Updated: Mar 22, 2021
First impressions from UOG President Thomas W. Krise
Two days into his tenure as president of the University of Guam, Dr. Thomas W. Krise is working to get his bearings in the new role, but generally pleased with what he’s seen so far.
“This institution has a lot to be proud of and I’m proud to be part of the team now,” Dr. Krise told local Guam reporters at a sort of ‘get to know you’ event at his office on campus Wednesday.
Dr. Krise got the immediate good news for any academic administrator that 966 new freshman students are enrolled for the fall, compared to 717 last year.
Dr. Krise said he is impressed by the number of UOG grads to be found in leadership roles in the immediate region and by the extension role UOG plays in Micronesia. He also noted UOG accomplishments in Chamorro language studies and the work of the Micronesian Area Research Center
Reporters were curious about lingering hard feelings by local candidates for the presidency who were passed over in his favor, but Dr. Krise said he’s also had the experience of being an ‘internal’ candidate passed over by an ‘outside’ candidate. In fact, he said, Guam isn’t much different from other territorial institutions of higher learning.
“My experience of island cultures—I went to high school in the Virgin Islands and my academic interests are in the Caribbean islands and I’ve taught in Jamaica, so I’m aware of those kinds of issues. They are issues that actually apply in lots of other places, so at most universities they’ll be in a presidential search process, there’ll be an argument about outsider insider, how much do we want to weigh one thing against the other? So these are issues that are not unique to Guam and UOG.”
In addition to previous academic administrative experience, he is a retired military officer, which he sees as relevant credentials for his new job on Guam.
“My academic career has been focused on issues of imperialism, colonialism and how island communities—in my case it’s the Caribbean islands—but there’s interesting similarities to the experience of the places… Having military experience is also useful. I found it in my last institution, where the campus was so close to the third largest military base in the country that you could hear the base bugle calls on the campus.”
And as that suggests, Dr. Krise says that Guam’s large veterans community will get his attention as it did at a previous school.
Dr. Krise says he’s not ready to address the implications of the current Guam budget battle as it affects UOG, but he’s conferring daily with both the school’s finance officer and with outgoing President Dr. Robert Underwood.
He does hope to encourage students to commit to wrapping up their degrees earlier and finding ways to help those who are first in their family to attend college address the problems they face.
He’s also hoping to contribute to educating the mainland United States about Guam and the other territories. Dr. Krise said that in the U.S., “the ignorance of Guam and the territories is astonishing.”
More to come from Dr. Krise in the September edition of Pacific Island Times.