180 leaders in industry and education convene to develop vision for the multi-university Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science funded as part of the Harold Alfond Foundation’s historic $240 million commitment to the University of Maine System
Orono, Maine — Planning for a statewide Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science (MCECIS) began today with a virtual vision session involving 180 leaders in industry and education. Participants included faculty and staff at UMaine and the University of Southern Maine as well as most other campuses in the University of Maine System, members of industrial advisory boards that support programs that would become part of MCECIS, K-12 educators, and non-profit and fundraising partners.
MCECIS is expected to unify and expand undergraduate engineering programs at the University of Maine and University of Southern Maine, expand UMaine graduate engineering programs to Portland, streamline pathways into the statewide college from all UMS universities, and create new opportunities for shared programs, interdisciplinary structures and partnerships.
The initiative will also include renovations to UMaine’s engineering education infrastructure in addition to the new Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center in Orono slated for completion in the summer of 2022.
The statewide college is being developed with the support of a $75 million investment from the Harold Alfond Foundation, a part of the $240 million grant to the University of Maine System announced in the fall that also challenges the University of Maine System to secure an additional $75 million in matching funds over the next decade. Foundation Chair Gregory Powell joined Chancellor Dannel Malloy, UMaine President Ferrini-Mundy, and University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings in kicking off the vision planning.
Governor Mills encouraged participants to think big and thanked the Harold Alfond Foundation in remarks shared via video at the outset of the planning session.
“Expectations about where and how knowledge workers engage with their jobs have changed since the start of the pandemic and we have seen an influx of people between the ages of 24 and 35 move to the state,” said Powell. “Combining rural state amenities and industry-connected, world-class educational opportunities in engineering, computing, and information sciences is a path to a more prosperous, sustainable Maine economy.”
“The Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science is poised to meet the moment we are in right now,” said Powell. The leadership and growing spirit of collaboration among our many fine educational institutions right now creates a remarkable opportunity to prepare the job-ready graduate Maine needs. We are proud to be a part of it.”
The Unified Accreditation for the University of Maine System achieved in Chancellor Malloy’s first year makes it possible for Maine’s universities to address workforce needs through multi-campus collaboration, statewide planning, and resource sharing.
“Today is about thinking big and planning for greatness,” said Chancellor Malloy. “The Harold Alfond Foundation’s commitment to Maine has provided us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to imagine a statewide college with multi-university integration, resources, world-class programs, faculty, students, and facilities to shape the future for decades to come.”
“The generosity and brilliant vision of the Harold Alfond Foundation bring us together to determine what comes next,” said President Ferrini-Mundy. “The Maine College of Engineering, Computing, and Information Science will unite educators, researchers, and employers with a shared commitment to making our state a global leader in research and education in emerging technologies and knowledge sectors.”
“In our new, virtual world there is no limit to Maine’s opportunities in engineering, computing, and information sciences,” said President Glenn Cummings. “With unified accreditation and strong, long-standing partnerships throughout the Portland region and across the state we are no longer limited by institutional or geographical boundaries. We look forward to planning boldly for a brighter future.”