Chancellor Malloy will recommend the Board of Trustees approve an interim presidential appointment for Dr. Joseph Szakas, UMA’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, with a charge of seeking new opportunities under Unified Accreditation
Augusta, Maine — University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy will ask the Board of Trustees to approve an interim presidential appointment at the University of Maine at Augusta for Dr. Joseph Szakas later this month. Dr. Szakas would continue to fill his role as UMA’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost while serving as interim president during the search for an ongoing president.
Chancellor Malloy began meeting with members of the University of Maine at Augusta community immediately following the announcement that President Rebecca Wyke would be stepping down to join the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. Common themes in these conversations about UMA’s future focused on the need to provide the university with stability and capable leadership during a year-long national search for an ongoing president while decisively acting to bring greater opportunities to students and communities across Maine within the UMS unified accreditation environment.
UMA is the third largest university within UMS and specializes in serving students of all ages and backgrounds through two main campuses in Augusta and Bangor, eight university centers, and through the delivery of high-quality distance education.
“All of our Presidents know that unified accreditation for UMS means that every educational resource at all of our universities can be made available to support each of our students no matter where they are, and no matter where they are in their lives,” said Chancellor Malloy. “Provost Szakas knows UMA well and can move the university forward over the next year, taking advantage of UMA’s strengths and unified accreditation opportunities to better serve all of our students and State.”
At its July meeting the Board of Trustees charged Chancellor Malloy with the development of a new UMS strategic plan that fully realizes the benefits of unified accreditation.
“Waiting to move forward for an ongoing president after a national search is waiting too long,” continued Malloy. “I will be asking Dr. Szakas and the UMA community to think big and act now to bring new lifelong, world class educational opportunities to everyone who dreams of doing more for their families and communities.”
Dr. Szakas joined the faculty at UMA in September of 2000 and has served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost since May of 2011. Please follow this link to a brief bio and a photo of Szakas.
Under Szakas’ leadership UMA developed its Aviation and Veterinary Technology on-site degree programs and a number of on-line degrees and credentials including Cyber Security, Data Science, and Elementary Education. Szakas has also served on and contributed to the work of a number of UMS, higher education, and workforce-focused committees or organizations. He will not be a candidate in the search for UMA’s ongoing president.
“President Wyke has invested her entire career as a transformational leader in Maine’s public sector,” said UMA interim president designate Joseph Szakas. “Our university, the University of Maine System, and our students benefited greatly from her commitment to ensuring access and excellence for all UMA students.”
“There has never been a greater need for student-centered higher education innovation and service,” continued Szakas. “I am confident we, at our state-wide campuses, centers, and online access, can count on UMA’s leadership team and our talented faculty and staff to meet the needs of current students, while helping set the stage through our leadership transition for even greater impact in the years to come.”
About the University of Maine System
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites six distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.
In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.
A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.
Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.
The System consists of seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMM); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.