Communicate with the Senate
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
March 15-19, 1999
The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) has been beset by budgetary difficulty for five years now. Apparently there will be no financial relief for the foreseeable future. The cut in total income (state funds plus tuition) has been about 11 to 12 percent over the past four budget years, not the 30 plus percent often cited. Still, with inflationary losses added in, the trauma to the campus has been significant.
Most notably, hard decisions on differential budget cuts and reallocations are overdue. The deep cuts in maintenance are, by now, likely to cost much more in the long run than they are saving; the extensive library cuts are especially damaging now that staff are unavailable to teach students the tools to research an issue; uneven effects of hiring freezes and retirements, absent remedial action thus far, have left some units inordinately damaged.
Planning for the near-term and long-term, needed to guide actions in a UHM recovery plan, has occurred, but without broadly based engagement, and therefore without broadly based buy-in. This lack of constituency input in matters of academic planning is inappropriate according to accreditation standards. The correction cannot be made for current plans, because action must be taken now on the library and plant maintenance, and because funds must be "taken off the top" beginning now if the random results of hiring freezes and retirement incentives are eventually to be addressed.
Future actions, conceivably including program disestablishment, may well be able to, indeed must, incorporate a more broadly based planning process. The success of that process will require communication mechanisms that currently do not exist. This significant lack of mechanisms to enhance communication is a notable liability in stressful times. As one of our recommendations states, "the mantra has to be communicate, communicate, communicate."
Many among the students and employees of UHM sometimes rightfully perceive major problems in UHM governance and administration. Individual Regents have, intentionally or unintentionally, inappropriately imposed or threatened campus actions. The apparent powers and position of the executive vice chancellor are not believed to give him the authority to speak forcefully and parochially on behalf of UHM. The authorities of the faculty within shared governance and according to regents' bylaws are not consistently recognized by the regents or the administration.
This report makes near thirty recommendations. Action on those that address the above issues -- planning, communication, administration and governance matters, and mending the areas of greatest budgetary damage (maintenance, the library, and reallocating faculty and staff positions to repair the worst cases of random damage owing to hiring freezes and retirement incentives) are urgently needed.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) is the only Research I university in the University of Hawaii system in the State. The system, headed by a president, includes UHM, seven community colleges, a four-year campus at Hilo, and an upper division baccalaureate campus in West Oahu. The president is also the Chancellor of UHM, but that campus's primary spokesperson is stated to be its executive vice chancellor who is intended to operate in position and in advocacy for his campus as an equal to the system chancellors.
The major force in the recent evolution of this Carnegie I institution has been the Hawaiian economy -- growing and optimistic during 1989 to 1994, markedly depressed for the last Eve years. The opportunities offered by the growth years are evidenced today in the breadth of the campus. "Let a thousand flowers bloom" seems to have been the planning theme, with hope for eventual development of depth. Unfortunately, Hawaii's unusual dependence on a single industry and turmoil in the Asian economy have combined to reverse UHM growth and development. Signs of both eras are apparent on the campus in 1999. On a positive note, for example, the expanded research enterprise has survived; indeed, it continues to grow because it was and continues to be supported by faculty success in attracting non-state funds in the sciences and engineering. However, most other campus trends are negative and related to the budget cuts of the last Eve years, budget cuts that continue as this report is being written.
Maintaining the quality of this broadly based campus as it existed in 1994 on its smaller budget is not possible. Yet four years after the first absolute budget decrease, no reconfiguration is in evidence. The first few years were dominated first by denial, understandable after many good years, and, second, by the "easy" budget cuts -- library, physical plant maintenance and hiring freezes. Then, just when vertical cuts were to be implemented by campus decision makers the
legislature promised a return to the more reasonable budgets of the early 1 990's, forestalling the implementation of those much needed decisions. But the promised budget relief never happened, and the campus remains, as a result, in urgent need of a well- conceived strategic plan for reconfiguration. Such a plan exists, the UHM strategic plan, but it was composed absent an open-air process that would have allowed widespread involvement and comment. Time saved by allowing only minimum input during the development of the plan may be lost during acrimonious implementation.
"4+4+4" is the "acronym" for a reallocation plan. It means that each year for the next three years the general fund portion of most campus budgets will be cut by four percent. The money will then be distributed according to the tenets of the strategic plan. It is the first attempt to distribute or cut funds in something other than an across-the-board or path-of-least-resistance (e.g., libraries, capital maintenance, hiring freezes) fashion since the beginning of the budget cuts. The stated intentions are to begin the rebuilding process in the three areas hit hardest by the budget cuts thus far. Two of the areas are the library and plant maintenance; no one disputes the need in these areas. The third area (redistributing academic resources, including faculty positions, to "fix" the randomness of the earlier hiring freezes and incentivized retirements) is more controversial. The deans and ORU directors feel that having to make these cuts on top of the budget trauma of the past four years will be overwhelming. Asked about alternatives, they urge vertical cuts. Which method is used, 4+4+4 or vertical cuts. is a matter for campus decision. Likely both will be necessary.
The cuts that will result from the 4+4+4 process are likely to be mini-vertical cuts since even four percent, given the personnel- heavy budget circumstance in all units, will force units to put programs and positions on the block. Overextended in numbers of programs and able to redistribute, perhaps even cut, faculty positions, the campus has great need for such hard decisions.
The body of this report covers the nine WASC accreditation standards under three broad categories: Planning, Governance and Resources; Undergraduate Education; and Graduate Education and Research. The team clustered its review of the nine standards through these groupings primarily in response to the organization of the self study. Also, separate attention is given to The Library.
The self study prepared for this accreditation reaffirmation visit by the UHM emphasizes the consequences to the campus of the reduction in state resources over the last five years. There is no doubt that the budget reductions are the driver of perceptions about the University. Typically linked to the discussions on resources were other significant issues related to organizational structure, decision-making, leadership and approaches by which UHM could or should respond to the financial exigencies. The challenge to the administration, faculty, staff, and students of UHM is captured in the title to the last section of the self-study -- "Creating a new University within the Framework of Fiscal Realities."
While the loss of state appropriation dollars has certainly had serious consequences for this institution, we frequently encountered misunderstanding about the magnitude of the decrease in total income to the university. The net effect of the reduction of State general funds plus counterbalancing increases in other income, primarily tuition, was an overall 11 percent reduction during this five year period. Similarly, there are available certain options for relief that might be employed (for example, the student faculty ratio at UHM is near 11 to 1, an enviable circumstance). While the reductions to the state appropriations to the campus have been substantial, the University has available to it choices to address current and future circumstances. Up to the present, there has not been an effective, coherent approach that has been brought to action.
The team concentrated on how effectively the institution and its processes are functioning in order to assure a quality education. We asked:
-- Does the institution have a clear sense of purpose?
-- Does the institution have an ongoing and effective planning process?
-- Does the institution have institutional processes to assess and evaluate its effectiveness?
Do the elements of planning, resources, leadership, administrative systems, and consultative processes work together to achieve the mission of the institution and assure the quality of the educational experience for students?
The administrators, faculty, staff, and students with whom we talked are committed, often passionately, to UHM. However, there were recurring themes and concerns that focused on consultative processes, communication, accuracy of information, and lack of meaningful participation by many key campus constituencies. We describe these observations and their relationship to WASC standards below.
What follows is a description of issues, with recommendations at the end of the section.
The self-study and related documents reviewed by the visiting team prior to the campus visit included the UH Executive Policy E4.201 (integrated Long Range Planning Framework), the UH Strategic Plan, the UHM Strategic Plan, UHM Academic Affairs Prioritization Committee report (Executive Summary), UHM Vertical Cuts Committee Report, and the August 4, 1998 memo from SVP Smith to UHM Deans and Directors. After our arrival we also reviewed the Manoa Subunit Strategic Plans (1997) and had conversations with administrators, faculty, and staff about the institutional planning processes and its effectiveness in achieving institutional mission and guiding institutional decision-making.
The UHM Strategic Plan is a comprehensive, clearly presented blueprint for institutional priorities and choices that has served an important function in articulating the special mission and directions of the Manoa campus to the Board of Regents and the larger public. The team applauds the general goals of addressing critical deferred repairs and maintenance, instructional equipment needs, library acquisitions, and enhancing key academic programs differentially
harmed by the "random" effects of the hiring freezes and faculty retirements over the last several years. There are, however, a number of concerns about the Plan in relationship to WASC Standard 2, Institutional Purposes, Planning, and Effectiveness. Specifically:
The Strategic Plan was initially drafted by the administration, and was based on various earlier planning documents and the UH Strategic Plan. Although extensive opportunity for campus consultation was provided, the perception is common that the Plan was developed without widespread involvement of the faculty, students, staff, and even key members of the administrative leadership of the campus (Standard 2.B.4). The fact that the plan was not developed through a more participatory process compromises ownership and commitment to its vision and priorities. The Deans and Research Program Directors we met are skeptical of the plan. It is unclear if there has been a systematic inventory of the losses to each academic program, a necessity for success. The allocation methods for the academic enhancement dollars seem to pass by the opportunity to foster collaboration among programs, or reward programs that could use the resources to leverage them with outside dollars.
The initial impression of the Team, based on the self-study, was that UHM did not have adequate means for evaluating whether or not it was achieving its institutional purposes. However, we discovered that within the campus and within the system offices there is a plethora of data available on students, student attitudes, student assessments of the university, alumni assessments, costs of various academic programs, and other institutional issues. We found a great deal of data, in numerous offices, and in multiple formats. Nevertheless, we have concerns about the institution's adherence to Standard
2.C based on two common responses to our inquiries and discussion about this data:
There is a lack of knowledge from office to office, and person to person about what data are available and from whom. The data seem not to be readily available either to institutional decision-makers to use as they evaluate options, or to those seeking to understand institutional decisions.
Based on our selected interactions there appears to be a lack of trust in the accuracy of key institutional data. For example, when team members presented real information (e.g. SFR's, retention rates, and satisfaction rates), the data were often dismissed by the people and groups we interviewed.
The elements of planning, resources, leadership, administrative systems, and consultative processes must work together to achieve the mission of the institution and assure the quality of the educational experience for students. This requires effective leadership, processes that are broadly understood, and clear communication. There is a genuine need now for leadership. The administration and faculty in many UHM programs are discouraged just as much about inconsistent process and communication as they are about funding. A more sensitive and effective approach is needed to develop community and consensus for resolving the university's fiscal problems.
The administration has the opportunity to foster candid communication among the governing board, administrators, faculty, staff, and students. A few crucial indiscretions have caused certain faculty senate members and college administrators to view the central administration as unresponsive, perhaps even aloof, and isolated. Examples cited include: the faculty senate has yet to receive responses from the chancellor to regular policy proposals sent in prior academic years; it is also unknown whether any process will be used to allocate resources in alignment with institutional priorities; committees appointed by the
administration to address the issues of vertical cuts have not had their conclusions discussed in any open environment. This lack of communication engenders the belief on the part of some that the central administration will act without consultation on vertical cuts. Perhaps related, the review team is not aware of a program discontinuance policy with appropriate process protections, yet it appears that programs have been discontinued or combined within one college.
Standard 3.A.2. states that the board is to act as a group: "no member or committee acts in place of the board except by formal delegation of authority." A member of the regents has stated that in the past one regent in particular may have acted independently of the board in his advocacy on behalf of his geographical area. This regent apparently went so far as to threaten the job of a UHM senior administrator if that administrator did not do the regent's individual geography-based bidding. Continued behavior of this nature unequivocally threatens the accreditation of UHM.
In fact, given the geographical criterion for regents' appointments, some seem to consider such occasional indiscretions to be inevitable. That is unfortunate since it need not and should not be the case. As is true for student regents (they are intended to be beneficial to the board as experts on student-related issues, not political advocates for students), the geographical appointees should be considered to be beneficial to the board as experts on their geographical area, not political advocates for their geographical regions. As board members they must finally rise above their geographically parochial desires and intentions, and act as one board for the good of the whole.
More recently, it has been alleged that the regents' chair independently waived a general education requirement for college of Engineering undergraduates. In fact, this seems not to be the case. The sequence of events appears to have been: 1) The college of Engineering formally requested the waiver of the EVC,
who has the authority to grant such waivers and was personally disposed to do so; 2) prior to the EVC's ruling on the matter, engineering also independently approached the regents' chair to make the identical case; 3) the regents' chair passed the request on to the president, telling him that he thought the request was reasonable; 4) the president has been known to be against such a waiver in the past, but passed the information on to the EVC; 5) the EVC approved the waiver that he had intended to approve in any event.
If this is, in fact, what happened, there was not a Standards violation. However, the entire activity went awry of usual university process on several accounts; it is the team's observation that 1) the engineering representatives should not have gone directly to the regents, 2) the regents' chair should have told the engineering representatives that this was not regents' business, i.e., that they had to deal with the matter internally on the UHM campus, 3) the regents' chair should recognize that stating his strong opinion to a university administrator can sound very much like edict, and, finally, 4) the EVC should consider using the advisory committee that is in place for requests like this one, rather than making unilateral decisions.
Administrative structure is not directly a matter for accreditation review insofar as it does not negatively impact mission. In the face of many protestations to the contrary, the team found no unequivocal evidence that the system president's simultaneous service as UHM's chancellor compromised UHM's mission or competitiveness for resources. Furthermore, the Executive Vice Chancellor's allegiances seem not to be compromised by his role as Senior Vice President (SVP) given his minimum responsibility in that system-wide position, i.e., his primary system-wide obligation is to serve as acting president in the president's absence. Finally, the responsibility for the UHM campus seems to be increasingly vested in the EVC as trust between the president and the EVC grows. However, there is much
more that must be done if the EVC is to be generally perceived as the leader and spokesperson for UHM.
The role of faculty in institutional governance is defined in board policy; the faculty has primary responsibility with regard to fundamental academic areas such as the curriculum content, subject matter, and methods of instruction and research. Also by board policy, the academic senate has the responsibility to speak for the faculty on academic policy matters such as initiation, review and evaluation of research; instructional, and academic programs; budget planning and implementation policy; student-faculty relations; evaluation of faculty and campus academic administrators; professional ethics and faculty self-discipline; and other academic policy subjects referred by the Chancellor or senior academic officer. It is not clear that appropriate mechanisms are being employed to allow faculty representatives, through the faculty senate, an appropriate advisory role in shared governance. This seems especially apparent in the development of strategies for further budget reductions.
This said, the faculty has maintained much of its commitment and interest in the education of the students, as well as in the maintenance of scholarship and rigor in their respective fields of expertise. This is not to say that the expected discontent and declining morale coincident with a declining budget circumstance were not apparent, but of greater concern were the multiplier effects of poor communication mechanisms, and the lack of clear lines of authority in shared governance.
Standard 4, Educational Programs, also addresses the issues of academic planning. Specifically, standard 4.F requires all appropriate segments of the institution to be involved in planning. Indeed, subunits of the UHM campus have submitted planning documents. However, there was little campus participation in the development of the campus strategic plan
and in budget planning to address current fiscal problems. "Opportunity to comment" is simply not adequate involvement of campus constituencies if campus acceptance of the eventual difficult decisions is to be expected. The spirit of this standard is not being met in the current campus planning processes.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa is a 304 acre campus, rather intensely developed to support an enrollment of over 20,000 students. The Campus has an urban feel with trees and landscaping creating a pleasant environment. Surprisingly in view of serious budget concerns, and to the credit of the grounds and maintenance crews, by casual inspection the Campus appeared to be maintained very well.
Developed to support a student body in excess of the current enrollment there seem to be no major campus space needs. There are, however, major concerns about the long-term consequences of decreased maintenance of the entire plant. During the last seven years, major reductions have been made in the Repairs and Maintenance (R&M) budget line item. These reductions took the ratio of R&M to Gross Square Feet from $2.16 per square foot in 1992 to $.35 per square foot in 1997. In fiscal year 1998 $6.2 million has been added to the capital improvement budget specifically earmarked for re-roofing, and mechanical and electrical systems. This area has been designated as a high priority for future budgets and will be protected from major additional cuts. This decision is important as UHM is an aging campus and is very susceptible to minor issues that left untended will become major problems.
The Campus has a sizeable work force to take care of minor repairs, custodial activities, landscaping, grounds maintenance, environmental health and safety, and campus security. The autonomy act has been helpful in managing these important functions by providing more flexibility with staffing and procurement. The UHM Campus is considered to be a relatively safe environment for students
and the crime statistics bear that out. Some major concerns have arisen over handling of toxic substances, and in FY 98 the Environmental Health and Safety budget doubled over what was a very low base. This is an area that will need considerable resources until these concerns are resolved. Attention has been paid to ADA requirements; however, on a campus with so many 30 year-old structures there are issues that will have to be resolved as these buildings are renovated.
Building equipment and furnishings for classrooms and laboratories are normally provided through the construction budget at the time of the construction. Office furnishings and equipment for individual faculty and staff are the responsibility of the deans and directors through their operating budgets. With the aging of the buildings the need for equipment replacement has arrived coincidentally with reduced budgets to the deans and directors. There also is a budget item for special equipment to supplement the program requirements and to supply funds for general-purpose needs such as new computers. This line item, which was at the level of $1.7 million in FY 1994, has been unfunded for the last three years. Instructional equipment has been selected as a priority area for the next fiscal year and an allocation of $2.0 Million has been designated.
The UHM Campus updated the 1987 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) in 1994. This new plan utilized a number of outside consultants to update and revise the 1987 plan that was perceived to be inadequate in providing sufficient guidance to ensure an integrated campus. Central to the plan was an attempt to create a sense of "Place" by creating gateways, paths, malls, plazas, and buildings. All of this would be reinforced by landscaping, and parking to provide an optimum environment to support the mission of the campus. The LRDP provides guidance to the Campus in developing the Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
for submission to the Regents and then to the State. The plan, as money comes available to implement it, is a good one.
A number of planning issues remain. The highest priorities within the CIP of necessity must be health, safety, and code requirement projects. The next highest priority is the revitalization of existing facilities, and finally new projects that emerge from implementation of the LRDP. In the implementation of new projects, UHM is faced with the competition of newer, growing campuses within the system, such as Hilo. In spite of this the Campus has received funding for several new and several renovation projects.
Parking is a serious issue on this campus as it is on most campuses. The problem will remain on this urban campus until more parking structures are available. The Campus has mitigated this problem in a number of ways, but largely by only allowing upperclassmen parking priorities. The Campus has developed a very good shuttle system that appears to help in reducing the number of cars moving around the campus and coming to the campus. Signage on the Campus, both on the buildings and roads, appears inadequate for locating places on the campus.
The University Of Hawaii is in a financial decline that has lasted for five years. When the State's economic downturn began the general appropriation to UHM accounted for 56% of the revenues. Five years later the State general appropriation is at the level of 46% of revenues, a $22 million reduction. Many changes have taken place during this time, including the passage of the Autonomy Act, which relieved the University of certain bureaucratic requirements, and Act 161, which authorized the return of tuition to University accounts. The net effect of the reduction of State general funds plus increases in tuition was an overall 11 percent reduction during this five year period of $24 million.
For four years Manoa has treated the reductions on a year to year basis with Repairs and Maintenance, Equipment, and the Library taking major reductions in excess of the overall 11% cut. Along with the budget cuts, hiring freezes were imposed.
The UHM budgets for FY2000 through FY2002 will utilize the 4+4+4 approach (see Introduction), with the Library and Facilities, Grounds, and Safety exempt from the cuts. The funds derived from these cuts will benefit the Library, the Learning Communities, Academic Enhancement (as it supports the Strategic Plan), Institutional Equipment, and Facilities Repair and Maintenance.
As previously stated, this budget strategy has created campus- wide concern, but there is clear recognition within the University that "vertical or differential cuts", whether they are the mini-vertical cuts that 4+4+4 will cause, or major program eliminations, will be required if needed reallocation is to occur.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa engaged Coopers and Lybrand to conduct a comprehensive audit of the campus financial accounts in accordance with the requirement of the OMB Circular A133. The audit determined that the University's financial statements present fairly the financial position and results of operations in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. The audit report disclosed no internal control findings for the University or the Research Corporation. The audit report on compliance noted 21 audit findings, all of which had corrective actions and follow-up responses.
During the last year a new financial management system has been implemented throughout the University. A number of users were concerned about the flexibility of the system to support the requirements of the individual units. The financial system managers must assess these concerns to optimize the use of this system.
The University of Hawaii Foundation is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with the responsibility of fund raising and fund management. This organization is currently managing a portfolio of $84 Million with the advice of seven outside consultants. The fund had a rate of return of over 20% for the year ended June 30, 1998 and has averaged 14.8% for the last five years. The Foundation receives a 2% allocation of funds received to provide support for the costs of managing the Foundation. Last year the Regents directed that all University gifts were to come to the Foundation.
A Vice President for University Relations has recently been appointed to coordinate alumni relations, communication with the public, and developing and managing gifts. This Vice President and the Foundation Director need to work very closely with each other. Both will be vital in realizing the level of fund-raising upon which the University is about to embark.
During the budget crisis the university could consider a larger yearly fund payout. With the return on the Foundation accounts averaging over 14% for the last five years and with inflation at the 2% level, the current 5% return to the programs is quite conservative. A 6.2% return, for example would produce an additional $1 Million for the programs.
Hard budget decisions have to be made now. The urgency of the times precludes redoing the UHM strategic plan and 4+4+4. Neither is unreasonable, and action is long overdue. It is expected, however, that successful implementation has been compromised by poor methods of plan development and communication with campus constituencies.
All future budget and planning strategies, i.e., decisions that propose major new campus directions, should be developed through processes that require and promote broad campus involvement.
Final authorities of the faculty should be clarified. In its simplest form, "shared governance" means that the administration has full authority over, and responsibility for, the wise husbanding of resources, and the faculty has final authority over, and responsibility for, student admissions requirements, courses and curricula, and all requirements for graduation. Neither the administration nor the faculty can carry out their responsibility without mutual planning, communication and cooperation, but final authorities are clear. With clear lines of authority understood, it is at least possible that the current administration-faculty acrimony will diminish considerably.
An educational process should be developed that will inform the regents of appropriate behavior in an accredited university. Especially important, Standard 3.A.2. states, "The Board acts as a group; no member or committee acts in place of the board except by formal delegation of authority."
An administrative tracking system that logs the receipt of Senate recommendations and subsequent actions by the administration should be developed. This tracking system should be visible, perhaps on the Web, with the administration making a commitment to provide timely responses to these recommendations.
Attention should be given to enhancing the credibility of the strength of the EVC's voice on UHM's behalf. For example, the EVC should make the regular address to the UHM senate
rather than the president. Similarly, the EVC should have opportunities publicly and parochially make the case for UHM. Certainly, Chancellor Tsunoda has achieved an admirable reputation for effective public advocacy for the community colleges. Absent a similarly parochial voice on their behalf, the UHM constituencies perceive themselves to be disadvantaged.
The limited role of the EVC in his SVP position should be made better known, since the current perception is that he is the president's active right-hand person, and thereby compromised as a UHM advocate. This might be done in the context of the roles of all the SVPs, all of whom have broader system-wide responsibility then does the EVC, i.e., it could be stated that the UHM EVC has minimal system-wide responsibility so as to avoid compromising his role as the senior spokesperson for UHM.
Finally, while the EVC may mightily prefer the current circumstance, a non-trivial move would be to give responsibility for UHM athletics over to EVC -- if in fact, the program is based only at UHM.
Cross-functional teams of institutional research staff (system, campus, department) should be created to share data sources and to develop a more seamless presentation of data. Furthermore, oral and written data based presentations should be made regularly to faculty and staff on topical issues in order to communicate both the data itself, and the availability of the data.
An information technology plan for the support of research, the teaching and learning process, and administrative information and records systems should be developed using a broad-based consultative process. The plan should include anticipated costs and expected approaches to financing them.
Introduction. By usual measures, undergraduate education is done well at UHM. It is quite clear, however, that the budget cuts have threatened the quality of this primary responsibility of the university. In some cases, the reader will note that we go so far as to suggest that the spirit of the intentions of certain WASC standards is not being met, for example in student advising. The greatest part of this section describes problems we discovered, with our occasional suggestions for improvement. Almost without exception, the problems are money-related, either because of budget cuts, or because money has not been available to allow UHM to stay current -- for example, in the areas of library and information technology.
To begin, the team found much about which UHM can be proud:
UHM has in most cases avoided large lecture courses for general education, and there is a strong tenure track faculty presence in lower-division instruction.
The demonstrable success of the intensive writing program is commendable and represents an institutional capacity for cross- disciplinary improvement of undergraduate education. Data examined by the review committee show an improvement of student writing achieved through a rigorous requirement, extensive training of faculty, and campus consensus on objectives. Through extended interviews as part of ongoing program assessment, students reported confidence in dealing with the writing requirements of their majors and predicted success in future job- related writing situations. Thus the program is succeeding in the dual effort to improve writing across the curriculum and in specific disciplines. Also, in placement testing for the basic writing courses, UHM has instituted a five-hour placement test that many other universities might well envy.
Similarly, although not so fully implemented as is intensive writing, there has been much progress toward distance learning delivery of instruction through the newly established Manoa Outreach College.
The University has recognized the necessity for the training and support of faculty as well as for attending to the students' needs for library and technological resources as well as for advising.
An important part of this effort has been the Outreach College's development of the Manoa Interactive Learning Environment, which faculty may access for their course and instructional needs, although the committee learned that more staff support is needed to meet increasing faculty demand.
The UHM has conducted a number of surveys of new and current undergraduate students and of alumni. Those surveys report substantial levels of student satisfaction with their experiences at UHM. They also indicate areas in which the students believe improvements are desirable. Because UHM takes pride in the great diversity of its student body, it was reassuring to see that the data when desegregated by race, gender and ethnicity showed great similarity in levels of satisfaction and participation across all groups. Although there were differences, they did not appear to be systematic or substantial.
As might be expected, not all students were satisfied. Some students and staff who attended sessions with the team, painted a more negative picture of the student experience on the campus, both with respect to differential treatment based on gender, and race/ethnicity, and with regard to the responsiveness of the University to receive and act upon grievances and charges of differential treatment. They expressed concerns that the planned movement of the sexual harassment and affirmative action officer from Academic Affairs to Student
Affairs represents a major weakening of the University's commitment to equal opportunity and equity.
To note such signals, ones that represent a changing campus culture in respect to undergraduate instruction, is to acknowledge a capacity and a commitment for advancing both the University Senate proposals for the improvement of undergraduate education and the University strategic objective of taking special efforts "to ensure a high-quality education for students who will most benefit from it, including freshmen and transfer students from other UH campuses." But, as the self-study and other records and conversations the review committee has considered make clear, there are a number of problems to be addressed. Some of these are part of larger institutional issues, but the remainder of this section on undergraduate studies will deal only with issues we find central to the undergraduate program objective.
Standard 1.C. requires that information to prospective students be precise and accurate. The statement of the University's admission criteria and profile of admitted students (1997-99 Catalog, p. 29) has reportedly been misinterpreted by potentially admissible students and their families as absolute criteria. As a consequence they may be discouraged from applying, in spite of the statement that each student is evaluated individually. Indeed, for the 2807 freshmen admitted for fall 1998, 41% did not meet one or more of the criteria, 18% did not meet the math SAT; 32% did not meet the verbal SAT, and 4% had GPA's below 2.8.
The format for the administration of undergraduate studies and student affairs is entirely within the purview of the Chancellor and the EVC. They should be the decision-makers regarding that format. It is, though, the team's view that the recent suggestion from the senate that a vice chancellor to oversee and lead undergraduate affairs is a good one. The University goal of improving the undergraduate experience extends across
colleges, although the majority of undergraduates are in the colleges of Arts and Sciences. It requires cooperative teaching and linking of courses, ongoing evaluation of teaching methods and course materials, redefinition and dedication of such support services as educational technology and information services, undergraduate advising, program planning and assessment. Coordinating these various activities and services is a formidable task, especially when solutions must be relatively cost-free.
Accreditation standard 4 requires that "as it analyzes its goals and discusses how conditions and needs change, the institution continually redefines for itself elements that will result in programs of high quality." From the self-study, various other documents, and conversations with faculty, staff and students, there is no question that UHM has for some time been engaged in this process; although the process itself has often been complicated by changing conditions (mainly budget and enrollment) on the one hand, and seemingly intractable structures (mainly governance and administration) on the other. Because the self-study responds primarily to the subparagraph specifications of the WASC standard 4, a reader of it might miss the primacy UHM is giving to the undergraduate experience both in its local initiatives and in its strategic plan. The emphasis is on the freshman year, beginning with improved orientation and advising, and including a range of opportunities for learning communities and freshman seminars, but also there has been considerable campus discussion of the general education core and of involvement of undergraduates in research.
In the 1997-98 academic year a faculty senate task force reviewed policies concerning admissions and recruitment, the character of campus life, and the quality and integrity of undergraduate programs. The task force report expressed concern about the lack of common academic challenges for freshmen and "no shared vision of an attractive, distinguishing experience that would build on our resources as a research university." In submitting a number of recommendations to the Senate. the task force stressed the University's advantageous dual identity
as a Carnegie 1 research institution and as the state's largest university "providing a distinctive, excellent undergraduate experience."
One recommendation was to extend for one year the Undergraduate Experience Committee for the purpose of working with the administration, on behalf of the senate, in the implementing and refining of its recommendations. Given that several of the recommendations are for expansion of such already proved programs as learning communities and undergraduate research, and also concern review of the general education core, the matter of ongoing faculty involvement in and oversight of undergraduate programs is critical. The senate has approved recommendations both for standing, appropriate faculty bodies to oversee undergraduate programs and for "assigning clear administrative responsibility."
The core, established in 1986, along with rigorous foreign language and writing requirements, has been reconsidered by a core reform task force. According to the self-study, the UHM Core Committee had been engaged in some course removal and addition to the core but has not fully reviewed or reconsidered it. Beginning in 1994, incoming students with the AA degree from a UH community college have been credited with satisfying UHM core requirements. When asked in what ways university general education might be distinctive, a faculty member cited a student's view that although there was much knowledge gained from a general education course at a two- year college, a similar UHM course gave the student occasion to problematize knowledge, to use primary sources and to have a research scholar as a teacher. Recent faculty conversations about the general education core have proceeded with an understanding that in addition to providing the usual skills and breadth, UHM general education should recognize students' diverse educational goals and yet have a coherence. They have found it important to view core reform in conjunction with major requirements and elective complements.
Two particular problems concerning general education core policy and practice came to our attention.
The first concerns existing articulation agreements. In correspondence and conversation with WASC, the Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate Executive committee requested "careful scrutiny on the University of Hawaii System's policies on transfer and articulation between the campuses of the System." WASC review authority extends only to the Manoa campus; therefore this report comments solely upon the UHM practices in regard to Standard 3 C.2 ("Faculty ...voice in matters of educational program") and 4.B.8 (clearly articulated policies for the transfer of credit). At issue is the need for UHM assurance that course content or numbering changes at other schools in the UH system do not violate the articulation agreements approved by the UHM faculty senate, especially when new or changed courses are part of an M degree package which fulfills UHM core requirements. In recent years increasing numbers of UHM students are taking course work at community colleges. To some faculty this seems a path of least challenge through certain core requirements, but it may also be a consequence of the increased tuition at UHM. On the other hand, there does seem to be consensus that there has been effective ongoing attention to the composition requirement among UHM and community college faculty.
The second concern is a recent administrative exception given College of Engineering students from the second language graduation requirements. It is the faculty's contention that, although the administration has the authority to grant such exceptions as a long-standing issue this question should have been referred to the Core Requirements Committee, especially at a time when that committee was reconsidering the core.
See more on these general issues in Section 11, Planning, Governance and Resources.
Although the first-year retention and graduation rates for UH Manoa already compare favorably to other urban universities, the faculty and administration have been seeking ways to improve the student experience, particularly for first-time freshmen. The senate committee on the undergraduate experience has made a number of recommendations to improve the first year experience, including a recommendation that there be a single office with focused responsibility for lower division undergraduates -- curricular and co- curricular (see Recommendation 2, this section). There have been a number of well-designed promotional materials describing new programs for freshmen, and faculty ambassadors have been active in feeder schools. A number of faculty also have committed to Learning Community course offerings to begin in the 1999 fall semester, but it appears that about three fourths of the originally projected communities will begin because of a faculty action in protest of internal budget reallocation plans.
The University is to be commended for the energy and creativity demonstrated in the array of freshman programs offered, and, in particular, the emphasis on learning communities such as ACE, RAP and newest Learning Communities (LCs at UH). Both faculty and staff involved with these programs spoke passionately about enhancing the undergraduate experience at UHM, and the need to more fully engage the primarily commuter student population in the intellectual and cultural life of the campus community. Conflict over budget cuts appears to have had two invidious effects on the development of the learning communities: 1) the withdrawal of English faculty from the Learning Communities mentioned previously and 2) the negative response from science departments who perceive the communities as being funded at the expense of faculty lines. Despite this, the program appears to be well thought out and coordinated with a solid assessment component.
From information in the self-study and from campus interviews with faculty and staff and students, the committee questions the extent to which the University is fulfilling the spirit of WASC Standard 4.B.10 ("Advising procedures are designed and maintained to meet student needs for information and advice."). The self-study acknowledges that although a 1995 report to WASC found progress in offering students effective advising, since then there have been advising staff reductions and the student-to- adviser ratio in Arts and Sciences has increased from 720:1 to 840:1. Proposed improvements to undergraduate education, even with flat future enrollments, would seem to entail additional advising.
Currently the student Handbook is produced by the Board of Publications as a student publication and is paid for by student fees. In at least one recent year, the Handbook has not been published. There are differing reasons given by the administration and some student representatives for its non-publication, the purpose and nature of the Handbook and who should pay for it and determine its content. Given this recent history and differing views, it may be appropriate to consider whether the University should provide students with an official Handbook of campus services and resources, and whether BOP should provide students with an unofficial survival guide to UHM or from the "student perspective." The critical point is not whether there are one or two publications, but that all UHM students have guaranteed access to information on campus services and resources, whether in hard copy or electronic form.
The University is proud of its athletic teams and their achievements. The graduation rate of student athletes is reported to be within 1% of that for all students, and the public, in a telephone survey, ranked athletics in the highest positive ways among nine listed areas of UH Manoa. The University is also to be commended for having a proactive Faculty Senate Committee on Athletics that has raised concerns and made recommendations to the administration on admissions, advising, and
tutoring of student athletes in order to ensure the highest integrity for the program and the best educational outcomes for student athletes.
The self-study (p. 40) states that established programs are subject to review at least once every seven years and that teaching faculty are regularly evaluated. But in its conversations with several department chairs and with graduate and undergraduate students, the committee received reports that there were considerable variations in the regularity of internal program reviews, and in one case a review scheduled for a seven- year interval took nearly five years to reach completion. Reasons for this seem to be disruptions of routine by budgetary and other crises and increased workloads of central administrative offices responsible for initiating and processing internal reviews. Students expressed concern over infrequency of student evaluations of faculty and of unavailability of information about those which are conducted.
WASC standards underscore the utility of assessment in promoting and maintaining institutional effectiveness. In particular, WASC views assessment as integral to institutional planning and enhancement of undergraduate learning. At no time is assessment more valuable than in periods of change and experimentation such as the one UHM is currently in. The theme of "newness," of redefinition and revitalization, which permeates the self-study suggests that considerable time and resources will be spent reorganizing key administrative processes as well as the undergraduate curriculum and the freshman experience as a whole. Assessment helps identify and clarify issues to be addressed in the planning process and calibrates progress toward planning goals-especially the success of programs designed to improve learning and development such as the learning group and general education proposals that figure prominently in the self- study.
Review of UHM assessment activities suggests that there is much to be applauded and still much to be done. The campus has a solid base of institutional data about its student body, retention and graduation rates, faculty-student ratios, and course taking patterns. Institutional data have been augmented by a systematically administered set of senior and alumni surveys. The University also produces an impressive performance and benchmark report that works to provide as much comparative data as possible on how UHM students fare relative to students at peer institutions. Another yet untapped strength in the area of assessment is faculty's interest in and apparent willingness to engage in assessment. Although most faculty we spoke to knew almost nothing about assessment in a formal way (e.g., assessment of general education or assessment of the major) they appeared motivated to implement and use a variety of assessment measures -- more so than many faculty colleagues at other Research I institutions with far more tutelage on the topic.
Faculty and administrators consistently expressed interest in increasing the size of the student body at UHM as well as the quality of the students. This interest has been sparked by the potential fiscal benefits of enrollment revenues that will now accrue to the University, and a need to identify the campus' niche within the system per the Strategic Plan. However, enrollment gains are only profitable when tuition and fees exceed the marginal educational costs (and, of course, when there is sufficient existing capacity that the institution can expand enrollments marginally without extensive new resources, apparently the case at UHM with its low faculty/student ratio and under-subscribed dorms). It is not at all clear that a campus plan to attract more state residents would produce much if any new revenue given that low in-state rates are unlikely to cover marginal educational costs. A more financially promising tack might be to enroll more non-residents who pay a much higher tuition and insure campus dorms are used to capacity. This, though, will require a more sophisticated enrollment management strategy and a variety of financial aid funds, including merit aid funds, which the University does not appear to have at the present time.
While the Chancellor and EVC have been hesitant to add a vice chancellor for undergraduate studies in difficult financial times, the administration is thin (contrary to frequent assertions to the contrary), and this addition would be valuable to the administration team as it works its way through the tough times ahead.
Whatever the leadership structure for undergraduate studies, it is essential to provide sufficient incentive and faculty development resources as well as greatly improved student advising (see next recommendation) if the various new and expanded undergraduate programs are to have sustained high quality.
As the University seeks its goal of becoming more selective in recruiting at the freshman level, it should review and appropriately revise its admission selection criteria to achieve a number of goals: a) select students who will most likely benefit from and succeed at UHM, b) clearly inform students on how to prepare for competitive admissions to UHM, c) clearly and explicitly inform potential students and families of the criteria for admission selection, and, d) provide both the appearance and reality of fairness and uniform treatment in admissions.
The instances described under "Standard 4, Core Curriculum Issues" reflect a need for clear channels of review and consultation, both in the case of general education policy and in continual faculty oversight of the curriculum. It is difficult to exercise such oversight of one part of an undergraduate program independently from that of other components, but one resolution would be a faculty standing committee on Undergraduate Academic Policies and Practices. The primacy of such faculty input is stated in the regents bylaws: "... the faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental academic areas as curriculum content,"
"subject matter, and methods of instruction and research.... " Such a committee could benefit by representation from undergraduate advising and admissions as well as by representation from student government.
That the Learning Communities have been targeted to receive 4-4-4 funds, suggests they are a priority for the administration and will receive funds to continue. Especially given the current fiscal environment, assessment data will be important in convincing faculty members that the learning communities truly enhance the undergraduate experience in ways they value and will enable the program to evolve and improve.
Numbers of advisors, advising programs, and the tools of advising, e.g., the handbook, degree audit (concern was expressed that computerized degree audit is now possible only for undergraduates spending their entire courses of study at Manoa, and does not include work at other schools) need special attention. Progress made on the problem in the early 1990's has been lost in the late 1990's.
The UHM has much to gain from the development of formalized assessment processes. Data are available but underutilized, and faculty and staff enthusiasm for engagement in assessment bode well for the outcomes of this recommended activity. Appendix A speaks further to the issue.
If UHM is seriously interested in maximizing the quality and size of the student body, a consultant in the area of enrollment management should be hired to make recommendations regarding finances, current admissions and financial aid processes.
Given the unfortunate experiences of other
universities athletics programs not securely under administrative and faculty oversight, the review committee recommends that the administration carefully review the advisability of having the student-athlete tutors under the direct supervision of the athletic department.. As the Committee on Athletics has pointed out, the University should determine whether present practices regarding the tutoring of student athletes is consistent with the spirit of NCAA legislation and WASC standards
UHM is the only Research I institution in Hawaii and offers a large number of graduate degrees including Master's degrees in 87 fields, doctorates in 53 fields, professional degrees in 7 fields, and assorted certificates. Data were only available for 1996-97 in our visit of March 1999, and showed 1,168 Master's degrees awarded; 175 Ph.D.'s awarded, 129 professional degrees and 97 graduate and undergraduate certificates combined. We were not provided with the required document giving the number of degrees granted in each program for each of the last 5 years. We were, however, provided with 40 pages of internal statistics on degrees and certificates from which some of the information could be gleaned, but only with difficulty. It can be said that graduate degrees in all fields are not awarded every year, i.e., some programs are, by this definition, under- subscribed.
The number of fields of study for the Masters degree, has increased from 74 to 87 since the last accreditation review in 1990.
Masters and Ph.D. programs are well defined in the materials provided, and emphasize appropriate objectives, curriculum, training and, when appropriate, research experience. Many faculty are involved in original research, but sufficient numbers of appropriate full-time faculty are not available in all programs, due to uneven attrition and individual productivity.
Some measures of program quality such as the National Research Council rankings support the finding of uneven quality of the graduate programs at Manoa. Understanding the limitations of any single measure, these data indicate that just seven programs are ranked in the top 50, with two in the top 12: linguistics, anthropology, astrophysics/astronomy (#11), geography, geosciences, oceanography (#7) and political science.
Recent efforts intend to redirect and/or combine in an interdisciplinary format three biological programs (biochemistry, cell biology and pharmacology) in the School of Medicine. This comports with the fact that one of the targeted areas for improvement in the Strategic Plan is biomedical sciences.
One mechanism for maintaining and improving program quality is rigorous impartial program review. The procedure for this at the University of Hawaii is described in detail. It appears to be a serious undertaking for the Department as well as the internal faculty committee involved, based on the two reviews we were provided. The campus, though, is behind in its program reviews, how far behind is not clear. The review process also includes student assessment, a very important means of student input to the program on issues of quality affecting them.
Overall, graduate program review is coordinated by a campus-wide Council on Program Review which includes student representatives. It is integrated with single departmental reviews. It is generally true that the review teams are not dominated by external reviewers. The graduate program review process would be substantially strengthened by the inclusion of a majority of external reviewers on these committees. Not only does this provide external benchmarks, true objectivity and a fresh perspective, the information gained should prove valuable for some of the hard decisions that lie ahead.
From the material provided, no clear picture of the quality of graduate students across programs emerged. Graduate student enrollment has been declining since the Fall of 1997 and this extends to most fields of study. Exceptions include computer science and educational technology.
Graduate student support continues to decline. Graduate assistantships and tuition waivers have been declining since Fall of 1994. Many students receive
little or no support. The single fellowship program described in the self-study reaches only a minority of the 87 fields of study.
The graduate students who chose to speak to our team members (and thereby not a random sample) complained of the lack of ethnic and gender role models at UHM, inadequate mentoring, and the lack of an ombudsperson or neutral third party to whom they can turn with their issues. Regarding the first of these concerns, the lack of ethnic and gender role models at UHM, there does seem to be a lack of programs focussed on improving diversity of students or faculty at UHM with the exception of two programs for professional schools (Law and Medicine).
Also worth mentioning, because lack of communication was a pervasive theme at all levels of the university, these same students felt marginalized by their non-inclusion in meetings where changes affecting their programs of study are discussed, and decisions made. They would like to be part of the process. Though well- intentioned, they seem not to have enough information or clear communication from campus administrators and faculty to reach reasonable conclusions.
While graduate education at UHM has many strengths, (e.g., individual strong faculty, leadership from the Faculty Senate, a solid level of extramural support, certain programs of excellence and the beginnings of important interdisciplinary programs, particularly in the School of Medicine), graduate education still faces several challenges. Predominant among these, previously mentioned, is improving program quality by stronger peer review which would be greatly aided by external reviewers. Perhaps a product of the grow-grow late '80's-early '90's, graduate programs appear to be spread too broadly, which means some do not have the needed depth. Review can help the campus address these issues and refocus/revitalize their graduate mission. A leaner range of graduate programs will also ameliorate the poor current level of student support.
Research and scholarship represent an area of considerable success and pride at the University of Hawaii. In spite of the negative economic situation very real progress has been made in the last five years and it is clear that the University has a productive faculty. Research and scholarship are not viewed as a negative element in the undergraduate education issues. It is apparent that scholarship is valued and productive in a wide range of disciplines. Thus, a number of the conscience areas (Anthropology, Linguistics, Geography, International Business, Social Work) are noted in the National Research Council ratings or in publications like US News and World Report. In the science areas, Oceanography, Astronomy, Cancer, Agriculture and Biomedical Science are competitive and increasing in impact.
It is also apparent from an analysis of the operating budget allocations that organized research has fared slightly better (9.3 percent decrease in state appropriation relative to an overall 11 percent decrease). Moreover, the increase in external funding and the corresponding increase in indirect cost recovery has softened the impact of the reductions in state appropriations.
Although consistent longitudinal data were not available, federal grants and contracts increased 33 percent, from almost $76 million in FY92 to a projected $101 million in FY98 (all awards). Detailed information of the distribution of awards by college/school was available only for FY97. Using this data, research awards were just over $89 million with 86 percent of that generated by six units -- Medicine, Agriculture, Cancer Research Center, Institute for Astronomy, Pacific Biomedical Research Center and School of Ocean, and Earth Science and Technology. For this same period extramural non-research awards were $52 million (excluding other campuses). Much of the externally funded research is managed through the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (RCUH) in order to facilitate general operations. This seems to be working, but there
were indications that even RCUH was beginning to be bogged down in paperwork. The indirect cost rate at the University of Hawaii is 35 percent, the lowest in the nation. This low rate is a consequence of the recent budget cuts which have limited the research-related expenditures that determine the indirect cost rate. The low indirect cost rate substantially reduces the institution's ability to provide infrastructure and to support new efforts. The Department/College return on earned indirect cost (67%) is a significant positive factor in managing the current budget situation.
Equipment and facilities for research represent a critical part of graduate education and research. No apparent adverse effects in this area were reported in many discussions with science faculty. This is not surprising, since research is heavily subsidized from external sources, and short-term reductions in state funding may not have substantial impact. Over time, though, the impact of the lack of state investment in research facilities will be felt.
Graduate Degrees, Programs, Students. Tough decisions on which graduate and professional degree programs are and are not going to be maintained at UHM are crucial to improvement. Improved program reviews are essential to those decisions. Also, regarding the reviews and their use in program disestablishment, the mantra has to be communicate, communicate, communicate. In tough financial times, everyone worries. No single group feels they have sufficient understanding of decisions or proposed decisions. In some groups, including faculty leaders, the misinformation was remarkable.
An outside consultant should be employed to provide strategies for properly setting the indirect cost rate in the next negotiation.
A strategy for the future of research and graduate studies at OHM. In spite of the success of research and scholarship in the past, it is clear that substantial issues are facing the University and have to be addressed in the coming years to maintain the quality and current level of file research and scholarship productivity. Past budget reductions and the likely continuing decrease in state support will erode file research and scholarship capabilities. First, the situation requires a planning process, specific to research, that prioritizes resources and efforts according to the needs of the state, economic development and strengths of the University. It is not possible in Hawaii or elsewhere to operate at a Research 1 level in all academic areas. Second, currently no comprehensive assessment of research and scholarship, tied to defined goals and objectives, is taking place on an annual basis; the current seven year cycle for program review is okay for normal times, but not sufficiently frequent to permit rapid response to the dynamic situation.
In the 1990 accreditation review it was stated that "We urge reconsideration of the dual classification of faculty." (p. 27). This has been only modestly addressed to date. This issue should be resolved. As virtually every MU university will attest, special "research faculty" appointments are not essential, perhaps not even helpful, to overall research excellence.
The situation with the School of Medicine is difficult.. Biomedical research provides incredible opportunities for the University and for the people of Hawaii. The current funding opportunities for biomedical research provide a means to substantially increase research revenues and file associated indirect cost resources, the development of new treatments and technologies that could benefit Hawaiian society, and the possibility of significant contributions to the state's economic development. Given the
political pressures, and thereby the likely survival of this unit, the appointment of a permanent Dean seems essential. (Note: The impact of the School of Medicine is greater than represented by the available data since much research is carried out through participating and institutes. A methodology to better capture these data is needed.)
This unit is slowly fading away. Is this intended? Hopefully, hard decisions on vertical cuts will clarify the situation.
Interdisciplinary research and scholarship often define the leading edge and provide opportunities to maximize resources and talent. A number of new interdisciplinary initiatives have been developed recently (Biomedical Research in the School of Medicine, Communication, Computer Science and other units, and International Business). If unintended barriers to these initiatives exist, as alleged, they should be removed.
We found little evidence of a coordinated and focused effort to more fully integrate research and scholarship into the undergraduate experience. This represents a missed opportunity to enrich the education of undergraduates and to significantly increase their competitiveness in the employment market and for admission to graduate and professions/programs.
The Library, a source both of pride and concern, has been an obvious -- and unlucky-- source of cash to deal with the state-imposed budget cuts, one of the disadvantages of having an operations rich budget. The results have been dramatic. Annual increases to the library collection are less than half of what they were in 1990. The UHM Library ranked 64 of 108 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in materials expenditure in 1992/93; in 1996/97, UH had dropped to 107 of 110. Reference, research, and instructional services have been severely curtailed due to Library faculty and staff reductions. There is no requisite budgetary commitment to allow the Library to maintain or upgrade its technology base. UHM's precipitous drop in the overall ARL indexed ranking from 40 in 1992 to 77 in 1997 indicates how deep and devastating the budget cuts have been on the Library's standing as a research library. These data indicate that the following observations, while subjective, are likely accurate.
Significant short and long- term damage has been done to both the undergraduate and the research collections. No new journals have been added to the collection in recent years. In a recent University survey, both faculty and graduate students expressed concern about the level and currency of new monographic acquisitions. Individual faculty report that the serial reductions have resulted in increased reliance on inter-library borrowing. While there is general satisfaction with the availability and speed of these services, in some instances the lack of on-site access has impeded research and graduate education. One department (the School of Architecture) reports that the collection is inadequate to support its undergraduate curriculum. The Library lags behind in the introduction and provision of electronic information resources; nor does it provide the blend of electronic and print resources that one would expect of a research library of a university with the programmatic scope of UHM.
If the Library budget is not restored to more reasonable levels, UH will soon fall short of satisfying Standards 6.B and 6.C.
The University intends to rebuild the Library budget through reallocation in the "4+4+4" process and allocation of new, on-going funding. There appears to be campus-wide support for these actions. (As an aside regarding campus restructuring and reallocations, the Library serves the entire campus and a comprehensive array of disciplines. It has important information, as well as a need to know, regarding disestablishment and consolidation of programs and adding new areas of emphasis. This communication will ensure that the Library can align its limited resources with campus priorities and strategic directions).
In the constrained and crisis-driven environment of recent years, the Library deserves special commendation for its continued commitment to quality service, for innovative approaches, and for exploring ways to facilitate user self-sufficiency. The Strategic Plan for Library Services, 1996-2007, is foresightful and well-focussed. The Library truly is seeking ways to reshape itself for the 21st century and has articulated vision and goals that position the Library to be a partner in the "New University" called for in the self- study.
The 1990 WASC accreditation report noted that if the facilities and environmental issues in Sinclair and Hamilton Libraries were not resolved shortly UHM would fail to satisfy Standard 6.E. To the university's credit, significant strides have been made toward addressing library space issues. The Phase III addition to the Hamilton Library is under construction. The addition will provide an infrastructure that supports networked technology, address ADA requirements, and meet environmental standards for air and humidity control necessary for preservation of the collections and the comfort of users. Concurrently, some space in the existing Hamilton Library will be upgraded as part of the Phase III effort.
While Phase III will not solve all of the facilities issues (Sinclair Library Building lacks air conditioning and other environmental controls, and the facility is substandard with respect to collection preservation and conducive environment for study), planning funds have been authorized to examine renovations needed in Sinclair and the subsequent upgrades needed to bring the building up to standard. Perhaps the long-standing Hamilton roof leaks can be repaired as part of this process.
The 1990 WASC report identified insect and mold infestations as a threat to the collection. Its high percentage of Asian publications made from unstable materials makes the collection particular vulnerable. The Library should be commended for developing an integrated pest management program to manage the insect and mold problems prevalent in the tropical island environment. A model preservation program has been instituted, which includes inspection of incoming materials, preventative freezing of targeted materials, routine physical review of collection segments, monitoring of microclimates within the building, and spot fumigation. The Library has a systematic reformatting program to preserve materials with priority given to Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific materials. The Library currently is collaborating with Cornell University in a National Endowment for the Humanities agricultural materials microfilming project.
In order to succeed in an increasingly complex information world, undergraduate and graduate students need to develop sophisticated information and technology skills and capabilities. In 1992/93, UH librarians provided library instruction to nearly 9,000 students in all disciplines. Due to the significant reduction in its library faculty, the Library has not been able to sustain its teaching programs. In 1996/97, only 2,800 students received some form of instruction. This is particularly noteworthy during a time of increased demand for students to learn how to critically evaluate and manage information as a tool for life- long learning. Anecdotal faculty reports indicate a decline in the
information retrieval and evaluation skills of UHM students because of this lack of instruction.
The Library's online catalog is nearly a decade old and does not take advantage of the delivery and linkages afforded by the Web. The Library has developed a plan to replace its outmoded closed-system terminals and library system with a web catalog overlaid with a harmonizing interface. The new system is intended to enhance library service, engender user self-sufficiency, and increase student user access, both at UHM and throughout the UH system. It would also make library processing and fiscal operations less labor intensive and more efficient..
The Library has developed and maintained a web presence, but it needs work as a training and delivery mechanism. Library staff could further distribute resources to the individual desktop, particularly to benefit remote students and faculty. Efforts have been staff- and resources-limited. The Library has obtained extramural funding to begin digitizing materials of significant cultural, community, and historical interest, but this amounts only to effort around the margin.
The bibliographic control of the collection is adequate for the most part, and the staff should also be commended for working collaboratively with librarians and other educators and administrators throughout the UH system to establish standards of service, policies, and procedures to provide equivalent library services for distance learning students.
Required information on computer usage and descriptions of user services was not provided to the team, and attempts to retrieve the information through the University's web site were unsatisfactory. What follows, therefore, is only an impressionistic review.
The 1993 reorganization of responsibility for information technology appears to have improved efficiency and consolidated staff and resources. Distance learning and Instructional Technology (DLIT) appears to be an especially successful unit. DLIT is in the process of transitioning HITS (Hawaii Interactive Television System) into a digital format. Finally, the recent news of the procurement by the administration of an Internet II connection for the University of Hawaii is critical for continued research excellence and participation.
On the other hand, the campus lacks an integrated technology plan. The Self-study notes the Office of Information Technology is currently updating its 1992 plan and will address the development of a life-cycle funding model, but points out that learning and training opportunities are currently inadequate. There is no broad- based program of student and faculty training and development in the area of technology and computing. Documentation concerning computing resources is incomplete and outdated on the respective web pages.
In response to the 1990 WASC an executive order on computer use guidelines and policies has been developed and community response has been solicited.
The operations-heavy library budget has been ravaged. Through "4+4+4" and/or any other means that can be employed funds must be allocated and reallocated to the Library for materials, personnel' and operations. The several needs are described in the body of this chapter.
A new generation Web-based library system must be developed and a realistic maintenance and upgrade plan for library technology should be instituted as soon as possible.
An integrated information technology plan for UHM should be developed and implemented as soon as possible.
It is suggested that library faculty be engaged as partners in curricular redesign and delivery with respect to student information and technology literacy and competencies.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa maintains all the characteristics of a Research I university. It has, though, recently suffered equally from both the budget cuts and the delay in responding to those cuts. Recovery is not impossible, especially considering the admirable dedication to the well-being of the campus by virtually all of its employees. Research productivity, enhanced by external grant support, remains strong. There also a potential resource in the comparatively generous 11:1 student-faculty ratio.
However, while recovery is not impossible, it urgently requires hard decisions in the short term that will require quick reallocation, improved mechanisms and processes for campus communication for the long term, and special attention to real and perceived problems in governance and administration. If these several actions do not occur accreditation will soon be endangered.
The absence of an assessment plan or any comprehensive statement about assessment in the self-study appeared to be symptomatic of a more deep-seated lack of coordination around collection and use of assessment data. As the University struggles to better define its mission and structures, it is a most appropriate time to think more systematically about what information that will need to be collected to support effective change, which office will collect the information, and how it will be shared. The issue of dissemination and use of data cannot be emphasized enough. In discussions with administrative staff we were impressed with the competence of the staff, and the quantity and quality of the data produced. But conversations with numerous faculty revealed that they had little knowledge the data existed and perhaps, more disturbingly, often did not believe in its accuracy. Manoa was forthcoming in providing the visiting team with institutional data on a wide variety of topics. This fact and other impressions garnered during the visit suggest that the disconnect between faculty and data reflects a communications gap rather than a reluctance to share institutional information. This gap appeared to be the product of too few staff for the data and research workload, distribution of research staff across a number of offices and uncertainty about the respective responsibilities of system and campus offices.. As fiscal responsibilities decentralize and academic units are encouraged to become more entrepreneurial, data demands will grow exponentially and data problems will only become more acute. Assessment, addressed here, is only one facet of a larger array of information needs on the immediate horizon.
At the very least, the University should work to establish a cross- functional team of all the data and research staff from the different units and promote greater exchange of information and resources among those individuals, providing high level support for their collaborative activities. Faculty could also be invited to data presentations where data are not only provided but time is devoted to interpretation and application of findings.
To return to assessment, one suggestion is to ask faculty and administrators to develop a comprehensive campus-wide assessment plan. While a campus survey of assessment practices showed that a number of units are engaged in assessment, efforts are uneven and often unsystematic. Our interviews with faculty revealed that most knew little to nothing about assessment.
Formulation of a plan engages faculty in important discussions about undergraduate education and enables faculty from different units to learn from one another. An effective assessment plan:
1. Insures faculty ownership;
2. establishes the student outcomes, instructional and co- curricular, to be assessed. The faculty committee statement on the undergraduate education is a major step in this direction.
3. identifies appropriate indicators/measures to evaluate specific outcomes. Measures should be maintainable over time based on realistic estimates of resources. Multiple measures should be used when possible and measures should be established along a meaningful timeline whether data is cross-sectional or longitudinal.
4. establishes a clear and consistent feedback loop between the assessment findings and faculty.
Ultimately the utility of assessment findings will depend upon faculty's willingness to revise and improve courses and programs based on the information generated. The more directly that assessment flows from the instructional process and back into it the more it will enhance the educational experience of students.
Often when establishing such a plan, assessment can be organized around natural demarcations in an existing curriculum. So, for example, the institution would implement a comprehensive assessment of the general education curriculum and also of the major. During the visit there was considerable evidence of interest in assessment of general education. The faculty had endorsed such an assessment in the faculty study lead by Linda Johnsrud on general education. Assessment of general education competencies might also ease some of the tensions currently surrounding community college articulation agreements. Evaluation of general education has clearly not proceeded as the discussion of general education goals has been quite heated and protracted. It might be worthwhile, however, to try some initial data collection based on existing general education practices and goals to establish a baseline for comparison in anticipation of change. The findings of such a study might themselves inform some of the discussion about Manoa's goals for the early years of the undergraduate program. The transfer population may provide a useful comparison group as well--indicating which aspects of the general education experience set UH Manoa students apart. It is worth noting that there are a number of options besides standardized tests and the faculty would need to think through what sorts of data they would find compelling. One very useful (if limited) source of data presently available is from a new section of the senior survey. Faculty may want to review that data (which most did not appear to be aware of--so here's a good set of data for presentation). For example, students appeared extremely satisfied with their general education experience in English and quite dissatisfied with their experience in math.
Assessment of the major would be a second focus for the assessment plan and require the different departments to essentially construct their own plans (see four points above). Departments then periodically report on their assessment activities and the kinds of changes they are making based on those activities. A number of units on the Manoa campus have implemented capstone courses as a
way of helping students integrate what they have learned in the major and evaluating their mastery and performance. Program review, which has been conducted at the University for many years can also serve as a useful vehicle for assessing the quality of the major and the learning and achievement of its students. But again, we found that the process has in recent times become bogged down -- with some reviews e.g., English postponed for as much as several years. It may be a useful point at which to rethink the program review process and ask how it can be refitted to better serve the information needs of the campus for improvement and accountability.
Finally, discussions of distance education and its burgeoning role within higher education always raise questions about academic quality and standards--do students learn as much when they are taught at remote sites via technology? Are traditional pedagogies effective in distance education? If not which are? Which aspects of technology facilitate learning, which hinder? Which learning styles are most compatible with electronic instruction? There is no way to answer these questions without assessment and research and any institution with a long-range commitment to distance education will need to think about assessment as their distance offerings are developed. The Manoa campus has begun this process through a set of site based need assessments and surveys of student attitudes. Individual faculty making use of new video and web-based technologies in their courses through the help of the Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology have also evaluated their efficacy.. Manoa, like other universities and colleges, will need to undertake more extensive and systematic evaluation to insure that students at remote sites demonstrate the same skills and knowledge as those students taking comparable courses on the campus.
Designed by David Flynn
Social Sciences/Business Librarian, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Maintained by Robert Valliant, SHAPS,
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