Direction Package Advisory Board Final Recommendations
The Direction Package Advisory Board met earlier today, Friday, February 28, and presented their advisory recommendations.
Chancellor Page and Maine Senate President Justin Alfond attended the first Direction Package meeting back on November 8, and also were able to attend today’s final session. Their attendance was a testament to the importance of this process and of this university’s role in the future of the state and region.
As you may recall, the Advisory Board divided into three subgroups: Vision/Identity; Creating Operational Responsibility and Excellence (CORE); and Academic Programs. Each presented recommendations, which will inform and guide the decisions to be made. The PowerPoint slides and accompanying material from each group’s report can be found on the Direction Package website. If you have any comments, please submit them on our feedback form.
Please remember that any numbers associated with these presentations are estimated ranges, not specific targets. Again, these are advisory recommendations. No final decisions have been made.
We have said this before but it bears repeating. When you see colleagues who have served on the Advisory Board, thank them. They committed tremendous amounts of time and energy to this project.
Based on today’s presentations, there is much to like in the Advisory Board’s overall body of work. For example, the Vision/Identity subgroup made a compelling case that “place matters” and that USM’s location in the population, economic and cultural center of the state differentiates us from our competitors. We can capitalize on that, become an even more integral part of the Greater Portland and Lewiston-Auburn communities, and as a result provide a much more distinctive, compelling student experience. The CORE group provided a number of recommendations about areas to look for short-term savings and revenue, and the academic group offered a unique way to look at the quantitative metrics of programs.
And, as originally planned, the next step will be for the senior staff to take these advisory recommendations and use them to inform their decisions on how USM should move forward.
This plan will be reported to the Faculty Senate at a meeting scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday, March 14 in Room 133, Wishcamper Center, Portland. The week following, an all-campus open meeting will be held beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19, in Hannaford Lecture Hall, Portland. More details will follow. We obviously expect input and review according to our shared governance constitution.
There has been much said and written about the tumultuous challenges facing higher education. As difficult as those challenges are, we have an opportunity here to create, in the words of one Advisory Board member, “the right USM for today.”
We must lay the groundwork this semester for “the right USM.” Our university, and most important, our students and the people of Maine will be better for it.