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Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives

In year four of the Blue Sky Project, the focus is on the continued integration of the plan’s strategies and goals into the organizational structure of the university. Just as the Blue Sky Strategic Plan was developed through an inclusive process, integration will emerge through collaboration. Completed and in progress initiatives can be seen below.

Last year the Provost’s office, in collaboration with the Faculty Senate leadership, held a series of Academic Affairs Faculty Forums. The forums were designed to create a venue for meaningful sharing of ideas about important initiatives in Academic Affairs. Collaboration between the faculty and administration of the university is essential if we are to advance toward our strategic goals. The forums are one venue for this collaboration.  Given the success of the forums, additional meetings have been set for the 2014-2015 academic year.  This website is designed to extend the collaboration beyond the public meeting. After each forum, we will post relevant materials and create a space where faculty members can submit reactions, comments or questions generated by the forum.

There are two Academic Affairs Faculty Forums scheduled for the 2014-2015 academic year. The dates, times, and topics for the forums are listed below.

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 (4-5:30pm) – What are the Foundational Areas of Education for the 21st Century student – Bangor Room, Memorial Union

Thursday, Nov. 22, 2014 (4-5:30pm) – The Land Grant Research Mission in the 21st Century – Bangor Room, Memorial Union

Completed Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Designation of the University of Maine’s Signature and Emerging Programs (Pathway 1)
  • Establishment of the PRE-VUE funded UMaine Humanities Center (Pathway 1)
  • Review of UMaine organizational structure and focus (Pathway 2)
  • Enhancement of undergraduate research through the PRE-VUE supported Center for Undergraduate Research (Pathway 4)
  • Revive the University Teaching Council, made up of eight faculty members (Pathways 3, 4)

In Progress Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Development and implementation of the Provost’s Action Plan for Retention and Graduation (Pathway 2)
  • Reorganization of the Graduate School within the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School (Pathway 2)
  • Assessing student learning outcomes (Pathway 4)
    • Hired a new Director of Assessment (Pathway 4)
  • Reviewing, assessing, and improving (as necessary) the General Education curriculum (Pathway 4)
  • Assessing best practices for providing e-learning opportunities (Pathway 4)
  • Improving retention and graduation rates (Pathway 2) (Shared with Student Life)
  • Improve international student recruitment and enhance support of Franco-American studies and Native-American studies (Pathway 3) (Shared with Student Life)
  • Create a process to reward innovation and integration of teaching, research and service across interdisciplinary paths through unit-based incentive programs (Pathway 3) (Shared with Research)
  • Optimize the internship and co-op opportunities for UMaine students, creating the “Flagship Internship Program” (Pathway 4) (Shared with Innovation and Economic Development and Student Life)
  • Promote the Historic District Renovation (Pathway 5) (Shared with Administration and Finance)
  • Continue to develop comprehensive capital master plans for off-site campus facilities (Pathway 5) (Shared with Administration and Finance)

Emerging Blue Sky Academic Affairs Initiatives:

  • Develop and implement a Faculty Leadership Academy to provide professional development to the next generation of faculty leaders to enabling strong public advocacy and messaging (Pathway 3) (Shared with Human Resources and Innovation and Economic Development)
    • The advent of the Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program, with 20 outstanding faculty members chosen from among all of the colleges to engage in highly focused professional development and leadership opportunities (Pathways 1, 3)