Communicate with the Senate
Remarks by UH President Evan Dobelle
University at Legislature
Strategic Planning Process
Visits of Chancellor Candidates
Remarks by Interim Chancellor Deane Neubauer
Dean of Undergraduate Instruction
Questions & Answers
Will There Be Yet Another Year of Transition?
Flat Administrative Structure
Plus / Minus Grading
Architecture Auditorium 3:00pm
President Evan Dobelle addressed the Congress. He opened by saying that he was happy to be there to answer questions. He noted that Interim Chancellor Deane Neubauer was there with him for the same purpose. He said he would open first with "a little bit of an up-date." Commenting on how much he was expected to be available to speak in the community, he said he was reminded of Adlai Stevenson, about whom some wag had said that Stevenson was like a device into which one dropped down lunch, and out came a speech. President Dobelle said he took this as a cautionary, lest it be said of him, or worse, that he gave a speech and up came the audience's lunch.
This is, he said, a difficult state to do business in, at this time. It was not really so different from other places, only much further away, and that presented complicated situations. He said he felt that the University had done reasonably well at the Legislature.
Then he spoke about the strategic planning process. This was something to be seen as ongoing, as a "template for the future." Citing the fourteen-hundred who participated in the planning event at Campus Center, he said he felt this was solid and that it carried well into the tandem activity of system-wide planning. He sketched out the plan for the results to be carried to the BOR "for blue-skying". Campus plans would be ready for faculty review in early Fall. Dr. Dobelle said it would not be his style to move to finalize any of that until the faculty had come back and had its opportunity to review the proposals. Then, he said, there would be work on budget and projection over an eight-year period. It would also have to be reviewed by the new Chancellor.
2. President Dobelle expressed a hope that there would be wide participation in the visits to campus of the two candidates for Chancellor. He asked that people not submit their comments on the web, but that they e-mail comments to him directly. He reiterated that the Chancellor was to serve as "chief advocate for Manoa". He complimented the Faculty Senate committee for the way the selection had worked, saying that the whole group had worked well together.
Then Dr. Dobelle praised Interim Chancellor Neubauer for "his dedication and competence" -- and this was met with a vigorous round of applause.
More followed then about the particulars of the campus visit planned for the two candidates. They would meet for ninety minutes each with the President. Joanne Cooper as Chair of the Faculty Senate, and Deane Neubauer would be asked to sit in on those sesssions as observers. Later there would be dinner at College Hill, with Mrs Dobelle and Mrs Neubauer joining with the candidates' spouses. This, said President Dobelle, would provide him with further opportunity to note how each of the candidates interacted with people. On Saturday night there would be another such gathering involving the BOR, the UH Foundation, and RCUH. This was important, he said, given the external responsibilities that would come with the Chancellorship.
The President said he was excited about the process. He said that the candidates "look terrific." He also commented that after review of their vitae, he felt it would be "even more vital" to explore their individual commitments to undergraduate education. He mentioned the idea of having a Dean for Undergraduate Education, someone who would be thinking about the undergraduate experience every day, in every area, attending to the social, student, academic experience and finding ways to meld this all into common ground, in a "university residential campus."
Interim Chancellor Deane Neubauer spoke next. He wanted, he said, to address certain Manoa-specific issues, but before beginning that, he thanked President Dobelle and all of the Congress members assembled for assistance rendered to him, this "accidental administrator." He spoke about initiating certain things with the intention of facilitating the transition for the new Chancellor, and he spoke about these as activities for faculty to be involved in.
The first item he discussed in detail was the matter of having a Dean for undergraduate instruction "or some such." He cited the faculty task force headed by Neal Milner. He expressed the view that something new is needed, and he hoped that early adoption would make possible consideration of this new arrangement no later than early Fall.
"Under Evan's initiative," said Neubauer, the strategic planning process has stimulated, in a retreat format, work by the Chancellor's Office analyzing the hows and whys of present organization of that office, and has led already to some proposals for re-organization. The original goal was a hope that the Interim Chancellor would leave that position by 1 August. The question remains: will this be acceptable to the new Chancellor? Not knowing that answer, in any case, agreement has been reached that the personnel in the office of vice chancellor will remain at least six months beyond, to the end of the year, to insure continuity through transition and to allow him/her to decide which initiatives would be pursued. Neubauer said it was his intention "to err on the side of data and analysis". He observed that the tasks were "daunting". He did not intend to attempt to list everything but he mentioned that there were at least forty-to-forty-five projects which would crash, "were we simply to walk away." So that was "the scheme," he said.
Then Neubauer went on to list a couple of these projects. He mentioned (1) the arrival of President Dobelle in July of 2001 and the early decision to review the academic calendar: Does the calendar serve us well, for, in particular, matters of recruiting, and for internal matters? (2) Distance learning -- a complex of things, involving both UHM and the other parts of the system. Fall decisions here are intended. (3) the "sense of things international": (a) questions of what more we might do, (b) the need to celebrate all we already do -- that virtually everyone is doing something international, and that (c) there is need to know what we are doing (4) that there is an abiding sense (in his learning about the campus) that we "do two things not well": we don't communicate well to ourselves (He and Evan, he said, have been "wowed by what people do") but that too often knowledge of this is lacking even within departmental boundaries. We need to know the stories, and we need to know how to tell them. He mentioned Paul Costello as the person who will help us do this. The President's interest in "branding" and in "marketing" were mentioned, and Neubauer said that he accepted the President's perception of need here. He called attention to the theme in the strategic planning document: RESPECT, and he observed that this was based on two things: knowledge of self, followed by knowledge of others. There are, he asserted, ways to approach that. How we can better communicate is a key concern. He said his characterization of this matter on campus was as "representation interruptus" He mentioned faculty governance in this regard. The second level of communication is a concern: what happens when we walk outside this meeting? What happens when department chairs leave meetings with their deans? How does information get distributed? Should we be satisfied that we have done what we need to communicate once we have posted something on the web? Neubauer thinks not. The web is enormously powerful and important, but it lulls us into a false sense of having communicated. But people do not necessarily read what is posted. He asked that we "utilize [our] intelligence and insight" toward an understanding of how to improve communication of this sort. He characterized the campus, again, as "polycentric." There are "so many points of excellence."
"End of sermon," he said as he concluded. Then he noted that the President has asked him to stay on for a while as Vice President for Academic Affairs, in order to offer support for some of the initiatives already begun.
President Dobelle took back the microphone to explain that the structure of administration would be a President with a Vice President for Academic Affairs, a Chief Financial Officer, a Vice President for External Affairs, and the respective campus chancellors (as opposed to "Chief Operating Officers"). He then invited questions.
The first question was from Tom Hilgers: The faculty has been through not just one year of transition, but seven or eight or nine years of transition. What is to ensure against yet another year of transition?
President Dobelle replied that he was not sure there was anything to offer such assurance. He referred to Deane Neubauer for the history, saying what he has is whatever he brought with him. His personal opinion, he said, was that he was not particularly happy with any vision except that in which the faculty walked together with the new administration. He said the faculty should be expecting the new chancellor to implement the faculty's plan, to take direction from the faculty.
Deane Neubauer spoke of being pro-active during the transition period. He said that there would be extensive briefings. He went on to thank Karl Kim, Denise Konan, Rodney Sakaguchi, and Ed Laws, saying that they had graciously agreed to take time from their careers to serve. He said that Rodney Sakaguchi had agreed to move from the system service to Manoa-specific service.
President Dobelle underscored the fact that "this new chancellor is yours." He said the process is a hard one for him. He did not much like the realization that with this selection he would become more distant from the faculty. He said that the new chancellor will have to let him teach (in order for him to keep in contact).
Michael Forman commented on President Dobelle's participation at a distance in his bringing "The Warrior" (Vili Fehoko) and supporting family group to State College, Pennsylvania, thereby shifting "home-court" advantage to the UHM Volleyball Team, and the team then brought home the national title. Laughing, President Dobelle said he wished that his e-mail had run as much in favor, noting that comments on the e- mail focused on the cost and not the benefit. President Dobelle said that he had been in the public eye a long time, and he was certainly aware of the risks he took, and was willing to manage that. He said he would "take hits" for us where he felt it was to the greater good of the University. He finished this line of comment by noting that he was proud of the fact that two of the starting players were carrying 4.0 gpa.
The next question was about the gubernatorial candidates -- would he be meeting with them? Dr. Dobelle answered that he had met with all of them already, and had met and had extended conversations with members of their staffs. He named Ed Case, Linda Lingle, Jeremy Harris, and Andy Anderson. Someone from the floor called out: John Carroll. President Dobelle said Yes, John Carroll has been to his office. Then he commented that Mr. Carroll had addressed him as "Irwin" upon leaving. As the audience laughed, Dr. Dobelle repeated: "It's not a comment. It's not a comment." Yes, he answered, he has talked to all the candidates. They all want to be helpful. (I thought that the laughter following that was a bit more on the side of cynical or at least sceptical. President Dobelle said he intended to "put it to 'em in October. They've had a lot of ramp-up [and he expected to find out then who would really help]."
Professor Drechsel then asked about the President's promise to work toward a flat administrative structure. There was as much structure and hierarchy now, said Drechsel, as there had been when he said that. What, he asked, are you gonna do? President Dobelle replied: I thought we had communicated adequately about that. Don't you know? He mentioned the letter he had sent out, and stated specifically that there was a December 16 date at which the notices would become operative. Professor Drechsel said: But nothing has happened. President Dobelle shot back: It's not December 16.
Interim Chancellor Neubauer stepped in at that point. He said he did not want to sound like he was putting spin on the matter, and did not mean to dissemble -- but wanted to try to reply from a different angle. He said that no one has seen or had to move more paper than he had, and the amount of paperwork boggles the mind. No one, he said, was more committed than he to reducing that paperwork. Still things had to be put in place. The events of 9/11 had affected all since. Nonetheless, he was struck by how quickly so many had returned to business-as-usual behavior so quickly. For some, it was as if nothing had happened at all. He said that the administration had been trying, but it was simply not the case that they could accomplish all they wanted to. The mentioned the proposals put forward by Barry Raleigh, acknowledging that his report identified significant problems. This report contained many suggestions -- "not all of them unproblematic." Wick Sloane was mentioned then as one who would help us look at ordinary processes, at "torture due to ourselves," and Neubauer said we needed to look at the way we continually seek to assure ourselves that we are free of any adverse consequences. To condition that uncertainty, Neubauer said, we needed to attend to what modern laws now required of us, a fabric of administrative patterns, creating a dynamic tension. In any case Neubauer insisted that there was a requirement that we be participatory and inclusive.
President Dobelle added that "there's more to come." He said work over the summer would lead to a clearer understanding of what we do and why and what structure is in place which provides occasion for us to do what we do. The vast majority, he said, of those who have received his widely-discussed letter are people with tenure. Dobelle said what he does not like is "the culture of administration." That is what has to change. Some of these changes will impact our tenured colleagues.
Senator Sansone asked about the two candidates for the position of Chancellor. Is it possible that the chancellor eventually selected will be neither of these two? President Dobelle answered that there is "always that possibility. Neither of them may want the job after they meet everybody!" He said that he had asked for three to five names, but he acknowledged that he had also directed that no names be sent to him for which it had not been possible to come to consensus. He said that it was possible that we would have a new chancellor by the end of the week, but it was also an outside possibility that we would not. He said that he knew only what we read about the candidates, that he had never heard of either one. He stressed that he expected "faculty buy-in" on this selection.
Senator Yuen asked about the hiring freeze, specifically with respect to a secretarial position. President Dobelle told her that there was an appeal process through the CFO and that there was a quick channel into this, whether for secretaries or for security officers. It was also emphasized that there had been no freeze on faculty hiring.
The next question concerned the plus-or-minus grading option; did the President have any position on it? Dr. Dobelle said that he had signed the petition. He said that he still "harbored a grudge" against a certain teacher who once had given him a B+++
Deane Neubauer then spoke of having taught for thirty-two years here, and five years elsewhere. At the other institution (UC Irvine) the system had been no grades, but with portfolios. He thought either that or a numerical system would be best -- whatever, he said, "invites conversations with students" about the evaluation.
When it was revealed that the Senate will vote on this proposal in the meeting to follow the Congress directly, President Dobelle expressed chagrin that he had been drawn into commenting on this. He did not know, and, had he known, would not have commented.
President Dobelle said that he was thrilled to hold the position he holds, that he had learned as a "kid mayor" that he would not always please everyone. He said that he wanted to serve as the champion for the faculty, that he would be whatever was necessary, take whatever hits were necessary. He mentioned his goal of having a faculty club created "this year, if it kills me." That was received with applause from the audience.
Chancellor Neubauer said that he was "not gonna trump that." He offered thanks to all for engagement in the process and special thanks to Chair Cooper for her service.
Chairma'm asked for discussion of the minutes of the Fall Congress session. There was no discussion and these were approved by voice vote.
The Congress was adjourned at 3:50pm
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