1. home About the System News UMS Press Releases Center for Graduate Professional Studies Advisory Board

Center for Graduate Professional Studies Advisory Board

Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies Advances with
100-Member Advisory Board and New Vision for Maine Graduate Education

 Chief Justice, Maine State Chamber CEO among professional leaders joining Advisory Board as Maine Universities Take Next Step in Transformation of Graduate Education

 PORTLAND, MAINE – University of Maine System Chancellor James Page and Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies CEO Eliot Cutler announced today that more than 100 leaders from Maine’s business, legal and public service communities have joined the newly established Advisory Board for the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies.

The Maine Center Initiative was launched to bring together under one roof University of Maine System graduate programs in law, business and possibly public service. The new Maine Center consortium will be a model for entrepreneurial, multi-disciplinary professional education and will help drive statewide economic development. The Harold Alfond Foundation has contributed $1.75 million to the planning process.

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and Maine State Chamber CEO Dana Connors are among more than 100 legal, business and community leaders who have agreed to contribute their advice and support as planning advances under Eliot Cutler’s leadership to create a first-of-its-kind professional education center in Portland, Maine.

The Board will be co-chaired by Maine Law alum Hilary Rapkin, currently of WEX; Maine Law alum Anne Lucey, currently of CBS Corporation; Miles Theeman, a Lubec, Maine native and formerly of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems; and Ray Gauvin with the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative.

“I am pleased to be invited to the table at the launch of this exciting educational initiative for Maine students,” said Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. “The opportunities created by a Professional Graduate Center at the University of Maine will enhance career options at the intersection of law and business.  As we know, real world problems don’t always fit neatly into a box labeled ‘law’ or ‘business.’  This new collaboration will provide a platform for the changes that will help Maine students prepare to tackle complex problems in an ever evolving environment.”

“I was pleased to accept Eliot’s invitation to join the Center’s Advisory Board, as were so many of my colleagues in Maine’s business community,” said Dana Connors, CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber wants to help the university transform itself. Our graduate schools need to produce an increased number of more broadly educated and experienced graduates if Maine is to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. The Center promises to be truly revolutionary, updating the current academic model through exciting innovation and collaboration.”

“I am grateful that so many Maine leaders have come together from all corners of the state and put their shoulders to the wheel on behalf of the Maine Center,” said Graduate Professional Center CEO Eliot Cutler.

“The Center is a demand-driven response to both student needs and Maine’s economic challenges. Our graduate programs in business, law and public service need to deliver more of the broadly educated professionals that Maine needs and where Maine needs them, helping our economy grow and connecting Mainers with emerging opportunities. Maine needs graduates who have been prepared by the experiential quality, the integrated breadth and the imaginative content of their education to excel in an economy that is being redefined before our eyes.

“The Center will be profoundly important for Maine. It will strengthen and transform graduate and professional education in our state. It will broaden professional opportunities for Maine citizens, attract entrepreneurs and businesses to Maine, and help drive statewide economic growth,” concluded Cutler.

As part of the planning process Cutler and Chancellor Page have established an Innovation Table that brings together the deans and faculty representatives from the law, MBA and public service programs at the University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine to promote collaboration across campuses and programs and to foster discussions with the professional leaders serving on the Advisory Board.

“The caliber of this advisory group is impressive. I think their experience and knowledge will be tremendously helpful in guiding our faculty to curricular decisions that will translate the vision into a reality,” says Joanne Williams, Dean, University of Southern Maine’s College of Management and Human Service.

“The University of Maine faculty and students have a 150-year tradition of working closely with community and business leaders to advance the economy of our state,” said Ivan Manev, Dean, Maine Business School, University of Maine.  “We look forward to partnering with the accomplished leaders who have joined the Maine Center’s Advisory Board to enhance research and academic programs to help define tomorrow for our state and our students.”

Earlier this year Chancellor Page and the UMS Board of Trustees launched the One University Initiative, a student and service-focused, multi-year innovation to streamline administrative functions across seven mission-differentiated university campuses in Maine and to improve academic coordination and statewide student access to programs.   Business education is one of the first nine programs to be part of the statewide Academic Transformation process that brings faculty and staff together from across Maine to consider how to enhance cross-campus cooperation and better leverage university resources.

The vision of university business education identified in the Academic Transformation Process includes both the establishment of a single, statewide MBA as part of the Maine Center Initiative and the development of plans across the campuses to expand curricula efficiencies and pathways into graduate education in order to ease academic advancement for students. Chancellor Page endorsed this vision earlier in the month and charged faculty, staff and administrators to complete the campus-centered work needed to achieve these objectives.

“The Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies will be a model of what the One University Initiative can accomplish through academic integration, innovation and the leveraging of resources,” said Chancellor Page. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank the Maine leaders who have agreed to join our planning efforts. Working together across our campuses and with our community partners we will enhance quality, create career opportunities and advance the Maine economy.”