Gauging how we measure up

September 17th, 2008  |  by  |  Published in President's Message

David McClain

David McClain

This past year, we revisited the University of Hawaiʻi’s “Second Century” Strategic Plan in an extensive, grassroots process.

We concluded that our values—improving student success; investing in our people and facilities; producing research and services; being good stewards of state resources; operating as a local, regional and global university—remain solid.

What was needed was to better align our goals in keeping with Hawaiʻi’s needs for higher education, set budget priorities, and establish clear and measurable outcomes.

The result is Strategic Outcomes and Performance Measures, 2008–2015. It provides what the business community calls a dashboard—10 clear indicators for monitoring progress.

For example, increasing the degrees and certificates held by Hawaiʻi’s citizens is one indicator. Today in Hawaiʻi, 40 year olds have more education than 25 year olds. That is not a good thing for a democracy. The state needs educational capital to ensure a viable economic future. So we have a gauge for degrees and certificates produced—we currently award about 7,800; we intend to increase that 3-6 percent per year to 10,500 by 2015.

We’ll increase degree attainment by Native Hawaiians by 6-9 percent per year. We’ll work to increase the number of Hawaiʻi high school graduates enrolling in a UH campus from 35 to 43 percent and increase the disbursement of federal need-based Pell Grants by 5 percent per year to assist those who need financial help.

The state also needs the university to expand its economic contribution to the state, so we have dashboard gauges to monitor growth both in the amount of extramural research and training funds received and the number of disclosures, patents and licenses issued to turn UH inventions into local industry.

Gauges measuring our contribution to a globally competitive workforce will track our effort to increase the number of degrees awarded in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math—by 3 percent per year and the number of workers in shortage areas—teaching, nursing, social work, computing and hospitality—by 5 percent per year.

None of this will happen without the availability and effective management of resources, of course. So we will chart our progress on our goals to cut UH’s $336 million deferred maintenance backlog by more than half and continue increasing non-state revenue streams (including federal dollars, tuition funds, income from sales and services and private giving).

We have set an ambitious agenda, to be sure. Think of it as our pledge to state taxpayers that their support for UH is an investment in meeting the needs of Hawaiʻi’s citizens.

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