UH to conduct its own search for next president

UH to conduct its own search for next president

University of Hawaii Board of Regents chairman John Holzman said it took months to make the decision to dismiss the idea of using an outside firm to find the next UH president because the selection committee wanted to be careful.

"All the experts say use a firm. But what we wanted to do was go out and talk to our constituency first and see what they had to say," he said.

The focus now turns to finding someone "local" but it doesn't mean that person lives in Hawaii. Holzman said In a broader sense "local" means someone who understands the state.

"What we want is someone who understands how important this university is to these islands," Holzman said.

UH student government president Richard Mizusawa is on the selection committee.

"My opinion is that someone local would be someone both inside or outside of the university community in Hawaii who has a sense of the local culture here," he said.

Alex Bitter is an editor at the campus newspaper Ka Leo. He has written about the presidential search.

"I would argue it's very important to have someone who understands the student perspective," he said. "Maybe even if they could get an alumnus or an alumna, that would certainly be a plus."

The search committee will now process applications and interview candidates. UH Professional Assembly executive director JN Musto believes the committee members are capable.

"I think once they got through the process of vetting firms, looking at what they would provide and what they cost, I think it's an extraordinarily reasonable conclusion to say we don't need that to achieve what we're after," he said.

There are about 60,000 students and 10,000 employees across the UH system's ten campuses. The selection committee is made up of 14 members.

They will accept applications for UH president through June.

"We're lucky that they're taking the time that they're taking, at no cost to the state, to really try and do this search right," Holzman said.

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