Wednesday, March 24, 1999

UH: Accreditation
team gave all
passing grades

By Susan Kreifels


They liked the intensive-writing courses and distance education for University of Hawaii-Manoa undergraduates. They decried the library and repairs and maintenance.

University officials didn't get many surprises last week during a visit by an accreditation team for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The team assured UH officials that the university had passed all standards, and Dean Smith, UH senior vice president, said yesterday that he expects UH to be fully accredited.

But "the budget trauma pervaded their whole visit," Smith said. "They acknowledged we're working on it."

The university has seen dramatic budget cuts in recent years and enrollment has declined 15 percent. The administration has asked all departments to give up 4 percent of their budgets for each of the next three years. That money will be reallocated. Some of it will go to the library and to repairs and maintenance.

The team met with students, faculty and administration. That included a meeting with native Hawaiian students and faculty. Haunani-Kay Trask with the Center for Hawaiian Studies said the team was concerned about the treatment of Hawaiian students and what affirmative action is being taken to increase their numbers, and the number of Hawaiian faculty members, at UH-Manoa.

At UH-Manoa, current undergraduate enrollment figures show 10 percent of students are Hawaiian. Graduates and undergraduates combined totaled 8.8 percent last fall.

The team also discussed proposed tuition waivers for Hawaiians.

"They seemed sympathetic," Trask said.

The accreditation team will send UH a draft report in the next few weeks and officials here will be able to respond. The team's recommendation is expected to be taken up at the association's regular meeting in June.

The last inspection came eight years ago.

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