Dobelle launchesUniversity of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle is turning the university upside down.
a new era at UH
Day 1: The university president
announces major initiatives and
top-level staff changes
By Treena Shapiro
Hours after beginning his new job Dobelle proved he is not going to waste any time. He described himself as a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week person.
At his first news conference since being appointed to the $442,000-a-year post in March, Dobelle announced six senior staff and adviser positions and discussed major changes in the way the university looks at itself and pursues accreditation.
Among his goals is developing a strategic plan for the university as a system. He plans to spend a lot of time talking and listening to people at every level at the university. The university needs to "be run from the bottom up instead of top down," he said.
Dobelle said his first priority is to increase morale at the 10 campuses making up the UH system. "We need to be able to understand not only who we're not, but who we are," he said.
The campuses often act as competitors, he said. "We need to build a shared vision for the university system's future," he said. "And we need to build a climate of transparency and trust, an atmosphere of respect and inclusiveness, and a culture of consultation and collegiality rather than command and control."
One of his first acts was to suspend reaccreditation activities on the separate campuses -- UH-Hilo and West Oahu were both up for reaccreditation this year -- so that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges can review the system as a whole in early 2003. "We need to be focusing on fixing problems and charting a future, not on preparing for visiting committees to descend on our campuses," he said. The suspension will not affect accreditation at any campus.
Dobelle's role will be different from that of the last two UH presidents, who also served as chancellors of the Manoa campus. Dobelle will govern over the university system as a whole and appointed as interim Manoa chancellor Deane Neubauer, head of the Globalization Research Center. Neubauer had been one of five candidates selected by the Manoa faculty senate to fill the position. The position is likely to last one year while the university conducts a search for a permanent chancellor.
Dobelle also named the university's general counsel, Walter Kirimitsu, a former state appellate judge, as his chief of staff. "He will help me navigate the waters, including some that are probably uncharted, as the new leader of public higher education in this state -- providing valuable advice and counsel to me and to others within the UH community along our journey," Dobelle said. Harold Masumoto, unofficial chief of staff to Dobelle's predecessor Kenneth Mortimer, will remain as a special adviser to Dobelle for three months, then he will take a part-time position at the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research.
Saying he would never ask any of his staff to work harder than he did himself, Dobelle gave added responsibilities to the chancellors of the Hilo campus and the community college system.
UH-Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng will be in charge of a systemwide distance-learning strategy and long-range plan, Dobelle said. While some campuses have already started developing distance-learning programs, "there is a need to integrate and leverage our efforts while expanding them to meet both unmet demand for distance learning as well as untapped possibilities," he said.
Dobelle chose Joyce Tsunoda, chancellor for the community colleges, as his special adviser on international affairs.
Walter Kirimitsu: University general counsel becomes chief of staff Deane Neubauer: Political science professor becomes interim chancellor of UH-Manoa
C. Barry Raleigh: The dean of the School of Ocean & Earth Sciences & Technology will head a special task force on research infrastructure Nainoa Thompson: Kamehameha Schools trustee and former UH regent becomes special adviser on native Hawaiian affairs
Joyce Tsunoda: UH Community Colleges chancellor additionally becomes special adviser on international affairs Rose Tseng: UH-Hilo chancellor is appointed to develop a systemwide distance-learning strategy and long-range plan
Nainoa Thompson will take an unpaid position as Dobelle's adviser on native Hawaiian affairs. Thompson recently resigned from the UH Board of Regents because of time constraints due to his commitment as a Kamehameha Schools trustee and a master navigator at the Polynesian Voyaging Society, but he said this position is a better fit because it is more in line with what he is already doing.
Barry Raleigh, dean of the School of Ocean & Earth Sciences & Technology, will be heading the President's Special Task Force on Research Infrastructure. "The system has been described by Manoa's research faculty as 'swimming through molasses,'" Dobelle said. "Our researchers spend far too much time working around the system. They say it's easier to get a million dollars than to spend it."
Dobelle said he does not plan to ask the state for more funding for the university until he is able to determine how the university spends, manages and accounts for its money. "We have a significant amount of money for our institution," he said. "We need to spend it wisely."
Dobelle said he will place more of an emphasis on fund raising, however. "We've never had alumni events," he said. "I'm going at the end of this month to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose to do alumni events and to do fund raising."