UMS Board of Trustees approves sale of historic property at USM

UMaine delivers positive report on ROI for research and development, and new UMA president receives warm welcome

Orono, Maine — On Monday, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees voted unanimously to allow for the sale of five properties located at Chamberlain Street and Deering Avenue in Portland during a virtual meeting. 

These properties have been leased to Avesta Housing since May 1, 2017, with the lease agreement winding down at the end of June. Revenue from the sale is estimated to be $2 million. The University of Southern Maine intends to use proceeds from the sale to help finance the new/upcoming Center for the Arts building. 

As part of a deal with USM, the University of Maine School of Law will have housing available for some first-year law and graduate business students. The deal will provide brand new dorm spaces in the recently built Portland Commons Residence Hall for 20 percent of the law school’s 1L students. The Portland Commons is the University of Maine System’s first-ever Portland-based residence hall and opens this summer. 

University of Maine president and Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation Joan Ferrini-Mundy delivered a positive report on research and development enterprises, which have yielded significant return on investment. 

“This is creative and systematic work and it’s about increasing the quote ‘stock of knowledge,’” Ferrini-Mundy said. “We have been involved with working with the federal government in labs, national labs and federal research facilities — within the Department of Defense and many other areas — as well as businesses and research-based work within the universities. These are economic development matters and economists are looking at ‘how does this investment in R&D for the nation, for a state, or for a university impact what happens with some outcome measures?’” 

Also during the meeting, the board accepted recommendations of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, approved the Bachelor of Science in Special Education, Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Operations and Supply Chain Management programs for USM. 

“These programs show our commitment to meeting workforce needs in Maine,” said Chair Trish Riley.  “The special ed program is particularly exciting, as it is a partnership among USM, local schools and the Department of Labor, and will allow students to apprentice as ed techs, helping them get experiences while helping schools sorely in need of staffing assistance.”

On day four on the job as University of Maine at Augusta president, Jenifer Cushman presented updates and accomplishments at her university to the board,  including plans to expand enrollment by 20% in the University of Maine at Augusta’s nursing degree and related programs to meet state healthcare workforce needs through the relocation to, and renovation of the former Purdue University Global campus in the Augusta Marketplace.  CDS funds would support the retrofitting of the now-vacant building into UMA’s Capital Center for Nursing Workforce Development and Cybersecurity. 

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.