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USM Begins Transition

USM President Theo Kalikow has proposed to eliminate several academic programs as part of a plan to, in her words, “position this university for a brighter future.”

Programs proposed for elimination include American and New England Studies; Arts and Humanities at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College; Geosciences; and Recreation and Leisure Studies. The four programs serve a total of about 120 majors, all of whom would have the opportunity to complete their studies in the event that the proposals are accepted.

Kalikow asked the Faculty Senate to review the proposals and submit their recommendations to her by May 5. Proposals for elimination are then submitted in July to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees for final action.

Kalikow asked the Faculty Senate to work with her and Provost Michael Stevenson to develop alternatives to the proposed elimination of Recreation and Leisure Studies due to the program’s potential for future growth.

The Faculty Senate also was asked to help review USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College’s structure, with the goal of giving the people of Lewiston-Auburn access to the same range of academic programs as those available in Portland and Gorham. “As part of that effort,” said Kalikow, “we will be looking to integrate LAC more closely with the rest of USM, making sure we are as cost effective as possible.” 

Additional reductions will be announced later in the month. Kalikow estimated faculty layoffs in the range of 20-30, including those associated with the proposed program eliminations. Those will be in addition to faculty retirements. Non-faculty employee layoffs will be in the range of 10-20. Those are in addition to the 14 made earlier this year.

USM is facing a $14 million budget gap for the year that begins on July 1, 2014. It is part of a budget gap throughout the statewide University of Maine System that totals more than $36 million.

“We’re not alone,” said Kalikow, adding that institutions throughout Maine and the country are facing budget challenges. “We cannot be complacent when facing a sea change of financial, demographic and technological forces.” She told faculty, staff and off-campus guests, “…we are engaged in a difficult, dynamic process but one that, ultimately, will allow us to build a sustainable and stronger university better prepared to serve students and Maine people in a new era.”

See Kalikow’s presentation at USM Transition