Boilerplate Descriptions for University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, College of Social Sciences, and Social Science Research Institute

  • Updated October 2020

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


The College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of the Territory of Hawaiʻi was founded in 1907 and became the University of Hawaiʻi in 1920 with the addition of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1972, the original campus in the Mānoa Valley of Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu was designated as the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa to distinguish it from the other units in the growing statewide University of Hawaiʻi System. UH Mānoa is the flagship of the ten campus UH System and the only institution of higher education in Hawaiʻi with a Carnegie Classification of R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity. UH Mānoa is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and Universities Commission. Professional programs are individually accredited by appropriate agencies. [1]


The mission of the University of Hawai‘i System is to provide quality college and university education and training; create knowledge through research and scholarship; provide service through extension, technical assistance, and training; contribute to the cultural heritage of the community; and respond to state needs. The UH System’s special distinction is found in its Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific orientation and international leadership role. Core values bind the system together: Hawai‘i’s gracious spirit of aloha; collaboration and respect; academic freedom and intellectual vigor; institutional integrity and service; access, affordability, and excellence; active learning and discovery; diversity, fairness, and equity; leveraged technology; Hawaiian and Asian-Pacific advantage; innovation and empowerment; accountability and fiscal integrity; and mālama ‘āina sustainability. [2]


Leadership for UH Mānoa is provided by the UH System President, a Provost, a Vice President for Administration, and four Vice Chancellors with responsibilities for the areas of academic affairs, research, students, and administration, finance & operations. The President is appointed by the UH Board of Regents, whose members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Hawaiʻi State Senate. The instructional and research responsibilities are carried out in 15 colleges and schools each headed by a dean and 81 organized research centers, institutes, programs and offices headed by a director. [3]

Selected Areas of Excellence

UH Mānoa has widely recognized strengths in tropical agriculture, tropical medicine, oceanography, astronomy, electrical engineering, volcanology, evolutionary biology, comparative philosophy, comparative religion, Hawaiian studies, Asian studies, Pacific Islands studies, and Asian and Pacific region public health. UH Mānoa offers instruction in more languages than any U.S. institution outside the Department of State. [2]

Student Enrollment

As of Fall Semester 2019, a total of 17,490 students were enrolled at UH Mānoa in 101 bachelor’s degree programs, 87 master’s degree programs, 59 doctorate programs, and professional degree programs in architecture, law, and medicine. Ranked as the 4th most ethnically diverse university in the U.S., the self-reported breakdown of the student body was: 35.9% Asian; 24.9% Caucasian; 18.6% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders; 16.4% Multiracial; 1.8% Hispanic; 1.6% African American; and 0.4% American Indian or Alaskan Native. Approximately 64% of the students are from in-state, 30% are from the rest of the U.S. and 7% are from other countries, and 61% are female. [4]

Faculty and Staff

The educational, research, and service role of UH Mānoa is carried out by 5,924 employees including 2,422 faculty, 1,419 administrative, professional and technical staff, 87 executive and management personnel, 1,336 graduate assistants, and 660 civil service staff. The instructional faculty is well qualified with approximately 87% holding a doctorate, professional or other terminal degree. In addition, 46.3% of the instructional faculty are female and 50.1% are members of minority groups. [5]

Operating Budget

As the only publicly funded institution of higher education in the state, the University of Hawai‘i System receives substantial support from the Hawai‘i State Legislature. In Fiscal Year 2020, the total operating expenses for the UH Mānoa campus were estimated at $634,018,182. Of this amount, $252,615,982 was from state general funds and the remaining $381,402,200 came from a combination of tuition and fees, research and training funds, and other special and revolving funds. [6]

Research Funding

In Fiscal Year 2020, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa received $338 million in extramural grant and contract awards for research and training. The largest supporters of research include federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and U.S. Departments of Defense, Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior and Agriculture. The units which were the largest recipients of extramural funding were the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology followed by the John A. Burns School of Medicine, the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Education, the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, and the Institute for Astronomy. [7]

Research Support

Faculty, staff and students at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa receive a wide range of research support services from UH System-wide units including the Office of Research Services, Office of Innovation and Commercialization/Office of Technology Transfer as well as the separate Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi (RCUH). Additional guidance is also provided under the Office of Research Compliance through the Human Studies Program, Biological Safety Program, Animal Welfare Program, Office of Export Controls, and Office of Research Integrity. The Human Studies Program is accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) and has filed an Assurance with the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP): Assurance number FWA3526. [8]

Information Technology

The University of Hawai‘i Information Technology Center houses enterprise information and communications technology systems and services that support modern teaching, administration, and research for all ten UH campuses and students throughout the state of Hawai‘i. The building features an energy-efficient disaster-hardened, 8,000-square-foot data center for enterprise servers, storage and communications, high-quality space for faculty to develop digital content, meeting and training rooms with teleconferencing capabilities. The sustainable building design meets LEED Gold certification standards and houses the UH Information Technology Services (ITS) support staff.

The UH Mānoa campus network is composed of 1Gbps and 10Gbps connections from the core to the fiber distribution hubs and from the distribution hubs to almost all of the campus buildings. The campus network core, along with the GigaPOP, is housed in the new UH Data Center alongside the UH IT Operations Center, which serves as a consolidated NOC and monitoring center for systems and services. With funding from the NSF CCNIE program, the campus network has been upgraded to 10Gbps for all major science buildings connecting to the UH Data Center. In aggregate the UH HPC cluster today has 6,308 cores across 297 nodes including 10 GPU nodes with a total of 56 GPUs. Once the cluster has been transformed with the upcoming NSF funded expansion, it will have 8,180 cores across 336 nodes including 21 GPU nodes with a total of 120 GPUs.

Library and Special Collections

The UH Mānoa Library contains over 3.2 million volumes housed in multiple locations across campus. An estimated 21,518 electronic books, 28,359 journals, 75,000 audiovisual items, and 259 electronic databases are also available for the use of faculty and students. Hamilton Library contains the majority of the research collections in all subjects including the Rare Books and Special Collections. The Asia Collection is the most significant collection of Asian materials in the State of Hawaiʻi and in the Pacific. The Hawaiian and Pacific Collections are the world’s foremost collections of published materials about Hawaiʻi and Pacific Island nations from Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. The Library is operated by a staff of around 3 managers, 50 librarians, 79 support staff, and 34 student assistants. [9]

International Focus

UH Mānoa has been involved in international education and research for more than 90 years. The university’s role in global exchange of academic and technical knowledge and resources builds upon its multinational faculty, institutional competence in selected fields, and the comparative advantages provided by the location and environmental diversity of Hawaiʻi. In addition, UH Mānoa ranks among the leading American institutions of higher education in terms of the number of foreign scholars on its staff and foreign students enrolled in its various academic programs. During the Fall semester of 2019, a total of 1,005 international students from 83 countries/regions were enrolled with the majority coming from the Asia-Pacific region. During the 2017-18 academic year, UH Mānoa had exchange and partnership agreements with 102 overseas universities and research centers. In 2013, UH Mānoa became a member of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, expanding and strengthening its ties with other top-ranked comprehensive research universities in Asia, Oceania, and Americas. [10]

College of Social Sciences

The College of Social Sciences (CSS) is located in Honolulu on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. CSS is comprised of 14 departments and programs: Anthropology; Communications, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Geography and Environment, Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Public Policy Center, Social Science Research Institute, Sociology, Urban and Regional Planning, and Women’s Studies and offers a doctoral degree in 8 of them. As one of the larger academic units on campus, CSS had 1,270 undergraduate students, 440 graduate students and over 150 faculty members in Fall 2019. Over the last four years, CSS awarded more degrees (undergraduate and graduate combined) than any other unit on campus. CSS is also the academic lead of the Daniel K. Inouye Initiative for Democratic Leadership which is designed to inspire and advance public understanding of Hawai’i and U.S. political history, democracy and government, public service leadership, democratic ideals and global awareness. [11, 12]

Social Science Research Institute


The Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) serves as the sponsored research division of the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences. As such, all contracts and grants awarded to faculty in the College of Social Sciences are administered by SSRI. SSRI also facilitates and supports interdisciplinary, applied research that addresses critical social, environmental, and economic problems primarily in Hawaiʻi and the Asia Pacific region. This is done through collaboration with faculty and students throughout the University of Hawaiʻi System and with other educational and research institutions, regional and international organizations, the private sector, and federal, state, and county agencies. It is supported largely by contracts and grants from public agencies and private organizations. SSRI provides practical experience to students at UH Mānoa through involvement in research, planning, and training projects. Institute staff provide county, state, and federal agencies and local community groups in Hawaiʻi with training and technical assistance. SSRI also works with instructional units to integrate their research efforts into courses offered at UH Mānoa.

Currently, SSRI projects focus on these areas of inquiry: telecommunication and information policy; crime, drug abuse and public safety; resources and sustainable development; health services and health policy; program evaluation, and culture, language and social problems. SSRI cooperatively manages the UH Economic Research Organization (UHERO) with the Department of Economics and the Hui ʻĀina Momona program with the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. The Telecommunications and Social Informatics Program (TASI)/Pacific Health Informatics Data Center (PHIDC), Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Initiative Research Program, and the Office for Evaluation and Needs Assessment Services, which provides needs assessment and research evaluation services, are also administered by SSRI. [13]


SSRI is housed on the 7th Floor of Saunders Hall on the UH Mānoa campus. The Institute maintains a full complement of PC and Macintosh computers and has direct access to the UH System’s UNIX computer network and the World Wide Web. The Institute also supports a Video Conference Center and is tied to the Hawaiʻi Interactive Television system (HITS). SSRI is a hosting site for the Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT), a public service satellite telecommunications network linking educational institutions, regional organizations, and governments in the Pacific Islands region. The Institute maintains some of the most extensive collections of materials on futures research, disaster mitigation, coastal zone management, oral history, and juvenile delinquency, in Hawai‘i.

Staff and Extramural Funding

SSRI personnel includes the interim director, associate director, assistant to the director, grant development specialist, three research services specialists, three fiscal administrators, and three fiscal and administrative support specialists, and one evaluation specialist. The volume of research and training contracts and grants have been increasing steadily for the College of Social Sciences and Social Science Research Institute and currently stands at around $15.7 million per year. [14]