Presque Isle, Maine — The University of Maine System (UMS) Board of Trustees approved two new degree programs at the University of Maine (UMaine) on Monday during its regular, two-day meeting at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
UMaine will introduce a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Food Systems and a Master of Science in Engineering Technology to its academic offerings — two areas meeting in-demand workforce needs.
The interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree will improve existing programs and feature five concentrations: climate change and food systems; food processing and innovation; justice, equity and community development; leadership and management; and plant and animal production systems.
The online master’s degree in engineering technology will support professionals aiming to secure upper level management or technical positions. It will have two tracks in electrical engineering technology and survey engineering technology, both of which apply to careers in growing sectors of the engineering field.
“I applaud our flagship university for incorporating these new programs — and using existing ones to build them around — to meet new workforce demands and give our students a competitive edge in the job market,” said Board Chair Trish Riley. “Expanding our academic offerings better equips the System to face nationwide enrollment challenges and give more students the education they need to succeed in today’s economy.”
Trustees also authorized selling the System’s interest in the real property located at 16 Central St., Bangor. On Monday. Aug. 15, a Portland-based developer provided UMS officials with a letter of intent to purchase the System’s interest in the Bangor condominium. The property has been vacant since 2017. The sale would not be subject to buyer financing, but would require a due diligence period, permitting approval period and contingency clauses outlined in the letter of intent.
The board’s authorization for the transaction is subject to review and approval of the final terms and conditions of the purchase and sales agreement by UMS Interim General Counsel Patricia Peard and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Ryan Low.
“Selling our interest in this vacant office is part of a broader effort to remove underutilized space from our facilities portfolio,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “Reducing our footprint, and increasing the use of our current assets, will help us decrease our building expenses and redirect some of those savings toward continued upkeep that will make us more attractive in the state and national higher education landscape. It’s our hope that under new ownership, this space will lead to economic redevelopment in downtown Bangor and the local economy.”
Also on Monday, the board approved the use of $13.8 million awarded through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan for the upcoming Green Engineering and Materials (GEM) Factory of the Future at UMaine. The digital research facility to be built at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center will enable researchers to advance large-scale, bio-based additive manufacturing using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and collaborative arrays of large 3D printers and subtractive systems. It also will include two manufacturing bays and immersive workforce training facilities.
Additionally, trustees approved the University of Southern Maine (USM) forming the Charles A. Scontras Center for Labor and Community Education in Portland. With support from state, grant and USM Foundation funding, the center will offer education to Maine workers; labor institutions; labor councils and worker centers; high school and college students; and other stakeholders. It also will collaborate with the Bureau of Labor Education at UMaine and other labor-focused programs across the System.
The next board meeting will be held Nov. 13–14 at the University of Maine at Farmington.
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.