- USM Foundation Board
- Board of Visitors
- Athletic Development Council
- College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Advisory Board (CAHS)
- College of Science, Technology, and Health Advisory Council
- Corporate Partners Executive Committee
- Kate Cheney Chapell '83 Center for Book Arts Advisory Board
- LAC Community Advisory Board
- Muskie School Board of Visitors
- OLLI Committee
- Osher Map Library Associates
- School of Business Advisory Council
- School of Education and Human Development Advisory Council
- School of Engineering and Physical Sciences Advisory Council
- School of Law Board of Visitors
- School of Music Advisory Board
USM Prepared To Build on its Strengths
USM has emerged from the financial challenges of the last few years a stronger institution, one now positioned for strategic growth that will serve the academic needs of students and drive the cultural and economic development of the region.
That was the message that President Botman and deans of the colleges delivered Friday morning, June 10, to more than 50 members of the USM Board of Visitors and USM’s other advocacy boards and councils. Members met on the Portland campus to hear firsthand an update on USM and an outline of thoughts on directions for the future.
Outgoing Board of Visitors Chair Michael Dubyak, chairman and CEO of Wright Express, noted that the meeting of all USM advisory boards was instituted two years “to bring us together so that we can all communicate, collaborate and help raise the stature of USM.”
His tenure as chair of the Board of Visitors has been focused on, “…increasing visibility and advocating around the inequity in funding for higher education.” Specific initiatives include establishment of a Press Herald column for President Botman, a Board of Visitors’ funded Presidential Scholarship, support for enhancing internships and a series of gubernatorial breakfasts. He also has taken a leadership role in a System initiative to increase the number of Information Technology graduates. These students will be critically important to the emergence of a 21st century Maine economy.
In her welcoming remarks, President Botman noted that USM is “committed to continuing the strategic deployment of our resources so that we can build on our strengths while incentivizing teaching, research and creative activity.” Through “innovative collaborations,” USM can develop multi-disciplinary distinctions in such areas as environmental health, entrepreneurship, the digital arts and teacher preparation.
Given the fiscal and related challenges of the 21st century, USM’s long-term success will, she said, “require an unprecedented level of collaboration by members of the academic and external communities.” She asked community supporters to “mobilize broadly and advocate forcefully for the resources necessary to realize their expectations for Maine’s only public comprehensive university in the economic, intellectual and cultural center of our state.”
Each of the five deans was asked to provide brief updates on their respective colleges.
College of Science, Technology, and Health
Dean Andrew Anderson of the College of Science, Technology, and Health, said the college has emerging specialties in such areas as energy, cyber-security and bioinformatics. At the same time, the college is at capacity in such high-demand areas as nursing, and is working to meet demands for graduates in Maine’s IT industry. He also said the college has an important role to play in attracting more students to STEM disciplines.
Dean Anderson noted that curricular innovation and collaboration are “much easier” now that the science, technology and health disciplines “are in the same house.”
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Dean Lynn Kuzma reported that, "The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences has begun the process of envisioning innovative, interdisciplinary collaborations based on our faculty’s teaching and research strengths.” Among proposed collaborations are an interdisciplinary and community-based approach to film studies, and an environmental and social justice collaborative focused on cultivating a commitment to civic engagement and positive social change.
She highlighted the college’s role as “the public liberal arts college of Maine’s cultural and professional center.” Dean Kuzma also called attention to a handout, which read, in part, “We teach students to reason effectively, write clearly, speak persuasively, think critically and ethically, and appreciate cultural diversity in order to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing and increasingly global community.”
College of Management and Human Service
Dean James Shaffer of the College of Management and Human Service said his college, consisting of the School of Business, the School of Education and Human Development, the Muskie School of Public Service and the School of Social Work, is focused on the “professional preparation of students” with “an emphasis on applied research and service.” Though “still a work in progress,” Dean Shaffer reported that the college is allowing each school to maintain its distinct identity while moving toward a vision that features consolidation of the teaching of such disciplines as statistics and leadership, development of new undergraduate programs and collaborative graduate programs.
Lewiston-Auburn College Dean Joyce Gibson said LAC exists because of “persistent advocates who raised a college.” She cited a community leader who, in 1983 when advocating for the establishment of a campus in Lewiston-Auburn, said, “I can think of no greater guarantee of countless benefits for the people of the Lewiston-Auburn region, for the economic survival of the area, and for the preparation of our young people for the decades ahead.”
Now, nearly 25 years after its actual opening, LAC continues, said Dean Gibson, to be a resource to the communities of the Lewiston-Auburn region and to 1,100 students. Students, with an average age of 30, have access to interdisciplinary programs with required, community-based internships and a nationally recognized core curriculum. Dean Gibson hopes to move LAC toward more engagement with its alumni and more collaborations with immigrant communities.
University of Maine School of Law
Dean Peter Pitegoff of the University of Maine School of Law reported that the school is “emerging as a more nationally competitive law school and institutional resource in Maine.” The school experienced a 62 percent increase in applications last year and is holding steady in the current year, thus further improving its selectivity, diversity and extending its reach.
The school continues to solidify its reputation as a community resource through such services as the Maine Patent Program, which offers entrepreneurs educational services and assistance with the patent process. He also highlighted the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, which allows 40 students per year, with faculty support, to provide legal services to nearly 600 low-income Mainers.
Although the school remains focused on educating students for traditional legal careers, it also is preparing students for a wide range of careers in data privacy compliance and other areas where a legal education can help employees be more effective.
Later this month, the Law School will have updates available in the latest edition of its magazine at http://mainelaw.maine.edu/.
“Important, transformative work has taken place,” said President Botman following the meeting, “and will continue as we embed interdisciplinarity into the academic culture in order to ensure students are offered a 21st century education.”