Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 14:54:19 -1000
From: David S McClain <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: System Special Visit Report
March 13, 2004
Professor Mary Tiles
Chair, UH Mānoa Faculty Senate
Thanks for your email of March 11 alerting me that the Mānoa Faculty Senate has decided to hear a proposed resolution expressing no confidence in the UH System's Handing of the 2003 WASC System Review.
I was of course disappointed to learn this, and a bit surprised as well since you and I had been in email contact a couple of weeks ago, and I thought your concerns had been addressed. When I met with the ACCFSC in mid-February, I made clear that the submission to WASC which I distributed was open for correction or amendment, per my conversations with WASC (discussed in more detail, below) and we agreed at that meeting that any suggested changes would come through the ACCFSC chairs, with a copy to me. To date I have received no suggested changes. I also suggested adopting a "push" strategy to disseminate items posted on the VPAA website, instead of the "pull" approach which seems not to have worked well for some faculty; you agreed with this, and we implemented it on March 1.
Clearly, however, some members of the Mānoa Faculty Senate continue to have concerns. The proposed resolution asserts that the WASC System Office Team Report and Action Letter were not disseminated until February 2004 to the Mānoa Faculty Senate, after the System administration had already prepared its response, and that the UH System administration did not involve the Mānoa Faculty Senate or the All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs in drafting its response to the WASC System Office Team Report in preparation for the follow-up visit to UH by the WASC Senior College Commission.
I would hope that the members of the Mānoa Faculty Senate would consider this statement in light of the follow facts, some of which may not have been available to all those involved at the time the resolution was put forward.
1. First, concerning involvement in the preparation of the System's response to the WASC System Report:
Sam Callejo, Deane Neubauer and I met with Ralph Wolff, Executive Director of the WASC Senior Commission on January 23, 2004 to review what content would be appropriate for the response. As I mentioned to the ACCFSC in mid-February, we had sought a meeting in mid-to-late December, but could not make our schedules mesh until late January. Subsequent to that meeting, we wrote and circulated for comment to chancellors a draft of the response document. When those comments had been received and incorporated into the response document, I spoke on February 4 with Dr. Lindsay Desrochers, Vice Chancellor for Administration of the University of California at Merced and leader of the UH System Office Special Visit Team about the time frame for submission to WASC.
In that conversation, I noted that I wanted to circulate the document to the All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs and the Senate Caucus, but was concerned about the timing since (1) these groups were not scheduled to meet until February 20, 2004, and (2) the WASC Special Visit Team needed time to review the document to determine if any other issues needed to be addressed. Dr. Desrochers and I agreed on a solution involving (1) forwarding the document when ready as it existed, and (2) meeting on February 20, 2004 with the ACCFSC and Student Caucus and in those meetings advising them to have a look at the document, and forward any suggested revisions to their respective chairs, with copies to me and Linda Johnsrud (for ACCFSC) or Jim Nishimoto (for the Student Caucus).
On February 20, Linda and I met with the ACCFSC, reviewed the contents of the Team Report on the System and the Action Letter (this was hardly the first time the issues in these documents had been discussed with these bodies -- see below), described the process under way, and solicited comments. Subsequently, Nish and I met with the leadership of the Student Caucus for the same purpose.
To date, and to my knowledge, we have received no comments on any specific issue or passage in the report.
2. Second, concerning the dissemination of the Team Report and Action Letter:
On July 31, 2003, the creation of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs web page was announced in a hardcopy memo to system vice- presidents, campus chancellors, campus chief academic officers, with copies to other interested parties, including heads of personnel groups (faculty, staff, students). On August 12, 2003, the Action Letter was posted to the web; the Team Report was posted around the same time. Later in the fall, around November 1, we improved the links to these documents, so that they were more easily accessed, and after that users reported no problems...until some of your faculty reported difficulties in mid-February in accessing the file. These difficulties seem to have resolved themselves without any action by our webmasters.
The contents of the Action Letter and Team Report were the subject of several sessions of the Council of Chancellors and Council of Chief Academic Officers throughout the summer and fall of 2004. Both groups were expected to involve their constituents in a discussion of these issues. Minutes of the Council of Chancellors, also posted on the VPAA web site, indicate the issues identified in the WASC Team Report and Action Letter were specifically discussed during the summer and fall of 2003 on September 5, October 1, 15 and 29, November 17 and December 10.
On September 17, 2003 I met with the Mānoa Faculty Senate along with Sam Callejo and Jim Gaines. At that meeting, I reviewed my goals for the VPAA office for the upcoming academic year. These included:
· The "campaign with a small 'c'" to spread the word about the Dennis Jones analysis of the need for an integrated financing strategy, and reframe the discussion with our stakeholders about the value of the University to them.
I gave a number of presentations on these five goals last fall on our campuses and in the community; each one included a reference to the WASC and ACCJC reports and action letters.
In addition, I discussed the issues identified in the Action Letter and Team Report with the ACCFSC on several occasions. In my memory, each time I discussed this issues I referred to WASC's review of the System which occurred in the spring of 2003. Questions about the locus of the documents containing the review would have been referred to the VPAA web site.
Certainly, the System Office wants to have the confidence of the ACCFSC, and its constituent units. Whatever decision you take, please be sure that we will continue our efforts to deserve your confidence, and will always welcome your constructive efforts to improve our operations.
With best wishes,
Vice-President for Academic Affairs
P.S. Mary, please know that whatever the Faculty Senate decides next Wednesday, in the interest of providing full information to the WASC System Office Special Visit Team, I have already informed Lindsay Desrochers that your resolution has been scheduled for discussion next Wednesday.