February 18, 2010
This new year is surely speeding by and the campus is hustling with everyone actively engaged in our Spring Semester. Our campus is definitely increasingly a "destination of choice" in that we welcomed 500 more students than in Spring 2009 and are seeing a marked increase in applications for the coming fall. Folks across the campus are clearly working hard to provide the high quality learning experience that all our students seek and deserve.
In meeting with our students, faculty and staff, I am always reminded that our contributions to society are truly unique and so very special — we actually get to see the unfolding of the future each and every day through our students' success, research advances and civic engagement. Making that happen requires a lot of hard work and dedication by all campus members and support from our many partners, but be assured that those efforts do create the future. UH Mānoa has been contributing in that way for over a century and will continue to provide such leadership. Our alumni share that belief in that 20% are providing support, both with their voices and resources — and the parents of our students have definitely stepped forward in that way as well. We are very grateful to all for their support.
We are now celebrating the Chinese Lunar Year of the Tiger, which is said to be full of exciting change and opportunities for success. Our campus vision states that "Mānoa is an innovative institution, comfortable with change". This is a critical time to use that innovative approach for change and make the most of our opportunities for success. That does not mean doing more with less, but rather doing our work in different ways to secure a better outcome even with less (and hopefully generate other resources along the way). There is much to report regarding how we're moving forward even as we adapt to the difficult financial climate.
Sharing our message
From our view, "to know UH Mānoa is to love us, but people do need to know us." Thus, it is important that Hawaiʻi's citizens, including our political decision-makers, know the value we add. In that way, all of them can fully appreciate the fact that investing in UH Mānoa generates great returns, e.g., educating a large, growing population of diverse, talented students (20,360), generating an impressive level of research and training grants ($1.2M/day) and strengthening our State's economy (creating $5.34 in Hawaiʻi spending for every dollar invested in UH Mānoa). On the other hand, loss of personnel and resources adversely affects our ability to generate those outcomes.
We are increasingly getting the message out about our role in serving as a solution for Hawaiʻi. UH President M.R.C. Greenwood noted many of those aspects in her recent address to the State Legislature. Also, many campus and community members actively participate in legislative hearings and forums which are helpful in making these points. I encourage all of us to share Mānoa's contributions with our fellow citizens and elected officials. The campus itself is using a number of new approaches, such as:
- Our new television advertisements highlighting UH Mānoa's role in providing a multi-cultural global experience in a Hawaiian place of learning – these ads feature UH Mānoa students, faculty and staff and represent the talents of recent graduates of our Academy for Creative Media.
- UH Mānoa Campus Talk blog in the Honolulu Advertiser featuring interesting people and campus events, such as learning what life is like for researchers who go to sea.
- UH Mānoa Arts and Minds — a pilot program to spotlight our wide variety of music, dance, theater and art events offered to the community, such as, most recently, "The White Snake," a Beijing opera in its English-language world premiere performed by our students.
Repairing our facilities
The Legislature's appropriation of $92 million last year for much-needed campus renewal and deferred maintenance projects is producing improvements in UH Mānoa's physical plant and providing job opportunities for Hawaiʻi's citizens. Among some of the exciting projects we have under way:
- In a few months, we'll be completing the Hamilton Library reconstruction project, totaling almost $30 million, to repair the massive damage caused by the 2004 flood of Manoa Stream. The result will be a modernized, flood-protected facility for our Library collection and researchers.
- Later this year, we will open the $22.4 million Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education (C-MORE) facility at the Biomedical Building — a cutting-edge scientific facility for study of the biological and ecological diversity of marine microorganisms.
- The School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene is partnering with Hawaiʻi's healthcare industry to develop a state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Center, which will feature realistic practice settings, including a medical-surgical hospital unit, critical care, surgical/operating suite, pediatrics, neonatal nursery, maternity, ambulatory and home care.
- The Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi is making significant progress in realizing the dream of improved cancer care for the citizens of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with recruitments, partnerships with hospital and health care providers and a new facility.
- Our residence halls continue to reflect major improvements made possible by the investment of over $100 million. This summer we'll be completing the modernization of the final two Hale Aloha Towers. These improvements are certainly contributing to our serving as a destination of choice for students.
Expanding our impact
- Students at the John A. Burns School of Medicine — Taryn Park, Scott Harvey, Kate Pettigrew, Brad Tokeshi and Brandon Au - were recognized in President Greenwood's address to State legislators for establishing and volunteering at a mobile clinic to provide free health services at homeless shelters.
- Two-sport athlete Amber Kaufman finished with a bronze medal in the high jump and became the first UHM medalist at the national level in over 25 years, in addition to winning recognition as an Academic All-American in the WAC in both Volleyball and Track and Field.
- Amy Agbayani, founding director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity program, was honored with the Hawaii Peacemaker Award for her decades-long advocacy of social justice and civil rights.
- Hye-ryeon Lee, interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, helped launch a telephone help-line for Asian immigrants who can now get help in quitting smoking from professional counselors fluent in Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese.
- Electrical engineering Professor Wayne Shiroma was named the 2009 recipient of the N. Walter Cox Award, in recognition of his selfless dedication and service to his profession. In the past eight years, he mentored three UH Mānoa undergraduates who were recognized as the most outstanding electrical engineering students in the nation.
- Professor Sam L. Noʻeau Warner in our Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language has produced 31 books for beginning readers who speak Hawaiian and secured support to provide the books to students in public school Hawaiian-language immersion programs.
- Professor Karl Kim led the effort to establish the UH Natural Disaster Preparedness Training Center — a program to help deal with natural disasters facing the Islands, the West Coast and areas throughout the Pacific Rim.
- Mānoa's Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship & E-Business (PACE) recently hosted Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, as the speaker for the 20th Kīpapa i ke Ala lecture. A large crowd enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to hear his insights and views.
Adjusting to budget reductions
As we all know, the State's financial downturn has resulted in a significant reduction in state support. UH Mānoa has been making changes to accommodate a 26% reduction ($66m) in our general fund support; some temporary relief has become available through stimulus funding and salary savings, but those will end in 2012. So our attention has to be focused on reducing current expenses and generating new resources in preparation for that reality. The entire campus is clearly stepping up to the challenge of meeting undiminished expectations with fewer resources.
- We're operating more efficiently by identifying and monitoring high-demand courses and shifting teaching personnel to meet demand.
- We continue to expand our energy conservation efforts — during the two month period (Dec. 2009- Jan. 2010), we reduced our electricity costs by $225,000 as compared to the previous year. This was accomplished primarily through the replacement of old mechanical systems, along with the closure of 20 campus buildings during Mānoa Green Days (saving 177,000 kilowatt hours!). Over the last year, we have reduced our usage by 7% and everyone across the campus has contributed to that outcome.
- We are certainly strengthening our partnership with UH Community Colleges through improved articulation and recruitment efforts, e.g., most recently, reverse transfer and automatic admission. On March 5, we look forward to welcoming many of these students to the Rainbow Bridge program and sharing with them what Mānoa has to offer.
It is also the case that we can't ignore the reality that the budget reductions are impacting the campus. The number of UH Mānoa faculty, staff and administrators has decreased by nearly 6%, or 370 positions. Because of such losses, we've had to reduce services and restrict opportunities for faculty, staff, students and community members. In addition, because of building failures, most recently Gartley Hall, we face unexpected and significant costs to our campus repairs and maintenance budget.
So, as a campus and as a state, there is clearly much work yet to do so that UH Mānoa can build on its capacity to serve Hawaiʻi in the best way possible. I believe that, by implementing innovative change and working together, our campus ʻohana will create solutions that benefit UH Mānoa and the State of Hawaiʻi.
Mahalo for those efforts.
Virginia S. Hinshaw
Chancellor, University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa