The University of Maine System yesterday unveiled its first systemwide effort to boost enrollment, with hopes for a 6% jump by 2015.
The system's board of trustees was presented with details on a preliminary version of the Strategic Enrollment Plan, which highlighted various ways to increase enrollment at the system's seven campuses, according to the Bangor Daily News. The plan is modeled after recommendations in an August 2010 study performed by a national consultant, which identified growth opportunities in online and distance learning programs. UMS has doubled the number of online programs over the last 18 months, totaling 35. The plan also includes ways to increase the number of Maine Community College System graduates who transfer to UMS for a four-year degree; currently, only 12% of MCCS graduates go on to enroll at UMS. The consultant's report recommended financial aid be increased to boost enrollment and make up for a decrease in federal aid. Other challenges include an aging population and a decline in the number of students graduating from Maine high schools.
The plan marks the first time UMS has coordinated enrollment efforts at a systemwide level; previously, each campus had its own plan to add students. The number of UMS students fell from 32,000 in the fall of 2010 to 31,500 this fall, according to the paper.
In related news, Theodora Kalikow announced Friday she will retire next summer as president of the University of Maine at Farmington. Kalikow, the longest-serving chief administrator of UMF since it became a four-year college in 1945, will step down June 30, 2012, according to the Sun Journal. During her 17-year presidency, Kalikow added five majors, two master's degree programs and 16 faculty positions, while keeping enrollment at 2,000. Following her departure, Kalikow will spend two years working on special projects for UMS, including efforts to improve access to higher education for Maine students and collaborating with business leaders.