University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has officially released a strategic plan that creates a blueprint for the state’s flagship public university to become one of the most distinctive universities in the country for student achievement and community engagement.
The plan, “The Blue Sky Project: Reaffirming Public Higher Education at Maine’s Flagship University,” was accepted by the University of Maine System trustees at their board meeting in Bangor July 9.
“This plan isn’t just about making the University of Maine a bigger, better and more financially sustainable institution,” says Ferguson. “It also is about reconnecting the university to the people of Maine so that we can have a major impact on the future growth and prosperity of our state in the 21st century.”
The plan is centered around investing in UMaine’s existing areas of distinction and launching a number of new initiatives to better align the university’s resources and programs with the needs of the state. It outlines five strategic pathways, summarized as the “Five M’s,” and a series of related initiatives and strategies to transform UMaine in the next five years:
Ferguson, who came to UMaine in July 2011 and was formally inaugurated as the 19th president this past April, began the “Blue Sky” project shortly after arriving on campus. From November 2011 to April of this year, a 26-member leadership team, made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni, met weekly to develop the plan. More than 30 informational meetings attracted hundreds of participants and more than 250 contributors submitted “blue sky ideas.”
“This has been a comprehensive, inclusive process that has united the entire University community around a renewed sense of pride, purpose and commitment to serving the people of Maine,” Ferguson says. “There is much work to be done, but we see blues skies ahead for this great University and the State of Maine.”
About UMaine: The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s premier public university. It is among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast and attracts students from across the U.S. and more than 65 countries. It currently enrolls 11,247 total undergraduate and graduate students who can directly participate in groundbreaking research working with world-class scholars. The University of Maine offers doctoral degrees in 35 fields, representing the humanities, sciences, engineering, and education; master’s degrees in roughly 70 disciplines; 90 undergraduate majors and academic programs; and one of the oldest and most prestigious honors programs in the U.S. The university promotes environmental stewardship on its campus, with substantial efforts aimed at conserving energy, recycling and adhering to green building standards in new construction.