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Overview and History of the Blue Sky Project

The Blue Sky Plan is the five year strategic plan (2012-2017) of the University of Maine.  As President from 2011-2014, Dr. Paul Ferguson initiated and led this strategic planning process (initially referred to as the Blue Sky Project) with the aspirational vision to be the most student-centered and community-engaged of the American Research Universities.  The Blue Sky Project succeeded quickly as an inclusive, creative, and integrated approach to campus planning and implementation with the final Blue Sky Plan consisting of 5 Pathways to realistic growth and financial sustainability.

Moving into Year 4 of the Blue Sky Plan, the campus is experiencing the continuing evolution of the Plan from the initial year of creation, the second year of implementation, to the third and subsequent years of full integration and sustainability. Going forward, the President’s Cabinet, working with campus constituencies, has assumed focused responsibility for implementation of each of the major initiatives and strategies.

The strategic initiatives to accomplish the Blue Sky vision are organized into the Five Pathways described below:

  • Pathway 1.  Serving our State: Catalyzing Maine’s Revitalization – Ensures that UMaine teaching, research, outreach, workforce and economic development program excellence are in close alignment with Maine’s priority needs and is developing initiatives to enable UMaine to enhance technology transfer and commercialization as well as to support use-inspired research for the public good of Maine.
  • Pathway 2.  Securing our Future: Ensuring Financial Sustainability – Optimizes operating efficiencies and control expenditures within a financially sustainable business model, and seeks new and entrepreneurial revenue sources. Initiatives include new advancement and research initiatives as well as a new enrollment management unit with a plan to potentially increase enrollment to 15,000, increasing the number of out-of-state and international students, and increasing academic partnerships with Maine’s sister universities and community colleges.
  • Pathway 3.  Embracing a Culture of Excellence: Promoting Spirit, Collaboration, and Community – Invests in faculty and staff professional development, refreshes the UMaine brand and improve communication among all constituencies. Initiatives include establishing consistent and high-quality brand standards to better promote UMaine, harnessing the goodwill of alumni for student internships and career networking, and promoting UMaine’s role in athletics as the state’s only NCAA Division I university.
  • Pathway 4. Transforming Lives: Strengthening the UMaine Undergraduate and Graduate Student Experience – Promotes undergraduate and graduate opportunities for student success, including value-added residential life, research fellowships, internships, and more effective advising and learning environments. Initiatives include developing new models for learning to better prepare graduates for meaningful jobs and lives, establishing an outcomes-based assessment of all academic programs, and increasing the number of externally funded opportunities for student research.
  • Pathway 5.  Restoring the Dream: Renewing Pride and Stewardship of Place – Restores and creates UMaine’s physical plant and technology infrastructure to ensure a vibrant place of learning and discovery. Initiatives include a Total Cost of Ownership (TOC) approach to managing UMaine’s $1 billion in infrastructure and real estate, fully funding appropriate levels of campus upkeep and beautification, and continuing to implement campus sustainability initiatives.

This Website is the official site for ongoing communications with UMaine constituencies including announcements and progress reports. The progress to accomplishing each of these Pathway strategies can be followed on this website and we invite you to follow that progress, attend a Blue Sky Forum, or provide your comments.  We invite you to join us in Blue Sky Thinking to promote excellence at the University of Maine.