Friday, April 9, 1999


Morale sagging
at UH Manoa

Faculty members blame budget
cuts and lack of support
for the troubles

Bullet A table shows how the schools voted
Bullet Budget strain takes toll

By Susan Kreifels


In the first quality-of-work-life survey of faculty at the University of Hawaii, the Manoa campus scored the lowest of 11 schools in the morale section, rating it 4.63 in a scale of 1 to 10.

The 34-person Employment Training Center on King Street rated the highest morale at 6.47.

Support from the governor was rated lowest among nine aspects of work life, followed in the same area by support from the Legislature, UH president, Board of Regents, central administration and the community. Relations with colleagues and students rated the highest.

But the majority of faculty said they were not likely to leave their jobs.

Faculty representatives from the various campuses and UH President Kenneth Mortimer received the results yesterday at a closed meeting.

Several at the meeting said leadership, support from various advocates, and budget cuts were key factors in morale.

Faculty from UH-Manoa said they weren't surprised that their campus rated lowest. They have seen serious budget and faculty cuts, and they have complained that Mortimer does not stand up for them.

"There's a lack of leadership at the top," said John Casken with the School of Public Health, which has been threatened with losing its accreditation.

Rebecca Lee, chairwoman of the faculty senate at UH West Oahu, a writing professor and board member of the UH Professional Assembly, said the public perceives faculty as "lazy and pampered. There's no advocacy from the administration saying "this is how hard we work.' "

On the other hand, Rich Castberg, a political science professor at UH-Hilo, said new leadership there has raised morale. Chancellor Rose Tseng took over last fall and faculty see her as a strong advocate. "That's made a big difference," Castberg said. "She can make decisions."

Joanne Clark, director of university relations, said she had not seen the report and couldn't comment until she had a chance to analyze it.

Of 2,932 faculty members, 1,511 responded, or 52 percent. The survey was sponsored by the All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs and compiled by Linda Johnsrud, a professor of higher education at UH-Manoa. Johnsrud said she planned to get the results on the Internet.

Only UH-Manoa has taken such surveys in the past, the last in 1994.

Some of the results:

Bullet Morale: On a scale of 1 to 10 (highest), Hawaii Community College and UH Manoa rated morale below the midpoint of 5.5. The highest scores came from the Employment Training Center, Windward Community College and UH-Hilo.

Bullet Change in morale over time: On a scale of 1 to 10 (improved morale), the Employment Training Center and UH-Hilo scored highest. Hawaii Community College and Manoa fell lowest.

On UH Manoa surveys of the past, morale improved in the late 1980s up to 1992, then started to drop. In 1994, it rated change in morale 4.3. In the current survey that dropped to 3.6.

Bullet Morale in different categories: Among six classes of faculty, librarians and specialists showed the highest morale, split appointments and researchers the lowest. According to rank, instructors rated the highest morale, full professors the lowest. Women and minority faculty reported higher morale than men and non-minorities.

Bullet The most positive aspect of their jobs: department and unit relations, undergraduate students, and relations with their department chairs. The most negative areas: salaries, support for travel and facilities.

Bullet Likelihood of leaving their jobs: On a scale of 1 to 5 (very likely to leave) all schools fell below the midpoint, indicating they would not likely leave. Honolulu Community College and Maui Community College were least likely to leave, while UH-Manoa and West Oahu indicated the highest intention to go.

Lee said she wasn't surprised that her campus showed the strongest likelihood of leaving jobs. West Oahu's accreditation was threatened, and it still does not have a permanent home, instead located in "improved temporary quarters."

"We live in constant fear about what's going to happen to us," Lee said. She also said money for travel has been cut, preventing faculty from going to professional conferences on the mainland. "We will stay at the bottom of the barrel."

Angela Meixell, state director of the Employment Training Center for almost two years, said staff at the vocational school for at-risk students have high morale because they "feel very good about what we do. We see every day that we make significant changes in people's lives."

Other provosts and chancellors could not be reached.

Johnsrud said similar surveys in the nation normally show faculty members love their jobs but are critical of their institutions. "Faculty tend to be critical people."

But she said the university has seen tough years recently with slashed budgets, staff and enrollment. "I'm not surprised morale has declined because of the budget," she said. "But it's not just cost items. Some things can be addressed -- communications and advocacy."


Budget strain takes
toll on UH Manoa

By Susan Kreifels


Budget cuts, hiring freezes, controversies.

It's been a rough few years at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a morale survey pointed up the strain it's taken on faculty. They rated morale at the campus lowest of 11 schools.

A glance at some of the controversies:

Bullet After significant budget cuts in past years, the administration wants departments to cut up to 4 percent more off their budgets for each of the next three years. That money would be reallocated campus-wide according to priorities. The UH Manoa faculty senate opposes the plan, saying it will mean cutting more faculty.

Bullet The School of Travel Industry Management became part of the College of Business Administration because of budget cuts. The College of Business Administration has lacked a permanent dean since last year.

Bullet The UH School of Public Health hasn't had a permanent dean for more than six years, its funds have been cut and it isn't expected to be accredited in June. There is discussion of rolling the school into the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Noted researcher David Morens, an epidemiologist, resigned from the school of public health because of tight budgets.

Bullet The university has conducted lengthy searches for heads of the school of medicine and Institute for Astronomy. A leading candidate for the Institute for Astronomy said the institution had lost prestige because of lack of coordination and too much time spent on political issues.

Bullet Oskar Zaborsky quit as director of the Marine Bioproducts Engineering Center, saying the university did not meet its promises to provide office and lab space.

Bullet A new University of Hawaii marine laboratory on Coconut Island has been vacant since its dedication last year because of no maintenance money.

Bullet The medical school may have to consider shutting down if it doesn't get an extra $3 million.

Bullet The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly became the first public workers union to support a Republican candidate in the governor's race. The union endorsed Linda Lingle instead of Gov. Ben Cayetano, who it said did not support the university. Union officials said Cayetano had "gone out of his way to attack" the university.

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