The “Kick-Off” presentation for the Blue Sky Strategic Plan Assessment Forum was held in Hauck Auditorium from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, led by President Susan J. Hunter and Jeffrey E. Hecker, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
The presentation was meant to serve as an opening act for a series of forums meant to discuss the 2012–2017 Blue Sky Strategic Plan, a framework designed with constant community involvement both on and off-campus, to address challenges that the University of Maine needs to address in the coming years.
“I think the opportunity from input across the landscape both on and off the campus was central to the plan of how this was done,” President Hunter commented.
The plan evolved to encompass five pathways, each allowing new initiatives to be implemented with their overarching goals in mind: “1. Serving our State” was meant to improve the University’s partnerships to assist the state economically, “2. Securing our Future” was meant to ensure the University’s fiscal sustainability, “3. Embracing a Culture of Excellence” was meant to improve the campus community, “4. Transforming Lives” was meant to improve the undergraduate and graduate experience and “5. Restoring the Dream” was meant to improve university infrastructure.
Now five years later, Hecker has been charged with evaluating the results of the initiatives that stemmed from these five original pathways.
“The development of the Blue Sky Plan was done quite inclusively,” Hecker said. “She went through 30 open sessions, people were invited to submit their ideas about where’s the University going, we had these preview grants. There was a lot of interchange around the campus, a lot of discussion and energy, so we thought if it started that way, maybe we ought to include that community involvement in the assessment of the plan.”
Hunter, now serving her final academic year in office, noted that this assessment will be invaluable for her successor to build upon.
“I’m not going to wax poetic at any length, but to say that I have loved my time as president, and I intend to…work as hard as I can this year…and really push the institution forward. But at the same time, part of my thought will be how to best prepare the institution for a very smooth and successful transition in leadership…I’m envisioning myself in a relay race.”
The forums for each pathway will be held in the Bangor Room at the Memorial Union, from 9 to 10 a.m. on the dates listed below. After the forum, full recordings and web-based inputs will be available for those who wish to contribute afterward.
Wednesday, Oct. 4: Pathway 1 – Jake Ward, Chair
Wednesday, Oct. 11: Pathway 3 – Monique LaRocque, Chair
Thursday, Oct. 19: Pathway 2 – Jeff Mills, Chair
Wednesday, Oct. 25: Pathway 4 – Kenda Scheele, Chair
Wednesday, Nov. 8: Pathway 5 – Stewart Harvey, Chair
For those who wish to learn about the initiatives and accomplishments of each pathway prior to their respective forums, the list can be found at www.umaine.edu/president. For those who could not attend this initial event, the links to a full recording of the presentation, as well as the PDF of the Powerpoint slides, can be viewed here: https://umaine.edu/president/blue-sky-strategic-plan-assessment/umaine-community-kick-off/.