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President and provost will host a discussion on UMaine’s future

The University of Maine is planning to hold a Strategic Vision forum on Nov. 2, 2018, in the Wells Conference Center. UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeffrey Hecker will be the hosts of the event.

Senior Director of Public Relations and Operations and Acting News Manager for the Office of the President Margaret Nagle said that the forum will, “launch a series of campus conversations about the university’s strategic direction.” The goal of the event, she said, is to share ideas and converse on the future of UMaine so that everyone is on the same page regarding UMaine’s goals going forward.

The event is free and does not require registration.

Nagle said “All members of the University of Maine community — students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners and interested members of the public — are encouraged to participate in the forum.”

Organizers of the event noted that involvement from the community would be crucial in the success of the community discussions.

“That also was true for the five-year Blue Sky strategic plan, which was created through an intentionally broad and consensus-driven process,” a representative from the Office of the President said. “There will be a variety of avenues through which University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias students will have opportunities to share their hopes and ideas about the future of the University of Maine, and how we can make it a reality.”

From 2012-17, UMaine followed the Blue Sky Strategic Plan, which focused on four areas of improvement: environment, energy, community and culture, and educating leaders.

Specific accomplishments attributed to the strategic plan in its executive summary report  included the recruitment of UMaine’s consecutive largest freshman classes in 2016 and 2017, improving the four-year retention rate by 7 percent, establishing the UMaine Zero-Waste Committee, the Flagship Internship program and Engaged Blackbear initiative, creating the Center for Undergraduate Research and more.

President Ferrini-Mundy acknowledged that, going forward, the Blue Sky Plan would not be forgotten as an important blueprint.

“As I join the campus now, six years later, I hope we can build on the best of that plan, and also identify new emphases and opportunities.”

The ramifications of the process spurred by this forum will go far beyond the UMaine community, as was the case with the Blue Sky Plan.

“Our next effort will emphasize how we can enact the ideas consistent with our values and visions, and determine the impact on students, faculty, the UMaine community, the state of Maine, and beyond,” Ferrini-Mundy said.

In preparation for the Nov. 15 forum, students and members of the community can review the Blue Sky Plan Strategic Plan Assessment. Attendees are encouraged to come with questions, insights and ideas for innovation that could contribute to the discussion on UMaine’s overall strategy going forward.

More forums and community discussions are planned for the future. There will be another three this semester with times, dates and locations being announced at the event on Nov. 15.

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