THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

201

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

Requesting the University of Hawaii and University of Hawaii Professional Assembly to convene a Task Force to examine and assess the University's tenure system For Researchers and Other Non-InstructionAL Faculty.

 

 


WHEREAS, the University of Hawaii System (University), established in 1907, is the only system of public education in Hawaii 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 offers a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, as well as community programs at its ten campuses and community-based learning centers located throughout the State, and enrolls more than forty-nine thousand students from Hawaii, U.S. mainland, and around the world; and

 

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

 

WHEREAS, article X, section 6 of the Hawaii State Constitution, which grants the Board of Regents of the University exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management, and operation of the University, 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, as the sole public system of higher education in the State, the University 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'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, the Legislature deems that 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; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the AAUP, the tenure system in U.S. higher education 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 U.S. 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, the University currently grants academic tenure to not only faculty members who teach and provide instruction to students but also to faculty members who are not employed in a teaching capacity (Non-Instructional faculty), including members who primarily engage in research (classified as Researchers) or provide specialized services; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the University:

 

(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) Overall protection of a faculty member's right to academic freedom;

 

(2) The University'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; and

 

(3) 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, as many faculty members whose job descriptions do not explicitly include instructional duties, including research workers and extension agents, engage in instruction and mentorship of students; and

 

WHEREAS, it would benefit the State to have the University's existing tenure system for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty examined and assessed in comparison to peer higher education institutions across the United States and determine best practices that could be implemented at the University; 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 University and University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) are requested to convene a task force to examine and assess the University's tenure system for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty in comparison to peer higher education institutions across the United States and propose the best practices to be implemented by the University; 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, who is requested to serve as the chairperson of the task force;

 

(2) President of the University;

 

(3) Vice President for Research and Innovation of the University;

 

(4) Executive Director of the UHPA or the Executive Director's designee;

 

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

 

(6) Director of Collective Bargaining and Employee Relations of the University'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's Non-Instructional faculty positions, including Researchers, providing:

 

(A) The total number of faculty members categorized as Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty;

 

(B) A breakdown of faculty members categorized as Non-Instructional faculty, including Researchers, based on specific faculty category, tenure status (tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure track), and full- or part-time status, (e.g., Researchers, Tenured, Full-Time); and

 

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

 

(2) An assessment of the composition (percentage) of the University's tenured and tenure-track Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty within each faculty category, in comparison to the majority of peer higher education institutions across the United States, including the reasonableness, necessity, and feasibility of the University's composition;

 

(3) An assessment of the composition (percentage) of compensation received by each of the University's tenured and tenure-track Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty covered by extramural funds (i.e., monies received through grants or contracts) in comparison to the majority of peer higher education institutions across the United States, including the reasonableness, necessity, and feasibility of the University's composition;

 

(4) An assessment of the University's tenure system for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty, including but not limited to the reasonableness, necessity, and feasibility of the tenure assessment standards, duration, and procedures in comparison to the tenure systems implemented by the majority of peer higher education institutions across the United States; and

 

(5) Any proposed amendments to the University's existing tenure system for Researchers and other Non-Instructional faculty, including best practices for tenure administration standards and procedures to be implemented by the University; 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, President of the University, and Executive Director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

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