The Blue Sky Pathway Strategies summarized below are excerpted from pages 20-35 of The Blue Sky Project: Reaffirming Public Higher Education at Maine’s Flagship University and the Pathway Progress section of the Blue Sky Implementation Website.
1a. Reorganize/restructure relevant UMaine units such as the Foster Center for Student Innovation and the Department of Industrial Cooperation into a new Division of Innovation and Economic Development by Fall 2012 to increase and support an outreach infrastructure. Restructure the Associate Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Government Relations positions into the Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development to lead campus efforts for innovation and economic development more effectively and enhance working relationships with academic units, such as the Maine Business School, School of Economics, Advanced Manufacturing Center and the Pulp and Paper Process Development Center. Initially funded by current budget with current personnel, the new Vice President and staff will develop a comprehensive plan for engagement with state and regional economic development leaders by Spring 2013.
1b. Establish the UMaine Humanities Center through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Stimulus funding provided in Spring 2012 from a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Presidential Request for Visions of University Excellence (PRE-VUE) Program.
1c. Working through the Provost and deans, establish interdisciplinary Faculty Task Groups to review signature strength and emerging growth areas for priority funding initiatives, to be submitted in Spring 2013 primarily by:
(1) Invest in research funding to promote growth in Signature Areas. Programs in this category are expected to become world leaders in their fields within five years, become largely self-sufficient, and graduate into sustainability, based on their ability to generate external funding from all sources. Programs are necessarily interdisciplinary and make strategic use of all assets and aspects of the University of Maine, and
(2) New and Emerging Growth Areas represent those programs that may have not yet achieved critical mass or reputation, but have begun to capitalize on an interdisciplinary collaboration; have a track record of success with external support from a variety of sources; and have the integration of the research, teaching and service mission. Targeted investment, often in the form of matching support, helps promote the collaboration and incents the drive to go to the next level. It is anticipated, and history has shown, that these programs grow from the collaboration of individual researchers and research groups across campus.