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MFS CAB Report on the
UH Manoa and UH System
Reorganization Plans

Date: 2004-11-17:0900


The reorganization of Manoa and of the System must be considered together. As things stand, the model for division of functions, authority, responsibility and resources between the system and the several units is not clear. The administration at both the System and Manoa need to have as much clarity as possible on the division of duties, responsibilities and resources, especially in areas of shared and overlapping responsibility, in order to facilitate our missions.


Reorganization seems to be a perpetual enterprise at the University of Hawaii. Expansion of the community colleges led to a central administration in about 1971. This was seen as hampering the fulfillment of the missions of the various campuses. That sentiment led to another reorganization in the mid-1980s.

The 1984 recommendation from an ad hoc committee on system organization called for a system President's office with three Vice Presidents and twenty personnel to coordinate policy among the various campuses. The campuses would function under Chancellors who reported directly to the President. Authority and responsibility were to be decentralized to permit the various campuses to achieve their potential. Apparently because this structure, with its relatively weak presidential office, offered no particular cost advantages, UH emerged from that reorganization with the joined positions of President and Manoa Chancellor.

A weakness in that structure was that there was no one person who could speak at the highest levels for Manoa without having to speak also as the system president. This led to a resolution by the Manoa Faculty Senate in 2000 to establish a separate Chancellor for Manoa. That spun additionally into the newly hired president conducting a major system reorganization, leaving much of Manoa's organization and many divisions of responsibility, authority and resources unclear.

Now, we have two new proposals before us, one for a further system reorganization and one for a Manoa reorganization.


CAB members read the evolving proposed Manoa Reorganization Plan. Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance, and Operations, Rodney Sakaguchi, met with CAB on 7 October 2004. VC Sakaguchi made an overview presentation and discussed points raised by the committee. After the meeting, committee members forwarded their concerns to the chair who has attempted to organize them into a draft of this report.

Subsequently CAB met and discussed a revised version of the Manoa reorganization. That meeting found that the revisions were generally improvements but that a number of questions remain about the Manoa reorganization.

General Sentiments of the Committee

The Manoa reorganization and the System reorganization need to be considered together. This is made more difficult by the separation of the proposals and by their apparent on-going development and revision.

That said, there was general agreement that many of the changes that had been made to the Manoa reorganization plan since the version of late September are improvements. This is particularly so for the moving of UH Press to Academic Affairs, and for the proposed addition of the Faculty Athletics Representative to the Chancellor's Office.

The administrators at both the System and Manoa need to have as much clarity as possible on the division of duties, responsibilities and resources, especially in shared and overlapping functions. Specifically these include: information technology, human resources management, institutional research, student records (enrollment management and Banner), Land Grant functions, research administration, student affairs, and legal representation.

We note the pressure to put an organization in place for Manoa, but also feel that there is value in having the best design possible before rebuilding the structure. The notion, that the current proposal is undoubtedly flawed but better than what we have now, does not inspire confidence. Nor does the anticipation of further re-alignments at Manoa in a couple of years contribute to a sense that this is a well-founded plan.

Specific Concerns with the Proposed Manoa Reorganization

Specific concerns that were raised seem to fall into several clusters:

Division of responsibility and authority

There seem to be a number of areas where Manoa has responsibility but lacks authority or resources.

Its information technology infrastructure is one. The vast majority of personnel here are "system" and Manoa has a bare handful.

Human resources functions are another area where Manoa seems to have lost personnel but has considerable responsibility.

Should the bookstore(s) be a system or a campus function?

What is the appropriate locus for control of student records, enrollment management, and control of the Banner system?

Unusual alignments

Several features of the proposed reporting lines raised questions. In the proposal, the VCAA seems to be heavily loaded with reporting lines, perhaps shifting the problem of too many reporting lines from the Chancellor to the VCAA.

Some expressed concern that some academic programs report to VC Research, while others thought that this was a reasonable adjustment to balance reporting lines. In particular, some felt that this was reasonable, in the case of SOEST, due to the nature of its operations. Others were sceptical. The Law and Medical Schools reporting directly to the Chancellor rather than to the VCAA concerned several of the committee members.

The committee was divided also as to the efficacy of Graduate and Professional Education Office (Dean) reporting to VCR, rather than VCAA on the organization charts, though the functional description indicates the office works closely with both VCR and VCAA. There seems to be some variety as to the title of VC Research and VC Research and Graduate Education that may give rise to some of this concern.

Some felt that the division of functions between the VCAA and the VCS is "tortured".

Placing the National Student Exchange Program into the new International & Exchange Programs may be ill advised, since these activities are very different from each other.

While the Strategic Plans for Manoa and for the System make specific mention of Native Hawaiian programs and studies, it is not clear to the committee that separating Native Hawaiian Academic Services from the other diversity and access programs will increase its effectiveness.

There is some concern at the degree to which student athletics has a disproportionate number of academic advisors reporting under the campus-wide programs office. (Where is advising for the rest of the students?)

Possible duplication of effort

Legal offices at both the campus and system level seem potentially redundant. What work load is there at the system level? Are other campuses serviced at that level, or will all campuses need their own lawyers?

Similarly EEO/AA considerations seem to be predominantly on the campuses and it is not clear what is needed at the system level.

How much system wide institutional research is to be done?

Lost and/or missing functions

It is still unclear just how academic advising, especially in Arts & Sciences, will function in this revised structure.

It seems that, under the VCAA, there should be someone who coordinates curriculum across colleges, perhaps via a body like the Program and Curriculum Committee which has coordinated offerings across the four colleges of the Arts and Sciences.

The committee was informed that the Senate's Committee on Student Affairs is also examining the proposed reorganization, and might have further comments on the many proposed revisions to Student Services.

Specific Concerns with the UH System Reorganization Plan

The "system" has no students, no faculty and no research itself but it seems to be well staffed.

It still seems less than clear how to conceptualize the system. Is its main role setting and coordinating the various campuses' missions? Is it supposed to provide direct support of campus activities, in, for examples, information technology infrastructure, human resources management, and student records? In some cases, the system is a coordinator, in others, a service provider, while in still others, it seems that functions are duplicated. Clarity on the model is needed. Does the system do anything beyond coordinate? Should it?

What alternatives to the proposed plan were considered? While this proposal reflects some contraction, it is not as much as seems possible. Was the possibility of a very small system structure, like that suggested in 1984, considered? Why was the proposed structure deemed more suitable?

Several individuals suggested that the System reorganization and the Manoa reorganization were intimately related, and were in many respects best considered side-by-side. The committee remains concerned about the dangers of proceeding without clear, written understandings of System vs. Manoa responsibilities in the areas of human resources, information technology, and others.

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