UMA & UMFK Leadership Changes & One University Financial Management Reorganization
Proven University Leaders Tasked To Interim Presidential Positions at UMA and UMFK While National Searches for New Leaders Progress and One University Reorganization of Financial Management Team
Estimated $375,000 in one-time, annualized compensation savings to be realized as existing staff contributes in new ways to the advancement of the One University Initiative
BANGOR, MAINE – University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that he has tasked proven university leaders to interim presidential appointments at the University of Maine at Augusta and the University of Maine at Fort Kent while the national searches for new leaders at both of those institutions progress. The Chancellor also announced that the University of Maine’s Vice President for Administration and Finance would be assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer for the University of Maine System as envisioned by the new unified Finance and Administrative Model approved by the UMS Board of Trustees at their May 2015 meeting.
The drive to establish One University for all of Maine includes a commitment to maintaining seven mission-differentiated universities led by their own president that realizes efficiencies and excellence through statewide scale while improving coordination and access to academic programs across the campuses through a unified administrative and financial structure.
Interim President John Murphy, University of Maine at Fort Kent: Incumbent UMFK CFO John Murphy, who has served as an administrator at UMFK for more than 20 years and is a past interim leader of the university, has been appointed to the interim presidency of the institution to fill a vacancy created by the scheduled retirement of President Wilson Hess. President Murphy will continue to maintain his financial management responsibilities during the search for a new leader at UMFK.
The dual appointment of Mr. Murphy as Interim President and CFO is expected to achieve $180,000 in one-time, annualized salary and benefits savings.
The national search for a new leader at the University of Maine at Fort Kent is underway and being chaired by UMS Board of Trustee Member Norman Fournier of Wallagrass, Maine in Aroostook County. The search committee’s campus and community representatives are now being selected with an initial meeting of the full committee planned for later in July. The committee is expected to present final candidates to the UMS Board of Trustees in early 2016.
“It has been a privilege to live, work and serve in the St. John Valley for more than forty years,” said incoming UMFK Interim President John Murphy. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and community to ensure the continuation of the positive momentum we have established at UMFK. Many will be part of our efforts to successfully transition our campus to new leadership. We will build a stronger team thanks to the cross training and skill development opportunities available to the members of our faculty and staff who take on new work responsibilities in the coming months.”
“We have made great strides at UMFK, increasing enrollment, strengthening our roots in the region, and extending our reach across the state and around the world,” said outgoing President Wilson Hess. “John Murphy has been a steady and trusted member of the leadership team that is responsible for our success and I have every confidence in his ability to serve the university, its students and stakeholders as Interim President.”
“John Murphy has amassed four decades of service to the St. John Valley,” said UMFK Board of Visitors Chair Kelly Martin. “We have come to know John as a friend and respected leader. The UMFK Board of Visitors looks forward to working closely with President Murphy to advance both our campus and our community.”
Interim President Rebecca Wyke, University of Maine At Augusta: Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration and UMS Treasurer Rebecca Wyke is being temporarily assigned to the Interim Presidency of the University of Maine at Augusta while a search for a new leader for UMA continues with the expectation that finalists will be presented to the UMS Board of Trustees at their November 2015 meeting. The search committee has already begun meeting and is chaired by Trustee Marjorie Medd.
During her tenure as Interim President of UMA Dr. Wyke will also be leading the University of Maine System Presidents Council work on the development of a unified online strategy. UMA has been a state and national leader in the delivery of academic content through online channels and will be critical to expanding online access to academic offerings for both traditional-age students and adult learners.
Dr. Wyke has served as Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the University of Maine System for seven years. The Augusta resident and former Commissioner of the Maine Department of Administration and Finance recently transitioned her office to the UMA campus as part of the planned closure of the University of Maine System Office in Bangor.
The Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration position will remain vacant during the temporary reassignment of Dr. Wyke to UMA. The finance responsibilities of the position will be assumed as part of the reorganization needed to implement the Unified Finance and Administration Model approved by the Board of Trustees in May. Details follow below. Other responsibilities in the Vice Chancellor’s portfolio will be tasked to existing administrative leaders. UMS Board of Trustees will name an interim Treasurer at its July 2015 meeting.
“With nationally recognized online programs, university centers across Maine and campuses in both Augusta and Bangor, UMA has a statewide mission of transforming the lives of students of every age and background,” said Dr. Rebecca Wyke. “I welcome the chance to join the university’s strong and established leadership team as Interim President and help further improve opportunities for advancement for all Maine learners through UMA’s high-quality distance and on-site education programs.”
“Dr. Wyke has all the skills and experience to continue the superb legacy of UMA in helping students across the State of Maine meet their educational goals,” said President Glenn Cummings. “She brings a uniquely qualified understanding of both the University of Maine System and the workings of state government to the university.”
“With a statewide mission, a strong student-focus, and emerging opportunities in distance education, UMA is poised to be a critical partner in the development of the One University Model in Maine,” said Janet Parkhurst, Chair of the UMA Board of Visitors. “Our university and the students and communities we serve across Maine will be well served by Dr. Wyke’s commitment to public service and higher education.”
University of Maine Vice President of Administration and Finance Ryan Low to assume statewide financial management and leadership role: Chancellor Page also announced that University of Maine VP of Administration and Finance Ryan Low would be assuming the Chief Financial Officer position for the entire University of Maine System, directing statewide financial management as envisioned by the new Unified Finance and Administrative Model approved unanimously by the UMS Board of Trustees at their May 2015 meeting. The CFOs at the other six public universities will transition into Chief Business Officer positions and report directly to CFO Low while coordinating with their respective campus leaders.
As part of the One University Initiative Maine’s Universities will dramatically reduce and reorganize all administrative functions into a single, integrated administrative structure appropriate to the institution’s mission, resources and size. Starting in fiscal year 2017 the seven individual university budgets will transition to a unified financial management system that enhances transparency, ensures appropriate fiscal controls, and makes possible comprehensive system-wide collaboration.
CFO Low will continue to work out of the finance offices at the University of Maine in Orono with existing members of the finance team taking on more responsibilities around the financial management of the University of Maine. The financial staff of the University of Maine System will also report to CFO Low and are being relocated to offices at UMaine as part of the plan to close the system office in Bangor. Consequently there will be no new positions created or filled at UMaine or elsewhere in the system.
The temporary reassignment of Dr. Wyke to the Interim Presidency at UMA and the unification of the system’s financial management team is expected to achieve $207,000 in one-time, annualized salary and benefits savings.
“Ryan Low has successfully managed budgets at UMaine and the State of Maine, earning the respect and appreciation of leaders across our campuses and at the State House,” said UMS Board of Trustee Chair Samuel Collins of Caribou. “Ryan has the financial acumen, commitment to collaboration, and credibility needed to unify our seven, siloed financial systems into one seamless, statewide model.”
“Ryan Low has been an outstanding addition to the University of Maine leadership team,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter. “His understanding of the statewide responsibility and reach of the flagship makes him the right choice to work with our partners across the state to implement the unified financial model for Maine’s public universities.”
“While the economic activity of our $700 million enterprise can be easily tracked and assessed, the promise of Maine’s public universities and our capacity to impact lives across our state are immeasurable,” said University of Maine System CFO Ryan Low. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with some of Maine’s most trusted public servants and financial managers as we transition to a unified financial model that will achieve efficiencies and open the door to academic and administrative collaboration across our seven campuses.”