||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2005
CONTACT: John Diamond (949-4904)
UNIVERSITY SYSTEM TRUSTEES RECEIVE UPDATES ON STRATEGIC PLANNING PROGRESS
FARMINGTON- The University of Maine System Board of Trustees on Monday completed two days of meetings focusing primarily on elements of its year-old strategic planning initiative.
Meeting at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), the Board heard from a panel of four UMF faculty members who discussed its support for converting UMFs academic curriculum to a set of four-credit course offerings. Currently UMF and the six other universities of the System offer, for the most part, three-credit courses.
According to UMF President Theodora Kalikow, the change will increase the focus and depth of study that students will receive in courses, and will generate greater interaction between faculty and students.
System Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal noted that many of UMFs peer institutions in other states have switched to a four-credit curriculum. Westphal said that the change is consistent with UMFs role within the System as a public liberal arts college with a strong teacher-education program.
The conversion to four-credit courses will begin in the fall of 2006.
In other business:
- President Richard Cost of the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) presented an update on his universitys strategic plan and its relationship to the Trustees System-wide initiative.
- Trustees received an update on the Systems diversity action plan. Adopted in 1998, the plan is intended to achive and sustain greater diversity among faculty and staff, the students they serve, the curriculum offered, and the communities in which they learn and live.
- Trustees also received a presentation by Dr. Thomas C. Longin on governance in higher education. Longin is a retired vice president of the national Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). Governance issues have been topics of discussion during the strategic planning process.
- The University of Maine (UMaine) received approval to establish commercialization space at its aquaculture research facility, the center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, located on Taunton Bay in Franklin, Maine. The space could be leased or sold to an entity interested in turning university-based research and development into marketable products. This development is consistent with the States desire to use university-based research to generate jobs and economic development.
The Board will hold its next meeting Dec. 4-5 at the University Systems new location of its operations center on Central Street in Bangor. That operations center will house the Chancellors office as well as more than 100 employees who perform centralized administrative and planning services in support Maines seven universities and eleven academic outreach centers. The operations center is scheduled to complete its move to the new location by October 21.
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state's largest educational entity, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. It features seven universities -- some with multiple campuses -- located across the state, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites. For more information, log onto www.maine.edu.