Chancellor Thomas Apple may be new to Hawai‘i, but he has plans to foster student success, boost student attendance in athletics and utilize research as an economic generator for the university.
GREATER STUDENT MOTIVATION
“My role is to make sure ... that the university provides an opportunity for the students here to find their passion and to have a transformational experience here and make sure that the students are prepared for their future careers,” Apple said.
In his own experience, Apple found himself drawn to lab research on magnetic resonance and quantum mechanics. He also attributed his academic success to the solid relationships he formed with the faculty. “To me, having students be more successful is really about having them make that connection [with faculty] and find their passion,” stated Apple. He cited study abroad, experiential learning and problem-based settings as a few examples of how students can find subjects that interest them and turn those passions into successful careers.
ROUSE THE CROWDS
Apple wants to increase both student success and involvement. Low attendance at athletic events caused Apple to push for a change to get more students to take advantage of their free admission to games. Apple is open to suggestions on how to raise the turnout at athletic events, in hopes of bringing the students and the community in around football.
Besides wanting to engage in collaborative decision-making with the athletic department, Apple described his relationship with the athletics department administration as one of admiration for head football coach Norm Chow for his success on and off the field.
However, according to Apple, graduation rates still take precedence over athletics. “I want to support student-athletes, but put the student first,” Apple said.
MORE RESEARCH, MORE FUNDING
In addition to these goals, Apple discussed how he intends to double UH Mānoa’s $300 million funding in research grants within the next five to ten years by finding areas where there are competitive advantages. He listed the study of ocean systems and astronomy, exploration on food and energy sustainability and health issues like diabetes and obesity as good research areas.
“We’ve got to take those research discoveries ... and turn them into wealth ... [to] create business from them,” he explained. “[We need to] develop our intellectual property, our technology transfers, our licensing, our patents ... to build a new economy. The next step is to learn to take those advances we make in research and really turn them into an economic engine.”