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Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives

In year three of the Blue Sky Project, the focus is on integrating the plan’s strategies and goals into the organizational structure of the university. Just as the Blue Sky Strategic Plan was developed through an inclusive process, integration will emerge through collaboration. Completed and in progress initiatives can be seen below.

Over the course of the academic year, the Provost’s office, in collaboration with the Faculty Senate leadership, will hold a series of Academic Affairs Faculty Forums. The forums are designed to create a venue for meaningful sharing of ideas about important initiatives in Academic Affairs. Collaboration between the faculty and administration of the university is essential if we are to advance toward our strategic goals. The forums are one venue for this collaboration. This website is designed to extend the collaboration beyond the public meeting. After each forum, we will post relevant materials and create a space where faculty members can submit reactions, comments or questions generated by the forum.

There are three Academic Affairs Faculty Forums scheduled for the 2013-2014 academic year. The dates, times, and topics for the forums are listed below.

December 3, 2013 (3:00-4:00) Signature and Emerging Programs

February 3, 2014 (3:00–4:00) Retention and Graduation -Bangor Room, Memorial Union

March 31, 2014 (3:00-4:00) Topic to be determined – Bangor Room, Memorial Union

Completed Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Establishment of the PRE-VUE funded UMaine Humanities Center (Pathway 1)
  • Review of UMaine organizational structure and focus (Pathway 2)
  • Enhancement of undergraduate research through the PRE-VUE supported Center for Undergraduate Research (Pathway 4)

In Progress Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Assessing student learning outcomes (Pathway 4)
    • Hiring a new Director of Assessment (Pathway 4)
  • Reviewing, assessing, and improving (as necessary) the General Education curriculum (Pathway 4)
  • Assessing best practices for providing e-learning opportunities (Pathway 4)
  • Improving retention and graduation rates (Pathway 2) (Shared with Student Life)
  • Improve international student recruitment and enhance support of Franco-American studies and Native-American studies (Pathway 3) (Shared with Student Life)
  • Establish interdisciplinary Faculty Task Groups to review signature strength and emerging growth areas for priority funding initiatives (Pathway 1) (Shared with Innovation and Economic Development)
  • Create a process to reward innovation and integration of teaching, research and service across interdisciplinary paths through unit-based incentive programs (Pathway 3) (Shared with Research)
  • Optimize the internship and co-op opportunities for UMaine students, creating the “Flagship Internship Program” (Pathway 4) (Shared with Innovation and Economic Development and Student Life)
  • Promote the Historic District Renovation (Pathway 5) (Shared with Administration and Finance)
  • Continue to develop comprehensive capital master plans for off-site campus facilities (Pathway 5) (Shared with Administration and Finance)

Emerging Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Develop and implement a Faculty Leadership Academy to provide professional development to the next generation of faculty leaders to enabling strong public advocacy and messaging (Pathway 3) (Shared with Human Resources and Innovation and Economic Development)
    • The advent of the Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program, with 20 outstanding faculty members chosen from among all of the colleges to engage in highly focused professional development and leadership opportunities (Pathways 1, 3)

Additional Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Reviving the University Teaching Council, made up of eight faculty members (Pathways 3, 4)

More detail about Academic Affairs accomplishments can be read in the Annual Report, Blue Sky Impacts. Specific documents related to Blue Sky Initiatives can be read in the Blue Sky Archive.