Monday, November 13, 2017

HPU ‘Ohana Takes Part in Second Fort Street Beautification Project

Malama HPU team and past President Portuguese
Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i Laura Figueira (floral print blouse)
With scrub bushes and cleaning rags in hand and trash bags in tow, about 30 members of the HPU ‘ohana gathered on Thursday, Nov. 9, to participate in the second Malama HPU Fort Street Beautification Project. The service event was co-organized by the Human Resources and University Relations departments. The HPU team focused on cleaning the Padrao Monument and the area surrounding it on Fort Street Mall and Beretania Street. The monument was commissioned in 1978 by leaders in the Portuguese community to celebrate the Portuguese Centennial in Hawai‘i.

Individuals with strong connections to the Portuguese community and the Fort Street Padrao Monument came to the Nov. 9 Malama HPU event to meet the HPU service team: John Henry Felix, Ph.D., Honorary Consul of Portugal; Laura Figueira, who was President of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i at the time of the monument’s dedication in 1986; and Marlene DeCosta, Director of Real Estate, Roman Catholic Church in the State of Hawaii, Diocese of Honolulu.

HPU President John Gotanda, Dr. John Henry Felix, Marlene DeCosta,
Vice President of University Relations Sam Moku 
Felix and Figueira were among the leaders in the community who donated in support of the Padrao Monument’s construction. On the pedestal of the monument are bronze plaques, telling the story of the Portuguese immigration to Hawai‘i and includes the names of the donors or the names of the ancestors the donors were honoring. 

The Padrao — a special-shaped cross on a column — represents what Portuguese navigators used to identify newly explored lands. Surrounding the monument is a 30-by-35 foot compass mosaic, which includes 18 tons of pink, black, and beige rocks shipped from Portugal. Two stone masons from Portugal worked in Hawai‘i for several months to hand place the rocks into the intricate design.

Figueira explained the significance of the Fort Street location for the Padrao, which honors the economic and social contributions of the Portuguese in Hawai‘i. The first Portuguese immigrants to Hawai‘i — many of whom came to work in the fields —  arrived in September of 1878 on the Priscilla. After they landed, the group marched up Fort Street to Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, wanting to give thanks.

Through the Malama HPU project, HPU is making a difference. By extending a helping hand to the university’s neighbors, the HPU ‘ohana is beautifying and improving the community HPU calls home.

Human Resources Holds Inaugural Professional Development Conference

By Susan Gray, Manager – Employee Relations 
and EEO/AA Compliance

On October 19, 2017, the Office of Human Resources held its inaugural Professional Development Conference.   The Conference, which was attended by nearly 100 faculty, staff and leaders, was developed based upon feedback from employees as part of the Employee Wellness and Engagement survey.   HPU President, John Gotanda, Trustee and former Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, Linda Lingle, and Kupuna-in-Residence, Lynette Cruz, kicked off the Conference with a panel discussion on “Living the HPU Mission and Values.”    The panel shared their own observations of how HPU employees have, and can, best exemplify Pono, Kuleana, and Aloha.   

The four hour conference, included nine separate breakout sessions, ranging in topics from leadership
development to managing stress and wellness.   Sessions were presented by HPU staff, faculty, and other subject matter experts.   Suzanne Large, Director of Budget & Financial Analysis, shared her expertise to help attendees “Understand the Budget-Process through Adaptive Insights.”   Professors Dr. Warren Wee and Bill Potter led attendees through over 50 years of HPU history as part of their presentation, “Strategic Planning – Understanding the Past to Drive the Future.”    Attendees were also given the opportunity to get a glimpse of the student experience from Vice President of Enrollment Management, Greg Grauman, Assistant Director of First Year and Residential Communities, Jillian Liota, and Career Advisor, Amanda Austin.   The presenters discussed the challenges of first generation students and how HPU faculty and staff can help these students overcome barriers.  Dr. Lawrence Rowland and Dr. John Hart shared their extensive knowledge covering sessions on project management and keys to effective communication, respectively. 

Human Resources’ own Tameron Hodges and Bernard Nunies, led a discussion on Team Development, where attendees had the opportunity to better understand employee engagement and were provided tools and insight on developing their teams.  This presentation was reinforced by speaker Erik Burian, during his talk on “Leadership and the Power of Communication.”  Burian, a retired U.S. Navy Captain and HPU alumnus, provided his insights on leadership gained from his experience as a Navy Captain and his research on leadership.   He shared with attendees what great leaders do, how to lead change, and what really motivates people.  

 In response to employees seeking ways to manage their own health and wellness, HPU reached out to its partner, Kaiser Permanente, to provide information on “Managing Stress in the Workplace and at Home.”   HPU’s own Coach V, Darren Vorderbruegge, a certified trainer with the Blue Zones Project, presented a Life Purpose Workshop, which focused on the benefits of Blue Zones as a method of living a healthier lifestyle.
Human Resources would like to express its appreciation to the IT Services and Events teams for their assistance and thanks all the presenters and attendees for making this Professional Development Conference a huge success.   

If you would like to provide feedback on the conference, input is still being accepted here.  Additionally, presentations from the various sessions, if available, will be posted on the Professional Development block of the HR tab on Pipeline. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Q&A with the Dean of the College of Natural and Computational Sciences

Human Resources turned the spotlight on Brenda Jensen, Ph.D., the Dean of the College of Natural and Computational Sciences (CNCS). Dr. Jensen joined HPU in 2005 as an assistant professor of biology and progressed to associate professor. In 2008, she was appointed the associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences, and in 2016 she was named the dean of CNCS.

--As Told to Tameron Hodges

1. Tell us something about your childhood. Where is your hometown and where have you lived? What were you like at age 10 and what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and consider my hometown to be Omaha, Nebraska. I was fortunate to have grown up when parents told their kids “be home when the street lights come on,” so I spent much of my time riding my bike around the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ag campus. Perhaps related, I loved animals and I wanted to be a vet.  

2. Before joining HPU, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
The most interesting job I had was working at a pet store. The most unusual job I had was a tow-truck dispatcher for AAA Emergency Road Service. I like to think both contributed to my current crisis management skills.

3. Tell us about your journey in choosing higher education as a profession?
This might be my most boring answer, since it was a rather straight path for me.  From undergrad, I knew that I wanted to be a university professor. I never changed my major, and I never took a break from college or grad school. I have been very fortunate that my chosen pathway has worked out…so far!

4. What brought you to HPU?
The Navy brought me most of the way. When my submariner husband and I needed to find a duty station that would work for both of our careers, we picked Hawai’i because we knew that there was “enough Navy” for us both to have a chance to stay awhile. I was surveying the military education options to see who might need help in science, and I quickly found HPU. I was in a classroom at KBay about a week later.

5. Why have you chosen to be part of HPU since 2005?
Working at HPU has always been my “dream job.” I’m a marine biologist, so it is truly hard to top the opportunity to teach and do research in Hawai’i at a university with high quality marine science education. Soon after joining the College of Natural Sciences, I had the opportunity to participate in creating the MS Marine Science degree, and I have always been proud of the research and student training that comes out of that small but mighty program! I also love the fact that the faculty are here because they love to teach, and students can truly find their strengths and thrive here.  

6. What led you to seek the administrative position of dean?
It started with arm-twisting when I was first asked to serve as associate dean 10 years ago. I chose not to apply for the dean position for several rounds thinking that fresh ideas from outside were the best thing for the college. When the job came up again in 2016, coincident with critical changes affecting the college, I knew that I did not want to watch from the sidelines, and it was time to throw my hat in the ring.

7. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? 
Seeing positive change. I like solving problems, so it’s a good thing that my current role gives me the chance to do just that. I am never bored because every day is different.  

8. Is there anything new and exciting going on in the College of Natural and Computational Sciences?  
We are launching three new Engineering degrees in Fall 2018: BS Electrical Engineering, BS Biomedical Engineering, and BS Biotechnology Engineering. This is a huge advance for our College, and we believe these programs will be a valuable service to Hawai'i and beyond. We are also making quiet progress on finding a new home for CNCS downtown. I am excited about our options. It will be very tough to leave Hawaii Loa (campus), but I am confident that we will be moving into a space that will be modern and designed to allow us to accomplish more hands-on science than our tight quarters currently allow.

9. What lessons have your work life taught you?
Really smart, highly educated people often see things in wildly different ways, so be empathetic and try to find the common ground.  

10. If you were not an educator, what would you be?
A veterinarian.

11. Biggest challenge in your life?
“Work-life balance”

12. What are you most proud of?
My master’s students who have gone on to publish their thesis work, get PhDs and/or great jobs.

13. Do you have a personal motto, mantra or philosophy? Or do you have a favorite quote?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” – Dr. Suess, The Lorax

14. What do you do for fun on your days off? 
I drive my teenagers around (horseback riding, band events, music lessons, swim meets, etc etc.) 

15. Where is the best place you have traveled to and why or where would you like to go on a dream vacation?
South Georgia Island (near Antarctica). I witnessed in Technicolor the impact of whaling and its subsequent slow recovery. Where hundreds of thousands of whales were removed, seals, sea lions, and penguins expanded their populations to fill the krill eater’s niche. I also saw how nature takes back — the abandoned whaling stations were completely overrun with seals and penguins, to the point that it was comical to see them defend their particular rooms and porches, yet clearly impossible to displace them.

16. Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
I am a football fan (my teams are the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the New England Patriots), and my husband pretty much hates it; he is a soccer fan.  I’ll buy a beer for the first person who can tell me why I had a legitimate football interest in Tom Brady before he ever joined the Patriots.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

'Inclusion Drives Innovation:' National Disability Awareness Month

Submitted by Susan Gray, Manager, Employee Relations and EEO/AA Compliance

Have you used email today? If so, thank Vint Cerf. While with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the 1970s, Cerf co-designed the basic protocols for internet communications. One motivation behind his work was frustration communicating with other researchers by voice; Cerf is hard of hearing. Later, in the private sector, he was part of the team that developed the first commercial email system. 

This October, HPU is proud to support National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  #InclusionDrivesInnovation, this year’s theme, focuses on welcoming the talents of all people, including those with disabilities, as a critical part to building an inclusive community and strong economy.  

Here at HPU we are committed to fostering a diverse, equitable environment in which faculty, staff, and students excel. We invite those with disabilities to self-identify by updating your disability status here and let us know if you require any reasonable accommodations.

More information can be found on the US Department of Labor
website and on the HR tab of Pipeline.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Q&A with the New Dean of the College of Extended and Interdisciplinary Education

— As Told to Tameron Hodges

Human Resources turned the spotlight on Mani Sehgal, the new Dean of the College of Extended and Interdisciplinary Education. Sehgal has been a vital member of the HPU ‘ohana for over 16 years.  Originally from Edmonton, Canada, Sehgal completed his undergraduate studies in math and business, receiving a B.Sc. from Concordia University.  Moving to the U.S., he received his M.B.A. in Finance and an M.Ed. in Math Education, from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.  He is currently Ph.D. ABD in Math Education, at the University of Victoria, in B.C. Canada.

Dean Sehgal joined HPU as a Visiting Instructor of Mathematics in 2001, became a regular faculty member in 2003, and moved over to the School of Education in 2011.  He has served as the 3-2 Engineering Coordinator and Secondary Education Program Director, and for the last four years, Sehgal has been the Director for the School of Education.

To find out something we didn’t know about Dean Sehgal, we recently posed the following questions:

Q: What led you to higher education as a profession?
A: Serendipity. (Truth be told, it was by chance that I stumbled upon higher education.) My background is in Math and Finance. I strongly believe in financial literacy for high schoolers and young adults. Incidentally, I was given the opportunity to develop a course, “The Common Sense of Finance,” and taught it for several years at the high school level. One opportunity led to another and I was offered an adjunct position, teaching Math at HPU.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your life?
A: I am naturally a very private person, so to be quite honest with you, talking about myself.

Q: What are you most proud of?
A: In every situation I encounter, I try to approach it with integrity and compassion. I give credit to my parents for instilling this in me.

A: Why have you chosen to be part of HPU for nearly 17 years?
A: I love teaching. While teaching Math, I (quickly) realized the impact I could make helping students understand a subject that many find very challenging (because I was able to break it down and help students with content they weren’t able to understand before). It was inspiring to see students able to make sense of difficult formulas and algorithms.  Then, I was provided with the opportunity to teach Education majors. I have to say that it was more rewarding than I could have ever imagined (getting a chance to teach future teachers). It gives me a chance to indirectly create effective teachers, which in turn helps students of the future who will then contribute to building a better society.  I love what I’m doing.

Q: What led you to seek the administrative position of dean?
A: I wanted to make a difference. I felt like it would give me the opportunity to make positive changes for the students, staff, faculty, college and the University as a whole.  I initially was not even thinking about the position, but the support of faculty and staff throughout the College (and University) made me reconsider.

Q: How will you measure success as a new dean?
A: Unite the college, create opportunity for the (military) bases, serve adult learners who want to transfer their quality education and experience, get rid of division, and strive for all around better communication.  I’ll let my colleagues and peers “measure” how successful I am…

Q: If you were not an educator, what would you be?
A: An Entrepreneur.  I owned two restaurants before I moved to Hawai‘i, and it’s true what they say…once you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always an entrepreneur.

Q: What brought you to Hawai‘i?
A: After I sold the restaurants in Canada, I bought a ticket for a trip around the world with Hawai‘i as the first stop.  After arriving, I decided to extend my stay and ended up cancelling the remainder of the trip to remain in Hawai‘i.  A trip around the world is now at the top of my “bucket list.”

Q: What books are waiting on your bookshelf to be read?
A: Pragmatic Capitalism, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, and a stack of EAB books the Provost dropped off at my office last month...(wink wink).

Q: What is your ideal vacation?
A: Plenty of sleep.

Q: What is one thing that people would be most surprised to know about you?
A: I am allergic to cheese, but I love deep dish pizza. I just make sure I take tons of Benadryl before and after.