University of Maine System accepts withdrawal of incoming University of Maine at Augusta President, plans new presidential search

Portland, Maine — The University of Maine System (UMS) Board of Trustees announced today that UMS Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy and Trustee and University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) Presidential Search Committee Chair Sven P. Bartholomew have accepted Dr. Michael Laliberte’s voluntary withdrawal from his contract to be the next President of UMA. A joint statement with Dr. Laliberte has been issued separately.

A written settlement agreement regarding Dr. Laliberte’s withdrawal has not yet been signed, but the parties have agreed that Dr. Laliberte will be paid the first year of compensation he would have earned as UMA president. The parties have also agreed that Dr. Laliberte may be paid additional compensation in the second and third year only if he seeks but is unable to find employment earning the same or greater salary than he would have earned in his first year as UMA’s president. Any earnings he has during that time will be offset against the UMA presidential compensation. System reserves will fund the payments to Dr. Laliberte.

Chancellor Malloy and UMS Board of Trustees Chair Mark R. Gardner released the following additional statement today announcing plans for a new presidential search for UMA:

“At our joint recommendation, the Board of Trustees will launch a new national search for the president of the University of Maine at Augusta next fall. We are grateful for the continued leadership of Dr. Joe Szakas, who has agreed to continue serving as interim president through next June 30, which will ensure that we have the time and space to conduct a comprehensive and robust new search. Trustees will take up the extension of his appointment at their meeting in July.

We take responsibility for the lack of trust in the initial UMA presidential search process and will move forward to constitute a new search committee and seek new candidates with the guidance of a new search firm, to be selected after a thorough RFP process.

We commit to a search process that is inclusive and transparent. It is critical that members of the University of Maine at Augusta and UMS communities have confidence in the integrity of the search process, and in the shared governance that must be the foundation of a successful search.

To that end, the Board also commends our plan to review the UMA search process at the University of Maine at Augusta and make recommendations regarding future searches within the University of Maine System. We look forward to faculty participation and input in that review.”

In a separate statement, Gardner added:

“As demonstrated by the recent appointment of Jacqueline Edmondson as the new President of the University of Southern Maine, UMS has a track record of attracting talented leaders to shape the future of our universities and state. We accept the Chancellor’s accountability for the mistakes made in the UMA presidential search, and we are all committed to fostering confidence and trust from our faculty, staff, students and communities in future presidential searches. We thank the Chancellor for his leadership and accountability, and we look forward to working with him to ensure we conduct every presidential search in the future with the full confidence of the universities our presidents lead.”

About the University of Maine System

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s 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 (UMaine Machias); 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.

Please follow these links to the UMS Logo, UMS and individual university style guides and an image and biographical information for Chancellor Malloy.