UH Releases Interim COVID-19 Guidelines for Campuses

The University of Hawaiʻi released interim COVID-19 guidelines today (July 1, 2020) for its 10 campuses across the state for the upcoming academic year. The university’s top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of its students, employees and visitors, and the guidelines are meant to protect the UH community and slow the spread of COVID-19.

The interim guidelines cover multiple aspects of operations, and each of the 10 campuses will develop their own operational plans that take into consideration their unique location, facilities, programs needs and available resources. Work on the campus plans has been underway since May, and each campus is expected to make further announcements in the coming weeks. The first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester is Monday, August 24.

The interim COVID-10 guidelines were developed under guidance issued by local, state and federal authorities with input from UH public health and medical experts. They are subject to change as the university goes through the consultation with unions, state and county leaders and other stakeholder groups. Updates are also expected as government guidance continues to evolve and more is learned about the virus.

“It is a monumental task to prepare for an unprecedented semester, and I thank the teams that have come together to enable these initial guidelines, which represent a significant step forward in ensuring safe environments for our campus communities,” said UH President David Lassner. “Of course, the single best way we protect ourselves and each other is to follow the now basic rules in preventing the spread of COVID-19—staying home when you’re sick, wearing face coverings, washing your hands regularly and maintaining safe physical distancing.”

The following is a summary of the UH COVID-19 Guidelines. The full set of guidelines is available online.

The guidelines apply to all UH operations and activities on campuses and at off-site facilities and cover all students, employees and visitors. The guidelines include:

  • Wearing facial coverings when interacting in-person with others, (with exceptions for those with medical conditions and children under the age of 5 years) and when indoors, in common areas and where physical distancing is not possible (face coverings are not required while working or studying in isolation and where safe physical distancing can be practiced)
  • Staying home when ill or possibly exposed to the virus, washing hands regularly and practicing physical distancing
  • Safety practices to screen, report, monitor and manage COVID-19 cases
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting of buildings, classrooms, work spaces and frequently touched surfaces and/or equipment
  • Providing cleaning/sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer in each classroom and sanitizing dispensers located at classroom building entryways
  • Campus signage promoting common recommended guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Reducing the number of in-person courses by using online and hybrid options while ensuring students can achieve the same learning objectives regardless of instructional format
  • Reconfiguring classrooms and work environments to meet the recommended 6 feet of social distance and installing physical barriers such as plexiglass at public-facing transaction counters and where 6-foot social distancing is difficult or not possible
  • Controlling the flow of people within buildings by adjusting entry and exit points
  • Modifications to residence halls and campus eateries to ensure access to student support services, protocols for food handling
  • Guidance on facilities usage for campus and non-campus events
  • Providing resources for mental health support, coping with stress and assisting individuals in domestic violence situations

“As the state’s sole provider of public higher education, UH is fully committed to providing affordable and engaging education to all of the people of Hawaiʻi with appropriate health and safety provisions in place,” said Lassner. “At this moment in time, UH is more critical than ever to help the state recover from this pandemic and shape a better future for our people and our islands.”

Update for UH Faculty & Staff on July Work Locations

This message from President Lassner was shared with the faculty and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on June 26, 2020.

Aloha to the UH Employee ʻOhana,

I hope you are well as we all face the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many thanks to the many members of our community who continue to plan and prepare for what will be a challenging fall semester. More information on those fall plans will be released next week.

Many of you are asking about next month and whether you need to return to work on July 1. We are beginning to bring employees back to our campuses in a phased manner to address essential functions, including preparation for the start of the fall semester in August. Some employees have already returned to their campus, and supervisors are calling others back in July. If you are not contacted by your supervisor and have had no change in your personal circumstances, you should continue your current work arrangements during the month of July.

Decisions on working arrangements continue to be made at the unit level. As employees return, we are committed to following safe practices as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, and applicable state and county orders.

Please continue to use the online leave system to indicate if you are working from home by selecting the “COVID-19 Work From Home” option.

Thank you again for your resilience, patience and hard work on behalf of our students and the people of Hawaiʻi.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner

Free UH Virtual Program Fair for Hawaii High School Graduates

More than 50 programs from University of Hawaiʻi’s 10 campuses will be participating in a virtual program fair June 22–24. The event targets recent high school graduates, and is open to the general public to learn more about the various career programs, from accounting and auto mechanics, to science and engineering, offered at the UH campuses across the islands.

“We are excited to put this event together for the Class of 2020,” said Stephen Schatz, executive director of Hawaiʻi P–20. “Now is the time for students to think about their next steps, and you can’t beat the affordable opportunities and amazing programs across the University of Hawaiʻi System—right here at home.”

The virtual fair will feature programs within career pathways including business, industrial engineering, health, natural resources, arts and communications and public and human services.

Speakers will be sharing information about their programs, the potential job outlook for careers in these pathways, the required/prerequisite courses and steps to register.

For more information, including the fair schedule and Zoom links, visit: 55by25.org/uhprogramfair-june2020

The virtual fair is coordinated by Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, a statewide collaboration led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, Hawaiʻi Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi System.

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.

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 Online Courses Extended for Remainder of Semester

This message was shared with the students, faculty, and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on March 18, 2020.

Aloha UH ʻOhana,

Mahalo for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented pandemic crisis. Like many days, yesterday brought new changes including a set of extraordinary announcements from Governor Ige. So I want to share a number of significant updates to the university’s response. All of these are grounded in our firm commitment to completing the semester for our students while protecting the safety of our employees and students across the UH System.

UH instruction will be conducted online for the remainder of the semester. Exceptions may be granted only as previously announced.

Until further notice, our campuses remain open to our students and employees.

  • To maximize safety, other public-facing services may be curtailed for the duration of the crisis. Campus libraries are closed to the public, and other facilities and services may follow.
  • Changes to facilities and practices will be made to maximize social distancing in accord with CDCguidelines for Institutions of Higher Education.
  • Full buildings or sections of buildings that are unnecessary during this crisis may be closed under the authority of a UH Officer. Cleaning and disinfection will be focused on areas still open to students and employees.
  • Traditional dining services are being phased out and replaced with To-Go, Grab-n-Go and/or Delivery food services.

All non-essential travel, including to neighbor islands, should be canceled. Exceptions will be granted under the authority of a UH Officer.

All public events shall be canceled at least through the end of April.

As previously announced guidance for employees regarding remote working and implementing social distancing will be issued later today.

Please stay tuned for more updates and information as this continues to be a rapidly developing situation. And mahalo for all you do to support our students, our university and our state in this difficult and incredibly dynamic situation.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
University of Hawaiʻi President

Polynesian Studies Conference Postponed

A series of events titled Atua: Polynesian Ancestors, Stars and Temples scheduled to be held at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Brigham Young University–Hawaii over the next two weeks has been postponed out of an abundance of caution due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and COVID-19. Organizers say Māori and Tahitian scholars expected to attend have decided not to travel to Hawaiʻi for the conference. 

The events were scheduled March 17–18 at BYU-Hawaii and March 24–25 at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH Mānoa. The mini-symposium has been rescheduled for this fall.

Kamakakūokalani Professor Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa is the current Gladys Kamakakūokalani Brandt Chair of Comparative Polynesian Studies, created this series to gather Tahitian, Māori, Tongan and Hawaiian scholars to discuss topics related to ancestral Polynesian knowledge.

“We understand that during this time of uncertainty it is prudent to be cautious in regards to travel and gatherings of people,” Kameʻeleihiwa said. “We look forward to gathering and sharing our knowledge with each other.”

A series of online webinars may be provided for people who were scheduled to attend the conference. Those will be announced at a later date.

University of Hawai‘i Receives Human Research Protection Accreditation

The University of Hawai‘i (UH) is now recognized as a top research institution that follows rigorous standards for ethics, quality and protections while conducting human research — and becomes the first research organization in the state to be awarded this highly regarded status.

On June 14, 2017, UH was informed that it was awarded full accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). In addition to assuring the public that the rights and welfare of individuals who participate in research are protected, the accreditation demonstrates to potential collaborators and sponsors in the competitive global research arena that UH has built extensive safeguards into every level of research operations.

“The AAHRPP accreditation reaffirms the University of Hawai‘i’s commitment to strengthen protections for participants involved in our research and will serve as a catalyst to further increase our community involvement and engagement efforts in this area,” said UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis L. Syrmos. “I would also like to acknowledge the Human Studies Program team and all members of the three UH Institutional Review Boards for their key role in preparing us for this important accreditation.”

Along with UH, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Central Michigan University received recent accreditation from AAHRPP.  More than 60 percent of U.S. research-intensive universities and 65 percent of U.S. medical schools are either AAHRPP accredited or have begun the accreditation process.

About AAHRPP

A non-profit organization, AAHRPP provides accreditation for organizations that conduct or review human research and can demonstrate that their protections exceed the safeguards required by the U.S. government. To learn more, visit www.aahrpp.org.

About UH Research

Research conducted by the University of Hawai‘i (UH) impacts the quality of life in the islands and around the world. As the state’s major research university, and because of Hawai‘i’s tremendous geographic diversity, UH plays a prominent role in the state’s economic growth and development through its diverse and world-renowned research programs in astronomy, earth and ocean sciences, medicine and tropical agriculture. http://www.hawaii.edu/research/

Hawaii Students Create Star Wars Simulation on World’s Best Hybrid Visualization System

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa engineering graduate student Noel Kawano and computer science student Ryan Theriot created a 3D immersive visualization project—Star Wars Squadron and Tatooine.

Developed at the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) by MS graduate Noel Kawano and MS candidate Ryan Theriot. “Star Wars Squadron & Tatooine” immerses users in a real-time interactive action game in the newly developed Hybrid Reality Environment, Destiny CyberCANOE.

Users can battle with lightsabers or dogfight through a universe filled with starfighters, TIE fighters and an armada of star destroyers.

The (research and fun) possibilities are endless now that UH Mānoa is home to the best hybrid visualization system in the world that combines immersive virtual reality with ultra-high-resolution display walls. The Destiny-class CyberCANOE, which stands for cyber-enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment.

“We wanted to take advantage of the [Destiny-class CyberCANOE’s] capabilities and make something really cool,” Kawano said.

CyberCANOE users can go under the sea, explore outer space and probe microscopic elements of the human body without leaving campus.

Computer and Information Sciences Professor Jason Leigh is the system’s creator. His students were deeply involved in the design and construction of the CyberCANOE with investment and partnership from the National Science Foundation and the UH Academy for Creative Media System.

With 256 megapixels, the cylindrical CyberCANOE is the ultimate tool for scientists and researchers to visualize big data at resolutions that are 100-times better than commercial 3D displays. The diameter is 16 feet, and the walls are eight-feet high.

The Destiny-class cost about $250,000 to build and is actually the seventh and best CyberCANOE Leigh has built in Hawaiʻi over the past couple of years. His Laboratory for Advanced Visualization Applications (LAVA), where the Destiny-class CyberCANOE is housed, is planning to hold an open house in August 2017.

VIDEO: University of Hawaii News Conference on Lab Explosion

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa held a news conference to discuss the explosion that occurred in a laboratory at the Pacific Ocean Science and Technology Building on March 16.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Pacific Ocean Science and Technology Building

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Pacific Ocean Science and Technology Building

Speaking at the March 17 news conference was UH Mānoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Dean Brian Taylor and Environmental Health and Safety Director Roy Takekawa.

At the news conference Taylor announced that a structural engineer had confirmed that the building was sound and would be reopened.

Island Air Launches College Student Standby Program – University of Hawaii Students Will Benefit From $35 Fares

College life in Hawaiʻi just got a lot more affordable with the launch of Island Air’s new College Student Standby Program.  With this new pilot program the airline is offering students enrolled at University of Hawaiʻi campuses on Oʻahu and Maui the opportunity to stand by for any flight on any day for the wallet-friendly price of just $35* each way.

Island Air

The College Student Standby Program is available to all students currently enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu and six community institutions (Honolulu Community College, Kapiʻolani Community College, Leeward Community College, Maui College, Lānaʻi Education Center, and Windward Community College) who are traveling between the islands of Oʻahu, Maui and Lānaʻi.

To qualify for the College Student Standby rate, students must present a valid University of Hawaiʻi student ID and their state or federal ID card or passport to a customer service agent at the Island Air ticket counter. There is no maximum number of times a student may participate in the offer.

As the state’s affordable alternative airline, Island Air is constantly building new programs that enhance its value and services.  “We support our student communities and know how important it is to have a reliable, affordable connection to family and friends, especially for holidays,” said Dave Pflieger, CEO of Island Air.  “We are testing this program with the University of Hawaiʻi schools on Oʻahu and Maui for a limited time. The fare is an additional way that Island Air demonstrates its commitment to providing an economical, quality travel experience.”

*$35 is a standby rate, subject to seat availability and can be changed without notice.  Fare includes one (1) federal transportation segment tax and one (1) security fee.  Other taxes, fees, and restrictions may apply.

For more information about Island Air’s College Student Standby rate, visit http://www.islandair.com or call (808) 840-2323.  Let us know how we are doing on Yelp or TripAdvisor or just stay connected by liking Island Air on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/islandairhawaii, or follow @IslandAirHawaii on Twitter and @IslandAir_Hawaii on Instagram.

Statement From University of Hawaii President David Lassner

As a matter of policy and in accordance with Hawaii public records law, university personnel matters are confidential and we abide by that commitment to confidentiality out of respect for our employees. Experience teaches that personnel issues are best addressed in private, and when a change in leadership is necessary, it is best accomplished with as much dignity as the circumstances permit.

David Lassner

David Lassner

It is my job as President to hold the executives who report to me accountable for their performance and the effectiveness of their leadership. At UH, this is a holistic process that spans the full range of the executive’s duties and responsibilities, not a reaction to specific incidents. I have maintained confidentiality both to provide the chancellor the privacy and dignity that any of us would want for ourselves in a difficult personnel situation, as well as to attempt to avoid disruption to the university’s critical work of teaching, learning, scholarship and service.

Unfortunately, many statements are circulating and the privacy I had hoped for has been compromised with a mix of truths and rumors from many sources. I regret that my attempt at maintaining privacy and dignity has been perceived by some as lacking transparency and accountability. And I am truly sorry this has become a public spectacle.

UH Manoa is Hawaii’s only research university and the flagship campus of our UH System. I am committed to fully supporting our UH Manoa students, who work every day to develop the knowledge and skills for success in their careers and as contributing citizens in our communities. I am committed to supporting our superb UH Manoa faculty members, who teach and mentor students every day and engage in scholarship to advance human knowledge and address the challenges and opportunities facing our communities. And I am committed to supporting our hardworking UH Manoa staff and administrators who every day balance the complexity of multiple missions and expectations from internal communities and external stakeholders.

At this time we all need to focus on polishing our crown jewel in the new financial environment faced by UH and public higher education across the country. The financial conditions that have developed at UH Manoa over the past two years must be addressed with thoughtful leadership and deep collaboration. I am committed to embracing this broader challenge with effective campus leadership in a considered, open and collegial manner with the faculty, students, and staff of the UH Manoa campus and our stakeholders across the State of Hawaii.

Governor Abercrombie Submits Supplemental Budget to State Legislature

In compliance with Article VII, Section 9, of the Hawaii Constitution, the Abercrombie Administration today submitted its Executive Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2013-2015 and updated Program and Financial Plan for 2013-2019 to the state Legislature.

2014 Abercrombie Budget

“The supplemental budget and plan continue responsible management of state fiscal affairs in order to build upon the $1.1 billion turnaround our state has achieved,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “At the same time, we recognize that Hawaii’s improved fiscal position allows us to better address important issues such as early learning and development, support for our seniors, environmental protection, and homelessness. The supplemental budget provides an opportunity to navigate our economic environment for the maximum benefit of the people of Hawaii.”

The administration further committed to building the financial strength of the state by outlining in the plan a strategy to recapitalize state reserves to higher than pre-recession levels.

“We have set a targeted objective to build state reserves to 10 percent of general fund revenues,” said Kalbert Young, state finance director. “These reserves will allow the state to weather future economic downturns and mitigate against cyclical public service cutbacks.”

Accordingly, the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014. The Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014, which is in addition to the $55.5 million in general excise tax revenues transferred this fiscal year, pursuant to Act 62, SLH 2011.

Through separate legislation, the administration will also be proposing the transfer of $50 million to each fund in fiscal year 2015. The estimated balance of Hawaii’s reserves after these transfers will be more than $372 million, or 5.6 percent of projected general fund revenues in fiscal year 2015 –already more than halfway to the 10 percent target.

Simultaneously, the state’s commitment to forward fund its Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) unfunded liability begins this fiscal year with a landmark payment of $100 million and, in fiscal year 2015, a payment of $117.4 million.

The supplemental budget continues to provide stimulus to the economy while still adhering to the optimized debt profile that has been achieved through proper management of the state’s long-term debt. The budget includes funding for an additional $351.7 million in new general obligation bond-funded capital improvement projects. The state will more appropriately address much needed repair and maintenance projects by converting $187.4 million in previously approved bond-funded expenditures to general funds. The budget also proposes to fund an additional $100 million in repair and maintenance in fiscal year 2015. By directing more bond funds to long-term assets and using general funds to address immediate and short-term repair and maintenance, the state continues its more fiscally prudent management of capital improvement projects.

In addition, the budget includes the following increased support for a variety of initiatives:

Investments in Hawaii’s Children

  • More than $5.4 million additional for early learning and development initiatives, a priority of the administration. Approximately $4.4 million of that would aid the Executive Office on Early Learning in working with the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) to establish prekindergarten classes on DOE campuses, and $1 million would fund Family-Child Interaction Learning (FCIL) programs for family engagement for four-year-olds.
  • $2.5 million more proposed for Preschool Open Doors. The new voluntary program administered by the state Department of Human Services enhances access to school readiness services for 4-year-old children, with priority extended to underserved or at-risk keiki and those who are not eligible to attend public school kindergarten in the school year they turn 5 because their birth date occurs after the kindergarten eligibility date.

Support for Seniors

  • More than $4.5 million requested for programs that support older residents, of which $4.2 million is proposed for the Kupuna Care program and $427,937 for Adult Disability Resource Centers.

Environmental Preservation

  • An additional $40 million for conservation purposes at Turtle Bay, as proposed by the Turtle Bay working group last month. The working group was established by Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR164) during the 2013 legislative session and tasked with developing a conservation action plan to explore and identify conservation alternatives for the undeveloped portions of the Turtle Bay property and surrounding lands with conservation or historic value.

Other Investments

  • $1.5 million requested for the Housing First program to assist the most vulnerable of Hawaii’s homeless.
  • Ten positions and $1 million to expand Healthcare Transformation initiatives.
  • Restoration of eight positions and an additional $188,269 for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture within the department’s pesticides program.
  • $3.1 million for Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui’s R.E.A.C.H. Initiative for afterschool programs for middle and intermediate afterschool programs
  • Approximately $33.5 million to the University of Hawaii, whose Board of Regents committed a portion of such funds towards issuance of revenue bonds for addressing much needed repair and maintenance projects. This amount represents collectively bargained salaries for the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly salaries. But, instead of paying for the salaries out of the tuition special fund, which only affects tuition rates, the funds will free up resources so that the tuition fund remains stable and assists UH’s repair and maintenance $400 million backlog.

“Although there are many priority needs that must be addressed, fiscal sustainability is essential,”Young added. “This plan will allow the state to address its priority needs while positioning itself to best handle uncertainties, such as economic slowdowns or the recent federal government shutdown, by building up our reserves and exercising continued fiscal prudence.”

The Budget in Brief is available for download from the Department of Budget and Finance website, here: http://budget.hawaii.gov/budget/

 

Bikes and Tires Being Stolen at UH Hilo

Well it looks like we have someone targeting bikes on the campus of UH Hilo:

UH Hilo Moniker

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

13-0309 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Resident Hall Hale Kauanoe Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:21 PM.

Incident Occured Between: 3:02 AM and 3:21 AM on Friday, December 13, 2013.

Crime Details:
A resident of Hale Kauanoe reported that bike front and rear wheels were stolen from the Hale Kauanoe bike rack. Security and HPD responded and initiated a Theft Report.

Permalink: 13-0309

13-0308 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Resident Hall Hale Kehau Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM.

Incident Start: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM.

Incident End: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM.

Crime Details:
A resident of Hale Kehau reported that bike seat and rear wheel were stolen from the Hale Kehau bike rack. Security and HPD responded and initiated a Theft Report.

Permalink: 13-0308

Friday, December 13th, 2013

13-0307 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: College of Agriculture Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM.

Incident Start: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

Incident End: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM.

Crime Details:
A bike was stolen from the College of Agriculture bike rack. Security and HPD responded and generated a theft report.

Eight To Be Recognized as 2013 Stars of Oceania

The University of Hawai‘i Pacific Business Center Program’s planning committee announced that eight women of and from Oceania will be honored at the third “Stars of Oceania” recognition dinner December 3, 2013 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Oceana DinnerThe keynote speaker for event is Deputy Director Esther Kia’aina of the Hawaii State Government Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ms. Kia’aina is also a presidential appointee currently in the confirmation process in Washington D.C. as Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs to the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii president and CEO, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening. Reverend Dr. Fran Palama will chant the oli to commence the evening and the UH ROTC will present and retire the colors for the event.

“Primarily we wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Pacific Islanders and residents not born and raised as such, but whose heart and service is testimony to their love for the islands they call home.  Their impacts are felt in and from Hawai‘i as well as other parts of the Pacific, the nation and the world. Each represents multiple dimensions of leadership to overcome challenges with Aloha, courage, faith and perseverance in their fields of endeavor,” stated UH Pacific Business Center Program Director, Dr. Tusi Avegalio, the primary organizer of the event.  These women inspire us to look forward to the flowering of a vision where everyone is a Star of Oceania and committed part of the vast constellation of hope, faith, courage and Aloha that will restore alignment, balance and harmony to a world so lacking in it.

The “Stars of Oceania” was inaugurated in 2006 with the intent to continue every three to four years. This year’s recognition dinner is not an award or reward ceremony for distinguished service, but to recognize and acknowledge these outstanding women for doing the right thing.  All have been rewarded and awarded on many occasions and deservedly so. The “Stars of Oceania” recognizes that the attributes of service and sacrifice to raise the common good is much like Aloha, not an attribute of a particular culture, ethnicity nor geographical boundary. The event honors one’s sense of humanity.

 

2013 Honorees

1.  Dr. Sela Panapasa                      Rotuma, Fiji

Health Leadership. Conducting research, analysis and reporting from the University of Michigan that is impacting the Pacific region and the U.S. regarding elderly care and policy development for health and nutrition for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

2. Dr. Diane Ragone                        Virginia

Humanitarian Leadership. Director of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens Breadfruit Institute. Her work on breadfruit to feed the hungry of the world has impacted disaster stricken areas in the Caribbean and Africa where mass planting of trees from Hawai‘i have fed hundreds of thousands over the decade.

3. Dr. Tin Myaing Thein       Myanmar

Compassionate Leadership. Executive Director of the Pacific Gateway Center where she leads programs that help refugees, the destitute and victims of human trafficking where many of the victims are young girls and women. Although her work often places her in at risk situations, she continues to help locals as well as immigrants from the Pacific and Asia with social and economic adjustment needs.

4. Beadie Kanahele Dawson         Hawaii

Community Leadership. Community activist, attorney, business woman and entrepreneur who stood bold and resolute in the protection of a legacy of promise by Ke Alii Pauahi Bishop for Native Hawaiians, her knowledge, wisdom and Aloha secured the legacy for her people for generations to come. She leaves behind a legacy of courage, cultural stewardship and economic development initiatives that seek balance between traditional wisdom and modern knowledge.

5. Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel           Samoa

Courage Leadership. Mother, diplomat, traditional leader and fautasi long boat skipper, successful business woman and entrepreneur. Overcame tremendous challenges and shattered the gender barrier by entering a traditional, men’s only long boat race as the first women ever to do so, and winning the 50th anniversary celebration fautasi race of her country. Her acceptance of victory with traditional respect, humility and salutations to the chiefs and spiritual leaders of her country endeared her as a standard of excellence for the youth of her developing island nation.

6.  Susan O’Connor               Montana

Spiritual leadership. Social and global activist for world peace and harmony. Facilitated national and international gatherings in Hawai‘i, established programs to support the social, economic and spiritual needs for native Hawaiians in Hana and built a retreat area as a portal for peace and harmony with Aloha and Hawaiian values at the core to all who seek a peaceful place for reflection, balance and harmony in life.

7. Dr. Takiora Ingram                       Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Regional leadership. Regional environmental leader, Coordinator of the Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership, promoting health and stewardship of the Pacific Ocean’s resources,  and former Executive Director of the All Islands Coral Reef Committee Secretariat based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.  Provides effective leadership and coordination of the U.S. Pacific Islands and the Federal government to sustainably manage ocean resources and promote stewardship of the Pacific Ocean.

8.  Angela Williams             Virginia

Empowering Leadership. Retired U.S. Department of the Interior senior policy analyst who established the Pacific Business Center Program and a high impact internship program that has made significant contributions to local capacity building, and economic and small business development throughout the U.S. Territories, particularly Micronesia.  Graduates are serving in leadership positions throughout the U.S. Territories in the Pacific as vital building blocks for developing U.S. island Territories in the region.

General tickets for the event are $75.00. Students are $50.00. Sponsored tables: Kalo tables of 10 are $750.00; Niu tables of 10 are $1,500.00; and Ulu tables of 10 are $2,500.00.  Sponsored tables and seats that are donated will be extended to women of Hawai‘i who could not attend otherwise or as designated.  Checks should be made out to the University of Hawaii Foundation and reference “Stars of Oceania” and mailed with the registration form to Stars of Oceania, c/o UH Pacific Business Center Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shidler College of Business, 2404 Maile Way, A413, Honolulu, HI 96822

For more information about the 2013 Stars of Oceania Dinner visit http://pbcphawaii.com or contact the Pacific Business Center Program at the University of Hawaii at (808) 956-6286 for Dr. Tusi Avegalio (fa@hawaii.edu), Renata Matcheva (matcheva@hawaii.edu) or Michelle Clark (mlc@hawaii.edu).

“The Planning Committee composed of Cha Thompson, Leslie Wilcox, Crissy Gayagas, Wendy Loh, Jensin Sommer, Ramsay Taum and Renata Matcheva have been hard at work,” said Avegalio. “As I reflect on the Year of the Women 2013 Stars of Oceania and efforts towards making it happen, I’m reminded of a quote by Margaret Mead, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

 

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Jeffrey Portnoy to UH Board of Regents

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Portnoy to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. He assumes one of the board’s Honolulu seats, an interim position until confirmed by the state Senate.

Jeffrey Portnoy

Jeffrey Portnoy

“Jeff is a champion of the University of Hawaii and a respected leader in our community,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “He has always been a great friend to the university community, and his leadership, insight and expertise within and beyond his field will prove a valuable asset to the UH system.”

A member of State Bar of Hawaii since 1972, Portnoy has worked with Cades Schutte LLP since 1972; as a partner since 1979. A speaker, teacher and author, his practice specialties include media, insurance, employment and product liability law; personal injury defense; attorney and physician malpractice; and securities litigation and arbitration.

His prior involvement with the University of Hawaii includes serving as community representative on the UH Athletic Advisory Board for two 3-year terms (1996 to 2002) and as a UH adjunct professor in media law from 1985 to 1992.

Portnoy was president of the Hawaii State Bar Association in 2007 and director from 1989 to 1993. He was a member of the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board from 2005 to 2008, chairman of the U.S. District Court Advisory Committee from 1992 to 1996, State Chairman of the Defense Research Institute from 1989 to 1998, and president of the Hawaii Defense Lawyers Association from 1989 to 1995. In addition, he served as Lawyers Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference for two 3-year terms, is a past member of the Media Defense Resource Council, and is former editor-in-chief of The Hawaii Labor Letter.

Portnoy is an active member of the community outside the legal profession and is currently the president of Manoa Valley Theatre. He served as president of the Hawaii International Film Festival from 1994 to 2005, chairperson of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission from 1984 to 1988, and chair of the Honolulu Community Media Council from 2001 to 2002.

His awards and honors include the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award (1995) and the SPJ Hawaii Chapter’s Freedom of the Press Award (1983). He was also selected by his peers for Best Lawyers in American and listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers and Hawaii Super Lawyers.

Portnoy earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, with a minor in journalist, from Syracuse University (Cum Laude) and juris doctor degree from Duke University School of Law.

He is a resident of Honolulu.

 

Governor Releases $83.9 Million for University of Hawaii Campuses

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $83.9 million for capital improvement projects at University of Hawaii campuses systemwide.

Mayor Kenoi and Gov. Abercrombie at the Palamanui Campus Groundbreaking

Mayor Kenoi and Gov. Abercrombie at the Palamanui Campus Groundbreaking

“These priority projects are investments in the state’s economy and vitality. They address needed maintenance and repair work and create jobs, while expanding affordable, academic opportunities for residents,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This is especially the case for the new UH Palamanui campus, which will serve as an anchor in the community and increase access to higher education opportunities in West Hawaii.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects were identified by members of the state Legislature and approved by the Governor:

  • $50,000,000 — Systemwide Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance — Planning, design and construction for repair and maintenance projects at UH Manoa ($37,606,000), UH Hilo ($1,938,000), UH West Oahu ($41,000), UH Community Colleges ($10,164,000) and other projects systemwide ($251,000)
  • $28,000,000 — Systemwide Health, Safety and Code Requirements — Design and construction for health and safety projects at UH Manoa ($5,085,000), UH Hilo ($9,400,000), and UH Community Colleges ($13,515,000); projects include structural repairs, lighting, traffic safety, electrical system upgrades, and other safety and code requirements
  • $3,500,000 — University of Hawaii West Oahu — Design and construction for Road B connection to Kualakai Parkway, a second entry/exit to the campus; it will consist of a paved, landscaped four-lane roadway and provide access to water, sewer and drainage systems (Road A, which has been completed, connects to Farrington Highway and serves as the main entrance to the campus)
  • $2,400,000 — University of Hawaii Palamanui Campus, Phase I, Hawaii Island — Construction to complete Phase I of the Palamanui campus in West Hawaii; funds will be used to complete the simultaneous construction of Phases 1A (Culinary Arts Building) and 1B (Health Science and Student Services Building)

UH Palamanaui Campus Rendering

UH Palamanui Campus Rendering

University of Hawaii Search for President Narrowed Down to Three Finalist

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Presidential Selection Committee decided to invite three finalist executive search firms to make in-person presentations to the committee before making a final selection in the search for a new university president. The committee narrowed the field to three candidate firms from the submissions sent in response to the Invitation to Submit Proposals issued on October 4, 2013, at its meeting on October 29 at Bachman Hall at 10 a.m. The three firms will be invited to make presentations to the committee within the next two weeks if possible, and the committee will make a final selection of a firm to assist and advise in the presidential search after interviewing the firms’ representatives.

UH Logo

“The Presidential Selection Committee concluded that further discussion was required with the finalists we identified, and that that discussion should occur in person,” said Selection Committee Chair Regent Carl Carlson. “We’ve asked the firms to show their commitment to the process and belief in their own excellence by coming to present to us at their own expense here in Hawaiʻi. We will make a final decision as soon as possible after these presentations have taken place.”

The finalist firms will not be publicly identified, nor will their names be disclosed to the other finalists, so as to maintain confidentiality and to protect the proprietary nature of the firms’ strategies, concepts, database strength and expertise. “We’re obviously looking for the very best in the next president, and therefore need a firm that understands the unique qualities of Hawaiʻi while providing a high caliber of service. Competitiveness in pricing and a proven track record are also critical components that we are taking into consideration,” said Carlson.

The committee will be responsible for negotiating the best price for services with the firm, in keeping with good stewardship of public funds practices, and will make public the selected firm’s name and fee for services after an agreement has been reached.

The committee also continues its community outreach activities, appearing before local groups and organizations and soliciting feedback on what type of individual is desired and what skill set should be required in the next university president. The committee has met with close to 15 community groups in September and October, and has another 15 to 20 listening dates scheduled in November and beyond. A complete listing by date of upcoming appearances and ways to contact the committee to invite them to appear before other groups can be found at the committee’s website or by clicking the “Presidential Search” button on the University of Hawaiʻi home page.

Milestone for Hawaiiʻs First Space Launch Completed In New Mexico

The 135-ft. rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i’s first space launch, known as ORS-4, was unveiled today at the National Technical Systems (NTS) facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NTS and Western Fabrication built the rail launcher In addition, a full-sized model of the Super Strypi rocket that will be used in the Hawai‘i launch was unveiled.

The rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i's first space launch is unveiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attached to the rail launcher is a scale model of the Super Strypi rocket that will carry a satellite constructed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students. The launcher will be disassembled and transported to the 2014 launch site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories.

The rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i’s first space launch is unveiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attached to the rail launcher is a scale model of the Super Strypi rocket that will carry a satellite constructed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students. The launcher will be disassembled and transported to the 2014 launch site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories.

The mission manager for the launch is the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office.  The Open House event was hosted by ORS and project partners Sandia National Laboratories, the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i, Aerojet Rocketdyne Corp., and the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL).  The launch is currently planned for spring 2014.

The ORS-4 mission is sponsored by the ORS Office and is the first launch of the Super Strypi launch system.This mission will demonstrate a new, low-cost launch capability able to deliver 300 kilograms to Low-Earth Orbit.  This is the first orbital launch from the Pacific Missile Range Facility and will carry the University of Hawai‘i’s hyperspectral imager as the primary payload, along with 12 cubesats in an integrated payload stack.  This demonstration will enable low-cost launch alternatives and range processes for the future.

When the Super Strypi rocket takes flight from the U.S. Navy’s PMRF on Kaua‘i, it will be carrying a satellite designed and built by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students.  UH will have also played a significant role in getting the satellite into space.  With this mission, UH has become one of the only universities in the world to have both satellite fabrication capabilities and direct access to orbital space.  Interim President David Lassner said, “The University of Hawai‘i is pleased to support the State in becoming a low-cost gateway to space and to provide our students with real-world experience that will be invaluable as we train Hawai‘iʻs aerospace workforce.”

Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory Director Luke Flynn with a model of the launcher and Super Strypi launch vehicle.

Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory Director Luke Flynn with a model of the launcher and Super Strypi launch vehicle.

HSFL is responsible for payload development, and project management of the rail launcher and launch pad. The University of Hawai‘i’s faculty and students are building the primary payload called HiakaSat.  “Hiaka” means “to recite legends or fabulous stories” in Hawaiian.  It is also an acronym for Hyperspectral Imaging, Aeronautical Kinematic Analysis.  The 110-lb. satellite is being designed to do a number of things including performing thermal hyperspectral imaging.

HSFL was established in 2007 within the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and the College of Engineering.  As a multidisciplinary research and education center, HSFL brings together individuals from diverse areas and other UH campuses to work on the exploration and understanding of the space environment.  Kaua‘i Community College will be the primary communications link for the satellite.  Honolulu Community College is designing one of the satellite payloads and will operate a receiving station during the mission.  Windward Community College and UH Hilo are also involved.

Lassner said, “The Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory has brought in more than $35 million in government funding for this project and is partnering with top tier aerospace companies for our State’s first space launch.  It is a great example of the critical role UH plays in the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative to build the research sector and to create exciting jobs for future generations.”

HSFL Director Luke Flynn says the university would like to be able to launch small satellites on a regular basis, which will attract companies that are looking for affordable ways to test space technology.  HSFL is looking for partners willing to invest in this endeavor.

The launch rail system will now be disassembled and moved to the PMRF site on the island of Kaua‘i, where it will be reassembled for the 2014 launch.