Workable strategy for UCB
Thursday, September 22, 2005 – Bangor Daily News
The state of Maine needs the help of the Bangor-area community to define the future of the University College of Bangor. On Oct. 1 and Nov. 9 area residents will have opportunities to weigh in.
One year ago, the University of Maine board of trustees issued a strategic plan for redirecting the University of Maine System. Among their proposals was the conversion of the University College of Bangor into a Higher Education Park. The plan envisioned Eastern Maine Community College expanding into the UCB campus and the University of Maine retaining responsibility for four-year degree programs taught in Bangor.
I served on a Higher Education Park Implementation Planning Committee established by UMS. The discussions among committee members made progress, but there were still many unresolved issues. Then I was named to a Governor’s Task Force to Plan for Higher Education in the Kennebec Valley.
This task force resulted from issues raised by the UMS strategic plan proposal to make the University of Maine at Augusta an administrative unit of the University of Southern Maine. In including me, and Rep. Jackie Norton, as task force members, Gov. Baldacci made clear his concern about input from UCB. Currently, UCB is a campus of UMA.
There is much to sort out about what’s best for Maine people when it comes to their higher education. The task force goal established by the governor is the right one: determining options to best achieve access, affordability and quality in Maine higher education. The task force has provided an excellent opportunity for higher education and community leaders to communicate and collaborate around a vision for UMA and UCB. Now the task force members need your help.
On Oct. 1, the task force will host a day-long public gathering at the Augusta Civic Center. We want to engage the public in a facilitated event, called an “Appreciative Inquiry.” The focus will be on asking: What works best? The aim is to find strengths within the university organization and related communities on which to build. The process seeks to learn about real experiences people have had. We need to hear your stories about those experiences.
On Nov. 9, the task force will hold a public hearing at UCB to receive comments on its initial recommendations. Those recommendations will be greatly influenced by what emerges from the Oct. 1 experience. I urge all involved with UCB – students, faculty, employers, community leaders and more – to participate Oct. 1. We need to learn from you.
Gov. Baldacci’s Web site at www.maine.gov will post logistical information about the Oct. 1 and Nov. 9 task force events. Please join me and other task force members in an important dialogue about higher education in the Bangor region.
Gillian Jordan is dean of the University College of Bangor.