THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

201

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AND UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PROFESSIONAL ASSEMBLY TO CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO EXAMINE AND ASSESS THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII TENURE SYSTEM FOR RESEARCHERS AND OTHER NON-INSTRUCTIONAL FACULTY, AND COMPENSATION STRUCTURE OF FACULTY ENGAGED IN ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY EXTRAMURAL FUNDING AND GRANTS, IN COMPARISON TO PEER HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES; AND PROPOSE THE BEST PRACTICES TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii is the only system of public education in the State that is supported by state funds, uses public land set aside for university purposes, and is continually supported by other public resources; and

 

WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii has historically embraced a three-part mission that includes education (teaching), scholarly work (research), and service; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 304A-1002, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and University of Hawaii Board of Regents Policy No. 9.202, the University of Hawaii classifies its faculty into seven categories, including "I" (Instructional faculty), "R" (Researchers), "S" (Specialists), and "A" (Extension Agents); and

 

WHEREAS, peer higher education institutions in the United States have only three classifications: Professors, Assistant Professors, and Associate Professors; and

 

WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii grants to certain faculty members academic tenure, which is defined by the American Association of University Professors as an indefinite appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances such as financial exigency and program discontinuation and from which the modern concept of tenure in United States higher education originated; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the American Association of University Professors, the tenure system for higher education in the United States has eroded, where the percentage of faculty members that are off tenure-track has been steadily increasing, and as of 2016:

 

(1) Only twenty-seven percent of instructional positions at all United States institutions combined are tenured or on tenure-track; and

 

(2) Only a third of faculty at research-intensive and other four-year institutions are tenured or are on tenure-track; and

 

WHEREAS, as the sole public system of higher education in the State, the University of Hawaii plays a pivotal role in preparing its students for productive employment in the State's workforce and to become engaged citizens of the community; and

 

WHEREAS, an educated workforce is a critical determinant of the economic and social health of the State, and therefore, the ability to instruct, educate, and prepare students to enter the workforce are indispensable skills that should be supported by public funds; and

 

WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii currently grants academic tenure to not only Instructional faculty members who teach and provide instruction to students, but also to Non-Instructional faculty including Researchers, Specialists, and Extension Agents, who are not employed in a teaching capacity; and

 

WHEREAS, Researchers at peer higher education institutions do not receive tenure and are required to bring in extramural funding, i.e., monies received through grants or contracts, to pay approximately forty to eighty percent of their compensation; and

WHEREAS, the growth in extramural funding generated by faculty and administrators at the University of Hawaii is now approaching $500,000,000 per year, which exceeds monies generated by major economic sectors such as agriculture; and

 

WHEREAS, the sources of funding that support tenured Researchers are as follows, with extramural funding accounting for just 16.2 percent:

 

(1) General fund

 

72.5 percent;

(2) Direct extramural funding

 

16.2 percent;

(3) University of Hawaii Tuition and Fees Special Fund

 

 

8.0 percent;

(4) Indirect extramural support through the Research and Training Revolving Fund

 

 

 

0.3 percent; and

(5) Other miscellaneous sources

3.0 percent; and

 

WHEREAS, concerns have been raised over the fact that monies from the general fund and University of Hawaii Tuition and Fees Special Fund account for over eighty percent of support for tenured Researchers at the University of Hawaii; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the University of Hawaii:

 

(1) Academic tenure serves as a critical component in:

 

(A) Recruiting and retaining the most qualified and experienced faculty while maintaining high academic standards;

 

(B) Advancing and transmitting knowledge without bias and interference from government or special interest groups; and

 

(C) Protecting a faculty member's right to academic freedom;

(2) The University of Hawaii's decision to grant or deny academic tenure to a faculty member is usually made after a probationary service period of up to seven consecutive years during which the candidate is rigorously assessed and evaluated by respective peers and administrators based on various criteria;

 

(3) All faculty have an expectation of engaging in productive and meaningful research and scholarship, including Instructional Faculty, many of whom are among the most impactful and productive researchers and scholars;

 

(4) Many Researchers teach courses and mentor students, even if instructional duties are not described in their job descriptions as a primary duty; and

 

(5) There is a need for a more structured and rigorous approach to acknowledge and recognize the complex and diverse work of faculty across the University of Hawaii, as many faculty members whose job descriptions do not explicitly include instructional duties, including Researchers, Specialists, and Extension Agents, engage in instruction and mentorship of students; and

 

WHEREAS, article X, section 6, of the Hawaii State Constitution, which grants the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management, and operation of the University of Hawaii, specifically provides that the power of the Legislature to enact laws of statewide concern shall not be limited and that the Legislature shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to identify laws of statewide concern; and

 

WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii's decision to classify a faculty position as one eligible for academic tenure results in the long-term commitment of public resources for that position, and therefore, it is a matter of statewide concern to ensure that public resources are targeted to support academic tenure for faculty members whose primary duties and responsibilities are to provide instruction to educate and promote the success of students enrolled at the University of Hawaii; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the President of the University of Hawaii and Executive Director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly are urged to convene a task force to examine and assess the University of Hawaii's:

 

(1) Tenure system for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty; and

 

(2) Compensation structure for faculty engaged in activities supported by extramural funding, including Researchers, Specialists, and Extension Agents,

 

in comparison to peer higher education institutions across the United States, and propose the best practices to be implemented by the University of Hawaii; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to include the following as members:

 

(1) Chairperson of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii or the Chairperson's designee, who is requested to serve as the chairperson of the task force;

 

(2) President of the University of Hawaii or the President's designee;

 

(3) Vice President for Research and Innovation of the University of Hawaii or the Vice President's designee;

 

(4) Executive Director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly or the Executive Director's designee;

 

(5) Associate Executive Director of Governance of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly or the Associate Executive Director's designee;

(6) Chairperson of the Committee on Personnel Affairs and Board Governance of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii or the Chairperson's designee; and

 

(7) Director of Collective Bargaining and Employee Relations of the University of Hawaii's Office of Human Resources or the Director's designee; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is urged to include in its report, at minimum:

 

(1) A matrix of the University of Hawaii's Non-Instructional faculty positions, including Researchers, providing:

 

(A) Total number of faculty members categorized as Researchers and each of the other Non-Instructional faculty categories;

 

(B) A breakdown of faculty members in each of the Non-Instructional faculty categories based on faculty category, tenure status (tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure track) and full- or part-time status, e.g., Researchers, Tenured, Full-Time number of faculty; and

 

(C) The percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty members in each of the Non-Instructional categories, including Researchers;

 

(2) Assessment of the following items for the University of Hawaii, in comparison to the majority of peer higher education institutions across the United States (unless otherwise stated), including an explanation on the reasonableness, necessity, and feasibility of the University of Hawaii's composition, system, and policies:

 

(A) Composition (percentage) of tenured and tenure-track faculty within each of the Non-Instructional faculty categories, including Researchers;

 

(B) Composition (percentage) of the source of funding, including extramural funding, for compensation received by tenured and tenure-track faculty within each of the Non-Instructional faculty categories, including Researchers;

 

(C) Tenure system for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty, including policies, practices, standard/benchmark criteria, duration of assessment, and administrative procedures; and

 

(D) Research designation and standing, including explanation of specific merits to the State by the University of Hawaii having a certain research designation or standing; and

 

(3) Proposed amendments to the University of Hawaii's existing tenure system and compensation structure for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty, incorporating the best practices implemented at the majority of peer higher education institutions across the United States, while meeting the unique needs and circumstances of this State; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is requested to dissolve on July 1, 2022; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, President of the University of Hawaii, and Executive Director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.

Report Title:

University of Hawaii; University of Hawaii Professional Assembly; Academic Tenure; Researchers and Other Non-Instructional Faculty; Task Force; Best Practices; Report