Description1 of Duties of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii
Final draft, August 9, 2007. Download PDF version.
The State of Hawaii Constitution Article X Education, Section 6, provides that the University of Hawaii Board of Regents shall have the power to formulate policy and to exercise control over the university through its executive officer, the president of the university, who shall be appointed by the board. Further, the board shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management and operation of the university. Specifically, Chapter 304A-105, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), provides that the Board of Regents shall have management and control of the general affairs and exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management and operation of the university.
In the context of Article X, Education of the state constitution and HRS Chapter 304A-105, the Regents Candidate Advisory Council believes that the Board of Regents is responsible for ensuring that the University of Hawaii System and its campuses and research centers are integral parts of their communities and serve the ever-changing needs of the state of Hawaii. Furthermore, the Board of Regents is accountable to the community for the quality, integrity and financial stability of the university system.
It is the responsibility of the board to articulate and represent the public interest and to monitor the effectiveness of the system in serving that interest. The primary responsibilities of the board include the appointment and evaluation of the president, policy development, strategic planning and oversight.
In addition to attending meetings of the board, regents are expected to participate on one or more board committees. Examples of Board of Regents Standing Committees include Academic Affairs, Finance and Facilities, Personnel and Legal Affairs, Student Affairs, University and Community Affairs, Community Colleges, Budget and Long-Range Planning and Audit.
The members of the council believe that the regents may be called upon from time to time to discharge functions that may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Employment, Support and Evaluation of the Chief Executive
Selecting, evaluating, supporting and (if necessary) removing the president are among the board’s most important responsibilities. The board must define clear performance expectations, conduct periodic evaluations, provide honest and constructive feedback and balance support of the president with evaluation and accountability.
The board must be involved in strategic planning for the development of the University of Hawaii System. As part of this duty, the board defines and upholds a vision and mission that clearly reflect student and community expectations. Regents ensure that planning is conducted periodically, participate in the planning process and approve final plans.
Policymaking to Guide the System
The board establishes policies consistent with the mission statement and strategic plan to ensure the quality, integrity and ongoing improvement of student learning and other important outcomes of the university system. The board may define strategic priorities and broad goals in policy and then monitor the progress made toward those goals.
The board has a fiduciary duty to ensure the responsible development, management and utilization of financial resources in pursuit of the system’s mission. Regents approve annual budgets, review financial reports, monitor the financial condition of the system and ensure that financial audits are conducted on a regular basis. Regents also are responsible for supporting efforts to attract adequate financial resources to the system.
Serving as Ambassadors to the Community
Regents are ambassadors of the university system to the community. They must continually work to educate the public about the work of the university system. Conversely, regents also help interpret the community’s needs and expectations for the university system’s faculty and administration.
Protecting the System from Undue Influence
The board is an independent policy-making body that reflects the public interest in its activities and decisions. It defends the institution from undue influence and pressure from political and special interests. The board supports the professional and academic freedom of administrators and faculty in order to foster quality learning environments that incorporate many different perspectives.
Setting An Example of Integrity, Inquiry and Service
The conduct of regents sets the tone for the entire system. Regents create a positive climate when they act with integrity, efficiency and transparency. Alternatively, they fail their institutions when they act in such a way that they create a stifling, negative or dysfunctional atmosphere. Regents should avoid any perception of impropriety or conflict of interest with their financial, personal and family interests. They should inform the board chair and president promptly of any such possibility.
Considering Community Interests
Regents are responsible for considering, balancing and integrating a wide variety of interests and needs, including community interests, in formulating policies that benefit the university system. Regents are responsible for knowing community needs and trends, maintaining relationships with communities served by the system and seeking out and considering multiple perspectives when making policy decisions.
Acting as a Unit
The board is a corporate body and governs as a unit, with one voice. Individual regents have no power to act on their own or to direct the system’s employees or operations. As individuals, regents make no commitments on behalf of the board to constituents, nor should they criticize or work against board decisions. Regents should speak with one voice, supporting the decisions of the board once made.
Evaluation of the Board’s Performance
Regents must periodically assess their own performance as a board and the policies that govern board conduct. The board should set goals for itself and regularly evaluate progress toward those goals.
1 Act 56, 2007 Session, Laws of Hawaii, provides that the Candidate Advisory Council (council) shall develop a description of the responsibilities and duties of members of the Board of Regents. Moreover, it is the intent of the council to use its description of various duties of the Board of Regents to assist the council in soliciting, assessing and recommending regent candidates. The council emphasizes that this list of duties represents the collective consensus of all council members and may not necessarily represent the perspective of any one member or the perspective of any constituent group that designated a representative to serve on the council. Similarly, nothing in this document should be construed to imply an endorsement by the Board of Regents as currently constituted, or administrators, faculty or students of the university or any constituent group that designated a representative to serve on the council. No statement in the council’s rules, policies and procedures should be interpreted as supplanting any inconsistent responsibilities and duties imposed on the regents by law.