Appointment of UH Mānoa Interim Chancellor and Path Forward

Robert Bley-Vroman Recommended as Interim Chancellor

University of Hawaiʻi
Jodi Leong, (808) 492-0597
Director of Communications, External Affairs and University Relations
Posted: Aug 14, 2014

Dr. Robert Bley-Vroman
Dr. Robert Bley-Vroman

Statement from UH President David Lassner 

As widely discussed on campus and reported in the media, Chancellor Tom Apple and the University have entered into a settlement under which he will join the UH Mānoa faculty as a professor of Chemistry on September 1.  It is now time to look forward to stabilize UH Mānoa finances and operations for its future as Hawaiʻi’s only research university, the flagship campus of the University of Hawaiʻi System.

Over these past weeks I have been listening carefully and consulting widely with campus constituencies regarding the appointment of an Interim Chancellor.  This has included meetings with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the Associated Students of the University of  Hawaiʻi, the Graduate Student Organization, the Kualiʻi Council, the University of Hawaiʻi Association of Research Investigators (UHARI) leadership, the Council of Deans and the Vice Chancellors.

I am delighted to announce that on August 21 I will be recommending the appointment of Dr. Robert Bley-Vroman as Interim Chancellor of UH Mānoa, to be effective September 1.  (Curriculum Vitae pdf

Dr. Bley-Vroman has been a faculty member at UH Mānoa since 1987 and has chaired the UH-Mānoa Faculty Senate Executive Committee as a full professor of Second Language Studies.  He currently serves as Dean of the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature where he leads a vibrant high-quality program of teaching and research while navigating the financial challenges faced by the campus on a daily basis.

Dr. Bley-Vroman is committed to maintaining the high standard for campus communications that our students and faculty have made it clear they expect and that we all believe they deserve.  We have also discussed key immediate and short-term activities that are necessary.

First, Dr. Bley-Vroman will work with the campus community to ensure that the steps being taken now to clarify and implement the campus “freeze” are well understood and fully protect students and the courses they need to advance to graduation.

Second, Dr. Bley-Vroman will work closely with the Mānoa Vice Chancellors, Deans and the campus community to address the significant budget challenges that have developed over the past two years.  There is no immediate fix, but structural and strategic changes are necessary to adapt to today’s fiscal realities, and these changes must be developed by the campus.

Third, Dr. Bley-Vroman will launch an objective, forward-looking review of how the UH Cancer Center can be strengthened to ensure that it maintains its National Cancer Institute designation and can contribute to the fight against cancer and improved health care in Hawaiʻi. 

Fourth, together we will initiate an assessment of the administrative structure of UH Mānoa and its relationship to the UH System and other campuses to improve management, decrease administrative costs and increase focus on academic excellence. 

Dr. Bley-Vroman did not seek this position but has agreed to assume the interim chancellorship in service to his campus. I hope the UH Mānoa campus community is as pleased as I am that he has agreed to take on this role and will support his leadership over the next year as we work through both challenges and opportunities.

Over the past weeks a colleague shared with me an ʻŌlelo Noʻeau that I found particularly appropriate for the path ahead:

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia.

No task is too big when done together by all.