Faculty Senate Highlights, Academic Year 2020-2021

 

Aloha Leeward,

We hope this message finds you well and you are enjoying the summer.

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee would like to take this opportunity to share some of the work and accomplishments of your faculty senators for the 2020-2021 academic year, particularly as we look forward to academic year 2021-2022.  We are particularly invested in this effort at outreach given the unique number and degree of changes and challenges we have all had to navigate over the last year.  Below are some of Faculty Senate’s endeavors.

 

Shared Governance and Protection of Faculty and Faculty Rights

The work of Leeward CC’s Faculty Senate began abruptly, and before the official start of the 2020-2021 academic year.  Owing to concerns over the state’s projected reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UH System and Leeward CC administration instituted policies and practices to streamline and economize operations, one of which was an unprecedented and early deadline for cancellation of low-enrolled classes, particularly those taught by the most vulnerable among us: lecturers.  In response, and in an effort to protect both students and faculty from unilateral, hasty, and possibly pernicious and unnecessary course cancellations (considering how so many students register late), Faculty Senate approved Resolution 20.1.  As noted in University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents Agreement, R-20, Faculty Senates have the negotiated right and responsibility to participate in “strategic planning directions, goals . . . and related budget priorities,” of which early course cancellations are a part.  While Faculty Senate understands the need for economic efficiency in these fiscally challenging times, it also believes and expects that such efforts will be conducted transparently and collaboratively with Faculty Senate, especially when different metrics for minimum fill rates and deadlines for course cancellations are employed.  Going forward, recently revived Small Undergraduate and Graduate Course Sections (EP 5.230), signed by UH President David Lassner, will provide more transparent and consistent guidance across the UH System regarding enrollment thresholds and deadlines for course cancellations.

Likewise, and in an effort to ensure a transparent and meaningful process of consultation, Faculty Senate approved Resolution 20.2, advocating for Faculty Senate’s participation in executive leadership appointments.  To date, Leeward CC’s administration has filled several interim executive positions without the consultation of Faculty Senate— practices that both faculty senators and the University of Hawai‘i Professional Assembly (UHPA) deem a violation of Faculty Senate’s right to participate in the selection of executive leadership, also protected by University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents Agreement, R-20.  Senate’s advocacy on this issue has resulted in a Framework for Faculty Senate Consultation on Interim Appointments on Executive Managerial Positions— a document that will help to ensure Senate’s input in future interim appointments and for which Chancellor Peñaloza has communicated support in his memo of June 16, 2021.  On behalf of the Faculty Senate, the Executive Committee thanks Chancellor Peñaloza for his feedback on this document and his commitment to meaningful collaboration to ensure transparency, fairness, and diversity in the selection of Leeward CC’s future administrators— safeguards already in place for the hiring of other UH faculty and staff.

Concern over faculty rights also included an intensive discussion of faculty workloads on Tenure and Promotion Review Committees (TPRCs) as some faculty are called upon more frequently than others to serve on multiple TPRCs per year (sometimes as many as three), often for several years in a row.  Following Faculty Senate’s requests for data on TPRC assignments, former Leeward CC Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (VCAA), Della Teraoka, provided the following results for all the UH Community Colleges (UHCCs).  Owing to UHCC Human Resources guidelines to ensure fairness and diversity in the composition of TPRCs, faculty assignments to TPRCs are complex and sometimes uneven.  As UHCC Vice President Erika Lacro has noted, TPRC assignments have multiple criteria such as rank, campus (three from the same campus as the candidate, though not from the same discipline or division), discipline (two from the same discipline as the candidate, but from different campuses), gender, race, ethnicity, exclusion lists, and other exemptions that prevent faculty from serving (e.g., illness, conflicts of interest, etc.).  While there are always efforts to avoid assigning faculty to multiple TPRCs, this is not always possible given the above restrictions.  A consequence of Faculty Senate’s inquiries into this matter is Vice President Lacro’s “Guidance for Chancellor’s in the Formation of Tenure and Promotion Review Committees (TPRCs).”  While not resolving the complicated issue of multiple and frequent TPRC assignments, the memo attempts to ensure that chancellors are fully aware of the guidelines informing TPRC assignments in an effort to create diverse and informed TPRCs while also balancing concerns over faculty workloads.  That said, it is important to note that any faculty member who feels unable or too overburdened to discharge her/his/their responsibilities on a given TPRC may request the Chancellor to be removed.  The Chancellor must then assess the reason for the request and inform the affected faculty member of his/her/their decision.

 

Standing Committee Work

Much of the important, detailed, and time-consuming work of Faculty Senate is conducted by its committees, which work to identify and resolve problems across multiple areas of Faculty Senate’s responsibility.  The following is a brief synopsis of our Faculty Senate standing committees’ efforts last year.


 

Academic and Institutional Support (AIS)

The AIS Committee, chaired by Fa‘amaile (Betty) Ickes, last year focused on resolving several lingering issues related to facilities use and maintenance— issues acknowledged by previous Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, Mark Lane, in his memo of November 20, 2020, and in response to Faculty Senate Resolution 19.1.  Detailed in Senator Ickes’ annual report are updates over the creation of an online Facilities Use application, the creation of response times to acknowledge receipt of Facilities Use applications, and the ability for secretarial staff to view and book room reservations on behalf of faculty applicants, among other concerns.  Resolutions to some of these issues are expected with this summer’s implementation of a new facilities booking software.  We look forward to more updates on and resolutions to these concerns by Senator Ickes in Fall 2021.


Assessment Committee

The Assessment Committee, chaired by Michele Mahi, busied itself with several initiatives last year, among them being amendments to Leeward CC Policy L5.210, a Spring 2021 Convocation workshop on assessment strategies and methods, the selection of a new Assessment Management System (Anthology), and a concerted drive to encourage faculty to assess their Course Learning Outcomes as required by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and UHCC Policy 5.202, Executive Policy 5.202 and Regents Policy 5.201.  Of particular note, the Assessment Committee’s efforts have resulted in a tremendous assessment progress rate of 95.6% of courses assessed through June 2021!  Mahalo to all who assessed their learning outcomes to reach this remarkable benchmark.  A full accounting of the Assessment Committee’s work can be found in Senator Mahi’s annual report.


Budget and Planning Committee

The Budget and Planning Committee, chaired by Gholam Khaleghi, had its hands full as it monitored the welter of changes associated with the UH System’s and college’s operating budgets.  A trained economist, Senator Khaleghi was particularly adept at explaining the college’s and the UH System’s budget forecasts in relation to the larger trends of the state, nation, and global economies.  Additionally, Senator Khaleghi kept Senate abreast of important federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) and CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) monies for the college and UH System and helped develop ideas for revenue generation (rather than painful budget reductions) to keep the campus financially solvent.  Please find a  comprehensive discussion of the Budget and Planning Committee’s efforts in Senator Khaleghi’s annual report.


Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee, led by Pete Gross, was busy as usual.  As Senator Gross notes in his annual report, the Curriculum Committee reviewed, recommended, and presented to Faculty Senate proposals for 11 new courses, 133 course modifications, 10 course deletions, 1 new program, and 16 program modifications.  Additionally, the Curriculum Committee updated in the Kuali Student Curriculum Management (KSCM) system the Career and Technical Education (CTE) General Education requirements while also fixing several bugs and interface issues to make KSCM more stable and user friendly.  The Faculty Senate bids a fond aloha to Senator Gross as he rolls off of the Curriculum Committee and Faculty Senate after six dedicated and excellent years of service and extends a warm welcome to incoming Curriculum Committee Chair, Jiajia Garcia.


Distance Education Committee

The Distance Education (DE) Committee, co-chaired by Kelsie Aguilera and Evelyn Wong, has proven instrumental in providing important technical and pedagogical support for Leeward’s faculty as we navigate the many challenges of distance education in this time of COVID-19.  Among the many accomplishments of the Distance Education Committee are the creation of an Online Learning Orientation Subcommittee, chaired by Jordan Lewton; revisions to and information sessions on the Leeward CC DE Guidelines Self-Assessment process; and recommendations for technological solutions to support faculty and staff in the implementation of distance learning and campus services, among other work.  Please peruse Senators Aguilera and Wong’s annual report for a complete list of DE Committee endeavors.


Elections Committee

The Elections Committee, co-chaired by Senators Matt Egami and Alyssa MacDonald, and joined by Igor Niktin, facilitated both our annual at-large election of senators as well as the election of members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  In addition to these accomplishments, the Elections Committee also recommended a mechanism for resolving tie-breaks in at-large elections— a long overdue protocol missing from but now incorporated into the revised Faculty Senate Elections Procedures.  For more details on the Elections Committee’s endeavors, please refer to Senators Egami and MacDonald’s annual report.


Faculty Committee

Co-chaired by U‘ilani Keli‘ikuli and Danny Wyatt, the Faculty Committee investigated several issues of concern to faculty and students.  Among the Faculty Committee’s notable accomplishments are the creation of an optional syllabus notification listing withdrawal deadlines for 16-week and part-of-term courses.  This committee also worked closely with members of the Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee, Student Services, and Student Government to create a Student Complaint Process document.  Reviewed and approved by UHPA, this document seeks to make transparent to students the established protocol for the expression of their grievances, particularly by ensuring that proper conversations occur between students and faculty before involving campus administrators.  Finally, and considering the difficult time our students are experiencing learning and living in relative isolation, the Faculty Committee recommended for approval an optional syllabus notification informing students of the campus’s mental health services, as listed on our College’s Counseling web page.  For the specific verbiage of this optional syllabus notification, as well as a full discussion of the Faculty Committee’s achievements, please see Senators Keli‘ikuli and Wyatt’s annual report.


General Education Committee

The General Education Committee, chaired by Michelle Igarashi, juggled multiple and important concerns last year.  Among Senator Igarashi’s personal accomplishments are the creation of a new Foundations Board website to facilitate the updating of information and the clarification of hallmarks and application process.  Collectively the General Education Committee is monitoring the progress and recommendations of the UH General Education Curriculum Design Team, which is currently at work on the reconceptualization of our UH General Education curriculum during its Summer Institute.  The recommendations of this Summer Institute, projected to be implemented in Fall 2025 (best case scenario) after multiple rounds of consultation, will prove impactful to the design and delivery of our current courses and programs.  Those interested in following the developments and discussion of the General Education Summer Institute should consult the Schedule and List of Topics listed on the UH General Education Curriculum Design Team’s website.  For a complete account of the General Education Committee’s endeavors, please see Senator Igarashi’s annual report.


Lecturer Mentor Group

Led by Christine Walters in Fall 2020 and Wayland Quintero in Spring 2021, the Lecturer Mentor Group kept Faculty Senate abreast of the concerns and challenges of our lecturer colleagues— concerns and challenges that have multiplied and deepened in these fiscally challenging times.  Among the concerns raised by Senator Quintero in his May 5 report are course assignment prioritization according to lecturer rank and a lack of clarity regarding whether lecturers are employed by a particular UH campus or by the UH System (important for the calculation of teaching equivalencies and attendant employee health benefits).  Overshadowing and informing these concerns is the more general distress emanating from a severe reduction of lecturer course loads as a result of increased course cancellations.  Particularly important are the results of a survey of lecturers throughout the UH System and which Senator Walters captures in her report of October 2020.  As the survey notes, the mass cancellation of lecturer sections also greatly impacts students considering that many lecturers (46.9%) report that they teach two or more courses in their discipline not taught by tenured faculty members.


Legislative Relations Committee

Our Legislative Relations Committee, chaired by Erika Molyneux, was extremely active this academic year monitoring the welter of important initiatives impacting the UH System.  Among this committee’s many accomplishments are its Legislative Relations Priorities Letter, which communicates to legislators, particularly those on the House and Senate Higher Education Committees, many of the concerns of Leeward CC and UH System faculty, such as the protection of tenure, clear guidelines for a safe return to face-to-face interactions, support for more campus mental health services, and the recognition and protection of our lecturers who are vital to our ability to deliver quality education to students.  Additionally, the Legislative Relations Committee diligently monitored several bills impacting our campus and UH community, particularly HB1105 HD1 which sought to provide greater faculty and student input in the selection of candidates for the UH Board of Regents, and SCR201 SD1 HD1, which urges the creation of a “task force to examine and assess the UHM tenure structure of researchers and non-instructional faculty compared to peer institutions of higher education across the USA.”  As the issues the Legislative Relations Committee engaged are many and complex, please see Senator Molyneux’s annual report for more details. 


Student Affairs Committee

Our Student Affairs Committee, co-chaired by Summer Barrett and John Signor, was extremely busy this year as they worked to resolve a range of thorny issues related to students, faculty, and student services.  Notable among these efforts were a thorough review of student-related procedures and policies to ensure both are accurate and reflect current system and college practices; amendments to the Student Affairs description in Faculty Senate’s Bylaws (approved by Faculty Senate on April 14 and approved by Chancellor Peñaloza on April 26); exploration of the creation of a senior audit policy due to the lack of clarity regarding seniors’ statuses as students and their lack of access to important services such UH Alert, LUMISIGHT UH, etc.; and reviews of our policies on Course Repeat, Course Substitution, Grading, Student Academic Grievance, and Graduation, to name only a few.  Additionally, the Student Affairs Committee had vital roles in developing the above mentioned Student Complaint Process document and optional syllabus notifications for academic withdrawal deadlines (16-week and part-of-term) and campus mental health services.  For full details of this committee's many activities, please see Senators Barrett and Signor’s annual report.


While long, this annual review provides a window into the work of your senators in discharging their commitments to students and faculty at Leeward Community College.  For a repository of all Faculty Senate committee reports, please consult the Fall 2020-Spring 2021 Supporting Documents folder of our Faculty Senate website.


Acknowledgments

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee wishes to recognize the contributions of all our faculty senators whose work has been instrumental in promoting the interests of the college.  In particular, we would like to thank Summer Barrett (Student Affairs Committee Co-Chair), Weirong Cai (Legislative Relations Committee), William Castillio (Budget and Planning Committee), Matthew Egami (Elections Committee Co-Chair), Jiajia Garcia (Curriculum Committee), Petersen Gross (Curriculum Committee Chair), Fa‘amaile (Betty) Ickes (Academic and Institutional Support Committee Chair), Michelle Igarashi (General Education Committee Chair), Warren Kawano (Distance Education Committee), U‘ilani Keli‘ikuli (Faculty Committee Co-Chair), Gholam Khaleghi (Budget and Planning Committee Chair), Kealohilani Leleo (Student Government President and Faculty Senate representative), Alyssa MacDonald (Elections Committee Co-Chair), Michele Mahi (Assessment Committee Chair), Erika Molyneux (Legislative Relations Committee Chair), Michael Moser (Budget and Planning Committee), Wayland Quintero (Lecturer Mentor Group Representative), Suzette Scotti (Faculty Committee), John Signor (Student Affairs Committee Co-Chair), Kale‘a Silva (Student Affairs Committee), Joseph Wargo (Student Government Vice President and Faculty Senate representative), Christine Walters (Lecturer Mentor Group Representative), James West (Budget and Planning Committee and Faculty Committee), Evelyn Wong (Distance Education Committee Co-Chair), Naiad Wong (Legislative Relations Committee), and Danny Wyatt (Faculty Committee Co-Chair).


In closing, we wish to thank everyone for their dedication, hard work, and support during this turbulent time, and particularly for giving us the opportunity to help make Leeward CC a better place for students, faculty, and staff.  We look forward to hearing from and working with you in the near future as we embark on a new academic year.

Sincerely,

 

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee


Michael Oishi

Chair, Leeward CC Faculty Senate, 2020-2022
 

Junie Hayashi

Vice Chair, Leeward CC Faculty Senate, 2020-2022
 

Kelsie Aguilera

Secretary, Leeward CC Faculty Senate, 2020-2022

Co-Chair, Distance Education Committee, 2020-2022

 
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