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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 23, 2005

Englert ousted as Manoa chancellor

By Beverly Creamer and Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Education Writers

University of Hawai'i interim President David McClain announced yesterday that Manoa chancellor Peter Englert's contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of July, in effect, firing him.

McClain said his recommendation was based on an evaluation of the Manoa campus leader.

Outgoing Board of Regents chairwoman Patricia Lee said the board would "stand behind" McClain's recommendation.

McClain would not go into detail on the decision but did say the situation "is not black and white. It wasn't all bad and all good. On balance were we making the kind of progress we needed to make? I decided not. And I made my decision accordingly."

Englert, a renowned scientist who is part of the international Mars project research team, will assume a tenured faculty position in the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at an annual salary of $165,000, with $100,000 a year for three years as a "startup package" of research support funds.

Yesterday, Englert issued a statement that said he ends his three years as chancellor at Manoa "with pride in what my management team and I have been able to accomplish, but with recognition that there is much unfinished business."

He said key accomplishments during his tenure include improvements in the quality of teaching and research, growth in external funding from less than $200 million to more than $325 million annually and growth of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies programs.

But Englert has also been the focal point for much discord on campus, some of it to do with his style over the reorganization of the Manoa management structure, as well as his leadership of the campus with the hope of establishing Manoa as a new Navy University Affiliated Research Center.

Amy Agbayani, who heads the Office of Student Equity, said McClain's decision was the best for the university.

Early on, Englert decided to reorganize student affairs — without input from anyone in the office, she said. He later relented and formed a task force that worked for a year to come up with recommendations, which Agbayani said he ignored. "He thinks he's communicating and consulting (by forming the task force), but then he doesn't follow the recommendations," she said.

Student senator Katie Barry said she thought Englert has done a great job, but she had issues with the way students were included in the decision-making process.

But Englert has strong supporters as well.

On Tuesday, Jon Osorio, director of the Center for Hawaiian Studies, speaking on behalf of the Kuali'i Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, urged regents to renew Englert's contract. Osorio said Englert had exerted beneficial leadership and funding for Native Hawaiians and the university as a whole.

Chuck Hayes, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and a member of Englert's executive committee, credited Englert with bringing in excellent vice chancellors and deans, helping increase research funding and attracting more students.

McClain said he has begun discussions with faculty and students and hopes to choose an interim chancellor by Aug. 1. The Manoa chancellor is essentially the operations manager for the largest campus in the 10-campus UH system, handling everything from budgets to long-range planning.

Reach Beverly Creamer at bcreamer@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8013 and Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8014.

Correction: Jon Osorio is director of the Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai'i. His title was incorrect in a previous version of this story.