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David Lassner

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents (BOR) gave UH President David Lassner a passing grade and list of priorities for the coming year (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) in his annual review at a BOR special meeting on July 7, 2022.

“I think we are generally pleased with the results of where we’ve been and where we’re going,” said BOR Chair Randy Moore after he identified the challenges and accomplishments of the last year for the 10-campus UH System under Lassner’s leadership. Moore also noted the difficulty of the position responsible for the state’s public higher education system with an estimated 45,000 students, 9,000 employees and $1 billion annual budget.

“The challenge for the president is that the regents generally think the president of the university is moving too slowly, and the internal faculty and staff sometimes think the president is trying to move too fast,” Moore said. “So that’s a balancing act.”

The BOR outlined the following as priorities for Lassner for the upcoming year noting that work on many of the items has already begun:

  • The development of a new strategic plan to implement the vision for the university (underway)
  • Clarifying and simplifying faculty classifications (underway)
  • Better land and facilities management and utilization (ongoing)
  • The development of common general education requirements (underway)
  • Succession planning for administrative leadership
  • Improving the relationship between UH and the state legislature
  • Addressing declining enrollment in the community colleges

The challenges listed by Moore for the previous year included:

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maintaining a focus on improving the way we do things
  • Legislative issues including Maunakea management, UH football, faculty tenure, state budget appropriation and the lack of funds to expand the Ching Athletics Complex field to meet NCAA fan attendance requirements
  • Attracting fewer high school graduates to enroll

Previous year accomplishments included:

  • Rebuilding financial reserves
  • Hiring Timmy Chang as the UH head football coach
  • Savings and efficiencies being realized by the gradual reorganization of UH and the Mānoa campus
  • The personnel freeze that enabled resources to be gradually shifted to areas of higher priority
  • The successful merger of the Hawaiʻi P–20 and career and technical education offices
  • Expanded online degree programs, especially at the community colleges and for non-traditional students
  • Increased enrollment at UH Mānoa
  • Enrollment decline at other UH campuses is not as steep as the national average
  • Increase in research extramural funding and philanthropy monies raised
  • The president’s strong administrative team

Moore also commended the entire UH community for navigating and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UH handled the pandemic better than almost anyone in the state, and with little drama,” said Moore. “The faculty, the staff, the students are all to be commended on rising to the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.”

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