COVID-19 response from the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly

We must balance the need to carry on our mission of delivering quality education and pursuing research activities without disruption, while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of faculty, staff and students.

Logo: University of Hawaii Professional AssemblyThe University of Hawai‘i and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the union representing nearly 3,700 UH faculty, sent a joint message to UH faculty on March 13, 2020.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting new challenges for the University of Hawai‘i and its faculty. This is new territory for all us. We must balance the need to carry on our mission of delivering quality education and pursuing research activities without disruption, while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of faculty, staff and students. For some faculty, teaching students remotely will not be new; they are already conducting classes in that mode. But for others, there are changes they will need to make to teach their classes to students who are not all in a classroom together.

UH and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the exclusive representative of BU7, recognize there are challenges to address in making this transition. We are establishing a working group of faculty and administrators to make sure lines of communication are open and responsive. Membership of the working group will be finalized over the weekend and it will be able to discuss to address the details of this transition. UHPA is identifying about 12 faculty members representing different campuses and disciplines to be part of the working group to provide feedback to UH administrators on how best to prepare faculty to make this transition. The group’s first meeting has already been scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.

The workgroup will explore resources for faculty to learn proven approaches and best practices on how to teach students remotely. The resources range from tools such as video recordings, web formats, and training classes are geared around the delivery of class material and includes references and resources to approaches faculty at other institutions have taken.

As a way to ensure faculty have an avenue for input on the process, we ask faculty to use the email address already established for the emergency we face, COVID19@hawaii.edu, to provide feedback or raise questions. These emails will be forwarded to the working group to expand the input we receive from faculty. Please watch for more details.

Mahalo,

Christian Fern
Executive Director
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly

Donald O. Straney
Vice President for
Academic Planning and Policy
University of Hawaiʻi

Via UH System News