WASC Report Highlights Significant Improvement in Overall Governance Structure at UH

University of Hawaiʻi
Carolyn Tanaka, (808) 956-9803
Mia Noguchi, (808) 956-9095
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jan 20, 2005

HONOLULU — A progress report of the University of Hawaiʻi System Office released by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) says that there has been a dramatic change in the University‘s leadership and governance.

The report by a WASC Special Visit Team concluded, "Overall,…with respect to System leadership and governance, the situation has changed dramatically…Rather than tensions and acrimony between the Board and President, the Team found solid trust and the beginning of a very effective and professional working relationship between the President and the Board."

The recently released report is an update to WASC from the Special Visit Team Chair, Dr. Lindsay Desrochers, and the Executive Director of the Senior College Commission of WASC, Ralph Wolff, following a two day visit to the university in the Fall of 2004.

The team found, "All Board members interviewed clearly stated that they have invested in this Interim President the responsibilities of a chief executive officer and expect that he will work with the Board in an effective way. The Board members seem to have a clearer distinction between policy development and management, perhaps due to a proactive effort to engage in Board orientation and training during the last half year."

"We are pleased that WASC has recognized and validated the board‘s actions to ensure that the governance of the University is more focused and more effective," said UH BOR Chair Patricia Lee. "In addition to establishing an extremely collaborative working relationship with President McClain, the BOR has worked to streamline and improve its own systems and procedures and WASC has also validated these efforts."

Over the course of two special visits in 2004, there was extensive examination of the plans for the new system organization and the implementation of such plans. The report focused on four areas: External Governance, Internal Governance, Strategic Planning and Financial Resources.

The team found "significant progress in most areas" and noted that "much will depend on the level of financial support provided by the State to the UH system to realize the goals and priorities established by the University through its extensive strategic planning, stocktaking, and financial budgeting approaches."

In the area of the university‘s internal governance progress, the team expressed concern over the role and relationship of the Mānoa campus to the system, and the relation of the UH system office to the seven community college campuses.

"I‘m pleased that the WASC Senior Commission December special visit team recognized the significant progress we‘ve made as compared with their visit last March, and pledge my continuing efforts to sustain this progress and to more clearly articulate the relationship between the UH system and our 10 campuses, particularly the Mānoa campus," said David McClain, interim president of the University of Hawaiʻi system.

For a complete copy of the report, visit www.hawaii.edu/vpaa.