BANGOR, Maine — University of Maine System leaders on Monday will hear their first major update on systemwide academic program restructuring aimed at shoring up the system’s financial struggles and refocusing universities on the programs at which they’re most successful.
UMS trustees will hold their regular all-day meeting at the system headquarters starting at 9 a.m.
The system hired Ellen Chaffee to direct this effort, known as the Academic Portfolio Review and Integration Process, under Chancellor James Page’s One University initiative. That push aims to create “mission-differentiated” campuses that focus on their strongest offerings. It also seeks to increase cooperation between campuses that share programs and reduce duplication and competition within the system.
Chaffee will deliver her first quarterly update to trustees during Monday’s meeting.
Between January and May, nine teams made up of faculty and staff from each campus met to discuss quality, access and financial sustainability of business, criminal justice, education, engineering, history, languages, marine science, nursing and recreation and tourism programs across the system. Their reports have been completed and passed on to the campuses’ chief academic officers and the system office.
The chief academic officers have drafted recommendations based on those reports. A few examples include single master’s of business administration program for UMaine and the University of Southern Maine and a uniform curriculum for students in their first two years of mechanical and electrical engineering programs.
In other business, trustees are expected to:
— Consider approval for the spending of up to $9 million to build the Cooperative Extension Diagnostic Research Center at UMaine. That center would be used by the extension to study animal and plant diseases, including the state’s only tick identification laboratory. A voter-approved bond will provide $8 million of that funding. The University of Maine System and UMaine Cooperative Extension will each match $250,000. The remaining $500,000, from Maine Technology Institute, will cover the cost of lab equipment.
— Hear from the new University of Maine School of Law dean, Danielle Conway, about the work she’s done to support enrollment and outreach efforts since February.
— Consider the sale of an unused building on the University of Southern Maine Portland campus, 11 Granite St., as part of an ongoing effort to reduce the footprint of the seven-campus university system.
— Recognize outgoing University of Maine at Fort Kent President Wilson Hess as he prepares to retire, and appoint his interim replacement. Hess’ retirement becomes official Sept. 4.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.