good report card
An accreditation team praisesBy Susan Kreifels
the school for significant improvements
on recommendations that were
made three years ago
An accreditation team has commended Hawaii Pacific University for "significant and impressive" improvements on recommendations made three years ago, including increasing the number of full-time professors by 40 percent.
The next comprehensive visit by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges is scheduled for spring 2004, reaccrediting HPU for the maximum 10 years, the university said. The last such visit was in February 1993.
Since then, teams have made two special visits to check progress on recommendations. University spokesperson Helen Varner said one reason for the special visits was to check on the merger with the Hawaii Loa college in 1992.
During an October 1996 visit, the team said full-time faculty members were teaching too many extra classes and the university was using too many part-time instructors.
A team revisited for three days last March. Varner said full-time faculty members now total around 250.
The university attributed some of the 1996 faculty concerns to HPU's fast growth.
Yesterday HPU officials released excerpts from a July 6 letter by Ralph Wolff, WASC executive director, after sharing contents of the letter and 30-page report with trustees and staff. Varner said the full report and letter will not be released as a matter of general policy.
Varner said the report made no new recommendations but encouraged HPU to continue developing its programs, including faculty governance.
A recent accreditation report on the University of Hawaii at Manoa based on a comprehensive visit earlier this year criticized the campus for problems in leadership, governance and communication that have held up urgent changes demanded by budget cuts.
A special WASC visit will be made in three years to check progress on recommendations.
Some of the report's highlights, according to HPU:
PROGRESS Faculty and institutional governance: The university has made "substantial progress in instituting a faculty governance system that appears to provide significant opportunities for faculty engagement. ... The spirit of cooperation between the Board, administration, faculty and staff is impressive and should be sustained and nurtured."
FACULTY Faculty workload: The report said HPU gave "immediate and substantial attention to this issue. The increase in the number of full-time faculty is dramatic" and has already made a positive impact on the quality of programs.
GOALS: Assessment of educational effectiveness: HPU made "significant progress in developing goals for general education and establishing procedures for program review that inquire about student learning and outcomes."