UMS Bulletins
September 7, 2004
CONTACT: John Diamond 207-973-3224/Rita Sullivan 207-973-3245


BANGOR – Earlier today the Board of Trustees’ Strategic Planning Steering Committee met with Chancellor Westphal and Vice Chancellor Nunez to discuss final revisions to the Draft Strategic Plan, which was issued last March.

The Committee today voted to approve several modifications to the Draft Plan, most of which were discussed at the Board’s August 23 retreat and were shared with UMS employees in an e-mail later that day.

Today’s Committee action will be incorporated as part of the Revised Strategic Plan, which will be available Friday on the UMS web site ( The Strategic Planning Steering Committee will submit the revised plan to the full Board of Trustees for its consideration at its September 19-20 meeting in Orono.

The major changes approved today by the Committee include:

Strategic Direction 1 (Academic Planning)

  • Coordinate the transfer of most of UMS’s associate-degree programs to the Maine Community College System (MCCS) in ways that will maintain reasonable and seamless student access to those programs. The new language is more emphatic about coordination than in the Draft Plan.
  • Collaborate with MCCS to develop a higher-education park at the University College of Bangor (UCB) campus, where the two systems will offer targeted associate-level and baccalaureate degrees. The Draft Plan did not address UCB’s future role.
  • Collaborate with MCCS on co-locating a branch campus of Kennebec Valley Community College on the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) campus.

Strategic Direction 2 (Faculty/Staff Compensation)

  • Clarify the goal of increasing faculty and staff compensation over the next five years to 90% of the national average (from its current level of approximately 85% of the national average). The committee amended the language to clarify that 90% is intended as a minimum goal for increasing compensation, and not a “cap” on any increases.

Strategic Direction 3 (Distance Education)

  • Align the 11 University College academic outreach centers with one of the System’s universities. Unlike the Draft Plan, the new version does not assign those centers to specific universities; those decisions will be made through the implementation process.
  • Maintain centralization of the System’s Distance Education infrastructure and develop related academic programs in consultation with the universities. The Draft Plan called for de-centralization of Distance Education.

Strategic Direction 4 (Library Resources)

  • Establish a permanent base-budget investment in digital-library resources. (New language)

Strategic Direction 5 (University Research)

  • Clarifies the role of the System itself in helping coordinate and acquire public and private funds to support research efforts across the System, but maintains the individual university’s and faculty’s role in developing and conducting research. Language in the Draft Plan implied that the System would play a central role; it won’t.

Strategic Direction 6 (Performance Measures and Accountability)

  • Clarifies the importance of establishing explicit performance measures to be used to assess institutions and institutional leaders.
  • Clarifies that each university’s strategic plan must be consistent with that of the System’s Strategic Plan and that it include a financial plan to support it.
  • Identifies seven “critical investment priorities” and the revenues needed to support them.

Strategic Direction 7 (Centralization of Business and Administrative Structures)

  • Includes elaboration on cost-savings that can be achieved through investment and implementation of improved business practices such as the University System’s Project Enterprise.

Strategic Direction 8 (Organizational Structure)

Includes greater elaboration on goals related to organizational structure.

  • Maintains six universities within the System, merging UMA with USM. The Draft Plan proposed four universities; in addition to the UMA/USM merger, the Draft Plan called for merging UMFK, UMM, and UMPI.
  • Creates a consortium involving the universities in Fort Kent, Machias, and Presque Isle to identify ways to share and minimize administrative costs, develop a common set of general-education requirements, and collaborate on budgeting and university master plans. The Draft Plan called for a formal merger of universities and faculties.
  • Maintains separate university presidencies in Fort Kent, Machias, and Presque Isle. The Draft Plan called for all three institutions to be managed by a single president.
  • Re-assigns University College of Bangor to the University of Maine. UCB is currently affiliated with UMA, but had been part of UMaine until 1995.
  • Maintains the existing 11 University College academic outreach centers. The Draft Plan proposed eliminating the System’s presence at three of them.
  • Includes, as part of the implementation process, re-assignment of the 11 UC outreach centers to individual universities. Currently they are managed centrally through the Vice Chancellor’s office.
  • Provides for the University System to underwrite market research to identify effective ways and timetables for renaming those universities and campuses whose names still include the phrase “University of Maine at…”. The intent is to maintain as much continuity as possible with each university’s current identity and brand recognition while eliminating the documented confusion, prevalent among prospective students and the public, that those universities are “satellite campuses” of the University of Maine. As part of that same research project, modifications to the name “University of Maine System” will also be pursued for the same reasons. The entire process will involve campus and community input, with recommendations submitted to the Board and Chancellor for consideration. The Draft Plan called for name changes for the Farmington, Fort Kent, Machias, and Presque Isle campuses; the revised plan leaves the matter to the implementation process.

Strategic Direction 9 (Advancement and Advocacy)

  • Adopted a new strategic direction, Strategic Direction 9, which provides language and strategies related to public awareness, advocacy, and funding of Maine’s public universities.
  • Offers System-level coordination and financial support to help the individual universities lower the cost of, and increase access to, recruitment-related market research, advertising and public awareness, and public- and private-sector advocacy and fundraising.
  • Addresses System-wide and university-level opportunities for collaboration and coordination on government relations, public relations, employee and student relations, and certain types of student recruitment.

NOTE: This list is not all-inclusive. It attempts to convey the most notable changes discussed by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee at today’s meeting. The full, revised strategic planning document will be available on the System web site on Friday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m.