Same-sex marriage bill moves to the House

The state Senate has voted to approve the same-sex marriage bill, sending it to the House.

According to an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the vote was 20 to 4. If the House amends the bill, it will have to return to the Senate for review before moving on to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said in the Star-Advertiser that it’s likely the chamber will change the bill’s religious exemptions. The Senate bill currently exempts ministers and other clergy from having to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, but not for-profit businesses.

The House Judiciary and Finance committees have scheduled a hearing on the measure for 10 a.m. on Thursday, which is expected to last until midnight. Testimony will carry over to Friday if there are people who still want to testify.

The committees waived a 24-hour deadline on submitting testimony due to the high public interest.


Presidential Selection Committee to interview finalist firms

The Presidential Selection Committee decided today to invite the three finalist search firms to make in-person presentations before deciding on a final selection.

“The Presidential Selection Committee concluded that further discussion was required with the finalists we identified, and that that discussion should occur in person,” committee chairman Regent Carl Carlson said. “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 three finalist firms will not be publicly identified or disclosed to other finalists as a way to maintain confidentiality.

“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,” Carlson said.

The three firms will be invited to make presentations to the committee within the next two weeks.

After interviewing the firms’ representatives, the committee will make a final selection of a firm to assist and advise in the presidential search.

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 has been continuing its community outreach and has met with nearly 15 community groups in the past two months. Its next outreach is scheduled for tomorrow at an APT Leadership meeting.

More information on the presidential search and a schedule of the committee’s outreach can be found at

Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee pass same-sex marriage bill

The state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee passed a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in Hawaiʻi, which will now advance to the full Senate.

The five to two vote came after a day of public testimonies during the first special legislative session that Gov. Neil Abercrombie called, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“It takes us to a new level of equal rights,” Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua) said in the Star-Advertiser. Hee is also the chair’s committee.

Individuals had two minutes to testify, according to Hawaiʻi News Now.

Advocates stated that gay couples are being denied the civil right of marriage. Some opponents said the bill violates their freedom of religion, and others explained that the people should decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage, not the legislators.

If the Senate approves the bill it will go on to the House.

The House Judiciary and Finance committees have scheduled a hearing on the measure for 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Regents endorse initiative to increase number of awarded college certificates

Published on Oct. 28, 2013.
Published on Oct. 28, 2013.

The Board of Regents endorsed the Hawai’i Graduation Initiative at its September meeting for the second time, approving strategies to improve student success and graduation.

“What they endorsed this time was actually all the strategies,” said Linda Johnsrud, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost. “So we’ve got strategies in these three areas, and we just felt it was good to share these with the board and then also get the board’s endorsement.”

The strategies included promoting college preparation, ensuring efficient transfer of students and credits, and enabling on-time graduation.

The initiative’s ultimate goal is to increase the number of working-age adults that hold a college degree to 55 percent by 2025. The goal was endorsed by the BOR in 2008.


Johnsrud said that the university system has increased the number of degrees/certificates awarded by 25 percent.

She said the campuses are doing the work to ensure that students are working toward degrees and certificates.

“The campuses are really doing the work to make sure that more students than in the past, you know, take 15 credits, or they declare their majors earlier,” Johnsrud said. “Campuses have defined the academic pathways for all of their programs to make it easier for students to get from their freshman year to their senior year.”

The Mānoa campus’ graduation rates have increased. In 2012, Mānoa’s normal time graduation rate increased by almost 55 percent from the previous year, according to Pearl Imada Iboshi, Ph.D., director of the Institutional Research and Analysis Department for the UH system.

Its six-year graduation rate is now a little more than 57 percent, compared to 46 percent three years ago. The campus’ four- year graduation rate is now more than 20 percent – almost doubled from 10 years ago.

According to Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Reed Dasenbrock, the rate is still low.

“But more students are graduating more quickly, so we do believe we’re making more progress,” Dasenbrock said. “We’ve had some record graduating classes. … We are becoming more successful at getting students to graduate.”

Johnsrud said the goal of a 25 percent increase is for the 2008-15 period, and the university is starting to work on what its goal should be from 2015-20.

“And since the census data came out, since we’ve set these goals we realized that even though we were really pleased that we got the increase of 25 percent, we actually need to ramp that up more if we want to obtain the ultimate goal of 55 percent of the working-age population,” Johnsrud said. “So the fact that our enrollment increased really helps. But our focus is on making sure that more of those students succeed than in the past.”


Dasenbrock said the Mānoa campus has some of its own initiatives that aim to increase the number of degrees and certificates the campus awards.

“So there’s no real dissonance or conflict between what we want to do with Mānoa and with what the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative is trying to do,” Dasenbrock said. “But, I think the Mānoa initiatives mostly came out of our own planning around accreditation. And so, the phrase ʻHawaiʻi Graduation Initiative’ is mainly primarily associated with the system effort, but what we’re trying to do matches that perfectly.”

Dasenbrock said the Mānoa campus has increased its connectivity to the community college system.

The campus offers automatic admission and reverse credit transfer for community college students.

“If you’re on track to get an Associates of Arts, you can get an email saying you are admitted to the UH campus of your choice,” Dasenbrock said. “That was a Mānoa initiative. We’ve also started something called reverse credit transfer where if you start at a community college and then you come over here, your credits can transfer back so you get an Associate’s of Arts.”

UH Mānoa has also improved how it connects with students when they first come to the university, including allowing freshmen to register around the same time as continuing students and making sure that students are getting the right credits.

“There’s a set of things we’re doing to try to make sure that students have the tools so they know kind of where they’re going,” Dasenbrock said. “Four-year degree plans on the web is an important part of that. We’re asking departments to review their requirements to try to make sure that students can move through more quickly.”

The campus is also working on an initiative to help students declare their majors faster.


President M.R.C. Greenwood coined the name for the HGI in 2009, according to Johnsrud.

“But we had started on focusing on increasing the number of graduates since 2007,” Johnsrud said.

The HGI was formally launched in 2010 in Greenwood’s February 2010 “State of the University of Hawai‘i System,” according to the initiative’s website.

The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of University of Hawai‘i graduates by 25 percent by 2015, an increase to 10,500 degrees/certificates earned from a 2008 baseline of 7,350.

Johnsrud said the university aligned that goal with a goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a two- or four-year college degree to 55 percent by 2025.

“So when they set that goal in 2007, then we worked with DOE and P-20 (Partnerships for Education) and we looked across our 10 campuses and said, ‘Ok, if we’re going to reach that goal of 55 percent of a working age population, how many more degrees and certificates will we have to produce in order to make good on that?’” Johnsrud said.  “And that’s when we came up with that goal.”

Johnsrud said one of the reasons the university has pushed to increase the number of degrees and certificates is because of a study compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce.

“One of the reasons that we have pushed degrees and certificates is there has been a study done across the nation, and it indicates state-by-state the number of jobs that are going to require postsecondary degrees,” Johnsrud said. “And for Hawaii, it’s 65 percent. So just underscores the need for more of our citizens to have a degree or certificate.”

To learn more about the Hawai’i Graduation Initiative, go to

Man on the Street: What do you think about the university having an initiative to raise graduation rates?

Presidential Selection Committee to select search firm on Tuesday

The Presidential Selection Committee expects to select a search firm to help in its presidential search at its Oct. 29 meeting, according to Carl Carlson, chairman of the committee.

The Board of Regents approved delegating the authority of selecting a search firm to the committee at its meeting last Thursday. The committee then sent invitations to approximately 40 firms on Friday.

“We received 11 proposals back, and so we’re familiar with some of those,” Carlson said. “And so we need to go through the process of reviewing every proposal.”

According to Carlson, there was previous discussion among the committee on whether to use a search firm or a search consultant.

“Search consultants typically have been presidents of universities,” Carlson said. “They understand the role of the president of the university. And so as a consultant, they work directly for the board or for the search committee, so really they’re our team, our guide.”

The committee conducted a search for search consultants to get an idea of what they did.

“Then when we looked at the cost of doing this, and one of the ideas of finding a consultant was we want to manage our cost. That’s very important; we want to keep those costs down, and when we looked at the proposals and what services they could provide, between using their services and the cost of that as well as paying another firm to provide some administrative services that the consultant didn’t do, it adds up to about the same as a firm,” Carlson said.

In the end, the committee decided on using a search firm, according to Carlson.

The search firm will help the committee identify what the president’s role should be as well as assist in recruiting and vetting applicants.

“They’ll learn about the culture of our university, a little bit about the culture of the state itself,” Carlson said. “And so help us put together, pretty much, a job description, if you will, for the president, and while we may think we have that already, it would be good to get that assistance from them.”

The search firm will also develop a search calendar for the committee.

“Once we get the firm on board and we get the calendar set, because there’s a cost to the firm, once we get the firm on board we want to try to stick to the calendar if we can,” Carlson said.

According to the university’s invitation to submit proposals to provide executive search services, search firms are required to have at least five years of executive search experience, a track of working under and meeting tight deadlines, a strong network of candidates, and strong interpersonal and organizational skills.

The last search firm that was used in the 2009 presidential search cost around $120,000, according to Carlson.

“And I’m not saying that’s what it’s going to be; that’s what it was,” Carlson said. “And I’ve seen ranges higher than that and lower than that. But the key is to get the right firm.”

The Board of Regents will be continuing its community outreach, with events currently scheduled for the next month.

“We’ll continue these gatherings through that search process because each gathering we learn another little pearl from somebody,” Carlson said. “Or we get reinforced with various concepts that people have given us.”

For more information on the presidential search and to see the schedule of community meetings the board will attend, go to

CORRECTION:Oct. 25, 2013

The Invitation to Submit Proposals to the search committee was sent out to more than 40 companies on Friday, October 4.  The deadline for submission of proposals was Friday, October 18.

A step toward a sustainable UH

Students, faculty and community members introduced a sustainability policy to the Board of Regents on Oct. 18 to promote sustainable practices in different university functions.

“If the university is not sustainable, the system may not be sustained long enough for future generations to come here and learn,” said Gabriel Sachter-Smith, a graduate student studying Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences.

The proposed policy included an added statement within the mission section of Chapter 4 (Planning) of the BOR Policy, which will be followed by seven goals to ensure the university’s commitment to sustainability.

“The university acts as a leader and role model in the state in many different fields, so it is up to us to showcase new technologies and ideas for others in the state to adopt as well,” Sachter-Smith said.


The proposed policy calls for the recognition that the knowledge base in sustainable island systems resides in the indigenous people and residents of Hawaiʻi, and to commit to consult with local cultural practitioners and sustainability experts on best practices in sustainable resource allocation and use.

“From the specific and unique issues and opportunities we have in Hawaii to the national and international trends in higher education and societies in general,” said Daita Serghi, a biology lecturer at UH Mānoa. “Being sustainable is not a question of should we or should we not do it, but a question of when and how will we start implementing these system-wide strategies.”

The proposed BOR policy is part of a UH system policy, which will define sustainability, establish key indicators for which performance measures will be set, identify strategic goals, and support campus level implementation.

“By having these policies adopted, students will benefit from a university who will serve as a leader in how it stewards the finite resources of the islands and the world for the benefit of all,” Serghi said.

The system policy also includes Campus Plans, which will assess current progress and identify campus-specific goals and implementation strategies.

The BOR policy includes a Presidential Policy.

“The BOR policy, which will set a value framework and directs the Office of the President to to create a more detailed policy that defines principles, establishes performance measures, and identifies strategic goals,” Serghi said.

Jeffrey Acido, chairman of the BOR Committee on Student Affairs, put the policy on the committee’s agenda.

“I like the fact that its more than just about saving money,” Acido said. “That really moves me that policies are not always just about save money; even though it really saves a lot of money.”

Acido said Regent Randolph Moore recommended making the language of the policy bolder and stronger.

The policy will now have to be vetted again by the committee before going on to the entire Board of Regents.


“The proposal (or what we call the recommended/proposed Board of Regents Sustainability Policy) is the result of extensive collaborative work by the UH System Sustainability Task Force,” Serghi said.

The policy language is the result of the Policy Development Sessions from the 1st Annual Hawaiʻi Sustainability in Higher Education Summit that took place in April 2013. Its purpose was to “establish a statewide and UH system sustainability agenda that would provide individual campuses with a framework for commitments and support for campus efforts to move from vision to action,” according to its website.

The strategy for a sustainable UH originally started with a group that was formed by Aurora Winslade, director of Sustainability UHCC; Cam Muir, Faculty and Sustainability coordinator at UH Hilo; and Graceson Ghen, former Sustainability coordinator at the Hawaiʻi Community College, who had already started work on the policy and sustainability strategy, according to Serghi. Their first meeting was in fall 2012.

Students formed their own coalition, called the Statewide Students in Sustainability Coalition led by UH Mānoa junior Doorae Shin. The coalition includes students from all 10 UH campuses along with students from Chaminade, HPU and BYUH. Serghi said the coalition was formed during the two student forums at the April summit where approximately 40 students were in attendance.


Testimonies from more than 30 students and community members along with an open survey from more than 50 participants during the summit were collected to support the proposed policy.

Sachter-Smith, who is also a member of the student organization Student Organic Farm Training, said he wants to see the university sustained in the simplest manner.

“I see that there’s so many resources that the university are underutilized or unutilized completely so by adopting a policy of sustainability by the board of regents, I think that really sends a statement of commitment that we’re serious about utilizing this not just because it’s fun, but because it really does produce a lot of valuable outcomes and benefit for the students, staff, faculty and the community,” Sachter-Smith said.

Kanaloa Schrader, a senior majoring in ethnic studies and ethnobotany, said sustainability has always been a part of his upbringing as he grew up on Kauaʻi and is of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

“My kupuna and parents made sure that my siblings and I knew how important our limited resources are and what we need to do to ensure that they are available for future generations,” Schrader said. “I believe that our university and our state can become world leaders in sustainability and move us towards becoming as self-sustaining and prosperous as the Kingdom of Hawaii once was.”


UH Mānoa’s Sustainability Policy includes a 2003 UHM Sustainability Charter and an Energy Policy, which was the result of the UHM Chancellor’s Energy Summit in 2006.

According to the policy, Hawaiʻi is the most fossil fuel-dependent state in the country, which has produced high electricity rates.

According to Shin, the campus has a $35 million electricity bill, costing students $2,500 of their tuition.

The campus’ Energy Policy includes goals such as a 30 percent reduction in campus-wide energy use by 2012, a 50 percent reduction in campus-wide energy use by 2015, that 25 percent of campus-wide energy use be supplied by renewable sources by 2020, and that by 2050, the campus will achieve self-sufficiency in energy and water, and will treat and transform its wastes into useable resources.

The art of glass blowing: Tonia Moreno

Published on Oct. 23, 2013
Published on Oct. 23, 2013

Spending most of her time in the glass studio at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, graduate Tonia Moreno makes functional ware and sculptures out of glass.

Since high school, Moreno had been interested in ceramics until she went to community college where she took courses in glass blowing. She came to UH Mānoa because of the diverse courses it offered in glass  art.

“There’s a lot of different mediums to work with,” Moreno said. “There’s not only blowing glass, but there’s casting glass in a lost wax method or sand-casting in a mold method. And several other classes that were really interesting to me. So that’s why I came out here.”


A fine arts major from San Diego, Moreno graduated last spring with an emphasis on glass blowing.

“I like glass because of the many qualities it can have and the countless ways you can work with it,” Moreno said. “It is a material unlike metal or wood or ceramic. The intensity of the heat and the fluidity of the glass in its molten state are what intrigued me.”

Moreno works with different mediums and materials. Since she was interested in ceramics in high school, Moreno is now experimenting with ways to combine glass and ceramics.

“I’m sort of exploring some ways to combine ceramics and glass, and I have some work with marble and metal and different components,” Moreno said.

Moreno said a lot of her inspiration for her pieces stems from aspects in nature.

“So texture, form, shape, color – those kind are represented in my work,” Moreno said.


Since Moreno moved to Hawai‘i in 2010, she started showcasing her work at exhibitions and art shows.

“I learned a lot more about galleries and having group shows with our class at the different galleries,” Moreno said.

Moreno has showcased her work at shows put on by the university and the island, including Art at Mark’s Garage, a community arts center in Honolulu, and the Koa Galley at Kapi‘olani Community College.

Her work will be featured in an exhibition in November called the Hawai‘i Modern Master’s at Luxury Row.

“Exhibitions and shows are a great way to showcase your work and that in return opens up many new possibilities for future opportunities.” Moreno said “These help build your artist resume and teach you a great deal about what full-time artists do.”

Moreno also sells her work at sales put on by the university. At the end of the fall semester, Christmas sales are held through the university in partner with Ceramics. A Mother’s Day sale is also held in the spring semester.


This semester, Moreno is a teaching assistant for ART 130: Introduction to Glass.

“Most of my time is spent in or around the glass studio,” Moreno said.  “(I’m) making sure that people are working safe and working together and trying to see if anyone does have any questions, since I am the TA, helping to problem solve.”

Moreno participates in class demos and helps students learn to tackle the obstacles they face as they learn to blow glass.

“We always have something new to learn, and it’s tricky to get a handle on because glass is very, very hot,” Moreno said. “It’s very intimidating. And it’s also very intriguing and seductive, and it’s beautiful in the way that it’s not like any other material. It’s very fragile, but it’s also very unforgiving.”

Moreno said she is trying to gain knowledge in the teaching assistant position to see where it will take her.

“I like the freshness of all the new ideas from the beginning,” Moreno said.” It challenges my own thoughts like thinking critically and problem solving.”


While Moreno attended UH Mānoa as an undergraduate student, she was a member of the Glass Art Family.

“Being part of the Glass Art Family, our glass club, has taught me many valuable lessons,” Moreno said.

Moreno held the positions of secretary and vice president during the last three years, and although she’s no longer an undergraduate, she is still involved with the club.

“What we do is sell our work and raise funds, which helps us to bring in guest artists that are from other places outside of O‘ahu,” Moreno said. “Last semester we brought out Richard Royal, and this semester we have John De Witt. This is what is special and unique about our program, and what it is fun to be involved in our club.”

According to Moreno, the club will be hosting a hot demo on how to make glass on Oct. 24 at the Ka Leo Arts Festival.

“It’s kind of hard to explain in probably a short article, the different things that we do in glass,” Moreno said. “It’s easier to kind of watch and observe.”


Moreno is continuing to produce art while being a teaching assistant at the university. She will be assisting a fellow glassblower, Bud Spidnt, at the Linekona Honolulu Museum of Arts School with his glass slumping and fusing class.

Moreno is also working with Spindt to build a small glass studio to teach out of at Windward Community College.

For more information visit UH Mānoa’s Glass Program at