Board Approves Initial Law School Actions and Preferred Characteristics for UMFK Presidential Search

Board also advances name change consideration at the University of Southern Maine and directs
campus-engaged planning process for the unification of existing and separate institutional accreditations into a statewide accreditation model

Fort Kent, Maine — Based on recommendations in a report issued in July from an ad hoc Committee to Advise on the Future Direction of the Law School, the UMS Board adopted a resolution reorganizing the University of Maine School of Law as a stand-alone unit of the University of Maine System with the Law School Dean reporting directly to the Chancellor and budget independence from USM by FY 2022.

The report to the Board highlighted actions implemented immediately under the leadership of  Chancellor Dannel Malloy, President Glenn Cummings, and interim Law School Dean Dmitry Bam. Those actions include:

  • A 3% pay increase for Law School faculty and staff consistent with other bargaining units retroactive to July, 1 2019, was brought to the Board’s Executive Committee for approval on August 30th;
  • Authorized a search for a Law School Dean, Director of Academic Success, and two faculty positions;
  • Direction to implement recommendations of minor fiscal impact with the Law School’s FY 2020 budget including rural semester in practice, expanded 3+3 arrangements, additional course offerings, and improvements to recruitment data; and,
  • A commitment to consider recommendations impacting future budget years as part of the normal budget development for FY2021 and FY2022.

UMFK Presidential Search Formed:  The Board approved the preferred characteristics and priorities for the University of Maine at Fort Kent Presidential Search.  The new leader will also serve as provost for the institution. The national search for a new president and provost will be chaired by Trustee Kelly Martin.  Trustee Jim Donnelly and Trustee Mike Michaud will also serve on the search committee. The campus and community engaged committee will have its first meeting in October.
“We will be conducting a national search for an innovative higher education leader who understands the rural nature of the UMFK campus and the and state-wide impact of the institution,” said Search Committee Chair Trustee Kelly Martin. “It is critically important that UMFK have leadership with the requisite skills and experience to deliver programs and services that are accessible and relevant to our communities and students.  We will also be searching for a leader for UMFK committed to building on the collaboration underway with the University of Maine at Presque Isle.”

Interim President and Provost Tex Boggs will continue to provide proven higher education leadership at UMFK.  The search for a new leader is anticipated to result in an appointment beginning on July 1, 2020.

Board Unanimously Directs Engagement and Plan Development for Unifying Accreditation
The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept Chancellor Malloy’s report recommending a unified accreditation and directed the Chancellor and the University Presidents to develop a process and plan for Board consideration unifying the separate accreditations of the individual institutions under the New England Commission of HIgher Education into a statewide System accreditation.   The initial plan will be presented to the Board in November.

Chancellor Malloy has committed to transparency and inclusion as part of the plan development and engagement, establishing a unified accreditation website and committing to visiting each of the campuses at least three times in each of the next two semesters for discussions with stakeholders. 

Board Advances USM Name Change Consideration
President Glenn Cummings led a presentation on a proposal to change the name of the University of Southern Maine to the University of Maine at Portland in alignment with the rest of the University of Maine System and to strengthen the institution’s capacity to attract out-of-state students.

A name change would require final approval of the Board and authorization by the Maine Legislature.  The resolution adopted by the Board authorizes the Chancellor and President Cummings, acting through the UMS Office of Government Relations, to take actions necessary before the Maine Legislature’s cloture date to preserve the ability to seek legislative approval in the January 2020 legislative session for a name change.

The Board would provide further consideration of the name change proposal at its meeting in November at the University of Maine at Farmington providing greater opportunities for public input in closer proximity to the Portland region.

The Board passed the resolution unanimously.

Issued 9/16/19