Campus Prioritization Update
May 13, 2009
As the end of the semester nears, I want to take this opportunity to update you on our progress in the campus prioritization process. I want to reassure you that this is an on-going effort, clearly already yielding benefits and guidance, but not a completed task by any means. Final decisions will be made in the fall after faculty return, so campus input can be obtained. Over the summer, we will work on evaluating the recommendations and developing options and processes for implementation, so the campus is poised to move forward in the fall.
Mahalo for everyone's efforts, because this prioritization process has already reaped many benefits by the dialog created among faculty and within departments and colleges. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee and I discussed the value generated by this activity; they noted the following: "a grass roots realization that students and the faculty have much to gain through flexible and extensive collaboration among departments, programs and colleges/schools; broadened understanding of the need for readily available accurate data to guide us in long term and day-to-day planning for both our curricula and our physical plant; and better use of our resources, including technologies in providing 21st-century learning opportunities for students and researchers." I surely agree with that view, because I have heard earnest enthusiasm for many ideas emerging from this effort and I thank you for investing intellectually in the development of strategies to move UH Mānoa forward.
As you know, we embarked on this process last year—as a way to set priorities to ensure that we invest our resources in areas that best fulfill our mission as a leading academic and research university serving Hawaiʻi. A frequent question being asked was "how might we consolidate and reinvest to advance student success, programmatic strength, and academic reputation and quality?" As a result of those discussions, many areas have already begun to move toward streamlining and reorganizing on their own—an impressive outcome for sure.
At this point, we are completing Step 5, in which the four Vice Chancellors have met and jointly made preliminary recommendations stemming from the assessments made by the Deans and Directors and their committees. These are now available on the Prioritization Process website. The Vice Chancellors have had numerous programs to review and, given that volume, I am simultaneously proceeding with Step 6 based on their preliminary recommendations.
As we move to Step 6, I have appointed a Prioritization Advisory Committee, including faculty, staff, and administrators and several individuals from the community and other campuses, to review the prioritization recommendations from the Vice Chancellors and propose strategies for long-term strategic investment. The names of committee members and its charge are available on the Prioritization Process website. The Advisory Committee will continue to meet throughout the summer to identify and recommend campus-wide areas for investment and maintenance, as well as areas for consolidation, reorganization, reduction, or elimination. This time will also provide the opportunity for consultation with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. These recommendations will be posted on the prioritization website for campus-wide feedback in the fall (Step 7).
The original timeframe had called for my final recommendations to be announced before the end of the semester. However, the sheer magnitude and historic significance of this first time endeavor require more time to ensure the best outcome, including additional consultation and refinement of information on a number of the recommendations. I appreciate your patience as we complete this step. At this point, it is reassuring that many ideas are surfacing to ensure that our priorities are driving the investment of our time and resources.
Some of the recommendations that have moved forward have been previously identified from other assessments and will be among the first areas I ask the campus to consider as priorities for implementation. Such examples include:
- Focusing on core mission by reducing the number of low enrollment certificates and degree programs
- Strengthening the School of Travel Industry Management, including reconsolidation with the College of Business
- Strengthening Water Resources Research Center and Environmental Center by consolidation and creation of a program in sustainability science, technology, and policy
- Enhancing the focus of Industrial Relations by integration with Hamilton Library
- Supporting UH Mānoa research by reorganization of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, including the transfer of faculty, and staff into existing research oriented units, such as Natural Sciences, Medical School, SOEST, etc.
As the process has evolved, I have been studying the recommendations at each step, particularly in light of prior input from campus members who continually emphasized the importance of UH Mānoa providing a "multicultural global experience in an Hawaiian place of learning" and in view of the three goals I had derived from the current campus strategic plan "Defining Our Destiny." Based on that information, I have summarized my overview of the recommendations below this message for your consideration.
That is a brief review of the status of the Prioritization Process. Details of the process will continue to be posted on the Prioritization Process website and I will provide further updates as appropriate. I am confident that, by working together on the thoughtful contributions by everyone, UH Mānoa will keep moving forward in a positive direction.
I will end this message with one of my favorite quotes from Hawaiian scholar Mary Kawena Pukui who said, "Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail, and the shore is reached." The UH Mānoa ʻohana is impressively moving toward new shores of greatness.
Mahalo nui loa.
Virginia S. Hinshaw
Meeting the goals of UH Mānoa to serve as:
- A destination of choice for great students, faculty, staff, the citizens of Hawaiʻi, and beyond (with emphasis on ensuring student success, especially by providing an enhanced undergraduate learning experience).
- Ensure access to high demand critical courses
- Eliminate low demand courses, certificates, and majors
- Streamline progress through majors based on review of credit and course requirements
- Ensure intellectual critical mass by consolidating majors/programs
- Invest in academic programs that excel in demand, reputation, and impact
- Strengthen small units through association with larger, related schools/colleges
- Increase student recruitment and success via improved advising and financial aid, along with access to services such as counseling, housing, and health support
- Secure extramural funding, including grants, contracts, and donations to expand selected services for high-need student populations
- Expand learning opportunities through increased use of technology
- Organize curricular emphasis on environmental sustainability
- A global leading research institution solving society's problems (with emphasis on ensuring support of UH Mānoa's unique ability in Hawaiʻi to create new knowledge through research for the benefit of society).
- Support research initiatives and seek extramural funding in areas where UH Mānoa is uniquely positioned to excel
- Promote sustainability research leadership
- Reorganize centers to provide opportunities collaborations and new initiatives
- Focus certificates on high demand areas and discontinue others
- A respectful, inclusive community that welcomes and nurtures diversity (with emphasis on strengthening respectful partnerships with our host culture and international colleagues in improving the future of Hawaiʻi and the world).
- Strengthen the "Hawaiian sense of place" and educate campus members about our Native Hawaiian culture
- Expand leadership in international programs by sharpening the focus of our efforts
- Create a green campus and promote stewardship of natural resources
- Ensure Outreach College has maximum impact in serving local and extended communities
- Strengthen distance learning to conserve resources and to provide greater learning opportunities to all Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Islands neighbors