A Message from President David McClain
Aloha! During this year’s systemwide convocation to recognize our faculty and staff for achievements in teaching, research and service, I had an opportunity to reflect on the state of the university. I want to share the essence of my reflections with you.
The "Cliff's Notes" version of my assessment is this: the University of Hawaiʻi is better off today than it was a year ago, and we can all be proud of that. Still, I’m not satisfied—and neither should any of us be.
Our strategic vision is sound. Our financial outlook is improved, and for the first time in several years, we’ve received additional programmatic funding from the governor and the Legislature.
We’ve made a commitment to quadruple financial aid to the neediest students over the next several years. Our research enterprise had another banner year, and giving is up at the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation.
Our campuses are operating more efficiently. At UH Mānoa, Vice Chancellor Neal Smatresk found a way to offer 8 percent more sections last spring without additional funding, and administrators managed the crushing demand for housing with many fewer complaints this fall.
Recently, a leading citizen, an executive with several degrees who has worked and lived in Europe, North America and Asia, took several courses in the humanities here. He found UH students bright and largely engaged and our faculty second to none—as good as the best h’s experienced at leading universities in the U.S. and Europe.
No doubt because of our quality (at a very reasonable price), our 10 campuses are bursting at the seams. Nearly 30,000 individuals take some form of noncredit coursework in the UH System every year in addition to the 50,000-plus students pursuing degrees.
Under the regents’ leadership, the university has embarked on several public/private partnership initiatives to expand our capacity, including renovation and expansion of student housing at UH Mānoa and a phased build out of the UH West Oʻahu campus to nearly 3,000 students.
Facilities, students, faculty—these are the ingredients of the transformational educational experience UH has provided its graduates for nearly 100 years. As your president, it’s my responsibility to sustain and improve all three. Much remains to be done. Together, we can tackle the job.
Mahalo nui loa for the opportunity to serve my professional home of 15 years.