Chancellor Bley-Vroman delivers state of UH Mānoa report to regents
News Release from UH Manoa January 22, 2015
On January 22, 2015, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman gave the UH Board of Regents a status report on the Mānoa campus.
For the complete message watch the video above. The prepared remarks are below.
Regents, welcome to the campus that I have called home for almost 30 years. Hawaiʻi deserves a great university, and Mānoa is a great university. The challenge is preserving our acknowledged excellence in so many areas of academics and research, relentlessly pursuing our mission to serve students and achieving all of this during a time of fiscal restraint.
It brings to mind the quote by President Teddy Roosevelt: “It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.“
Basically, our biggest challenge is doing more with less.
Briefly, I address the “less”—it means $60 million less in state government support for Mānoa in the past five years, with tuition increases making up only $30 million.
That was the less. Now this is the “more”—it’s the good news.
UH Mānoa is performing, by all objective measures, at a higher level than it ever has. In 2011, we received a 10-year accreditation period from WASC, the longest possible term of accreditation and the longest accreditation term of any institution in the state. WASC praised Mānoa’s progress in glowing terms.
We are proud to have a record number of graduates—from about 4,500 in 2008–09 to approximately 5,000 in 2013–14. Our six-year graduation rate has risen from 48 to 56 percent, and our four-year graduation rate has increased over the past two years from 19 to 24.7 percent—a remarkable improvement.
We are very proud of our alumni, and are appreciative of their support. Of note in October, one alumnus of the business school, Jay Shidler, made an irrevocable commitment to the College of Business to increase his visionary gift to a total of $100 million. Mr. Shidler said he made the additional $69 million commitment because he was so impressed by the transformations made from his initial $31 million contribution.
We are constantly improving our facilities. Witness the grand opening and blessing ceremony in November for our renovated Gartley Hall, which serves as home base for the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. And we continue to make major strides toward sustainability, with our energy efficiencies paying off. Since 2007, the campus has saved more than 9 percent on our project energy costs, representing $3.4 million in energy savings in 2014 alone.
Through our vice chancellors, we have instituted a rigorous budget and spending review, and our deans and directors have responded responsibly.
In research, since the last time the board met here in July, we continue to garner international interest in our projects and our people.
- Researchers from UH Mānoa and NOAA announced the discovery of an intact “ghost ship“ in 2,000 feet of water nearly 20 miles off the coast of Oʻahu.
- Marketing Professor Stephen Vargo was named one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014.
- And our Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation—or HI-SEAS—mission on Hawaiʻi Island, led by UH Mānoa and NASA, is preparing future astronauts for travel to Mars and back.
Finally and most important, student success is always foremost on our minds. Returning to our mantra of “doing more with less,” our commitment to students is more, more, more.
Today, we have more financial aid, more opportunities for undergraduate research and offer more internships and community service opportunities in advising and tutoring. Students are getting the classes they need, with unsuccessful registration attempts falling from 29,000 five years ago, to 2,300 in fall 2014. Students are taking more classes, shortening their graduation time and lowering the cost to a student degree. We are especially proud that our Native Hawaiian student enrollment has increased from 2005 to 2013 by 64 percent.
In closing, regents, welcome again to UH Mānoa. I leave you with another Teddy Roosevelt quote, and a reminder that he organized a cavalry group called the Rough Riders. He said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” And that is exactly what we are doing.