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President Mundy conversing with a prospective student.

President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Dean Megan Walsh: Connecting with Machias

At the beginning of March, University of Maine Machias President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Dean Megan Walsh visited the Machias campus to talk with current and prospective students. With the new merging of the Orono and Machias campuses, more student awareness has come to their eyes, and we’re bringing you the details and upward motion of making UMaine and UMaine Machias a better place.

This spring semester, we hosted another open forum with Ferrini-Mundy and Walsh, allowing student and club representatives to meet and discuss ways to improve our communication with Orono. This forum covered many smaller topics, focusing on projects we could get done immediately rather than projects that take years to complete. It even allowed students to express their concerns with the new partnership.

One major topic I brought up was the timeline for improving the college campus visually, including the potholes in the road. Thankfully, we will now see faster improvements and positive changes, like improved road quality, road space, and new plants and decorations for campus aesthetics.

Another topic brought up by Student Senate Representative Juno Prenier was getting representation at our sister school’s student senate to avoid being overlooked. Now, with our policies being merged and updated, we can start to see students being included in meetings and even having a stronger bridge with Orono students and representatives.

One of our more prominent projects was updating campus resources so that on- and off-campus students can enjoy their time here. After a walkthrough of one of our other dorm buildings with Walsh, we are working on a plan to improve a lounge so that on- and off-campus students can enjoy their time and even host better events and community-building moments.

While short-lived, the forum was very productive, and we can see many improvements coming soon for Machias.

Cody of WUMM playing music for prospective students.

Shortly after the forum, prospective and committed students braved the weather to tour the campus and hear a few words from the president, dean, and professors. Sadly, one prospective student mentioned that they had changed their mind on attending UMM after realizing the weather conditions one may experience in Maine.

After the event, we met Ferrini-Mundy to discuss this year’s student enrollment and the impacts of UMaine Orono’s partnership with UMM.

This year, UMM has seen a jump in enrollment for the 2024 fall semester. “The numbers [prospective students] are looking good. Right now, better than last year. I think one of our major goals for Machias is to help grow this enrollment, because it is a special place, and if students can find this place and realize it’s for them, they will have a great experience,” Ferrini-Mundy stated. 

Currently, many UMM students are growing frustrated with the number of required classes offered in an online-only manner, as well as the low number of professors. Commenting on the possibility of more professors coming to UMM with the surge in enrollment, Ferrini-Mundy informed us, “We want to focus first on making sure that the students who are here have the best possible options, and the most possible avenues to complete their degrees
successfully, and so I expect that as enrollment grows we’ll be able to grow other areas including, we hope, 
the faculty, and it’s going to depend on bringing great students here.”

Ferrini-Mundy continued to discuss what has come from UMM’s partnership with UMaine (UM). She mentioned her fondness for the Coastal Year Program, where students in certain science programs have the opportunity to attend UMM for one year and then move to the UM campus to finish the remainder of their degree. “The coastal year program has been a great example of really playing up the strengths of UMaine Machias but also making it possible to connect with the bigger and broader programs of the University of Maine,” Ferrini-Mundy remarked. 

“It’s excellent [the partnership] because you get the strengths of both places available to the people in both places. We are really using that, I think, at this stage especially, to be sure that UMaine Machias is well supported and has access to everything from enrollment management support to budget help… to facilities managing.”

Ferrini-Mundy also described her fondness of UMM and the school’s dean, Dr. Megan Walsh. “Your campus has a terrific leader… I hope that everyone appreciates the passion she brings to this work and her extreme perfectiveness. Working in, kind of, the space between two different universities.” Ferrini-Mundy also said she loves the close, tight-knit community the school offers and that she can be “president of the biggest university [in Maine] and the smallest.”

President Ferrini-Mundy delivers a speech to prospective UMM students

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