Chapter 1: An Introduction to the University of Maine and the University of Maine System

1.1  The Roles of the University of Maine
1.2  Governance on Campus
1.3  The University of Maine Faculty Senate
1.4  Faculty Senate – Motion on Shared Governance – 1/29/2003
1.5  Appointment, Retention, Promotion, and Tenure

1.1 The Roles of the University of Maine

The University of Maine is the leading campus in the seven-campus University of Maine System (UMS). Its flagship status is recognized by the Maine Legislature and by the assignment of responsibilities to the campus by the UMS Board of Trustees, the governing body of the seven-campus System. Two crucial parts of the flagship status are the University of Maine’s primacy in graduate education and in research.

The University of Maine is the state’s only land-grant university. Since 1980, it also has been the state’s only sea-grant university. The sea-grant designation expands the objectives of the land grant program to teaching, research, and service concerning oceans and coastal regions.

1.2 The University of Maine System and its Governance

The seven public universities are under the control of the University of Maine System (UMS) by order of the Maine Legislature. The campuses cover all regions of the state and have different missions. All seven are unionized.

The Maine Legislature has delegated most governance of the University of Maine System to a board of citizen trustees appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature. The Board also includes one faculty member and one student from each of the seven campuses, and one graduate student from either the University of Maine or the University of Southern Maine. The Board ultimately makes many important decisions for individual campuses and the UMS. Among these are approving or terminating degree programs, creating research centers, appointing senior administrative leaders, granting tenure to members of faculty, and requesting and receiving extramural funding. The Trustees also have ultimate authority for allocating Legislative appropriations for higher education to individual campuses.

The Trustees appoint a Chancellor for the entire UMS. The Chancellor and the Chancellor’s staff, located primarily in Bangor, are responsible for day-to-day operations of the System. The Chancellor plays the leading role in System relations with the Maine Legislature, most notably the appropriation of funds to support the campuses. The Chancellor also plays a primary role in defining relationships among campuses. The Chancellor also selects, and discharges, the Presidents of the campuses with approval of the Trustees.

The Trustees and Chancellor serve the entire System. During the 1990s, the Maine Legislature approved the creation of individual Boards of Visitors to serve each campus. Like all seven campuses, the University of Maine has an active Board of Visitors. The Board provides advice to the campus on matters such as program development, community relations, and private fundraising. Governing responsibility remains with the Board of Trustees. The online Employee Information and Resource Guide gives descriptions of the University of Maine System.

 The Roles of the University of Maine

The University of Maine has the state’s largest undergraduate program, and undergraduate education is central to the campus mission. The University is the major graduate campus in the state. Several Master’s and doctoral degrees are the sole graduate programs in Maine in their respective disciplines. Professional education, often at the graduate level, meets societal needs in areas such as science, engineering, teacher education, business, nursing, and social work. A substantial continuing education program provides varied course offerings for off-campus and nontraditional students.

The University of Maine is the primary research university in the State. Its faculty members have attained national and worldwide recognition for their research discoveries. Many discoveries have moved from the library or the laboratory to become commercial products or services that improve lives from the local to the international level. The University’s land-grant heritage explains the large number of public service activities that originate on campus. These activities include such public services as advice from the Cooperative Extension

Division to farmers, assistance with humanities seminars throughout the state, guidance to K-12 teachers and administrators, and the presentation of cultural and athletic events on campus.

The University of Maine recognizes the increasingly global context of its work. Economic, social, scientific, technological, and political issues cross national boundaries. The teaching, research, and public service of the University reflect this fact. Likewise, the University is committed to doing its work in a multicultural and pluralistic community that encourages the full participation of all its members.

Governance on Campus

On the University of Maine campus, governance begins with the President who is responsible for all decisions that involve the campus. These include financial matters, buildings and grounds, student life, academics, intercollegiate athletics, community relations, research, and fundraising.

The Faculty Senate makes recommendations on policies to the president of the university on the following matters: academic freedom, free speech and assembly, student academic standards and performance, definition of academic titles and criteria for ranks, standards for academic standing of students, and curriculum matters involving more than one college. The Senate may review any matters affecting the academic environment, including institutional plans and priorities, the allocation of the university’s financial resources, academic organization, the library, honorary degrees, admissions policies and standards, establishment and elimination of academic programs, and assessment of academic outcomes.

Academic issues (e.g., creating courses and programs, hiring and promoting faculty, setting standards for instruction) are the products of a system of shared governance between the faculty and the academic administrators including the President. Long experience has helped to shape the procedures that decide most of these issues. A new faculty member facing an issue for the first time should determine whether existing departmental, college, university, or system policies provide advice.

Appointment of a faculty member is made with assignment to an academic department. Departments are the basic unit of governance within the University and the System. A chairperson sometimes has the power to make crucial decisions such as what courses are offered, who teaches them, when they are offered); in other cases, a departmental committee makes these decisions. Most decisions having a campus-wide or System-wide impact, such as awarding tenure to a faculty member or creating a specialized research institute, originate with the department.

UMaine has five academic colleges: Business, Public Policy and Health; Education and Human Development; Engineering; Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. A dean heads each college; associate or assistant deans and other administrators assist the dean. Faculty committees within each college are responsible for many governance decisions. At the college level, deans, administrators and faculty committees serve as the next level of review for matters originating within the department. They may also originate matters of college-wide interest.

The Provost and Executive Vice President is the senior academic officer on campus. The deans work directly under the Provost and serve at the pleasure of the Provost. The Provost and his or her professional staff take a campus-wide perspective on academic issues, e.g., deciding where new resources should be placed or which college should have responsibility for a specific program, etc. On faculty personnel issues, the Provost is the senior adviser to the President.

Full descriptions of the governing entities on campus are found in the Employee Information and Resource Guide

1.3 The University of Maine Faculty Senate

The University of Maine Faculty Senate represents the faculty in developing University policies. Each college is represented by at least four Senators. A complete list of members, the constitution and bylaws of the Faculty Senate, meeting dates and agendas, and other information is available online at The Senate has the authority to act on behalf of the faculty in establishing university-wide degree requirements. It also participates in the process of appointment and evaluation of academic and administrative officers. The Faculty Senate constitution is online at

1.4 Faculty Senate – Motion on Shared Governance – 1/29/2003

In the spirit of its responsibilities defined by its Constitution, the Faculty Senate embraces the notion of Shared Governance at all levels of the University, so that it may continue to refine its goals as the land grant, comprehensive, doctoral institution of the State of Maine and to fulfill them effectively. As the representative body of the faculty, we encourage other sectors of the University to engage with us and

the Administration in developing Shared Governance, to include the appropriate voices of professional, clerical, and all other members of the University so that we may better address how we meet our challenges as a unified community.

The great longevity of faculty members in their dedication to the University allows us to best ensure the continuity necessary to build upon our historical strengths, and guarantee the lasting success of current and future initiatives. The Senate recommends that the Administration always include the faculty for full participation in identifying, originating, developing, staffing, and evaluating all University initiatives, academic policies, budgeting decisions, administrative positions, major actions, and policies. We ask the Administration to commit itself to faculty participation in all of these decisions and actions, and also to work with us in establishing dialogues with representatives of the other members of the University Community to work for their inclusion in these decisions and actions as well.

1.5 Appointment, Retention, Promotion, and Tenure

The initial appointment letter to the faculty member states the terms of the appointment – at what rank, for what length of term, in what unit of the university, at what salary, etc. A detailed set of university regulations at department, college, and campus levels combine with the terms of the contract between the University of Maine System and the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM) www/  to spell out procedures for how a faculty member is reviewed, awarded tenure or promoted to Associate or Full Professor.

Typically, each decision – retention for another appointment, grant of tenure, promotion to higher rank – is the product of a series of careful evaluations of the faculty member’s teaching, research, and service contributions to the university and the respective profession. These decisions normally begin at the department level, advance to the college, then the Provost, and finally to the President. A grant of tenure also requires approval by the Board of Trustees. A grant of tenure is a legal commitment by the University of Maine System to retain the faculty member for the rest of his or her career. Only very unusual circumstances, e.g., the termination of an entire academic program, criminal misconduct, serious financial exigency, or clear nonperformance of duties, provide grounds to end the tenured appointment. Mentoring in the early years of a faculty appointment provides the basis for improvement in teaching, research and public service that leads eventually to tenure.

Requests for promotion and tenure follow an approved application format. Format and timetable for tenure are available online at .