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Communicate with the Senate

Remarks Chancellor Peter Englert

Manoa Faculty Congress

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Thank you for the opportunity to be with you this afternoon. Several months ago, I was invited to speak to the Faculty Senate, when I was nearly "fresh off the boat," so to speak. The experience of living in the dormitory with the football team was a recent one. I have moved four times since, and know the Manoa campus from early in the morning to midnight, weekdays and weekends, rain or shine.

To say that the first six months of my Life at Manoa have been a learning experience hardly begins to describe my time as Chancellor.

It has been everything I expected and more and if you recall, I did say when I arrived that I was looking for a challenge. That it has been and is!

I do want you to know that I consider my interaction with faculty to have been among the more rewarding experiences during my time here. And I hope you feel that faculty have been much more a part of the consultative and decision-making process at Manoa, for that is truly the case.

Regular meetings with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee have been valuable in assessing the state of the campus; Mike Forman, chair of the senate, sits on the senior Manoa management team that meets on Monday mornings, and on the leadership team of deans and directors that convenes on alternate Tuesdays.

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I am sure most of you know that I have moved recently from Bachman Hall to Hawaii Hall. The importance of this move can be viewed from more than one perspective:

Working in this part of the campus, it is much more evident that Hawaii Hall with all of its history and renovated splendor is the true center of Manoa. It is closer to our students; it is closer to where teaching takes place.

Moving to the Quad away from the fringes of the campus where Bachman Hall sits has been invigorating. The truly active character of our campus is much more evident Manoa is a very "alive" environment. Hawaii Hall was home to Manoa's past chancellors, and so it shall be for the present and the future.

I hope you will take the opportunity to revisit this historic building if not this week or next, then mark your calendars for April 24, when we are planning an afternoon all-campus open house.

And when you do come to Hawaii Hall you will see that an office and conference room suite have been set aside as a Faculty Office just down the hall from the chancellor's office. It is there for your use.

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When I spoke to the Faculty Senate several months ago, I pointed to four areas where I wanted to focus my attention. They were:

Since that time, for reasons that are largely out of our control, the context in which we are now operating has changed. The question thus arises as to whether we will be able to accomplish all of those things. Crisis creates opportunities. Circumstances will not get in the way of what we would like to achieve!

We have been operating under a scenario of reduced state funding for post- secondary education for years. If that has taught us anything, we should now once and for all understand that we cannot continue to look to the state as some kind of white knight who will come to our rescue and solve our problems. To do so is to live in denial and it is incumbent on us to develop our own predictable and dependable scenarios that will allow us to continue to function as the fine research university that we are.

We need to face the realities. Continuing reductions in general funds and persistent reductions in support for Hawaii's research university are a fact of life.

The public discussion and debate has been to cut about $3.2 million from the university's budget, with about $2 million from Manoa's general fund budget. But this is, in fact, only the tip of the financial iceberg.

The true and full impact has several components that add up to much more than the cuts ordered by the executive branch. These include:

We need to fully assess the impact of these factors in order to address them ourselves. I have been meeting with a small group of faculty and administrators to consider our true needs, to discuss redistribution of resources, and explore the generation of new revenue. The sum of our needs as we calculate them is not the two or three million as discussed in public, but more on the magnitude of $15 million on a general fund base budget of $188 million! This is a significant amount of money.

Does this prevent us from achieving excellence? Certainly not.

What we mean by excellence as a research university, of course, is outlined in the Strategic Plan. As we move to implement the plan, we will have the opportunity to examine what the components of a research university are. We will devise ways to concentrate our efforts on these essential parts as we look for efficiency gains and redistribute our resources. Most importantly, we will find new resources for priority programs and initiatives.

As we consider our immediate concern for revenue, I think it is important that we give the impression to potential new students that we do have room for them on the Manoa campus. Over the next two years it will be important to attract new students. We do have the capacity and ability to handle them with no deterioration in the quality of our educational programs. Tuition revenue from new students would compensate for some of the immediate revenue losses.

By and large, student derived or teaching related revenue is an area that the university has not consistently or coherently developed. It is also important to consider developing our own "foreign policy" to address international student recruitment. Taking advantage of scholarship support available to these students and adjustments to our current tuition waiver policies for overseas students could mean substantial income for the university. Federal funding and federal initiatives are available for these students. We need to explore those options.

Providing overseas students with an incentive to come to this university has the added benefit of contributing to the richness of our academic life and the diversity that we want to achieve.

Private fundraising has an enormous potential, but I think all would agree that this is in its infancy at this university. Fundraising is not as well developed as it is in other universities of similar caliber. We need to consistently and persistently work on this. At the same time we must understand that private revenue only comes to this campus if we can provide potential donors with confidence that our programs, faculty, and students are worthy of their investment.

At present, our endowment of $80 million dollars is probably a factor of four lower than those at comparable public institutions of our size. This is an area in which we must compete with universities across the country. As a colleague wrote in a column in the Honolulu Advertiser a few weeks ago, productive partnerships with alumni and the private sector must be increased.

As we reorient the university in accordance with the Strategic Plan, we must take into account the financial realities I have outlined. We have no other choice but to do so. Guidelines for implementation have been formulated by Dean Dubanoski and will be issued soon. From the beginning, the process of designing the plan has been very inclusive, involving individuals from all sectors of the Manoa campus and the community at large. And so it will be as we move to implementation. The process will remain inclusive, open and cooperative. We will inform and educate, and we will move forward.

As the dean says in his draft and this is a principal to which I fully subscribe

The Strategic Plan (its mission, vision, and core commitments) will serve as the basis for all academic planning and decision making. The Plan will be the primary guide for planning new programs consistent with its goals and terminating current programs not consistent with its goals. Furthermore, the Strategic Plan will be the primary guide for allocating and reallocating resources.

I am convinced that our joint wisdom will allow us to continue to achieve under the financial scenario we now face. Our knowledge will allow us intellectually as well as practically to address the issues and force us to think creatively to move the Manoa campus ahead as a whole.

Solutions that will come out of this should not be minimal solutions of a particular unit or interest group, but rather they should be general and generous solutions to assure that we will not have to readdress the same issue over and over again this year and next year and the following year.

I am looking for solutions that will structurally and procedurally change the university in such a way that we can take into consideration the funding scenario I have outlined. Otherwise we are simply rearranging the furniture, and we cannot move forward in that manner.

I do believe that we can achieve excellence in hard times, for in crisis there is opportunity. As a community of scholars and managers, we are responsible for creating the institution that we want. We should be creative enough and have enough intellect and enough will to make this happen!

Together we can create our future.


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