Your reactions to the September 24th launch of our process to set strategic directions for this university were heard and have resulted in an improved and more clearly defined path forward.
“What are the meaningful specifics about actions?” asked one member of the campus community. “We need to change but no clear direction given for change…,” said another. Faculty and staff, wrote a colleague, “…are interested in more concrete issues.” “We need a more inclusive process,” said many.
It was made very clear that a segment of the USM community is suffering from planning fatigue, a segment wants inclusive input and all want to move forward with tangible next steps.
One overarching theme also struck me. Passion. There is great emotion around the issues we face. And I do believe that passion is something positive, no matter how it is stated. We are facing uncertain times and uncertainty creates anxiety. That is why I am asking you to be part of the process, part of the solution.
So, taking all that under consideration, we are transitioning to a new phase with an inclusive committee of faculty, staff, students and external partners.
I will be reaching out shortly to leadership of key constituent groups to ask for their help in establishing this committee. Once formed, I will charge the committee with taking a careful look at all the material compiled and reviewed over the summer, e.g., previous planning documents; information on perceived needs of current and prospective students; the competition we face for those students; workplace needs throughout Maine and the region; the value that USM offers; and what we can do as well, if not better, than other institutions.