A set of linked changes seem necessary if UH is to achieve real greatness. They need to be understood as interdependent parts of a complex picture which means they cannot be presented in sound bites -- only a somewhat extended text can explain the linkages. In what follows, let me comment on: MONEY, CREATIVITY, GRC, CAMPUS COMMONS, PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE, SINCLAIR , HIVES FOR HYBRID , CON-CENTER , ECU-CENTER , SEEDING PROJECTS , NETWORKING , and VOLUNTEERS.
MONEY: A serious discourse could be opened on the basis of the January 16 EVENT when President Dobelle spoke about his own dreams for our future which include heavy investments. A fellow panelist was Barry Raleigh, Dean of OEST. He presented persuasive evidence that license fees provide a very large source of funds for leading universities, but almost nothing for UH! What a tragic failing on our part -- and what could be of greater strategic importance for the betterment of our great university than the development of projects that would not only increase our revenues but enhance our research accomplishments. Good research projects should not only generate income but they should advance knowledge and give us greater wisdom. Unfortunately, Dean Raleigh had no time in his presentation to talk about the changes that would enable Hawaii to generate the successful projects required to grow license fees. I hope he will respond by outlining his strategy -- here are my own ideas about how to start.
CREATIVITY: What needs to be done to enhance our revenue generating research undertakings? To answer that question, consider first the established hierarchy of departments and schools at UHM. They are virtually water-tight bulkheads enclosing mono-disciplinary domains within which innovation often stagnates. As Mattei Dogan and Robert Pahre have demonstrated (in "Hybrid Fields in the Social Sciences" (1989) International Social Science Journal, 121, 1, pp. 457-470) the overwhelming preponderance of innovative and creative new thinking in modern times has been generated by scholars willing to cross discipolinary lines and draw on different disciplines in their thinking and research. Intellectual creativity is spawned in large measure by hybrid activity cutting across disciplinary boundaries. Where and how do we support cross-disciplinary thinking at UH? There are noble initiatives, but how have they fared?
GLOBALIZATION RESEARCH CENTER: Consider the Globalization Research Center, headed by Chancellor Deane Neubauer: it is inherently interdisciplinary because virtually every field of contemporary life is fundamentally affected by global forces that not only challenge our economic and political survival, but they compel us to re-think meanings in every academic discipline. Neubauer was able to attract generous support for the project from Congress and bravely set about establishing the Center only to find that Manoa could not accommodate the project -- it had to be relocated off campus on Makaloa St., remote from all the departments and schools where its stimulating influence might be felt. Its very talented staff of specially recruited scholars do not hold academic positions so they have minimal influence within our campus. A lengthy list of campus based faculty members have been recruited as "affiliates" as one can see by going to: Affiliate Faculty
However, these affiliates have never been able to meet or function as a collegial entity -- individuals may have been involved from time to time in spaced out events, but the great potential for tapping their creativity by bringing them together frequently as a cross-fertilizing incubator of ideas and knowledge has never been realized. Without a campus-based center for their activities, could it be otherwise?
CAMPUS COMMONS: Consider the present architecture of our campus -- it is encrusted with buildings dedicated to mono-disciplinary knowledge and uni-professional training. There is no common space where members of different campus communities can gather, get to know each other and work together as inter-disciplinary groups, nor is there common space for town/gown interactions or even, sorry to say, commons within colleges like the Social Sciences where members of different departments meet only on swift elevator rides, not in any congenial gathering place. True, some meetings can be held in the seminar room of the SSRI, but that scarcely meets the real need. David Duffy has proposed:
"Dig a ditch, put Dole Street in it and cover it over. Use the resulting space and adjacent parking lots to set up a village square/ promenade with interesting places to eat, shop, read, drink coffee, etc on one or both sides, with good outdoor sitting. The campus now has no commons (Campus Center doesn't cut it) and little life of its own." Duffy
I applaud this proposal and it would be a major improvement in our impoverished campus setting, but we despertely need an intellectual commons that goes much further than this. It needs to provide a common space where serious research planning can be done by individuals anchroed in any and all of our many departments, schools and programs. As now organized, any inter-disciplinary project has to be housed within one of these bulkheads that confine our many academic units.
PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE: A good current example is that of the Public Policy Institute. It has been bravely launched in the College of Social Sciences, but still looking for a home. Even if becomes entrenched in one or more of the disciplinary departments, its location in Saunders Hall will hamper true interaction with all the other places -- Education, Engineering, Agriculture, Health and Medicine, Law, Architecture, and most of the Liberal Arts departments -- where authentic public policy issues necessarily arise. Only by providing a neutral space outside the domains of any one of these established units can truly cross-disciplinary commuinication and creativity flourish.
Would it be possible to have such a space on our campus? I have attempted without success to find out what plans have been made for re-constructed Hawaii Hall. One has to suspect that its former occupants will re-claim their spaces and a great opportunity will have been lost. Ideally, Hawaii Hall is the magisterial campus center -- it should become our new Campus Center, a building without any school, department or administrative office but just a public space for the campus where true collegiality across entrenched lines can flourish. Perhaps a better name would be "ConCenter" -- as explained below. But first:
HIVES FOR HYBRIDS: To consider how and why such a center is important take a look at another great University, the University of Chicago. Open: Chicago groups
Here you will find a long list of "committees," "centers," "institutes," and "projects." They all involve hybrids, creative minds hiving together to pool concepts, methods, knowledge and issues. They parade under a variety of different names, but all involve hybrids and they need to be able to get together on neutral ground, a "hive for hybrids." The Liberal Studies Progam, led by Peter Manicas, shows that students can benefit greatly from a hybrid studies program -- for information go to: Liberal Studies
We also need to encourage hybrid research and programming among faculty members. The Social Science Research Institute, led by Michael Hamnett, has sponsored many funded research projects in which some faculty members have been active, demonstrating the feasibility of cross-disciplinary cooperation. A list of research centers and institutes at UH can be found at: UH Centers
Without questioning the worthiness of all these activities, one has to ask whether or not they have truly achieved the potentials that UH promises. More specifically, are they sufficiently broad in their hybridization, or do they cluster too much around sponsoring Schools and Departments? Among them, the new Globalization Research Center has a major potential for linking scholars from all parts of the University. Yet its ability to do this has been seriously handicaped for reasons discussed below.
If one were to measure the achievements of the University of Chicago, I suspect that many of its most important accomplishments have come from its cross-disciplinary (hybrid) centers. I believe they all use talented faculty members from established units of the University on a loan basis. These hives are not permanent "bulkheads" of tenured employment -- rather, they are holding-patterns for creativity that terminate when their goals have been reached. We could have many such centers of creativity on our own campus if we were willing to use a Campus Center (think of Hawaii Hall) as a locus for inter-disciplinary creativity open to all units of our system.
What would it look like, this Campus Commons? Perhaps we need a better name for it: "Convivial Center," for example, to stress its dedication to congenial interactions, on neutral ground, among scholars from scattered units of the University. To condense the name, 'ConCenter' might work as a short form -- with heuristic ties to "concentration," "concentric" and "conceptual." Give it a try: I'll use it here as a test.
CON-CENTER. One building could have many meeting rooms for seminars, committees, and conferences -- in addition to temporary cubicles or offices for interviews and conversations. It would have open lounge space for casual coffee-klatching and a good restaurant with sit-down service. Such a restaurant would be better than a "faculty club." It would not just be a prandial space -- it would be deliberately convivial: a hostess who knows most patrons by their first names would not only seat small groups but encourage strangers to meet each other -- a single entering the room could be introduced to another single or find a RoundTable seat with other singles to generate fruitful if casual conversations. Larger alcoves would be available for organized groups to breakfast, lunch, tea, or dine together.
A lounge with comfortable seats and reading matter would provide reflective space for drop-in contemplators and conversers. A model illustrating the practicality of this idea can be found at the Indiana Memorial Union . It houses the Tudor Room for diners, and a separate Faculty Club lounge with assorted facilities for non-dining conviviality. A good dining room, the Ka'Ikena , already exists in the UH system, at Kapiolani Community College. The graduates of its Culinary Institute could intern at Manoa, earning money to support their studies leading to a B.A., perhaps in Liberal Studies. Such an arrangement could provide at moderate prices the kind of good dining facilities we need as reflected in SODEXHO-MARRIOTT As this Feb. 1 group wrote: "Sodexho-Marriott is killing campus life!" We need something better.
There's been a lot of discussion of the need for a Faculty Club, but this concept is flawed if it implies a conjoined restaurant. As the Indiana model shows, such a club can be successful without a restaurant. Even better, it would be more useful if it were a "University Club" open not only to faculty but also admiistrators, staff, and community people -- anyone with a university degree. If anyone were to have an office in the ConCenter, it would be servicers like the the UH Foundation, the Research Corporation, or any units dedicated to working with all parts of the university to promote and reward creativity. Their main offices should be elsewhere, but a side office in the ConCenter would enable them to converse with campus-based people who resist time-consuming off-campus trips.
ECU-CENTER: A second major center is also needed for town/gown interactions, a place with ample parking facilities for non-permit holders. To identify its special role, I thought of "ecumenical" but that refers to unity among Christians, or between religions. The stem, "ecu-" comes from a Greek word, "oikos," meaning "habitation," but we might adapt it to name a center designed to pull together many threads of the university and community that need to be interwoven. Could we, then, speak of an "ecu-center" as the ecumenic or home place for town/gown conviviality? Consider what some of these threads might involve:
Campus/Community Cooperation: A variety of town/gown groups have been established in recent years but their existence and activities remain amorphous and poorly articulated. The Ecu-Center should provide a communications hub to link these groups in a coherent manner, to identify soft spots or vacuums that need to be filled. A "Global-Local Discourse" list (GLOCAL-L) has been created as an e-mail information exchange to facilitate dialogue between interested individuals throughout the University system and the Community. It has barely started its activities. With the support of a home base in the EcuCenter, activists could meet in person and coordinate activities which might then home in many locations around Hawaii. A home site for GLOCAL-L already exists. It should be enhanced and, eventually, managed by someone (perhaps initially a volunteer retiree) working in the EcuCenter. Ideally a wide range of Web Sites for individuals and organizations in Hawaii linked on this Page would provide an invaluable resource for developmental planning and action.
University System: Conviviality in developing significant research and action projects for the University of Hawaii requires that resources on the Manoa campus be linked with those scattered elsewhere throughout our Uiversity System. Maps and sites for all these centers can be viewed at: UH Campuses . Except at the very top level, there seems to be precious little interaction among members of these different communities. Would it not be conducive to networking and cooperation to have a common ground where cross-system activities could be planned by those among them who want to facilitate cooperation by convivial interaction? Indeed, scholars and administrators employed in various other university and scholarly organizations located throughout Hawaii could fruitfully use the EcuCenter. This would certainly include the East-West Center -- although it is already located on the Manoa campus, and has excellent meeting spaces of its own, there are many contexts in which people from the EWC ought to meet with University people on University property, and the EcuCenter could host such meetings.
Experiential learning: many faculty and students work off campus for different purposes -- one that comes to mind involves "experiential learning" -- students serving as interns in community organizations that ranging from the Legislature to the Red Cross, from soup kitchens to sports clubs, museums, hotels and shops. In whatever role, they are expected to share their academic knowledge in a "real world" setting, and to learn from their experience. They become true campus-community bridges, and a significant number of internships, externships, practicums, etc. already exist. However, knowledge about them is fragmented and underutilized. The EcuCenter would provide an opportunity for organizers, clients, faculty and students from very dispersed places to meet, plan and make decisions about how they will organize, evaluate, and utilize these opportunities.
Servicing Clients: It would also provide supporting services designed to help off-campus clients who visit and use the EcuCenter to make better use of campus resources. There should be an information center able to help visitors find someone in the University who is qualified to answer questions and plan cooperation. Reciprocally, many clients would be University people seeking information about off-campus resources. Supporting data would not only include catalogs and brochures on paper, but a wealth of information available on University Web Sites, Message Boards, Calendars of events, archival and bibliographic references. Sometimes retirees could help as reposiories of living history and town/gown contacts.
Board of Regents: If one consults the UH Telephone Directory, or searches the UH Web Site, one will find no information about our Board of Regents -- only their naked names on the first page. Who are they? It is more difficult for university people to contact their Regents than it is to relate to their representatives in Congress or the State Legislature or City Council. All the officers of the Board share one room and phone number in Bachman Hall. Should not Regents have an office where they could spend some time to meet campus people and receive visitors -- surely that would enable them to do a better job as our governing council? The EcuCenter could provide such space for a strategic element in our system.
Retirees: Retired faculty have an association, FRAUHM, which links some university retirees. I do not know what comparable groups affiliate other retirees -- administators and staff people. All of them, I imagine, have interests affected by the University and would be willing to help as volunteers in a wide variety of capacities. An administrative officer based in the EcuCenter could provide liaison with retirees just as an office for alumni affairs creates links to former students.
Archives: Among the contributions retirees could offer would be documents and books from their personal collections to be maintained as a University Archive. Such an archive could be an invaluable research resource and a source of pride for friends and members of the University community. Some of the contributors might also be willing to give some money, even to make bequests, in support of these archives, and I suspect we could also find individuals willing to volunteer as archivists to help maintain the collection. To see an example of such an archive system open: IU Archives
The EcuCenter would be an ideal location for such archives and in addition to a professional custodian, volunteers could surely be recruited among the retirees both to contribute and help maintain and use the archives. They should also develop an Oral History project to records the memories of retirees as well as other community people to provide an invaluable historical resource. Would this not also be a good place to keep records of the Board of Regents? And perhaps also the reports of the Faculty Senate?
SINCLAIR: A building that is well situated for the proposed EcuCenter is the Sinclair Library. It appears to be an underutilized space at present. A strategic Report on Creating a U.H. Information and Production Commons for the Strategic Plannning exercise contains this proposal: "Locate building already in line for renovations with space available (e.g. Sinclair Library) Make one floor of the renovated space the Information/Production Commons." Since Gregg Geary who headed this group also heads Sinclair, it sounds persuasive. To make room for the informational activities recommended by Geary's group, as well as for the other functions proposed here, the library's current holdings could surely be consolidated in Hamilton Hall -- and the books that are not being used -- e.g., never borrowed during the past decade -- could be moved to an off-campus storage site as a "lending library". Should anyone need items so stored, they could be retrieved on demand and brought to the campus. A model of how this can be done may be found at the Auxiliary Library Facility of Indiana University.
Since the UH Library now enjoys an up-dated Voyager Library Catalog it will actually be possible to store little-used material anywhere in the system -- at West Oahu, for example, if their new facilaities are built to accommodate this resource. As for Sinclair, it already has visitor parking places that would be needed, and it also provides ideal spaces for archives, and for offices and cubicles that could be used to faciliate discourse between people from anywhere in Hawaii and those occupying any of the campus buildings near by.
SEEDING PROJECTS: To motivate creative activities, more than conviviality is needed. Among the motivators required to spur the creation of truly fruitful projects is a generous supply of seed grants. The University Research Council offers grants in response to applications supported by:
For further details see: Awards . It seems clear that after long and arduous preparation, a limited supply of funds can be made available to individuals based in the established academic units. At least the announcements offer no encouragement to projects that reflect the collegial thinking of cross-unit groups. Nor are the funds plentiful enough. They are so scarce that competition for them has generated a fierce "struggle for survival" environment.
To encourage truly innovative and promising projects, several steps might be contemplated.
If the grants for applied research were refundable, the fund for seed money could be grown. Recipients should be given a kind of credit rating that would affect the handling of applications: those who have succeeded would get a higher rating and those who fail would receive lower ratings. Highly rated groups would get seed money on request, those with low ratings would have to provide stronger supporting documentation and arguments.
I say applicant "groups" because projects should be sponsored by groups, not individuals, and they should be cross-disciplinary groups. Since the credit rating would pertain to groups rther than individuals, they would have an incentive to evaluate their own proposals. This would reduce the burden on a Research Council charged with evaluating applications in fields they scarcely understand. Groups that succeed would replenish the fund and be rewarded by hassle-free grants. This would encourage the most creative minds and reward the university. However, there should be financial advisers available to help applicants prepare their proposals -- they should even scout for good prospects and encourge timid souls to work on their project proposals, helping them meet requisite conditions and identify good extramural funding sources.
NETWORKING ON THE WEB: Please return to the list of centers and groups at the University of Chicago: Chicago Groups . Notice that every group has its own web site, and if you browse among these sites, you will see that they are extensive, support reseach and publications, conferences, and link peoplel not only within Chicago but across the country. They can, though this is not advertised, support e-mail lists to enable participants to keep in continuous contact with each other on the Web. Similarly, in Hawaii, every research group seeking seed grants should have its own sites, Web lists and external partners. Many scholars have their own Web Sites and the University of Chicago lists all of them at: Chicago Sites
Browsing through this list suggests another resource notably lacking at UH. Our own capacity to use the Internet effectively would be enhanced if those in our University who have Web Sites could more easily share experiences. Some departments do list their members who have Web Sites -- see: PoliSci Sites . Should not all departments be encouraged to do the same, and the University should list all of its faculty sites, in addition to its own home page. Moreover, there is no general cross-campus list for our University system. The ConCenter ought to have electronic advisers able to help everyone using the cemter to develop their Web Sites and electronic lists, and to link them by effective coordinating mechanisms, including also a calendar for events and a Message Board to support continuing communicatons and comments: might this just be a continuation of the Message Board already established for the Strategic Planning process?
VOLUNTEERS: Although the core activities that could be carried out through the proposed Campus Center would involve salaried employees of the University and students receiving grants, substantial contributions could also be made by volunteers. One type of volunteer that is especially important consists of retired personnel of the University, including faculty, administrators, and staff people who not only have a sentimental reason to want to help and remain in contact, but they also have a great deal of experience and wisdom to offer. The FRAUHM already mobilizes a substantial number of faculty retirees and, under the leadership of James McCutcheon, is available to advise and help develop volunteer services. The GLOCAL-L list, which I manage, reaches both university and community people intersted in cooperation on shared problems. We could easily develop this list as a resource for mobilizing volunteers to participate in specific projects. No doubt there are other organizations, groups and lists that can be used for similar purposes.
SUMMARY: Comments offered above deal with: MONEY, CREATIVITY, GRC, CAMPUS CENTER, PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE, HIVES FOR HYBRIDS, CON-CENTER, ECU-CENTER, SINCLAIR, SEEDING PROJECTS, NETWORKING, VOLUNTEERS. These are all interdependent themes and implementation would require decisions on space, personnel and resources that are surely feasible and would, strategically, greatly enhance the achievements and reputation of our beloved university.
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