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Bolstering University of Hawaiʻi research is crucial to maintaining UH‘s prestigious R1 status (for institutions with very high research activity) and is a top priority, according to a poll of UH Professional Assembly (UHPA) faculty members to inform UH’s search for its next president.

UHPA and UH faculty both play key roles in setting high standards for quality research and teaching for the UH, and recognize that the UH is key to creating a better quality of life for Hawaiʻi residents,” said Christian Fern, UHPA executive director. “The poll results provide a snapshot of what faculty believe are important for the next UH president as the search process by UH Board of Regents gets underway.”

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February 15, 2024 — UHPA faculty poll results on next UH President

The top three priorities identified by the UHPA for the new president:

  1. Providing more support for research to maintain the UH’s R1 institution status
  2. Making public higher education more accessible for Hawaiʻi school graduates
  3. Elevating the prominence of the UH within the state

Additionally, faculty emphasize the need for:

  • Strengthening community colleges’ role within the UH system
  • Considering all roles within the system holistically
  • Increasing accessibility of public higher education for Hawaiʻi high school graduates
  • Fostering an inclusive academic environment

Respondents also raised concerns about declining enrollment rates, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the importance of making education accessible. Fern noted, “We want to make sure these issues are front and center for the next UH president.”

Furthermore, the poll assessed the understanding of academic institutions by the UH Board of Regents and Hawaiʻi State Legislature. Results indicate a perceived lack of understanding, with respondents expressing reservations about both bodies’ grasp of academic integrity and freedom.

As the search progresses, the faculty’s input underscores the imperative for the incoming president to prioritize research, accessibility and understanding of academic values.

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