Letter to WASC Visit Team from the Congress Executive Committee

March 18, 2008
WASC Visit Team
UH Hilo Faculty Congress Executive Committee
Academic Concerns
Aloha WASC Members Dr. Ortiz, Dr. Buckley, Dr. Knapp, Dr. Lucy and Dr. Osajima,
The University of Hawaii at Hilo Faculty Congress welcomes you to our campus. We
appreciate this opportunity to raise some issues that we feel affect the performance of our
Faculty participation in shared governance.
The faculty would like to see more support from the administration for shared
governance. For example,
Faculty Congress Committees Chairs do not always get a course release for
leading important committees, and this course release needs to be re-negotiated
every year. We would like a commitment from the Administration to give
Faculty Congress Standing Committee Chairs a one course release or course
overload for the year they serve as Chair. Our General Education, Assessment,
Admissions, Budget and Academic Policy Committees perform an important
and valuable function in maintaining academic quality at our institution.
The faculty would like representation on the Chancellor’s Cabinet. The
Chancellor’s Cabinet is where university policy is promulgated and it is done in
secret and without faculty participation. For example, the university budget is
being discussed by the Long-term Budget Planning Committee, but it was made
clear at the March meeting that the committee’s purpose was to only make
recommendations to the Chancellor’s Cabinet, who will meet in secret in
preparing the university’s budget request to the UH system.
More Academic Support
The faculty would like more financial resources committed to the core academic
function. For example,
We would like to hire a full-time assessment coordinator who will assist us in
developing program learning objectives and help us develop program
assessment plans. In addition, this person will help train programs to do
assessment activities.
We would like a full time person dedicated to General Education. This person
will chair the General Education certification committee who will certify
General Education courses. This person will also collect and review syllabi
from General Education instructors to assure that their classes are meeting the
program objectives. This person will assist Student Services in evaluating
transfer transcripts to see if student courses taken elsewhere can be transferred
in as General Education courses. This person will also work on developing
assessment measures to evaluate the General Education program.
We need to appoint someone to work with the registrar to review new
curriculum proposals from the colleges to reduce redundancy and promote
cross-listing. This person should be awarded a one course release or overload
for the year of service.
The university should continue to support offering enough General Education
courses to relieve student bottlenecks and increase student choices.
Adequate support should be allocated to help develop, circulate, evaluate and
post (summary) student evaluations of faculty teaching. Consideration should be
given to developing instruments that will be of service to both the faculty
members and the tenure and promotion committee in evaluating faculty
The university should continue to support a student learning/tutoring center to
assist in student success.
Faculty Support and Compensation
The faculty would like to see the following issues resolved:
Faculty Special Salary Adjustment requests need to be funded annually and the
collective bargaining agreement process for submitting these requests honored.
Faculty who submit requests should be informed in a reasonable amount of time
whether or not their requests were approved or denied. The contractual process
has NOT been followed in the past, and many faculty have not been informed of
the fate of their request.
Faculty service to the university should be honored and recognized. Faculty
leadership should be counted towards tenure and promotion in a significant way.
Department Chairs should be awarded an eleven-month appointment (similar to
UH Manoa) and given appropriate secretarial support comparable to peer
institutions in order to take on more responsibility, such as developing assessment
plans for the department.
Student services should distribute some of its staff to the colleges to assist in
student services at the college level.