MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii Manoa has paid an executive coach $200 an hour to work with new deans and other administrators, a move that's come under fire as a questionable use of funds when the flagship campus is millions in the red.
UH officials defended the executive training as an "industry standard."
A UH Manoa spokesman said the campus has spent at least $52,000 over four years paying psychologist and executive coach Carol Gallagher to work with new UH deans, chairs of departments and other administrators.
Some UH colleges spent additional money hiring Gallagher for more sessions, in what UH Spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said is a good investment.
"This is a best practice that's common place throughout corporate American and throughout academia," Meisenzahl said.
UH Psychology Department Chair Ashley Maynard attended one of Gallagher's sessions with about 15 administrators from the Social Sciences College in January.
"It concerns me that some of the most highly paid people at our campus are being sent to use the services of this person when I think they can certainly afford to do this on their own dime," Maynard said.
Maynard points out UH Manoa deans are paid anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000 and higher and she said the $52,000 the university paid for executive coaching could have been better spent hiring part-time lecturers for about a dozen classes.
"Any amount that is being spent on her services is not being spent to educate our students," Maynard said.
But Meisenzahl said, "You have to train your managers. You could have all kinds of lecturers. But if the leadership at the top, they're not operating efficiently and they have all kinds of HR issues because they haven't been trained properly, I think that's a bigger problem."
UH Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Reed Dasenbrock, whose office paid for much of the coaching, is the target of complaints by 23 faculty who accuse him of bullying, racist and sexist behavior. Maynard is one of the complainants in the case, which is being investigated by UH personnel officials.
Maynard said she reluctantly took an on-line personality test when Gallagher promised that the results would be kept confidential.
"When we walked into the room for the workshop, there were some handouts and on a page was was everyone's individual personality profile with each individual's name attached. And I felt betrayed because I had been promised confidentiality and anonymity," Maynard said.
Asked to comment on Maynard's confidentiality complaint, Meisenzahl said, "I'm not sure about this particular instance. I'm not sure if there was a communication breakdown between the two of them about what was going to be shown."
Maynard, who has served on UH's committee that oversees the use of human subjects in research, said, "I was horrified by the use of this personality inventory in our academic setting because this is such an old measure. It's not clear to me that it's been validated in the academic setting."
Meisenzahl stood behind the training, and said, "We should be operating more like a business to make sure that every dime is spent efficiently and part of that is training your leaders on how to handle human resources issues, and that's just one of the many aspects that they're trained in when they become new deans."
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