Focus, General Education at UHM
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Focus FAQs

There are so many forms. Which one should I use? 


Focus form

“COURSE-based” form

“STAFF” form

Use when:

Instructor wants to offer his/her section with a Focus designation but doesn't have active approval.* (Form is for both new and renewal requests.**)


New (unapproved) instructor is assigned to an already-designated Focus section after registration has begun.

Department wants all sections of a course to be given a Focus designation every semester.

Department wants unstaffed sections of a course to be given a Focus designation the following semester.


·   Information about how the section will meet the Focus Hallmarks

·   Signatures of instructor and Department Chair

·   History of course being offered with the requested Focus by two or more instructors

·   Department commitment to making the requested Focus inherent in all sections

·   Course Coordinator who ensures that all of these instructors teach the course in accordance with the Focus Hallmarks

·   Sample syllabi

·   History of course being offered with the requested Focus

·   Department commitment to assign instructors who will meet the Focus Hallmarks and complete a Focus form, if necessary

·   Representative syllabus, marked to show where and how the Hallmarks are being addressed

To be completed by:

Individual instructor

Department Chair (or Course Coordinator)

Department Chair

If approved:

Instructor’s sections of the course will be designated.***

All sections of the course will be designated.

The requested sections will be designated for the following semester only.

Approval Period:

New requests are approved for 3 years.****

Renewal requests are approved for 5 years.

All approvals end in the summer.

All approvals are for one semester only.


    * If an instructor has H or W approval from another UH System campus, then this form is NOT needed because the approval is transferable. Please contact the GEO to make sure the approval was transferred correctly.

   ** It is a NEW request if an instructor has never submitted a Focus proposal form before, even if the course has been offered with the requested Focus (presumably by another instructor, who has received approval). A RENEWAL request should be submitted only if an instructor's own Focus approval for the course (granted based on the Focus form he/she previously submitted) has expired.

  *** Instructors must be listed as the "instructor of record" in Banner/MyUH before registration begins.

 ****Approvals for directed reading (399 and 499) sections are for one semester only, due to the individualized nature of the course.

TIP:  Email or fax a copy of the requisite pages of the form and keep the original for your records. (Unlike the Scheduling Office, the General Education Office does not need original copies.)

How are approved Focus designations added in Banner?

Designation is not automatic. The General Education Office (GEO) identifies which sections should be designated by looking at the course/instructor information in Banner. If the instructor of record in Banner has Focus approval, the GEO asks the Scheduling Office to designate that instructor’s section(s) of the course with the approved Focus area(s). All sections being taught by approved instructors will be designated in this manner unless the department or instructor explicitly requests that the Focus not be added.

 Please note that the Scheduling Office will add Focus designations only when a request is received from the GEO. This means that Focus information submitted on the Scheduling worksheets is not put into Banner. Any and all Focus change requests should be submitted to the GEO for processing.

Until when can Focus designations be ADDED?

Approved Focus designations can be added in Banner/MyUH until the day before registration begins. If an instructor does not have Focus approval, his/her proposal must be received by the final deadline in order for it to be reviewed, approved, and designated before registration begins.


What if a new section of an existing Focus course is added after registration has begun due to demand?

If the new section is being taught by an approved instructor, the section can be designated, even if registration has already begun. However, GEO must be notified before the section is opened for registration. (Focus designations cannot be added or removed once students have started registering.) The section can be zeroed out, if needed. Once the section is designated, then it can be opened for registration.


What if a department wants to REMOVE a Focus designation, or an approved instructor doesn’t want his/her approved Focus section(s) to be designated?

Requests to remove an approved Focus designation (or to not designate a section that is being taught by an approved instructor) must be submitted in writing to the General Education Office (, fax: 956-9170, Bilger 104) prior to the designation being publicized (i.e., prior to the course appearing on Class Availability). These requests are put on an “exceptions list” and are honored for the following semester only (unless otherwise indicated). Focus designations that are posted online at Class Availability cannot be removed.


What if there is an instructor change and the new instructor does not have Focus approval?

If the instructor change occurs before class/Focus information is posted on Class Availability, the Focus designation will be removed. If the instructor change occurs after the class/Focus has been posted on Class Availability (the non-draft version), the designation will remain, because the section has been "advertised" as fulfilling a Focus requirement. If the newly assigned instructor does not have Focus approval for the course, he/she must submit an "instructor-based” Focus form to explain how he/she will teach the course in accordance with the Focus Hallmarks. If it is not possible to assign an instructor who can teach with the listed Focus, the section should be canceled.

What happens when an instructor is assigned to a STAFF-approved section?

Once an instructor has been assigned to a “STAFF” section, the GEO should be notified. If the instructor already has active Focus approval for the course, nothing further needs to be done. If the instructor does not have Focus approval for the course, he/she will be required to complete and submit an "instructor-based” Focus form to explain how he/she will teach the course in accordance with the Focus Hallmarks. Once approved, the instructor’s Focus designation for the course is “good” for three years.


Where can I get more information?

·         General Education homepage

·         Focus webpage includes Focus forms and semester lists of Focus classes

·         Focus status list has the status (active or expired) of departments' and instructors' Focus designations (Note: only updated semi-annually)

·        Class Availability has the most up-to-date Focus information for the current and upcoming semesters

·         UHM Catalog has an overview of General Education requirements, including Focus


Last modified July 24, 2017

General Education Office · 2545 McCarthy Mall, Bilger Hall 104 · Honolulu, HI 96822 · (808) 956-6660 · 

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