University of Maine at Fort Kent President Short to Retire

Chancellor Page to discuss plans for transitional leadership with campus and community stakeholders, announcement of interim president for UMFK to occur before graduation

Fort Kent, Maine — University of Maine at Fort Kent President John Short announced today his plans to retire at the end of the academic year after more than 40 years of scholarship and higher education leadership.  Dr. Short has served as President at the University of Maine at Fort Kent since April of 2016, advancing several initiatives important to the campus, its students, and the community. He will continue to serve through the June 30, 2019 end of the fiscal year.

University of Maine System Chancellor James Page will discuss plans for transitional leadership, institutional priorities, and regional needs with campus and community stakeholders to identify an interim leader for the university.  The announcement of an interim president will be made before May’s graduation ceremonies.

During his tenure at the University of Maine at Fort Kent the university completed its ten-year master plan focused on the establishment of a Maine health sciences campus with professional programs, upgraded classroom technology to create state-of-the-art learning spaces and distance education facilities, transformed student affairs operations on campus, and increased endowed scholarships through the UMFK Foundation.

President Short also oversaw the development of initiatives that strengthened partnerships throughout the community and across the campuses of Maine’s Public Universities including campus collaborations with the University of Maine at Presque Isle that have sustained local access to critical programming and strengthened capacity for resource sharing and deployment.  Work with the System and the University of Southern Maine will result in the launch of an online Master of Science in Nursing that will provide existing Maine healthcare professionals new opportunities for advanced education and career development. And UMFK has contributed to the establishment of the Valley Unified Regional High School with UMFK as a higher education and early college partner.

President Short has also emphasized UMFK’s professional education programs such as business, behavioral sciences, forestry, and biology / environmental sciences, and criminal justice.  Working with the faculty, the university has committed itself to delivering programming that prepares students for life and leadership in rural communities.

UMFK has also strengthened its commitment to state service and leadership in terms of pre-licensure nursing education and early college access.  It has expanded nursing enrollment by 53% over the last five years in response to the state’s nursing cliff. This work included the Fall 2018 launch of a new UMFK nursing cohort at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.   UMFK has also continued to lead the state in the delivery of early college programming, providing access to students in high schools across the state and increasing participation by 161% over the last five years.

Dr. Short and his wife Caryn, who suffered a heart attack last year, bought a house in Delaware following Caryn’s triple bypass open heart surgery.  The perspective of the health scare, the year long-recovery, and the opportunity to spend more time with family were important considerations in the retirement decision.

“President Short embraced the opportunity to lead the University of Maine at Fort Kent, serve its students, and continue the institution’s strong traditions of community engagement and regional service,” said James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System.  “He has also been a valued member of a university leadership team that is committed to overcoming Maine’s workforce challenges through the establishment of a statewide continuum of public education that provides lifelong, Maine-focused access to educational programming and skill development.

“We are grateful for President Short’s service to UMFK and to Maine.  We wish John and Caryn well as they transition from campus life to retirement.”

“The University of Maine at Fort Kent is an essential partner in the future of the St. John Valley and we are all proud of the important statewide higher education leadership UMFK is providing in areas like health care, professional education, and early college education,” said Kelly Martin of Fort Kent, Vice Chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.  “It has been a pleasure to welcome Caryn and President Short into our community and we appreciate his service and stewardship at UMFK.”

“Serving as President of UMFK has been an honor and the highlight of my forty-year career in higher education,” said John Short, President of the University of Maine at Fort Kent.  “UMFK is an amazing campus and resource for this area. As was the case when I accepted the presidency, I remain so impressed with the depth and emotional connection of the community with this campus.”

“I am committed to being an active president through June and a lifelong supporter of the university and its mission.  I am excited as we plan for our new Enrollment and Advancement Center, our being the University of Maine System lead institution with our all-online RN to BSN program, and UMFK’s evolution into Maine’s health sciences and professional programs campus.”

Distributed 11:00 AM, March 7, 2019