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Audit of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Non-Instructional Personnel

Report No. 97-6


In response to Section 72.1, Act 287, Session Laws of Hawaii 1996, the State Auditor conducted a management audit of non-instructional positions at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Section 72.1 also requested a cost benefit analysis for the centralization versus decentralization of all fiscal, personnel and clerical positions.  However, we found that there is no single model of a centralized or decentralized organizational structure for such positions.  We focused our analysis instead on Manoa's present management of non-instructional personnel. 

The University of Hawaii at Manoa's primary mission is instruction.  The campus offers course work leading to bachelor's degrees, professional degrees and diplomas, and master's and doctoral degrees.  While carrying out this primary mission, the University of Hawaii at Manoa also pursues important research and service functions.  All campus personnel, instructional and non-instructional alike, are hired within this framework to help the campus with its flagship role in creating, preserving, and transmitting knowledge.  Our review of the utilization of non-instructional personnel at Manoa is designed to identify and assess how well the campus has made use of this important resource. 

The university does not have a specific classification for "non-instructional personnel." The university does, however, have four major personnel categories: faculty; executive/managerial staff; administrative, professional, and technical staff; and civil service.  For purposes of this audit, we reviewed the latter three categories. 

The audit found that the colleges and schools at the Manoa campus have significant flexibility in identifying and determining their own non-instructional personnel needs.  While this flexibility may be advantageous, it also has drawbacks when no administrative entity assumes responsibility for ensuring non-instructional personnel are equitably allocated to the campus subunits and that those allocations help the subunits address their own missions as well as campus and university missions.  Manoa currently does not assign an administrative entity with the authority to review campus-wide non-instructional personnel needs and ensure that these needs are addressed. 

The audit also found that the University of Hawaii at Manoa does not have a human resource plan for its non-instructional personnel.  As a consequence, Manoa cannot determine whether the allocation of non-instructional personnel is justifiable and equitable.  In addition, it has difficulty determining whether non-instructional personnel contribute to meeting the mission and goals of the university.  The University of Hawaii has developed a draft strategic plan for the period 1997 through 2007.  We commend the university for committing to the concepts noted in the strategic plan.  We note that this would also be a good opportunity to develop a human resource plan that would complement the strategic plan.  The human resource plan would specify how human resources are to be used and would ensure that the organization has the right number of people with the right skills available to do the required jobs. 

Recommendations and Response

We recommend that the president of the university establish a central oversight authority for the Manoa campus that is responsible for the following: reviewing non-instructional personnel needs of the various units; prioritizing these needs in relation to the focus and direction of the university; and periodically reviewing the results of these efforts and taking corrective action as necessary. 

We also recommend that the president of the university ensure that a human resources plan is developed and implemented for the Manoa campus.  The plan should be: a) tied to the university's mission and strategic plan, b) able to justify the allocation of non-instructional personnel, and c) able to provide for a needs assessment and periodic evaluation of non-instructional resources. 

The University of Hawaii concurred with the audit findings and recommendations.  The university also provided the following additional information.  The university is in the process of installing a human resources system that will go a long way towards providing the type of management information necessary for an effective system.  The Manoa campus has gone through a rather extensive process of centralized review, monitoring, and assessment of its staffing due to budget reductions.  Each college and school has justified its positions and budgets during budget hearings with the executive vice chancellor and the chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  The university further added that each campus and subunit within the campus is now developing unit plans to accomplish the goals of the strategic plan.  The unit plans should provide the degree of specificity that we pointed out was lacking in the strategic plan.

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