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November 19, 2018 | last updated November 26, 2018 12:18 pm

UMaine System trustees draft 'new vision' for public education

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees released today a draft "declaration of strategic priorities" that would commit its campuses to leading educational efforts statewide in response to Maine's growing workforce crisis, concerns about student debt and the rapid changes in the higher education marketplace.

The draft resolution, which will be considered for adoption after it's been reviewed and discussed by the system's seven universities and other stakeholders, builds on the success of UMaine System's One University initiative, which has led to Maine being the only state in the country to achieve a five-year reduction in the real cost of public higher education while increasing investments in financial aid and improving the fiscal standing of Maine's universities.

That initiative also has helped increase enrollments while expanding early college access, credit transfer, and collaboration among the campuses.

If the resolution is adopted, among the actions the UMaine System's leadership would be directed to pursue:

  • Workforce engagement — Develop programs and connections with associated industries that maximize workforce impact and business and economic development.
  • University of Maine System research — Support Maine industries and foster business formation and expansion through increased focus on research and economic development.
  • Micro-credentials — Collaborate with existing businesses, nonprofit and community partners to develop micro-credentials for economic advancement and expansion, with an initial report to the board at its May 2019 meeting;
  • Adult degree completion and employer alignment — Prepare, adult learners with affordable, flexible and stackable credential and degree-based programming aligned with the needs of this learner population and their employers.
  • Early college — Expand UMS early college programming to reach at least 5,000 Maine high school juniors and seniors and develop sustainable and scalable financial models for the programs.
  • Student debt — To help retain its status as a national leader in higher education affordability and tuition restraint, collaborate with policy makers to develop statewide strategies to increase affordability and reduce student debt, reporting on efforts no later than the board's May 2019 meeting.

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University of Maine System's draft goals and actions

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