The WASC Special Report of March 2003 said
There also needs to be greater clarity and definition in a number of areas regarding the role of the System vis-a-vis the role of the campuses. While the new Interim Vice President for Research was able to clearly and logically differentiate between the role of his office at the system level and that of the research offices on the campuses, the Team does not believe this is true for at least some of the other senior administrators. In visits to the campuses, it is evident that the roles and priorities of System officers are not well understood nor are System offices connected effectively to the campuses at this stage. With respect to the community colleges, again the ACCJC report calls for clarification of roles at the President's office and assurance that the unique mission of the community colleges, particularly relevant to workforce training, is not neglected. The WASC Team recommends that the President and Board develop a long-term plan for the full implementation of the new System Office structure. It should include a comprehensive listing of the new administrators and staff and clearly distinguish between the functions at the system level and their counterparts at the campus level. Estimated time and costs should accompany this plan. Given the major investment being made, it should also include outcome indicators to determine the return on this investment, i.e., what are the concrete benefits expected to accrue to the UH as a result of this plan. A related issue is the problem of disparity of salaries among administrators that may be created as the implementation of the plan occurs, and a strategy to address this potential problem should be incorporated.
The current "Dobellian" imperial system structure looks like a campus administrative structure simply lifted to newer titles and higher salaries, without readily apparent raison d'etre.
There are system-wide needs that are being met imperfectly and with difficulty. We note in particular that the bankruptcy of Planned Compliance Group has required the system to "make do" on short notice with processing 70 to 80 changes of salary assignment per month and the mailing of individual checks to such companies as Vanguard and Fidelity Mutual Funds.
At the campus level some critical resources are completely absent; in particular we note that the Manoa campus has no institutional research capacity---a clear necessity for effective interaction with system IRO that is properly concerned with over-arching system effectiveness---and has no IT capacity and completely inadequate human resources capacity, etc.