Regent Candidate Selection Criteria
Adopted: August 30, 2007. Download PDF version.
Criteria For Individual Candidates
- Record of Public or Community Service
Candidates should have a track record of service to the public and to their communities. A candidate’s professional experience or record of volunteerism should illustrate an exceptional commitment to serving the public good. This record should also suggest a deep knowledge of the needs, opportunities, history and culture of Hawai‘i’s communities and, in the case of candidates for county seats, of the particular region a candidate hopes to represent.
The work of a regent requires social consciousness, consideration for others and an understanding of the complex issues that confront the state and its communities. A record of public service illustrates sensitivity to the people and problems that are critical to the core issues of education—issues like access, quality and affordability. Experience in public or community service allows one to approach these major educational concerns with a balanced and broad perspective.
- Experience Governing Complex Organizations
A candidate should have experience with complex organizations and a proven ability to function productively within them. A candidate’s experiences should suggest an understanding of the difference between policy-formation and management and exposure to the financial, legal and policy issues that complex organizations inherently face. Ideally, a candidate will also have experience in public-purpose organizations that must strike a balance between their social mission and financial sustainability and which answer to diverse stakeholders.Part of what makes governing the University of Hawai‘i System different from governing other organizations is the sheer size and complexity of its multiple campuses and research centers. In addition, a public university (like other social-purpose organizations) must continually balance social objectives with financial considerations. It must weigh financial stability, access, knowledge dissemination, workforce development and others issues simultaneously. In doing so, it must respond to the needs of stakeholders with different (and often competing) interests in the university system.
- Commitment to Education
A candidate’s record should show a deep and continuing interest in education as a field. Ideally, the candidate’s experience should evince a commitment to the improvement of education and to the improvement of higher education in particular. While it is not necessary for a candidate to have a professional background in education, a candidate’s experience should suggest a knowledge of educational institutions and a respect for the importance of academic freedom. A good candidate will also understand the role of higher education in providing research, scholarship, teaching and cultural leadership in society.
Like the boards of large companies, the Board of Regents benefits from members that have a working knowledge of the core business of education. Good regents will be informed about educational issues and understand the role of the university system, including its community colleges and research centers, in the broader educational and social context. A candidate may demonstrate this commitment in a variety of ways—through work with schools or educational organizations, donations, volunteerism, teaching, research or scholarship.
- Collaborative Leadership Ability
Candidates should have substantial leadership experience, whether in their professional, public service or volunteer work. This leadership experience should ideally illustrate the candidate’s ability to function among diverse colleagues as an effective team member and to be a good follower as well as a strong leader. The ability to articulate, understand and help shape consensus about institutional priorities is essential.
Regents must have the courage and clarity demanded by any significant leadership position. They must be able to face up to and identify unpleasant realities and to act upon them. They must be able to forge a consensus from diverse points of view. And, they must have the ability to stand by a group decision even when they disagree with it personally.
- Commitment to Impartial Decision-Making
Candidates should have a demonstrated record of openness to various perspectives and an ability to make objective decisions. Their relationships and history of decision-making should illustrate an ability to act in an objective and impartial manner, despite any personal, political or professional affiliations. Candidates should be willing to avoid actions and activities that could prove detrimental to the institution’s and the board’s reputation as fundamentally independent, non-partisan enterprises.
Regents must advance a broad agenda on behalf of the entire institution and the entire state, rather than narrow personal or political interest. They are defenders of the university system and its academic freedom against interference from political, religious, corporate or other external parties. Regents must be able to bring their knowledge of particular regions, communities or groups to bear on their decisions without compromising their principal role as advocates for the university system as a whole.
- Availability for Constructive Engagement
Candidates must have the time and energy required to be conscientious and attentive board members. They must be willing to give a significant amount of their time for what is a volunteer activity. This includes not only attending regular meetings of the Board of Regents and its committees, but also engaging in learning activities, participating in ceremonial events, traveling between the islands and continually working to stay connected to the university system and the communities it serves.
Engagement beyond minimal duties expands the knowledge base upon which regents make decisions about the future of the institution; discussion and debate on multiple and diverse viewpoints are essential for the board’s collective wisdom. In addition, a regent acts as an ambassador to the external community on behalf of the institution. A regent must have the time to devote to these activities.
- Record of Integrity and Civic Virtue
Integrity and civic virtue are basic expectations of every candidate, as these qualities reflect a record of honesty, careful and fair judgment and disassociation with scandal or wrongdoing. A candidate’s background should reflect high civic virtue and should be absent of any activities that might jeopardize the integrity of the university system.
Before a nomination is passed to the governor for consideration, the candidate’s background should be scrutinized carefully. Each candidate must be free of criminal, legal or financial impropriety that may reflect poorly upon the university system or call into question the integrity and character of the Board of Regents.
- Willingness to Seek Resources
A candidate should be willing to seek money or other resources. This may include, but is not necessarily limited to raising money for endowments, operations, or capital projects; recruiting essential partners or supporters that add value to an organization; and enhancing the academic resources of an educational institution.
Regents who raise money and other resources help ensure that the university system has the means to pursue its mission in the future. Regents can enhance the efforts of those within the system to build the resource-base required for the continual improvement of the system.
Board Composition Considerations
In addition to the criteria for individual candidates, the Regents Candidate Advisory Council should consider the following qualities related to the Board of Regents as a whole:
The Board of Regents should, by composition and qualities, demonstrate to the university system and to the public a commitment to diversity that will enhance the board’s performance. Candidates should be considered in light of how their appointment will add to the diversity of the board.
- Skills and Competencies
Every institution benefits from board members who apply their individual experience and expertise to decision-making. Examples may include expertise in legal affairs, communication, educational and academic issues, finance, cultural issues or international affairs. Candidates should be considered in light of how their appointment will enhance the collective skills of the board, given the current conditions, priorities and plans of the university system.