Public higher education in Hawaii plays a critical role in preparing people for quality jobs and fostering a life-long commitment to learning. Traditional students and adults returning to school to retool for new careers all benefit from the University of Hawaii system. Yet we are all painfully aware that many of our elected officials have not given higher education and faculty their proper due respect.
In an economic environment in which revenue generation and related cost cutting continue to be the order of the day, the quality of public higher education continues to be threatened. The UH has become a target from which to take away funds. Accessibility and affordability of public higher education will begin to emerge as key concerns among Hawaii students unless we intervene and begin to take action now.
After two years of contract negotiations, we have come a long way. We have a six-year agreement now in place, but the battle is far from over. We must now boldly engage in shaping public policy to ensure the terms of the contract can be effectively honored with adequate funding for the UH system. This heightened emphasis on public policy may be new for many UHPA members, but circumstances demand our undivided attention and involvement in this arena to ensure public higher education remains a priority.
In the coming weeks, watch for our new web pages on the UHPA website devoted to helping you stay abreast of the latest public policy issues. Since this is a pivotal election year, be sure to visit these pages frequently for information on issues, candidates and other information to help you stay informed and make informed choices in the polls.