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Dean’s Office - Dean’s Action Plan


Dean’s Action Plan

January, 2010


The University of Maine is facing challenges that are unprecedented in its recent history. As an institution, we are in the process of rethinking what we are and what we hope to be in the future. Self-examination is healthy for any institution and the goal of this self-assessment is to emerge as a stronger UMaine. However, the financial exigencies that are driving this rethinking require that the change process take place at a rapid pace. UMaine will change. We must move quickly if we want this change to be strategic.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is at the center of the university. The college, therefore, will change with the institution.  The college needs to evolve in ways that are true to its mission as articulated in the mission statement (copied below).  While this statement provides guidance for decision-making, the breadth and inclusiveness of the language, limit its utility in the current circumstances.

As the college moves through this period of rapid transition, it is important that we not lose sight of our mission and that we have a vision of how we want to change. The following five action items will help us move forward while remaining true to our mission.

Action Items

  • The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences empowers undergraduate students by providing them with broad knowledge of human culture, and the physical and natural world, and by helping them to develop intellectual and practical skills as well as a strong sense of personal and social responsibility.  Our mission is to empower all UMaine students in these ways. We will innovate our pedagogies so that we create opportunities for active learning and creative problem-solving that are cost-effective and sustainable.
  • One hallmark of a liberal arts education at a research institution is the opportunity for students to participate in the creation of new knowledge.  We will grow the opportunities for students to participate in research and creative activities.
  • Liberal arts education must change to meet the demands of a complex world.  The development of global perspective and the appreciation of human diversity, for example, will continue to grow in importance. While grounding in core disciplines is essential, academic disciplinary boundaries should not be impediments to innovative education and research. The college will support and promote innovative interdisciplinary education and scholarship that attracts students and resources to UMaine.
  • The way in which public higher education is funded in the United States is changing. The two financial legs upon which the University of Maine stands, state appropriation and tuition revenue, can not be relied upon to provide the same level of support as in the past. The college will increase funding from external sources to support its teaching, research and outreach missions.
  • Graduate education is a central component of the University of Maine’s mission within the state. The number of disciplines that consider a graduate degree as an entry level requirement has increased and will continue to grow. The college will increase graduate offerings by taking advantages of areas of existing strength, by developing unique interdisciplinary opportunities, and by aggressively pursuing external sources of support.

Innovation and Opportunity

My vision for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires that we be innovative, that we aggressively pursue support for our programs, and that we move quickly to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves to us so that we can move in the directions we choose. CLAS is not an independent entity. To achieve our goals we must work with partners from outside the college and outside the university.

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