit

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo senior from Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) represented her country as a youth delegate at the 14th Annual International Human Rights Summit, held recently at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City.

Josefina Pereira (right) seated with fellow delegates at the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber Room.

Josefina Pereira, who is majoring in administration of justice and political science, was one of 52 delegates selected for the summit, which teaches youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspires them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.

“It was an honor to represent Timor- Leste and UH Hilo as a delegate, and to learn more about important human rights issues from true human rights champions and activists from around the world,” Pereira said.

Pereira is a recipient of a United States Timor-Leste Scholarship funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administered by the East-West Center. Her attendance at the summit was sponsored through a merit-based scholarship from Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and with financial assistance from the UH Hilo Office of International Student Services program.

“We were thrilled to have Josefina represent her country and UH Hilo at this important event,” said Jim Mellon, director of International Student Services at UH Hilo. “It is a testament to her dedication to human rights and to UH Hilo’s engagement with the global community.”

The summit brought together officials and advocates who work for equality and justice through human rights education, including ambassadors and other representatives of permanent missions to the UN. During the session, keynote speakers, youth delegates and ambassadors and observers from more than 45 countries were invited to share their thoughts and feelings on human rights issues in their home countries. Pereira addressed children’s rights in her homeland, with a focus on mitigating and eventually ending child abuse.

“This is an issue of great concern to me,” Pereira said. “I appreciate the opportunity the summit provided me to share my thoughts on this topic with an international audience.”

Participants also attended panel presentations on key human rights issues, including human trafficking, that featured leaders of the international effort to prevent human trafficking and a survivor who shared her own personal story. They later heard from noted human rights activists, including author and social entrepreneur Bryant McGill, Reach the World Director of Partnerships Christopher Ahearn, and radio and TV host Kerri Kassem. Pereira said she was deeply inspired by her experience and hopes to return.

“I feel I gained a lot from my experience, but have more to learn. So I would like to return next year as a youth ambassador,” Pereira said. “2018 will also be a very special year as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 70th anniversary and YHRI marks its 15th anniversary. ”

UH Hilo Offering American Sign Language Classes

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers non-credit American Sign Language (ASL) classes open to anyone age 15 and older.American Sign Language Level 1A will introduce the basics of ASL, including grammar and vocabulary for simple social conversation. Participants will also learn about deaf culture and rules of social interaction. Instructor Vicki Linter has been an ASL interpreter for 25 years and has taught ASL in California and Hawaiʻi. Classes will be held in UH Hilo’s Kanaka`ole Hall Room 106 on Wednesdays from 5 – 6:30 p.m., September 20 – November 22. The cost is $150.

American Sign Language Level 1B is for anyone who has some experience with ASL. Participants will focus on advancing expressive and receptive conversational skills. The course will be taught by Pam Bond, a deaf instructor and native in ASL with 12 years of teaching experience at Brigham Young University and at the high school level in Utah. Classes will be held in UH Hilo’s Kanaka`ole Hall Room 106 on Thursdays from 5 – 6:30 p.m., September 14 – November 16. The cost is $150.

Both classes require the Signing Naturally Student Workbook, Level 1, Units 1-6.

For more information and to register, call CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/ccecs/.

Hawai’i CC Nursing Instructor Receives National Recognition for Work in Psychiatric Nursing

Hawai’i Community College Nursing instructor Cheryl Puntil is the 2017 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Service from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).

Cheryl Puntil

Puntil will be recognized for her commitment, initiative, loyalty, integrity and exceptional and meritorious service at the 31st Annual National APNA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on October 18. With more than 10,000 members, APNA is the largest professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric mental health (PMH) nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems, and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders.

Puntil and several APNA colleagues worked on the APNA Essential Suicide Competencies for nurse assessment and management of individuals at risk for suicide.

“Through [Cheryl’s] vision, determination, and perseverance, the APNA Suicide Competencies initiative became a reality and an exemplar, continues to expand, and addresses both a major national public health problem and gap in nursing education,” Puntil’s colleagues stated.

“It is an incredible honor to receive the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Distinguished Service,” said Puntil. “I followed my passion and was lucky to find awesome mentors who paved the way for me to assist in establishing competencies that will change nursing practice and improve care for those at risk for suicide. I was very surprised and grateful for the acknowledgment from my esteemed colleagues who nominated me, and to the APNA board for voting on my behalf to receive the award.”

Puntil received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the College of Saint Teresa and her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is certified as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHCNS-BC).

Puntil joined Hawai’i CC Division of Nursing and Allied Health in 2014. Hawai’i CC offers Associate of Science Degree in Nursing and a Certificate of Achievement in Practical Nursing.

Suicide Prevention at Hawai’i CC

With suicide the second leading cause of death for persons 15-34, Hawai’i Community College has taken an active approach to suicide prevention. The college has established a Mental Wellness and Personal Development Service that offers services to students and leads trainings for faculty, staff and students in Safe Talk and QPR. Puntil has also brought Safe Talk training to Hawai’i CC Nursing students.

Puntil and Hawai’i CC Mental Health Therapist Kate De Soto were invited by UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes to serve on the UH Suicide Prevention Committee.

The college will participate in National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September with tabling events, sign making and sign waving on September 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The goal is to bring awareness to the issue of suicidality and and enhance prevention efforts, said De Soto.

“We want to reduce the stigma of depression and suicidal thoughts so people have fewer barries to seeking help,” De Soto said. “The more we show support as a community, the more people are likely to speak up and the more people are likely to know what to do if someone does speak up.”

Students seeking services from the Mental Wellness and Personal Development office can contact De Soto at 934-2706 and kdesoto@hawaii.edu.