October 6, 2003
TO: Peter Englert
Chancellor, University of Hawaii at Manoa
FROM: Committee on Student Affairs
Paige K. Wilmeth, Chair, Hong-Mei Chen, Robert Gibson, Donna Grace, Thomas Hilgers, Misty Johanson, Nanette Judd, Roberta Lamb, Paul McKimmy, Yuanan Lu, Marvin Ortel, Michael Salzman
RE: Responses to Proposed Structural Changes for Student Affairs
Our committee is responding to your call for participation in the move towards a more student-oriented campus. We applaud your commitment to addressing concerns about the quality of student academic and social life on the Manoa campus and echo your desire to empower students to become more active participants in their college experiences.
That said, we are concerned about the apparent lack of consultation with the OSA Faculty Senate Executive committee or OSA faculty numbers around the issue of reorganization and the future of student services. The insight and expertise of these student services practitioners should be a valued part of the reorganization vision and implementation. Regarding consultation, faculty at the Manoa campus is committed to consultation processes in which there is transparency and open sharing of information, including budgetary concerns, pertinent to the decisions at hand. It is difficult, if not impossible, for faculty to comment on issues without a shared and common basis of information. When consultation takes place throughout the planning process, it increases the likelihood that those affected by decisions will have the information needed to contribute to those decisions; calling for feedback after a proposal has been made does not make constituencies privy to the numerous considerations that go into a decision and prevents holistic feedback. We feel that consultation takes place only when faculty can be involved proactive rather than reactive ways.
In that vein, it would be helpful for us to see a rationale for a new vice chancellor, especially in these tight budgetary times. In order for us to provide valuable feedback to your proposal, we would like to see how another executive position would be funded. More importantly, we would like a rationale for how another executive position will achieve the action items called for in the USSC final report.
For reorganization to be effective, it must be systemic; it is not clear how the reorganization proposed fits into the larger vision for the Manoa campus and the University of Hawaii system. Without this perspective, we anticipate redundancy of services and responsibilities, further increasing operating costs without maximizing efficiency.
The goal of this committee, like yours, is to ensure quality student life on the UH Manoa campus. We believe the voices of those who run the programs and services dedicated to student life must be heard as we look towards the future of student affairs, and that the OSA Faculty Senate and faculty of OSA need to be integrally involved in responding to and creating strategies for the action items proposed by the USSC. In addition, we urge you to address our concerns before the Faculty Senate so that we can better understand your goals and plans. We, in turn, would be able to better address your recommendations.