Proposed merger at UH draws fire


POSTED: Thursday, September 10, 2009

An advisory committee to University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw is endorsing a proposal to combine the School of Travel Industry Management with the Shidler College of Business.

The proposal is already generating opposition among alumni and within the TIM school, which broke away from the business college in 1991.

The recommendation is part of a larger “;prioritization”; process started last year at UH-Manoa, before the university learned that its general fund budget would be cut by about 20 percent.

In May, the prioritization committee came up with 33 recommendations to promote efficiency at the university and better align programs with the UH-Manoa strategic plan.

The recommendations include the possible elimination of degrees and certificate programs, as well as reorganizing the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, the Marine Option Program and the TIM school.





        Preliminary recommendations from the University of Hawaii-Manoa Chancellor's Advisory Committee:

» Reconsolidate the School of Travel Industry Management with the Shidler College of Business.


» Provide ready access to high-demand core courses by eliminating low-demand courses, certificates and majors.


» Focus research in areas where UH-Manoa is uniquely positioned to excel, such as the Institute for Astronomy, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.


» Reorganize/restructure centers to enhance collaboration and new initiatives, such as the Industrial Relations Center, Water Resources Research Center, Environmental Center and Pacific Biosciences Research Center, including closure of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory.


» Explore differential tuition rates for professional schools as in peer institutions.


» Determine appropriate campus fees to match actual costs.


» Expand and maximize facilities usage for rentals, such as Stan Sheriff Center, Andrews Amphitheater and student housing areas.




The advisory committee and a budget work group have been meeting over the summer and the committee made its recommendations public in an e-mail Tuesday to the UH-Manoa community. The e-mail was also posted on the chancellor's Web page.

“;Some of the decisions will reflect issues of long standing that need to be resolved,”; the e-mail said. “;Some are not what we want to do but must do because we simply cannot afford to continue all that we are doing and do it well.”;

In another e-mail yesterday, students and TIM school alumni began a petition drive to stop the merger with the business college.

Former TIM Dean Chuck Gee, a member of the UH Board of Regents, said he is “;not surprised”; at the opposition to the merger.

Gee, who as dean led the effort to make the TIM school independent, said he couldn't comment on the proposal to combine the schools because it may come up before the board.

But, Gee said, “;at the time we separated, it was in the best interest of both the profession and the industry in the state.”;


        UH Manoa: Chancellor's Office

Other recommendations generating concern among students would look at raising tuition at UH-Manoa graduate schools and re-examining UH-Manoa fees.

Undergraduate student president Mark Ing, who plans to go to the UH law school, said the university needs to keep tuition affordable to fulfill its mission of fostering future leaders.

Ing noted that the advisory committee and the budget work group making recommendations to the chancellor do not have student representation.

UH-Manoa spokesman Gregg Takayama said because the groups met over the summer, when most students were out, it was decided not to include a student member on the committees.

But he said the chancellor will be meeting with student groups to get their input, and the committees will continue to collect online comments.

Takayama said the administration may hold an informational briefing this month and will be holding at least one public forum to discuss both the prioritization process and the budget cuts.

Even after Hinshaw makes a decision about budget cuts and merging programs, many of the changes will still require the approval of the regents and consultation with faculty and the unions, Takayama said.

“;You don't just cut things. You have to do it in a rational manner and this is our attempt to do so,”; he said.

Reed Dasenbrock, UH-Manoa vice chancellor for academic administration, said: “;Certainly, no decisions have been made and no decisions will be made without very through consultation with the campus.”;