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RESOLUTION ON STRATEGIC PLAN IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE’S PROPOSAL REGARDING PhD PROGRAM ADMISSIONS

Issue #68
Approved by the Manoa Faculty Senate on May 2, 2012
36 in support ; 21 against


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RESOLUTION ON STRATEGIC PLAN IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE’S PROPOSAL REGARDING PhD PROGRAM ADMISSIONS

Whereas the new strategic plan for UH Manoa targets, as one of its specific objectives for the coming decade, the improvement of graduate education; and

Whereas the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee has identified substantially increasing the amount of financial support to be made available for PhD students as one crucial method of improving graduate education, on the assumption that this will allow Manoa to attract even higher quality students and to keep good students who, under current circumstances, often find it financially difficult to complete their degrees; and

Whereas the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee has proposed, as a standard to be reached, insofar as this is possible, the provision of five years worth of full funding for all PhD students admitted to UH Manoa graduate programs; and

Whereas there is considerable variation in (a) the kinds of PhD programs on offer at Manoa, and (b) the financial needs and circumstances of PhD students in different programs; and

Whereas the financial resources that will be needed every year to implement the SPIC's proposal will run into tens of millions of dollars more than is currently earmarked for the support of graduate students; and

Whereas determining the appropriate size of PhD programs, once UH Manoa undertakes to guarantee the provision of five full years worth of funding for all PhD students, can no longer be exclusively the prerogative of the department in question; therefore,

Be it resolved that the Manoa Faculty Senate supports in principle the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee's proposal regarding the provision of financial support for PhD students, with the following provisions:

1) that no steps be taken to implement this proposal until substantial sources of new and ongoing financial support have been enlisted, commensurate with the requirements of the proposal; and
2) that it not necessarily be applied to the PhD programs of professional schools, on the grounds that many of their doctoral students are already gainfully employed within their respective fields, or that they generally pay their way with the expectation of compensatory salaries later; and
3) that exceptions be permitted even within strictly academic PhD programs in the case of particular PhD students who are already gainfully employed within their chosen professions; and
4) that this standard of five full years worth of financial support for all students admitted to PhD program be applied to each PhD program in accordance with a contract, tailored to the specific program's circumstances, negotiated between the chair and graduate chair of the program in question, the college dean to which the program belongs, and the Dean of Graduate Division; and
5) that no resources be siphoned off from currently well-funded PhD programs in order to make up for shortfalls in other programs; and
6) that UH Manoa improve its "research infrastructure"--that is, that it provide increased assistance for departments eager to identify external sources of support for its graduate students, as well as increased instructional support for effective grant writing; and
7) that the appropriate size of specific PhD programs be determined, as this proposal becomes more fully implemented, with attention paid in particular to: (a) a program's "critical mass" (i.e., the number of graduate students necessary to make the program's coursework requirements viable, and the number of faculty in the program), (b) a record of satisfactory progress towards degree completion by a program's students, (c) the desirability of maintaining places in the program for local and underrepresented students, and most importantly, (d) a program's placement record for its PhD graduates.