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Minutes & Agendas
University of Hawaii at Manoa Faculty Congress, October 18, 1995
Presiding: Co-Chair Alison Kay, Manoa Faculty Senate Executive Committee
Present: One hundred and eighty-four persons signed the attendance sheets
placed just outside the auditorium.
Prof. Kay opened the meeting at 2:35 PM
The minutes of the Faculty Congress of Spring 1995 were approved as
Prof. Kay introduced President Kenneth Mortimer, reminding the Congress
that he had also been the speaker at the Spring 1995 Congress when the
magnitude of the budget crisis facing the University community was first
becoming apparent. She also called the attention of the assembly to the
two Budget Crisis Teach-Ins which had been held October 11 and 16 in
order to inform the community of the details of the history, current
situation, and possible futures of the UH budget. Thus, Prof. Kay made
clear that the President would not be discussing the current budget
crisis again, but rather would present us with his vision of the future
of the University of Hawaii, and especially of the University of Hawaii
at Manoa, in light of the budgetary situation.
[Note: President Mortimer prefaced his remarks by saying that it was his
intention to publish his statement in Ku Lama as soon as possible, and
thus that all the people taking notes so feverishly could put down their
pens and listen in the assurance that a printed text would soon be
available. Your humble servant, the herein undersigned, continued
scribbling, but he reports here only the bare outline of what he is
confident can be read more fully in Ku Lama. However, his scribbled notes
remain for future deciphering should the need arise.]
Pres. Mortimer began by referencing the "Focus on Manoa" document which
has just been published and made available to the community in a variety
of media. "Focus" is the result of discussions about the future of Manoa
by a small group of students, faculty members and administrators who met
at the urging of Pres. Mortimer, and were convened by Senior Vice
President Carol Eastman last Spring. While Pres. Mortimer commended the
report to the Congress, he also expressed some reservations about some
parts of the document. Thus he said that his remarks to the Congress are
in part an elaboration and in part a different perspective of the
Pres. Mortimer organized his presentation around four themes: Quality,
Access, and Limits; Unique Aspects of Manoa as a Liberal Arts/Research
University; Fund-raising; and Manoa as a place to be.
Quality, Access and Limits.
It is here that Pres. Mortimer expressed his reservations about the
"Focus on Manoa" document. "Focus" stresses the need to raise exit
standards in order to raise the quality of the educational experience at
Manoa. But he thought it was better to raise the entrance requirements.
"Is Manoa the best place for remedial education?" Pres. Mortimer asked?
The President also disputed the implication in "Focus" that the Academic
Priorities set by the Faculty Senate in 1994 were not being followed,
because there was a lack of "will and leadership" as the Focus document
The Senate's Priorities have been followed and will be followed in the
coming months, the President insisted.
Concerning admission standards, President Mortimer reminded the Congress
that Manoa is only one of ten units within the UH System. While open
access must be guaranteed to the system, it should be not assured to
every part of the system. And it certainly should not be guaranteed to
Manoa. Every person who seeks higher education in Hawaii should find a
place, but that place need not be Manoa.
By restricting admission to Manoa to only fully qualified applicants, the
reputation of Manoa generally will rise, and many excellent students who
presently go to the mainland or elsewhere for their education will be
drawn to Manoa instead. Raising admission standards will improve the
numbers and well as the quality of applicants, and not reduce them, the
President stated. "If we lead and believe in our principles, others will
rise to our standards," he said.
Manoa as the Only Undergraduate and Research Institution in the State.
The standing of UHM has already risen if our ranking in US News and World
Report is to be believed. Last year we were in the 4th tier. This year
we are in the 2nd. Other universities which are our peers in this tier
included Iowa, Iowa State, Ohio State, Purdue, the entire SUNY system,
Texas A& M, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, and many more
These universities, as Manoa, strive to balance excellence in
undergraduate education with excellence in research. They have the
mission, as does Manoa, not only of transmitting and applying knowledge,
but of creating new knowledge. Manoa is the only institution in the
State which has that dual mission. And we must be certain we preserve
and strengthen it.
At Manoa, it is not a question of research versus teaching, but of
research and teaching. Indeed, we need to shorten the distance between
research and teaching, especially at the undergraduate level, and see
that the two are much more closely linked in actually and in the public
We cannot expect our graduate programs to expand and grow in the
immediate future as they did in the 1980s. Our drive for universal
excellence in research is good. But very few universities are able to be
excellent in every area of research within which they must nonetheless
support programs. Most universities can expect to be excellent in only a
few and good in many more research areas, with the excellent ones
inspiring and sustaining the rest.
The same is true for UHM. We need to identify our areas of research
excellence, and glory in their success. Of course, we already know which
units those basically are. We just need to celebrate their excellence
more clearly and unambiguously for all the world to see.
We cannot be all things to all people. We can and must be as good as
possible in all research we do undertake and sustain excellence in those
few in which we have already obtained excellence.
At the same time, we clearly have too many deans and directors. We need
to restructure and reduce our heavy administrative costs.
Historically, public universities, President Mortimer said, have
understood that it was their duty to spend money. Private universities
knew they had to raise money, as well as spend it.
The University of Hawaii, though a public university, now must learn how
to raise money as well as spend it.
The University this year for the first time obtained from the State
Legislature the right to set and keep its own tuition--without that
amount being subtracted from the General Funds the University receives
from the State.
At the present time, tuition at UHM is among the lowest in the nation.
Even if we were to raise the amount by 75%, UHM tuition would still be
below the average of other WICHE institutions.
Of course, we must be sure there is always a financial safety net for our
students. We must always refer to "Tuition and Financial Aid" as one
single concept. Discussion of Tuition must never be separated from a
discussion of Financial Aid.
Over the coming months, we will be holding a series of public hearings
concerning raising Tuition and establishing appropriate Financial Aid.
In addition, those units which can appropriately generate funds--for
example, Summer Session and CCECS--should be encouraged and facilitated
in doing so.
But we need much more private fund raising. UH has extremely low rates
of alumni giving. This must be corrected.
In the past two years, we have increased giving to UH from private groups
from $7 million to $19 million. But we expect to continue to do even
However, just as banks only give loans to people who already have
money--rather than the penniless who might seem to need it more--so also
donors don't give to universities which do not support themselves. Thus
we need to raise alumni and our own internal support of UHM. Donors also
don't give to institutions which don't have clear goals and objectives
for excellence. We need to be sure that we have those goals, and
articulate them clearly.
President Mortimer then read off the list of recent gifts of money and
equipment which UH had recently received. This demonstrates that we can
go even farther in successful fund raising. "We will soon launch a major
fund raising campaign," he said.
A Place to Be.
Finally, President Mortimer spoke about Manoa "as a place to be" by which
he meant the physical, environmental, as well as academic climate of the
campus. "The cranes and trucks will soon be leaving," he pointed out,
and we then must turn out attention to transforming Manoa into a place of
beauty and scholarly tranquillity. He commended the "Quad Squad" which
is already focusing on the environment of the older UHM buildings.
At this point (3:21 PM) President Mortimer opened the floor to
Q. How do you respond when you are asked why you haven't made any
substantial cuts at the University yet?
Mortimer: UH needs to proceed carefully. We need to figure out what we
might be able to do concerning setting tuition. We need to think
carefully about the future of our professional schools. And we have only
recently known the full size, scope and impact of the freeze and cuts.
Also, I am not the leader of some state agency, but of the University of
Q. You presented a very tempting vision, but one wholly unrelated to the
realities of the present budget crisis. Will the legislature and public
support your vision?
Mortimer: Yes--if we articulate it well. "We can do all the things I
mentioned" The State looks to us set our priorities. It would be nice
to have 5000 people show up at the Legislature in January to show we
Q. We are heading for a hornet's nest. UH is the most
politically-interfered with university in the nation. For example, can we
remove the cap on out-of-state students so we can generate more income?
we need to raise alumni and our own internal support of UHM. Donors als
Mortimer: Yes, and I am in favor of that. I am going to make such a
suggestion to the Board of Regents.
Q. What does "lessen the distance between teaching and research" really
Mortimer: We need to demonstrate that our research enriches undergraduate
education. We can do that since we, wisely, do no classified research
here. So we can, and should, share our research more broadly.
Q. Doesn't a high quality research university need a high quality
library? If so, why did you cut it?
Mortimer: The UH has an acute cashflow problem. And the Library is one
of the few places with sizable amounts of cash (in order to buy books and
periodicals, for example). So we had to restrict that just so we could
pay our electricity bills, for example. We should get that money back so
we can release it to the Library.
Q. In the meantime, the Library, and UH, go down the drain.
Mortimer: We simply don't have the money to spend.
Q. Thank you for your talk at the Bake Sale. Will you also join the
Mortimer: No. That is too focused an activity for the President.
Q. There appears to be hostility between the UH and the State
Legislature. Lower level faculty feel hopeless. Many junior faculty are
leaving. The rest of us have not had a salary increase though the cost of
living rises. All of us have a very empty feeling. What hope can you
Mortimer: I wish I had a facile answer. We should avoid being adversarial
here. But the Legislature has given us greater autonomy than ever
before. We had fewer Legislative riders this year than usual so I am
more optimistic in that regard than ever before. So we must set our own
course forward, carefully but clearly.
I am optimistic, but I am not naive. I will give you more information as
soon as I have it. I can't give you hope now and still be realistic.
Q. Many of us teach in hot, overcrowded classrooms. Students in them
know we are not now a high quality university. The needed money must be
Q. What are you going to do with the Focus on Manoa document?
Mortimer: I will talk with the SEC about it soon. I will push for some
of the recommendations and work with the Faculty on the rest.
At 3:44 PM, President Mortimer thanked the Congress and took his leave.
Prof. Kay thanked President Mortimer for his presentation and discussion
and then turned to other Congress business.
Linda Cox, of the Senate Executive Committee, passed out information
about the Death of Educational Funeral March planned for October 31 from
Prof. Kay gave a report to the Congress in her role as Co-Chair of the
Manoa Faculty Senate:
1. The General Education project which began last year is well underway.
The basic question is what the first two years of general education at
Manoa should look like--a consideration of the Core Curriculum again.
2. The Senate has had a more active committee system than usual. For
example, the Committee on Administration and Budget sponsored the Budget
Crisis Teach-Ins, and the Committee on Academic Programs and Planning has
continued to receive and review programs. There is a new Ad Hoc
Committee on the Library which is the successor to the old Manoa Library
Committee chosen by Chief Librarian John Haak.
There being no further business, the Congress adjourned at 3:50 PM. The
Congress was immediately followed by the regular monthly meeting of the
Manoa Faculty Senate, the minutes of which are published separately.
Secretary, Faculty Senate & Congress