Faculty Senate Highlights, Academic Year 2021-2022

Faculty Senate Highlights, Academic Year 2021-2022


Aloha Leeward,


I hope this message finds you all well and that the Fall semester has started on a positive note.


On behalf of the Leeward CC Faculty Senate, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the work and accomplishments of your faculty senators from the 2021-2022 academic year.  I am particularly concerned to apprise you of the work we have been engaged in given the great number and degree of changes our campus, the UH System, and the state have weathered lately.  Additionally, I also wish to use this opportunity to preview, to the extent possible, some of the emergent opportunities and challenges on the horizon for the 2022-2023 academic year.


Clarification on Inclusion of Application Year in Subsequent Promotion Applications


In August 2021 our Faculty Senate received several inquiries related to faculty promotion applications, particularly those questioning whether or not to cite accomplishments made during the year of application in one's next promotion dossier (e.g., If one applies for rank C4 in Fall 2022, should accomplishments from the Fall 2022-Spring 2023 academic year be included in the candidate’s C5 promotion application since the C4 rank would not become effective until Fall 2023?).  This is what some faculty have referred to as the "fallow," "dead," or "waiting" year.  An investigation revealed that there has been uneven and even contradictory advice about this issue within and among our divisions and academic units persisting for several years here at Leeward CC, which has led to confusion and anxiety among some faculty candidates for promotion.  


Faculty Senate’s inquiry into this issue resulted in a memo from UH Community College (UHCC) Vice President Erika Lacro stating definitively that accomplishments from a candidate’s year of application should be included in a subsequent promotion dossier.  In her memo, Vice President Lacro further notes that Division Personnel Committees, Division Chairs, Tenure and Promotion Committees, and administrators should not exclude a candidate’s year-of-application accomplishments in their assessments of a candidate’s fitness for promotion.  Hopefully this puts to rest some persistent and potentially harmful misinformation about what should or should not be included in one's promotion dossier.


Please obtain accurate information before disseminating advice on contractual issues such as these.  Questions about tenure and/or promotion that are not readily answered by the UH Tenure and Promotion Guidelines and/or the current University of Hawai’i Professional Assembly (UHPA) contract should be addressed to Sandra Uyeno, Director of the UHCC Human Resources Office, at <uyeno [at] hawaii.edu ()>.


Defense of Tenure


In an unexpected turn of events, Leeward’s Faculty Senate found itself embroiled in two fierce battles–one with the UH Board of Regents (BOR) in Fall 2021, and the other with the Hawai’i State Senate Committee on Higher Education (HRE) in Spring 2022–to protect academic tenure.


Owing to the approval of Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 201 in Spring 2021, the BOR established a Permitted Interaction Group (PIG) on Tenure (alternately referred to as the SCR 201 Tenure Task Force and Tenure Task Group) to investigate the following: 1) the history and purpose of tenure; 2) the evolution of and current views and developments on tenure; and 3) the current criteria and decision making process for tenure.  The ostensible focus of the Tenure PIG was for the BOR to understand more fully the need for tenure and the ways it is implemented across the UH System.  However, it later became abundantly clear that some members of the Tenure PIG had ulterior designs, beyond those of acquiring background and context.  Indeed, in its report of 10 September 2021, the Tenure PIG recommended, over the objections of UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern, the adoption of BOR Resolution 21-06, which included specific recommendations for reforming tenure via a redline copy of the UH Faculty Classification Plan (Attachment B) contained in the above Tenure PIG report.  These recommendations were particularly alarming given their failure to account for tenured and tenure-leading positions in the UHCCs, and for their proposal to eliminate tenure for non-instructional faculty (c.f. redline copy of RP 9.202, E.6, p. 5).


In response, Leeward CC’s Faculty Senate voted to approve Faculty Senate Resolution 21.1 opposing BOR Resolution 21-06, which I later submitted as written testimony for the BOR’s meeting of 21 October 2021.  In addition to our senators, many faculty and staff throughout the UH System came out to oppose BOR Resolution 21-06.  As the record of over 700 documents, and dozens of oral testimonies, attests, Leeward came out in force and in solidarity to resist this ill-conceived and destructive proposal.  The collective efforts of faculty and staff provoked the BOR to dissolve the Tenure PIG and to refer its report and recommendations to a committee of the whole (i.e., the entire BOR), which ultimately resulted in the SCR 201 Tenure Task Force Final Report in January 2022.  In its report the Task Force articulated strong support for academic tenure, but also recommended, among other things, a prospective reduction in the number of faculty classifications in the UH System (particularly at UH Mānoa) and the development of written processes for addressing the few instances when the productivity of a tenured faculty member has declined and s/he is unable to perform faculty duties satisfactorily.  Please see the SCR 201 Tenure Task Force Final Report for a full accounting of the Task Force’s recommendations.


Unfortunately, Faculty Senate’s efforts to defend tenure did not end with the BOR as the Senate Committee on Higher Education (HRE) took up the issue in January 2022 via Senate Bill (SB) 3269.  Particularly disturbing in SB 3269 was its proposal to require research of UHCC faculty (since all faculty would be reclassified as “F,” cf. pp. 6-7), and the elimination of tenure for librarians (p. 7) and support faculty and extension agents (p. 7).  Faculty senators, rank and file faculty, and staff from across the UH System once again came out en masse to offer oral and/or written testimony to oppose this dangerous challenge to academic freedom.


Additionally, owing to her role in composing and then advocating for SB 3269; her repeated efforts to usurp the decision-making authority from the UH BOR, UH administration, and UH faculty; and her many unilateral attempts to terminate UH employees without due process, Leeward’s Faculty Senate approved Faculty Senate Resolution 22.1, a vote of no confidence in Senator Donna Mercado Kim.  This was a somber vote for our Faculty Senate to take, and one not offered rashly or without careful consideration of the repercussions, as the long list of grievances against Senator Kim attests.  However, faculty senators firmly believed that a stand needed to be taken to defend faculty rights of academic freedom and consultation from Senator Kim’s legislative meddling in and micromanagement of the operations of the University of Hawai’i.  While a vote of no confidence in Senator Kim failed among faculty senate chairs across the UH System, where it may have gained more traction and popular support, the vote helped persuade representatives on the State House Higher Education and Technology (HET) Committee, particularly Gregg Takayama (HD 34: Pearl City, Waimalu, and Pacific Palisades), to kill the bill without a crossover hearing.


No one wishes for this kind of antagonism and drama.  However, when engagement and support were critical, it was heartening to witness Leeward CC faculty and staff standing up to defend academic freedom, our colleagues, and the public good.  For that, I am enormously grateful to and proud of you all.


In our efforts to defend tenure, I would also like to single out for special recognition the work of Erika Molyneux, chair of our Faculty Senate Legislative Committee, for her tireless efforts to keep the campus abreast of impactful legislation and whose many email and letter templates helped turn the tide of this battle.  Mahalo, Erika!  Mahalo, Leeward!  Imua!


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 kuleana areas.  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 acute and longstanding problems related to the conditions and use of our campus facilities.  Noteworthy of the AIS Committee’s accomplishments were its efforts to bring to administration’s attention the many facilities problems that threaten the health and safety of our campus community and which undermine the morale of faculty and staff who regularly expose themselves to such hazards.  In particular, the AIS Committee documented serious concerns over leaky roofs, high humidity levels, and dangerous mold growth in several of our classrooms, labs, offices, and work spaces, particularly those in the BS, MS, PS, DA, and GT buildings.  As a direct result of the AIS Committee’s intervention, and Fa‘amaile’s moxie, administration has currently developed a plan to repair our roofs to make our facilities safer for use and occupation.  Mahalo to Fa‘amaile and the AIS team for insisting on the integrity of our physical plant and the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff, and administrators.  Please read Senator Ickes’ annual report for a full accounting of the AIS Committee’s efforts.  We look forward to hearing more on the progress of these and other facilities improvements over the course of the academic year.


Assessment Committee


Chaired by Michele Mahi, the Assessment Committee worked diligently to help instructional faculty reflect on and improve their instructional design and delivery through its work on course and program assessment.  Over the course of the past academic year, two members of this committee, Michele Mahi and Adam Halemano, Jr., hosted several training sessions for early adopters of Anthology, Leeward’s new Assessment Management System.  To help support the campus’s assessment efforts, the Assessment Committee created a Course Assessment Worksheet to show instructors what assessment data needs to be collected from their courses and how to input their course assessment data into Anthology.  Going forward, this worksheet can serve as a resource for instructors who have not attended any of the synchronous training sessions.  Additionally, 426 of the 494 courses (86%) taught in the last five years have assessed all of the course learning outcomes.  Please see Senator Mahi’s annual report for additional information about the Assessment Committee’s accomplishments for the 2021-2022 academic year.


Budget and Planning Committee


The Budget and Planning Committee, co-chaired by William Castillo and Alyssa MacDonald, monitored the many dynamic changes to our state, UH System, and campus budgets as global and local economies emerged from the recession provoked by the Coronavirus pandemic.  Noteworthy in Senator Castillo and MacDonald’s annual report is the observation by Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, Kelli Brandvold, that 2021-2022 fiscal year American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund balances will be carried over into the next fiscal year.  Accordingly, the Budget and Planning Committee recommended that new ARPA proposal dates be created to spend the remaining funds.  For a review of this committee’s work, please see Senator Castillo and MacDonald’s annual report.


Curriculum Committee


As usual, the Curriculum Committee, led by Jiajia Garcia, had its hands full last year reviewing course, program, and certificate proposals.  As Senator Garcia recounts in her annual report, the Curriculum Committee processed proposals for 12 new courses, 145 course modifications, 9 course deletions, 6 new programs, 13 program modifications, and 3 program deletions.  The Curriculum Committee also reviewed and recommended revisions to Leeward CC Policy L5.202 (Program and Curriculum Review Policy and Procedures), which it amended to ensure that courses and programs are updated in the Kuali Student Curriculum Management (KSCM) system every five years.  Additionally, the Curriculum Committee reviewed and recommended for approval the request of the Sustainability Committee to reduce the minimum percentage of course content related to sustainability from 60% to 30% for the Sustainability (“S”) designation, which Faculty Senate approved at its meeting of 13 April 2022. 


Distance Education Committee


Co-chaired by Kelsie Aguilera and Evelyn Wong, the Distance Education (DE) Committee serves as the primary voice for Faculty Senate in matters of Distance Education on the Leeward CC campus.  Given Leeward’s steady movement toward online instruction over the past two and a half years, the DE Committee has taken on an increasingly important role in supporting and ensuring quality instruction in online environments.  Among its many accomplishments, the DE Committee revised its DE Guidelines, a list of best practices for online course design at Leeward CC.  Changes to these guidelines include recommendations for ensuring that DE courses are accessible to a wide range of student learners, clarification of Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI) in sub-guideline 5.3, the removal of redundant categories, and the reordering of sub-guidelines to follow a chronological order in the course design process.  Going forward, the DE Committee will be considering new professional development programs and peer coaching models for online course support, as well as reviewing DE processes to ensure compliance with new federal guidelines and ACCJC policies, among other initiatives.  For a complete list of DE Committee endeavors, please see Senator Aguilera and Wong’s annual report.


Elections Committee


Co-chairs Matthew Egami and Alyssa MacDonald, as well as member Igor Nikitin, comprise our Faculty Senate Elections Committee.  Together they worked to ensure the transparency, accuracy, and fairness of our elections–of our campus at-large election of faculty senators as well as of members of our Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  Last year our at-large election was rendered more challenging due to the retirement of Information Technology specialist, Randy Araki, who had handled the delivery and tabulation of electronic ballots for many years prior.  Fortunately, Elections Committee Co-Chair, Matthew Egami, devised a new and elegant means of conducting elections through a different platform, but one that still ensures the integrity of the election results (e.g., only eligible faculty are able to vote, that those individuals can only vote once, and that they can only vote for a maximum of eleven candidates).  Thanks to Matthew’s hard work, we now have in place a stable and secure method for conducting future Faculty Senate at-large elections.  For more details on the Elections Committee’s endeavors, please refer to Senators Egami and MacDonald’s annual report.


Faculty Committee


Chaired by Danny Wyatt, the Faculty Committee explored several issues related to faculty academic activity.  Among its notable achievements, the Faculty Committee recommended changing the Participation Verification statement (see p. 2) from an optional syllabus notification to a required one given that verification of student participation is now a federal mandate.  Approval of this recommendation necessitated a change to Leeward Policy L5.201 (on course syllabi), which identifies required statements for course syllabi.  Faculty Senate approved both changes at its meeting of 13 April 2022.  Mahalo to P. Jayne Bopp, our previous Office of Planning, Policy and Assessment (OPPA) coordinator, for shepherding and facilitating these changes.  Additionally, the Faculty Committee recommended changes to our Student Complaint Process document which, among other things, included a conflated step to recommend students to contact an instructor’s division chair if disputes cannot be resolved internally or if the student does not feel safe working with the instructor.  The Faculty Committee also looked into several labor concerns of faculty, such as restrictions on Summer teaching, compensation for teaching overloads, and reasons for Social Security and state pension contributions not being deducted from summer salaries.  For responses to these concerns, and more details on the Faculty Committee’s other work, please see Senator Wyatt’s annual report.


General Education Committee


General Education Committee chair, Michelle Igarashi, was exceedingly busy last year as she worked to understand, capture, and communicate feedback on the UH General Education Redesign.  As Senator Igarashi notes in her annual report, this redesign represents the first attempt to update the university’s General Education curriculum since 1999.  To help the campus better understand the multiple changes contained in the proposal, Senator Igarashi generated a rough summary of the General Education Redesign.  Senator Igarashi also took it upon herself to solicit feedback on the redesign from members of the Faculty Senate General Education Committee, Counseling and Student Services, and Academic Services–feedback which she has captured in a Google Sheet.  Additionally, Senator Igarashi held an extended breakout session at our January 2022 convocation to help faculty, staff, and students better understand the proposal and, later, captured campus feedback on it, which was shared with Faculty Senate at its meeting of 9 March 2022 and, later, with the General Education Design and Revisions Team members.  A second design team, which includes Leeward CC librarian Natalie Wahl, met this Summer to revise the proposal based on feedback received.  As noted by UH Vice President for Academic Strategy, Debora Halbert, a revised version of the General Education Redesign curriculum should be disseminated to all UH campuses this Fall with votes taken in all UH faculty senates later in the semester.    


Legislative Relations Committee


Chaired by Erika Molyneux, our Legislative Relations Committee found itself both monitoring and actively engaged in many consequential legislative debates involving UH human, fiscal, and material resources, including the aforementioned battle over tenure via SB 3269.  In addition to SB 3269, the Legislative Relations Committee tracked 141 bills and 7 resolutions impacting Leeward CC stakeholders, the UH System, and the public at large.  This committee also composed a Legislative Relations Priorities Letter, which sought to apprise legislators of operating conditions and critical needs in the UHCCs.  Notable in the letter is a request for legislators to restore the UH System budget to pre-pandemic levels and to lift the hiring freeze, both of which have been crippling the UH and its ability to deliver quality educational experiences to our students.  To understand the full range of issues in which the Legislative Relations Committee was engaged, please Senator Molyneux’s end-of-year report.


Student Affairs Committee


Our Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Summer Barrett, resolved several longstanding problems related to our work with students.  Notable among these accomplishments are the Student Affairs Committee’s amendments to Leeward Policy L7.201 (Policy on Graduation), which closed loopholes that could potentially allow students with less than a 2.0 cumulative GPA to graduate in Summer, but which could also have prevented students from graduating in Summer who have already worked their way out from under an Unsatisfactory Academic Progress (UAP) status.  Student Affairs also proposed amendments to Leeward Policy L7.210 (Unsatisfactory Academic Progress)--amendments that now better align with the expectations of the Veterans Office and which decrease the window of time students have to file a UAP appeal (from 20 to 7 days).  Additionally, Student Affairs recommended important revisions to our Student Conduct Code procedures.  Composed by our Interim Dean of Student Services, Kami Kato, and Title IX Coordinator, Tom Hirsbrunner, the revised Student Conduct Code procedures now provide more flexibility in handling cases (e.g., includes language for voluntary resolutions), establishes a timeline for investigations, and replaces the Student Appellate Board with the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.  For a more thorough review of the Student Affairs Committee's work, please see Senator’s Barrett’s annual report.


Looking Ahead


While it is difficult to know with certainty what the future will bring, the following are some of the issues Faculty Senate expects to engage in over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year.


  • Propose revisions to the current campus budget and planning process to provide governance groups more time and opportunities to review the campus’s Institutional Priorities List and provide feedback.
  • Review and vote on Leeward CC's revised mission, vision, and Strategic Plan.
  • Review and vote on proposed revisions to the University of Hawai'i General Education curriculum.
  • Continue to monitor and communicate facilities concerns to campus and UH System administrators.


While long, I hope this annual review provides some insight into the work and issues your senators have been engaged in to support our campus community.   For a repository of all Faculty Senate committee reports, please consult the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 Supporting Documents folder of our Faculty Senate website.


Additionally, if you have questions or concerns related to Faculty Senate kuleana areas, please join us for a talk story session today, Wednesday, August 24, 3-4 p.m. via the Zoom video conferencing application




I would like to acknowledge all of our faculty senators whose labor and sacrifices have contributed to the operations and wellbeing of our campus community.  In particular, I wish to thank Kelsie Aguilera (Faculty Senate Secretary and Distance Education Committee Co-Chair), Summer Barrett (Student Affairs Committee Chair), William Castillio (Budget and Planning Committee, Co-Chair), Cara Chang (Assessment and Distance Education Committees), Matthew Egami (Elections Committee Co-Chair), Jiajia Garcia (Curriculum Committee Chair), Junie Hayashi (Faculty Senate Vice Chair), Fa‘amaile (Betty) Ickes (Academic and Institutional Support Committee Chair), Michelle Igarashi (General Education Committee Chair), Ann Inoshita (Curriculum Committee), Paul Lococo, Alyssa MacDonald (Budget and Planning Committee Co-Chair and Elections Committee Co-Chair), Michele Mahi (Assessment Committee Chair), Nolan Miyahara (Budget and Planning Committee), Erika Molyneux (Legislative Relations Committee Chair), Don Oberheu (Lecturer Mentor Group Representative), Erika Marie Ramirez (Student Government Vice President and Faculty Senate representative), Suzette Scotti (Faculty Committee), I-Chia Shih (Faculty Committee), Alex Williamson (Student Government President and Faculty Senate representative), Evelyn Wong (Distance Education Committee Co-Chair), and Danny Wyatt (Faculty Committee Chair).


All of the above senators have worked extremely hard and discharged themselves admirably during a very turbulent year.  However, I want to extend a particularly heartfelt mahalo to Junie Hayashi, our outgoing (in more ways than one) Faculty Senate Vice Chair.  Junie has been my right-hand person for two years and has been an important counselor and sounding board for all of that time.  Please shoot Junie a mahalo shaka when you see her on campulikely somewhere near the Language Arts building vending machine to purchase yet another unhealthy energy drink.


In closing, I wish to thank our entire Leeward ‘ohana for your contributions and support throughout the previous academic year, and particularly for giving Faculty Senate an opportunity to help make Leeward CC a better place for students, faculty, staff, and our communities.  I look forward to hearing from and working with you in the near future as we embark on a new academic year.


E mālama pono,


Michael Oishi

Chair, Leeward CC Faculty Senate

Kelsie Aguilera

Vice Chair and Distance Education Chair, Leeward CC Faculty Senate

Summer Barrett

Secretary, Leeward CC Faculty Senate