The incoming president of the University of Hawaii system says part of his new role is to replace school executives who aren't advancing U.H. goals, and one of those goals is to improve the four-year graduation rate.
"One of the most important jobs the regents have is to hire and, unfortunately at times, separate from presidents," David Lassner said Wednesday on Hawaii News Now Sunrise, his first live interview since being chosen by the school's Board of Regents. "One of the most important things a president does is to take responsibility for the hiring and release of key leaders, vice presidents, chancellors, and others who report to me."
Asked if that means he's not ruling out such action to meet his own goals, Lassner said, "It's my job." And to the suggestion that he may make fewer friends going forward, Lassner replied, "I absolutely believe that is the case. That's inevitable."
UH has a lower four-year degree rate than many universities. Lassner notes that with less scholarship assistance, many UH students stretch out their studies while holding down jobs to pay tuition, but he still wants to improve the graduation rate.
"That's absolutely something we need to work on," he said, and noted that the graduation numbers vary from campus to campus.
Promoted from within after years as the University's information technologies chief, Lassner was acting president for months before his permanent appointment Monday. Unlike previous presidents recruited from the mainland, Lassner will be an "at will" employee whom the regents can replace without constraints.