Southern Maine Imperative II

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					A Southern Maine Imperative II
 a vital and healthy usm leads to a healthy
 southern maine region, which in turn leads
 to a prosperous maine.

a report on the future of the university of southern maine by the usm board of visitors
                                                                 february 2008
February 20, 2008

Joseph Wood, interim president
University of Southern Maine
96 Falmouth Street
PO Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104-9300

Dear President Wood:
In October of 2000, the University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors presented to then-
President Richard L. Pattenaude A Southern Maine Imperative: Meeting the Region’s Higher
Education Needs in the 21st Century. That report—based on an extensive community outreach
to assess the southern Maine region’s expectations for USM—carried a clear message: the Uni-
versity of Southern Maine must become one of the top-ranked public, regional comprehensive
universities in the United States in the quality, breadth, and the accessibility of its academic
It is time to ask whether the community’s vision for USM is still valid, and what progress
USM, the state, and the southern Maine community are making toward implementing our
recommendations from 2000. Thanks to the support of the Davis Educational Foundation
and Clark Associates Insurance , we again sought the views of the region’s business and civic
leaders, who confirmed that USM is as critical to the vitality of the region and the state as it
was in 2000. What has changed, however, is the context in which USM must operate, in part
from rapid changes in the workplace, but most important, from Maine’s financial situation and
the effects of critical policy decisions affecting our public university system.
Though progress has been made in pursuing our recommendations from 2000, much work
needs to be done, especially in supporting USM in a manner consistent with its mission.
It is important for us to note that this report is NOT about how to address USM’s current
financial deficit. As in our 2000 report, the focus is on our long-term vision for USM and what
it takes to fulfill those expectations.
Nor is this report about competition among the individual campuses of the University of
Maine System. Rather, we are making the case for public higher education in Maine in general,
and specifically for the critical role that USM plays as the principal baccalaureate and gradu-
ate/professional institution in the most populous region of the state.
With this report, we ask that you, University faculty and staff, the University of Maine System
Board of Trustees, the governor, state legislators, the region’s business and civic leaders—all
University stakeholders—demonstrate a collective commitment to seriously implementing
this report’s recommendations. It’s our firm belief that such a commitment would effectively
serve tomorrow’s undergraduate and graduate students as well as the citizens and employers of
the southern Maine region and the entire state.
Sincerely yours,

Robert Blackwood, chair
University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors
    Executive Summary
    The University of Southern Maine Board of Visitors conducted a series of inter-
    views and focus groups with business and civic leaders in southern Maine, assessed
    implementation by the University of the six recommendations in our 2000 South-
    ern Maine Imperative, and based on our findings from both activities, prepared a
    new set of recommendations directed at the University, state government, the UMS
    Board of Trustees, and the southern Maine community.
    Community Expectations
    Our interviews and focus groups produced three key findings.
       • USM is vital to the southern Maine community. A common theme from com-
         munity leaders is this: A healthy USM leads to a healthy region, which in turn
         leads to a healthy state. Community leaders told us that USM must play a key
         role in the economy of the region both serving and driving the economy, help-
         ing to create jobs, and supplying qualified employees.
       • Community leaders identified four major changes in the regional context in
         which USM works: (1) the Community College System; (2) the increasing
         pressure to constrain state spending and lower taxes; (3) the emergence of a
         knowledge-based, technology-driven economy that places expensive demands
         on the University’s education, research, and technical assistance programs, and
         (4) the region’s increasing diversity in terms of age, ethnic background, and
       • Community leaders want USM to be the “fuel in the engine of economic and
         societal growth.” USM must provide a solid core of learning for all students
         and at the same time build distinctive areas of excellence in specific areas, espe-
         cially selected graduate programs.
    Our primary conclusion from these findings is clear: While USM is on the mark
    toward meeting community expectations, the University still needs to focus, to be known
    for excellence in some definable way, and to make difficult choices regarding the use of
    scarce resources.
    Report Card: on Implementation of Recommendations from 2000
    Implementation of the six key recommendations in our 2000 Southern Maine Im-
    perative was assessed. The report cards below indicate both progress and challenges.
    The most serious challenge is the financial situation facing the University. USM
    has been affected far more than the rest of the University of Maine System by the
    growth of the Community College System.
  1. Vision: USM as a top-ranked, regional, comprehensive university. While
     there are encouraging signs of progress toward realizing this vision, a credible
     means of measuring the University against peer institutions continues to be a
  2. Academic programs in science and technology as well as graduate and profes-
     sional fields. The University has been extremely responsive to the needs of the
     community during a period of intense fiscal stress, but more needs to be done
     in supporting distinctive programs that have the potential to attract outstand-
     ing students as well as private contributions and grant support.
  3. A broad range of liberal arts and humanities programs central to a solid un-
     dergraduate education. Solid progress has been made in demonstrating USM’s
     commitment to a liberal arts foundation, especially through a major redesign
     of the general education curriculum.
  4. Lifelong learning, institutional partnerships, and online educational oppor-
     tunities. Substantial progress has been made in each of the three areas; a major
     determinant of success in the future will be the University’s willingness and ca-
     pacity to adapt to the pace of economic, demographic, and workplace change,
     which has implications for how learning is designed and delivered.
  5. The affordability of programs and the availability of services designed to
     encourage attendance, persistence, and lifelong learning. While student finan-
     cial aid has been increased somewhat, it remains a problem in recruiting and
     retaining students. The University’s retention and graduation rates continue to
     remain well below national norms and, therefore, are a major problem.
  6. Financial situation. Severe financial constraints are the most serious obstacle to
     fulfilling the community’s expectations for USM. While alumni, the business
     community, and private citizens have increased their financial support—pri-
     marily for capital investments—the state is not fulfilling its obligation for op-
     erating support and programmatic investments, nor has the Board of Trustees
     altered the historic but outmoded way that the state appropriation is allocated
     to the units of the System.

Based on our updated review of the expectations of business and civic leaders in
southern Maine and our assessment of the implementation of the six recommen-
dations from 2000, the following eight new recommendations are made to the
University, state government, the UMS Board of Trustees, and the southern Maine
A Southern Maine Imperative II
a vital and healthy usm leads to a healthy southern
maine region, which in turn leads to a prosperous maine.

In October 2000 the University of Southern Maine’s Board of Visitors published A
Southern Maine Imperative: Meeting the Region’s Higher Education Needs in the 21st
Century, a report outlining the southern Maine community’s concerns and expecta-
tions regarding the role of the University as a vital component in the future of the
region and the entire state. Consultants engaged by the Board interviewed 11 regional
business and civic leaders and facilitated 15 focus groups, involving 180 stakeholders
representing a wide range of community interests.
The message in A Southern Maine Imperative was clear: Because the futures of the
southern Maine region and USM are integrally linked, USM must become a top-
ranked public, regional, comprehensive university in the United States in terms of
the breadth, the quality, and the accessibility of its academic programs. Citizens of
the region told the Board that they expect USM to:

  • have both a clear direction and perform multiple roles,
  • provide solid programs in science, technology, and professional fields and in the
    liberal arts, and,
  • be a high quality, first-choice institution while at the same time be a source of
    educational opportunity for those citizens taking the first step toward lifelong
    learning.                                                                            5
    Six specific recommendations were addressed to the USM president, faculty, and
    staff; community civic and business leaders; and finally, to the chancellor and trustees
    of the University of Maine System, and to the governor and state legislature.
    Seven years after our 2000 report, it is time to take stock of the community’s vision
    for USM and our recommendations. Is that vision for a USM that is “a top ranked
    public, regional, comprehensive university” still valid and plausible in light of the
    economic, demographic and workplace changes occurring in the region? What prog-
    ress are USM, the state, and the southern Maine community making in implement-
    ing our six recommendations? This report addresses those two questions.

    The Southern Maine Community’s Expectations for USM

    In the spring of 2007 consultants engaged by the Board of Visitors conducted indi-
    vidual and small-group interviews with 25 community and civic leaders in southern
    Maine. 1 The results of those interviews were then reviewed by the Board of Visitors.
    A complete summary is included in Appendix A. Key findings are:
        USM is vital to the southern Maine community. A common theme from
        community leaders is this: A healthy USM leads to a healthy region, which
        in turn leads to a healthy state. Community leaders told us that USM must
        play a key role in the economy of the region both serving and driving the
        economy, helping to create jobs, and supplying qualified employees. Com-
        munity leaders identified four major changes in the regional context in
        which USM works: (1) the Community College System; (2) the increas-
        ing pressure to constrain state spending and lower taxes; (3) the emergence
        of a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy that places expensive
        demands on the University’s education, research, and technical assistance
        programs, and (4) the region’s increasing diversity in terms of age, ethnic
        background, and culture. Community leaders want USM to be the “fuel in
        the engine of economic and societal growth.” USM must provide a solid
        core of learning for all students and at the same time build distinctive areas
        of excellence in specific areas, especially selected graduate programs.
    These conclusions clearly parallel those from the recent Portland Community
    Chamber of Commerce report, Looking Out for Portland and the Region 2007.2 The
    Chamber compared the Portland region to 24 other regions within New England
    and nationally, as well as several in Maine. With 38.9% of Maine’s population, the
    region produces 42.7% of gross state product and 44.2% of the state’s income. The
    importance to the state is far greater than the benchmark regions where, on average,
6   they represent 12–13% of their respective states. But from 2002–05, both economic
growth and job growth, especially job growth in the private sector, lagged behind
New England and national benchmark regions. The Chamber summarized why these
numbers are important.

    While the economic success of the Portland region directly impacts citizens and
    businesses within the region, it also significantly impacts the ability of the state to
    succeed. In fact, the economic data presented here strongly indicates that Maine’s
    economic future is tied to the economic performance of it most dominant region,
    Portland. This means that ensuring the region’s wellbeing is not only in the City’s
    and region’s best interest but also the entire state’s interest. It is therefore impor-
    tant that state policies reflect that importance. 3
Are the community’s vision and expectations for USM expressed in 2000 still valid
and plausible in light of the economic, demographic, and workplace changes occur-
ring in the region and the state? The answer is that more than ever, based on the
state’s challenges, community leaders continue to believe that USM is vital to the
region and the state. They also believe that while USM is making progress toward
meeting expectations, the University still needs to focus, to be known for excellence
in some definable way, and to make difficult choices regarding the use of scarce re-

                         A Southern Maine Imperative
                                     called for USM to:
                     • be linked to and stimulate the regional economy
                     • provide both quality education and broad access
                     • provide lifelong learning in a variety of formats
                     • be flexible, creative, and innovative in the
                       delivery of programs
                     • engage in extensive partnerships rather than
                       competition with other institutions
                     • play a community leadership role
                     • recruit and retain a student body, faculty, and
                       staff that reflects the diversity of the region,
                     • reach out aggressively in both recruiting and in
                       broadly engaging the community, and
                     • be user-friendly in all aspects of its operations.
    Interim Report Card and Recommendations Regarding
    Implementation of the Southern Maine Imperative

    To answer our second question, we examined the University’s progress in implement-
    ing each of the six recommendations from 2000.
    imperative 2000 recommendation—a vision for usm
    Aggressively pursue the goal of becoming, by 2010, one of the top-ranked public, regional,
    comprehensive universities in the nation, and be so recognized among peer institutions,
    through clear expectations and commitments from the state, the UMS, the business com-
    munity, and the faculty and staff.
    This recommendation is, essentially, a vision statement for USM. It reflects how the
    community and we, the Board of Visitors, expect the University will be viewed in
    Maine and across the country. At the core, in former President Richard Pattenaude’s
    words, USM would be broadly seen as a higher education institution that is “both in
    and of the community” with a clear focus and identity.
    Report Card: While there are encouraging signs of progress toward realizing this
    vision, there currently is not a systematic and credible means of measuring the
    University against peer institutions.
    Preliminary though limited information about how USM is viewed both in Maine
    and out of state is encouraging.

      • USM consistently has the highest academic quality rating in its U.S. News and
        World Report’s regional tier.
      • The Princeton Review in 2003, 2005, and again in 2008 has recognized USM as
        being among the Best Northeastern Colleges. 4
      • USM’s initiative to reform general education for undergraduates was featured in
        the Newsletter of the American Association of Schools and Colleges.5
      • A recent market research study conducted for the University found that eight in
        ten community leaders and six of ten constituents surveyed believe that USM’s
        reputation is improving; 37% of community leaders believe that it has “improved
        greatly” over the past few years.6
      • USM continues to receive accreditation for individual academic programs and
        for the entire institution.7
    While these indicators are encouraging, they are limited in scope and do not represent
    a systematic approach to assessing USM against peer institutions. The BOV needs to
    be able to compare, in a credible manner, the University to peer institutions on both
    traditional higher education criteria and those characteristics of a regional, compre-
8   hensive institution that are of greatest value to the southern Maine community.
We learned from interviews with civic and business leaders and subsequent discus-
sions within the BOV that the term “top-ranked” may seem both too far-reach-
ing and undefined. It also implied too heavy a focus on simplistic rankings among
universities that often fail to capture the linkage and importance to the regional
economy expressed in A Southern Maine Imperative.
     2008 recommendation: USM must continue to make consistent prog-
     ress toward becoming a university of national distinction among peer in-
     stitutions whose mission is to contribute to the economic development,
     social health, and cultural vitality of their regions. To that end, the BOV
     further recommends that USM identify and benchmark itself to compa-
     rable universities beginning in the 2008–09 academic year.
The southern Maine region and, indeed, the state of Maine require no less. Com-
munity leaders have reiterated that a vital and healthy USM leads to a healthy region,
which in turn leads to a healthy state. They want USM to be the fuel in the engine of
economic and societal growth. In short, the Southern Maine Imperative is even more
critical than was the case seven years ago.
Numerous reports have chronicled the challenges faced by the state and the region
in adjusting to the global, knowledge-based economy. One of those challenges is
Maine’s comparative position re-     also challenging the workforce will
garding educational attainment.      be the shifting mix and composition of
While Maine exceeds the New          maine industries’ employment needs. With
                                     continued swift economic change assured, the
England average for the propor-      shifting size and nature of Maine industries will
tion of the population over age      further alter the mix of Maine’s business sectors,
25 with two-year associate’s de-     and in turn occupational and labor force needs.
                                     In the next six years, after all, virtually all of the
grees (9.1% in Maine; 7.9% in
                                     state’s net growth in wage and salary jobs will
New England), our bachelor’s and     take place in service-providing industries, while
graduate/professional degree rates   goods-producing employment will decline fur-
are below the average (17% and       ther. Along the way, the health care, retail trade,
                                     leisure and hospitality, professional and busi-
20.1% bachelor’s; 8.6% and 14%       ness services, and financial sectors will dominate
graduate/professional). The Maine    job-creation and grow in relative size as aging
Department of Labor’s projected      and retirement gain sway and the consumption
                                     economy spreads. According to MDOL, these
job growth through 2012 indicates    changes portend a significant tilt in Maine’s
strong future need for employees     job mix toward managerial, professional, and
with baccalaureate and graduate/     technical work, as well as toward office, sales,
                                     and service occupations. These changes will
professional degrees (see sidebar).
                                     require more Mainers to find work in new and
Despite that need, demand for        different areas.
such graduates may be exceeding      Charting Maine’s Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustain-
supply in that Maine natives are     able Prosperity and Quality Places, The Brookings Institution
                                             Metropolitan Policy Program, Washington, D.C., 2006      9
     not available to meet demand. The U.S. Bureau of the Census American Community
     Survey found that from 1995–2000, 49% of Maine citizens with bachelor’s degrees
     and 62% with graduate degrees were born out of state.8
     USM’s core mission is to provide Maine with educated citizens to lead the state into
     the future. The vitality and quality of USM is central to improving Maine’s educa-
     tional attainment statistics because (1) almost four of every five of the University’s
     alumni continue their careers in Maine9 and (2) the University is the principal higher
     education institution in Maine serving adult lifelong learners who continue to pursue
     four-year and graduate degrees.
     Given the financial challenges facing USM, it is unlikely that this goal can be achieved
     by our original target of 2010. Indeed, our concern is that because of the immediate
     financial situation University leaders, faculty, and staff will be placed in a survival
     mode where creative strategies for attaining our vision fail to become priorities.
     Our vision for USM is not an option—it must be achieved in the foreseeable future if
     the region and the state are to prosper. Maine’s governmental leaders, the University
     System’s Board of Trustees, the region’s business and civic leaders, and USM’s faculty
     and staff must join together in a sustained commitment to this goal. USM must be
     given the political support and the financial resources necessary to take full advantage
     of the University’s reduced responsibility to be the major provider of access to higher
     education in southern Maine, but its increased responsibilities as the principal pro-
     vider of high quality four-year and graduate programs attuned to the economic and
     societal needs of the region.
     Measuring progress toward attainment of our vision for USM is absolutely necessary.
     We urge a joint BOV/University initiative to develop and implement a measurement
     program to compare USM to a set of peer institutions with comparable missions and
     responsibilities, and to develop a series of practical benchmarks to assess progress,
     both among peers and within USM alone. The primary challenge in this effort will
     be to select an appropriate set of peer institutions because the key factors that char-
     acterize USM are not collectively present in many other comprehensive universities.
     A starting point would be the 90 universities that are members of the Coalition of
     Urban & Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) that share a comparable mission. USM
     was a founding member of this organization.10 Size of both the University and the
     state’s land grant institution, regional setting and mission including the region’s rela-
     tive importance in the state economy, breadth of programs, nature of student body
     both undergraduate and graduate, and distinctive program linkages might represent
     a preliminary criteria for examination.

imperative 2000 recommendation
Receive financial support from the state, from the Board of Trustees, and from the southern
Maine community commensurate with USM’s regional role, mission, responsibilities as a
comprehensive university, and size.
A Southern Maine Imperative stated that
     Significant additions in funding and internal shifts in allocations will be required to
     realize our vision for USM in the first decade of the 21st century. This vision includes
     greater attention to inherently costly programming in the sciences and technology, as
     well as other professional fields relevant to the regional economy, expanded graduate
     programming, and continued investments in new communications technologies.11
Report Card. Severe long-term financial constraints are the most serious obstacle to
fulfilling the community’s expectations for USM. While alumni, the business com-
munity, and private citizens have increased their financial support, the state appro-
priation has lagged and the UMS Board of Trustees continues an outmoded way
to distribute the state appropriation that is inconsistent with USM’s regional role,
mission, responsibilities as a com-
prehensive university, and size.             Financial Accomplishments
There have been important accom-                         2000-2006
plishments in the areas of private • Two capital campaigns raised over $41 million.
support for USM and grant and
                                        • Annual fund contributions increased from
contract activity since 2000 (see         $550,000 to $1.1 million.
sidebar). As real and as encouraging
                                        • USM Foundation assets increased from $.8 to
as these accomplishments are, they
                                          $20.6 million.
must be placed in perspective. First,
the increase in private contributions • Grant and contract activity almost doubled
                                          from $22.8 to $43.2 million; now the second
to USM started on a very low base.
                                          largest source of revenue after tuition and fees
Second, the vast majority of private      and ahead of the state appropriation.
contributions have been for capital
construction projects, not for operating support or student financial aid. Indeed, new
facilities and expanded grant and contract activity increase operating costs for facili-
ties as well as human resources and other management functions.
There are two long-term causes of USM’s financial situation that are independent
from current deficits. First, since the recession of the early 1990s, paying for public
higher education in Maine has shifted dramatically from the state to student tuition
and fees. Second, the UMS Board of Trustees has left the manner in which the state
appropriation is distributed to campuses effectively unchanged since creation of the
University system in 1969, when USM was a far less complex and much smaller
institution.                                                                                    11
     chart 1

                usm tuition and fees and state appropriation 1997–2000
       8 0%
       5 0%
       3 0%
       2 0%
       1 0%
       1989/90     1991/92     1993/34     1995/96     1997/98     1999/00    2001/02     2003/04    2005/06
             1990/91     1992/93     1994/95     1996/97     1998/99     2000/01    2002/03     2004/05    2006/07

                                             tuition and fees       state appropriation

      source: university of southern maine office of finance and administration

     The burden of paying for public higher education has shifted from the state to students.
     The costs of providing academic programs and the support services they require are
     paid predominantly by student tuition and fees while the state appropriation has be-
     come secondary. In FY1990, the state share was 72%, while tuition and fees was 28%.
     In FY2007, the state share was 44% and tuition and fees 56% (see Chart 1). While the
     University of Maine System as a whole in FY2007 passed the 50% threshold where
     student tuition and fees exceed state appropriation, USM passed that threshold in
     FY2004. In 2006–07, tuition and fees were 56% compared to 44% from USM’s share
     of the state appropriation. While the state appropriation increased 9% over seven fis-
     cal years, it falls far below the 17% increase in cost of living over that period. The $3.4
     million increase over the seven years represents just 2.5% of the University’s 2007–08
     budget. The state appropriation represents a smaller share of USM’s FY2008 operat-
     ing budget than all other campuses with the exception of the University of Maine at
     The main effect of this shift is that students pay a substantially greater share of the
     costs of their education. Higher costs for students mean that they leave school with a
     substantial amount of debt. Indeed, the average USM baccalaureate graduate leaves
     with over $22,000 in student loan debt, a figure that is higher than graduates of Bow-
     doin and Colby. Second, students are far more sensitive to the costs and perceived
     benefits of college attendance. For many students, the number of courses they can
     afford each semester and, in too many cases, even continuing in their undergraduate
     or graduate programs may be determined by costs.
     There also is a direct impact on the University. As more of the cost of providing
     academic programs comes from tuition and fees, USM becomes more dependent
12   on each marginal tuition dollar. Higher tuition and fees in an increasingly competi-
tive environment can mean fewer students—or students taking fewer credit hours—
which in turn results in lower tuition and fee revenue. This has been the exact case
where USM has lost marginal tuition dollars from the almost 1,000 students, mostly
part-time and non-degree, who chose to attend a community college where the tu-
ition in 2007–08 is $240 for a three-credit course compared to $594 at USM.
For full-time undergraduate and graduate degree students, many of USM’s competi-
tors can lower the actual cost of tuition through grants and scholarships. For exam-
ple, the discount rate—the difference between stated tuition and fees plus room and
board, and what students actually pay—was 10.4% for entering freshmen at USM
in 2005 compared to 28.6% at the University of Maine, and 4.6% for USM transfers
compared to 10.7% at UM, and USM has more transfers. The average student loan
debt for UM graduates is slightly lower than for USM graduates. This is because UM
has more scholarship funds from private contributions and is able to allocate more
from its E&G operating budget than USM. These problems are exacerbated when
USM competes for out-of-state students who pay a higher tuition.
USM’s share of the state’s appropriation for E&G operating support to the University
System has remained the same for the past 38 years. As we noted in our 2000 report,
“With over 30% of the System’s full-time equivalent students and over half of UMS
graduate students, USM continues to receive the same 23% of state appropriation
that it did in 1970.”
In 1970, the predecessor of USM was about half the size and clearly a very different
institution. Tables II and III show that in the first full year of the UMS, the Univer-
sity of Maine at Portland/Gorham (UMPG) had 5,764 students compared to 10,473
in the fall of 2007. This is an 82% increase. In 1970, USM’s enrollment represented
27% of UMS enrollment. Today it is 31%.

table ii

                         ums enrollments 1970 and 2007
            enrollment 1970      percent 1970      enrollment 2007     percent 2007
  USM            5,764               27%                10,473              31%
  UMO            10,843              50%                11,912              35%
  UMA             1,451               7%                 5,101              15%
  UMF             1,500               7%                 2,265              7%
  UMFK             454                2%                 1,269              4%
  UMM              572                3%                 1,259              4%
  UMPI            1,160               5%                 1,533               5%
  total          21,744             100%                33,812             100%
     table iii

                       ums headcount enrollment by degree level 2006
                       associate’s            bachelor’s   grad/professionals   non-degree
       USM                 27                    6728             2191            1542
       UMO                 0                     8507             2270            1020
       UMA                1910                   2357               0              990
       UMF                 0                     2270               3              151
       UMFK                99                     780               0             460
       UMM                 40                     509               0              710
       UMPI                40                    1234               0              381

     USM is a dramatically different institution today from what it was in 1970. At the
     time the University of Maine System was created, the University of Maine at Orono
     was the only university in the System offering a full range of undergraduate and
     graduate degrees. The institution that at first was the University of Maine at Port-
     land/Gorham and in the late 1970s became USM was a merger of Gorham State
     Teachers College, the University of Maine at Portland (a two-year school), and the
     law school. UMPG had 27 undergraduate and just 6 graduate programs in 1970:
     law, MBA, engineering (discontinuted), library services (discontinued), and two in
     education. There have been major changes at USM over the past 38 years, far more
     than at the other campuses of the system. One of the changes is in the importance
     and scope of graduate education at USM. Table III shows that USM has half the
     graduate enrollment (including law) in the System.
     Table IV shows the operating budget13 and state appropriation by campus in the
     University System for the current fiscal year, the share of budget and appropriation
     for each campus, and the appropriation as a percentage of the campus budget. USM
     table iv

                        operating budgets and state appropriation
               for ums campuses and systemwide services fy2008 (in millions)
                                                        % ums     appropriation
                  budget % ums budget appropriation appropriation   % budget
       USM         $131.5   26.9%         $44.0         23.7%         33.5%
       UMO         $232.4   47.6%         $88.7         47.8%         38.2%
       UMA         $29.0     5.9%         $10.4          5.6%         35.9%
       UMF          $34.9    7.1%          $10.8         5.8%         30.9%
       UMFK         $12.6    2.6%           $4.5        2.4%          35.7%
       UMM          $10.6    2.2%           $4.5        2.4%          42.5%
       UMPI         $15.5    3.2%          $6.8          3.7%         43.9%
       SWS          $22.2    4.5%         $16.0         8.6%          72.1%
       total       $488.7   100%          $185.7        100%          38.0%
       *Systemwide Services, the Chancellor’s Office
table v

    state appropriation and budgets per full-time equivalent students
                     ums campuses fy2008 (in millions)
                   fte              share          appropriation         budget
              enrollment              fte             per fte            per fte
 USM              7,157              30%               $6,148            $18,374
 UMO              9,548              40%               $9,290            $24,340
 UMA              2,637              11%               $3,944            $10,997
 UMF             2,002                8%               $5,395             $17,433
 UMFK              910                4%               $4,945             $13,846
 UMM               581                2%               $7,745             $18,244
 UMPI             1,221               5%               $5,569             $12,695
 total           24,056             100%               $7,054             $19,392

receives 23.7% of the state appropriation, a share that has remained virtually un-
changed over the past 38 years. Also, USM’s state appropriation as a percentage of its
budget is 33.5%, second lowest of the UMS campuses.
Table V presents the state appropriation and the operating budget per full-time-
equivalent student, which takes into consideration the proportion of students who
are full-time versus part-time, and the share of FTE students for each campus.
In 2007 USM within the UMS has:
     30% of full-time-equivalent enrollment
     30% of bachelor’s degree enrollment
     49.2% of graduate/professional enrollment
     52% of first-time graduate enrollment from within Maine
     29% of full-time enrollment
     34% of part-time enrollment
     33% of transfer students
     26.9% of the total UMS budget
USM receives 23.7% of the state appropriation allocated to campuses for its general
operating expenses, a percentage virtually unchanged in 38 years. While we do not
believe that a university’s number of students should be the sole criterion by which
the Board of Trustees distribute the state appropriation to campuses, the stark mis-
match between USM’s enrollment, its share of the state appropriation and, therefore,
its financial capacity to fulfill its mission sends a clear signal that the historic but
continuing approach is not appropriate. We reach the same conclusion if the criteria
focuses on USM’s responsibility and role in southern Maine, its mission, or its com-
plexity as a comprehensive university. The current approach comes up short on either
measure. It fails to meet the “straight-face test.”14
     USM has been prudent with its limited resources. The University’s faculty-student
     ratio has risen to 15:1 over the past several years compared to UM’s 13:1, and the salary
     and wage employee ratio to 7:1 compared to UM’s 6:1. Given its mission and role as
     a comprehensive university, on a comparative basis USM provides a comparatively
     limited set of academic programs in a relatively efficient manner.

     table vi

                        faculty and non-faculty employee ratios
                per full time equivalent students at ums campuses 2006*
                                     Faculty fte by              non-faculty fte by
                                      student fte                   student fte
                    USM                    15                            7
                    UMO                    13                            6
                    UMA                    18                           14
                    UMF                    15                           10
                    UMFK                  20                             11
                    UMM                    13                           10
                    UMPI                   19                           12
       *Faculty and non-faculty numbers include all faculty and staff whether funded by the
       general operating budget or by grants and contracts, which are more extensive at USM and UM.

          2008 recommendation: Secure sustainable financing consistent with the
          community’s vision and USM’s mission.
     Securing a sustainable financial position is a long-term, core issue that requires seri-
     ous actions by all parties who have a stake in the University: state government, the
     UMS Board of Trustees, University faculty, staff, and administrators, and the south-
     ern Maine community. We understand that financial challenges facing higher educa-
     tion are not unique to Maine; they occur in many states. We also recognize, as noted
     before, that Maine faces very serious financial constraints affecting all public services.
     Those important realities should not be an excuse for failing to take action in our
     state and in this region even if they require several years to implement fully. We also
     understand the serious challenges created by USM’s current deficit situation. That is
     a short-term problem that will be addressed internally. There are four specific steps to
     securing a sustainable financial position for USM.

          1. State government must increase Maine’s investment in its public universities con-
          sistent with the goal of raising the proportion of Mainers with four-year and gradu-
          ate/professional degrees.
          Over the past 17 years, Maine’s support for its public universities has increased
16        far more slowly than the cost of living, making them all more dependent on
student tuition and fees, and students more dependent on borrowing.15 The
more tuition dependent our public universities become, the greater the financial
obstacle to university attendance and the less able our universities become to
provide programs required to meet our economic and social needs. The UMS
in general and USM in particular are on a slippery downward slope that must
be turned around.
Over just the past few years, the governor and the legislature made expan-
sion of the Community College System the top priority toward the goal of
reducing financial obstacles to college attendance. Though laudable and un-
derstandable, that strategy alone cannot directly address the principal issue of
educational attainment in Maine—the low proportion of Maine citizens with
bachelor’s and graduate/professional degrees compared to the rest of New Eng-
land and the nation. The higher lifetime earnings of citizens with four-year and
graduate degrees are directly related to the economic prosperity of the region
and the entire state. Nor does the state’s priority address the increasing needs of
southern Maine employers for employees with the level of education provided
by USM. We believe that Maine cannot afford to postpone reinvesting in the
baccalaureate and graduate/professional education that clearly is vital to the re-
gion and to Maine’s changing economy.
Indeed, Maine’s investment in higher education is below national averages and
the commitment of other rural states. Nationally, states finance 59% of the direct
costs of higher education while Maine finances just 51%. In net state contri-
bution relative to income, Maine is in the bottom quintile and is 26% below
the U.S. average, while most other rural states exceed the U.S. average. Maine’s
payroll, employment, net expenditure, and net state contribution are below the
averages of the other rural states by 45%, 34%, 39%, and 45%, respectively. The
net state contribution per FTE student is 14% below the national average and
5% below the rural average.16 On both a comparative basis and a practical basis,
the need for additional investment in higher education is clear.

2. The UMS Board of Trustees must revise the way that the state appropriation
is distributed to university campuses so that appropriate consideration is given to
mission, responsibilities, undergraduate and graduate enrollments, new program re-
quirements, realistic access to student financial aid, and managerial and academic
efficiencies. A revised approach should be in place by the end of the next biennium.
Our report card concluded that USM’s share of the state appropriation has re-
mained effectively unchanged since the University of Maine System was created
in 1969. Over the past 38 years USM has become the principal higher education
institution meeting the varied and expanding needs of the southern Maine re-
gion that serves most of the state’s population.
The historical approach to campus distribution of the state appropriation that
may have made sense in 1969 has no clear relationship to the mission of the
campuses, their undergraduate or graduate enrollments, or to the needs and ex-
pectations of the regions or the entire state. It is imperative that the UMS Board     17
     of Trustees seriously study this problem and develop plausible, credible, and
     transparent metrics for distributing the state appropriation to campuses. While
     a new approach distributing to the realities of the 21st century should be initi-
     ated within the next two to three years, an additional two to four years might be
     necessary for full implementation.
     Two recent, although still very modest, decisions by the Board of Trustees should
     open the door to the comprehensive assessment and change that we propose. First,
     in recent years capital bond referenda funds have been distributed based on the
     specific building projects approved for individual campuses. Previously, capital
     funds were distributed by the same historic percentage as the state appropriation
     for the operating budget, so USM had received only its routine 23%. Second,
     for the current fiscal year additional state appropriation made available by the
     legislature to reduce tuition increases was distributed in proportion to the tuition
     raised by each campus. USM received 32.9% of these additional dollars rather
     than the 23.2% originally scheduled. This increased USM’s share of the total
     state appropriation to 23.6%.

     3. USM’s faculty, staff, and administrative leadership must continue to seek creative
     ways to make maximum use of scarce academic as well as management and support
     After the past 17 years of intense fiscal stress, perhaps the resource exhibiting the
     greatest scarcity is the time, energy, and creativity of faculty, staff, and admin-
     istrators. Reorganizations, expanded work loads, and faculty and staff lines left
     unfilled have been the norm during almost every fiscal year. On balance, the
     USM community has demonstrated remarkable resiliency, but problem-solving
     burnout is becoming a reality. Having become increasingly tuition-dependent at
     the same time the community colleges were expanding and the number of high
     school graduates was declining, it is absolutely clear that USM cannot depend
     on marginal tuition revenue to achieve fiscal sustainability. More focus, creativ-
     ity, and hard decisions are required of everyone in the University community, as
     well as the state, Board of Trustees, and the community.
     The concepts of productivity and efficiency valued by the business community
     often seem at odds with the values of academic communities. The reality
     is that when business, nonprofit, and educational institutions are faced with
     fiscal constraints, as is frequently the case today, they have no alternative but to
     find creative ways to maintain or improve quality with fewer resources. The
     primary constraint on creativity often is history, the way things have been done
     in the past.
     We believe that USM’s faculty, staff, and administrators must renew their
     commitment to finding increasingly productive and effective ways to design,
     deliver and support the academic programs and services that represent the core
     function of every university and those that are vital to the region. It is not the
     role of the Board of Visitors to recommend specific productivity strategies
    for academic programming. We can, however, suggest principles to guide the
    University community’s work:
         • Assure that student success is priority #1.
         • Establish a limited set of clear priorities.
         • Benchmark—compare how similar programs and classes are delivered in
           other institutions; establish metrics for evaluation and use them.
         • Reward those who are willing to join the fray, make commitments, and
           are successful.
         • Focus on positive outcomes.

    4. The southern Maine community must expand and broaden corporate and indi-
    vidual support for USM for annual giving and scholarship support.
    There is no doubt that the southern Maine community for whom USM is so im-
    portant has stepped up its support over the past seven years. Even with increased
    state support that is so critical to USM, long-term commitments from business,
    industry, and the community at large clearly will be necessary. Much of the
    recent growth in private financial support for USM has been for facilities, and
    that is important. But USM needs serious support for operating costs, financial
    aid and scholarships, as well as capital improvements. We must take the lead in
    promoting the types of partnership relationships between the various segments
    of the external community that have a direct stake in University programs.
imperative 2000 recommendation
Significantly expand academic programs needed in the region in science and technology
as well as in graduate and professional fields, and pursue a “targeted areas of excellence
strategy” so that programs tied directly to regional priorities can become nationally com-
Report Card. The University has been extremely responsive to the needs of the
community during a period of intense fiscal stress, but more needs to be done in
supporting distinctive programs that have the potential to attract outstanding stu-
dents as well as grant support and private contributions.
    New degree programs. Since 2000, in direct response to regional needs, USM has
    initiated the following new programs:
         • B.S. in mechanical engineering
         • M.S. in manufacturing
         • M.S. in biology
         • M.S.W. (social work)
         • M.S. in accounting
         • M.S. in leadership
         • Ph.D. in public policy
         • Ph.D. in bioscience (cooperative with the University of Maine)
         • Psy.D. in school psychology                                                       19
     Other new program initiatives. With state support, USM has expanded nursing pro-
     grams and enrollments. The School of Business has developed a number of new
     concentrations including marketing and sport management. The University’s use of
     targeted state research funds provided through the Maine Economic Improvement
     Fund (MEIF) and scarce University funds have been instrumental in the develop-
     ment of program areas within existing degree programs in bioscience, information
     science, advanced manufacturing, and environmental sciences related to health.
     A major success story is the Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health
     (MCTEH) where MEIF investments have made possible the hiring of new faculty
     researchers and engaged many current faculty from a variety of science disciplines.
     Other program areas, such as information science, public health, the Law and In-
     novation Center, and the Maine Patent Program have received MEIF investments
     or federal grants. We note that science-and-technology-focused degree programs and
     most graduate programs are more expensive to initiate and sustain than many other
     University degree programs.
     Programs of distinction. One of the important elements of this recommendation con-
     cerned a “centers of excellence” strategy that would target substantial investments
     in selected program areas. The purpose of this approach is to identify academic, re-
     search, and technical assistance programs critical to regional needs that have the aca-
     demic potential to become more competitive in “recruiting outstanding faculty and
     students, generating external research funds, and developing extensive linkages with
     industry and external institutions.”17 Progress here, at best, is less visible. While some
     new programs are quite promising, the competition for external funding for science
     and technology programs is extremely competitive. And other than investments in
     new degree programs in response to regional needs there have been very limited re-
     sources available to enhance other areas of potential distinctiveness.
     2008 recommendation: Invest in programs of potential distinction
     A restatement of one of our recommendations in our 2000 report, this priority is
     about building on USM’s emerging strengths. One of the realities of large universities
     is that the sense of quality and distinctiveness held by students, alumni, employers,
     and potential contributors is driven in large measure by personal experiences with
     and knowledge of individual schools, colleges, and programs, not by the institu-
     tion as a whole. In fact, as the excellence and distinctiveness of individual programs
     become more visible, the reputation of the entire university is enhanced. As noted
     in our report card, several USM program areas are beginning to achieve distinctive-
     ness. In turn, those programs themselves attract outstanding faculty and students to
     USM, including out-of-state students. That process deserves to be accelerated though
20   a number of steps, including targeted investments of critical resources.
We believe that the concept of program distinction has many characteristics, all re-
quiring a foundation of quality. From the most traditional academic perspective,
distinctiveness means a cluster of faculty scholars who are widely regarded in their
field. For regional comprehensive universities, distinctiveness also can mean a pro-
gram that is unique beyond our region, one that both attracts students from out of
state and that regularly sends graduates to careers and graduate schools out of state.
Given the role of a regional university, it can mean a program where there is a very
special, mutually productive partnership with an important segment of the regional
or state community. Program distinctiveness can help USM change the profile of the
student population, attract faculty to a public institution during a period of financial
stress, and attract greater external funding including both grants and corporate/pri-
vate support.
It is not our intent to recommend specific programs or program areas to faculty
and University administrators. We understand that those involved in most if not all
programs believe that theirs are worthy of such designation. Rather, we suggest that
a small set of programs or program areas has the potential to move to an even higher
level of quality and recognition, justifying the investment of scarce financial resources
and creative energy.
2008 recommendation: Sustain and grow applied R&D programs relevant to
the needs of southern Maine business and industrial clusters and appropriate and
sustainable for an institution with USM’s mission, size, and resource base.
The Brookings report identified the issue clearly.
    The absence of a major academic research establishment also limits possibilities.
    Maine’s small size and economy have clearly impeded the growth of the state’s
    important academic research enterprise. Academic institutions, in this respect,
    play a critical role in nurturing for industry clusters: They help develop relevant
    knowledge and provide a training ground for new workers. Advanced research
    institutions can also be the nexus of spinoff and startup activity, converting ideas
    into new businesses that extend and refine a state’s cluster strengths. Unfortu-
    nately, despite significant recent investments, Maine’s remains a tiny university
    R&D effort....Yes, Maine’s standing among the states on federal R&D invest-
    ments had risen smartly in this decade....Yet for all that, Maine’s ranking on
    other indices of innovation capacity remains daunting: 50th on graduate stu-
    dents, 50th on university R&D activity, 45th on royalties and licenses granted,
    42nd on patents produced.18
In a period of fiscal stress for the University, this recommendation might be seen by
some as warranting a significantly lower priority when the needs of students should
be the University’s paramount concern. We believe that would be a mistake for a
public, comprehensive university that is so critical to the economic and social vital-
     ity of its region. USM has been a key player for more than a decade in the state’s
     strategy to promote research and development, and to educate employees of technol-
     ogy-based companies, especially in research-related initiatives relevant to the infor-
     mation sciences and biotechnology industrial clusters. While USM will not be the
     principal player in most such initiatives—that will continue to be the University of
     Maine—the specific needs of the region’s economy require that the University have a
     continuing and significant role in the state’s strategy.
     We believe there are three necessary steps to sustaining and growing USM’s emerging
     R&D initiatives.
         • The University of Maine System should increase USM’s share of R&D fund-
           ing above the 20% level.
         • Obtain support from business and industry for operating, as well as capital
         • Continue to avoid duplication while encouraging collaboration with the Uni-
           versity of Maine.

     imperative 2000 recommendation
     Continue a broad range of the liberal arts and humanities programs that are central to a
     solid undergraduate education and the personal development of the region’s learners.
     Report Card. Solid progress has been made in demonstrating USM’s commitment
     to a liberal arts foundation, especially through a major redesign of the general edu-
     cation curriculum, but more attention needs to be given to matching curriculum
     to changing requirements of the workplace.
     Our 2000 report noted that “the choice (for USM) cannot be between science
     and technology programming and liberal arts and humanities programming. A
     top-ranked public, regional, comprehensive university must do both and do them
     well. The liberal arts and humanities must continue to be the core underpinning
     for all academic majors. In addition, selected undergraduate programs deserve to be
     nurtured if they demonstrate their ability to attract outstanding students.”19
     General education curriculum. The major initiative in the liberal arts has been the
     redesign of the general education curriculum noted above. Since 2000 USM has
     undertaken a substantial redesign of general education in the College of Arts and
     Sciences, Lewiston-Auburn College, and the Honors Program, aided in part by two
     grants from Maine’s Davis Educational Foundation for $192,000. A third Davis
     Foundation grant of $360,000 will help USM to implement the new curriculum.
     New liberal arts initiatives. In addition, new undergraduate minors have been devel-
     oped in ecotourism, environmental sustainability, and religious studies. Programs
                                                 Education or Training Requirement
                                                       Projected Job Growth
in development include a B.A. in Span-                       2002-2012
ish, B.A. in international studies, and an Doctoral Degree                                  28.0%
M.A. in women’s studies. New arts and Associate’s Degree                                    23.9%
humanities master’s programs include an Master’s Degree                                     23.6%
M.A. in music and an exciting low-resi- First Professional Degree                           17.6%
dency M.F.A. in creative writing, which Bachelor’s Degree plus Work Experience              14.5%
evolved from another successful program, Postsecondary Vocational Award                     14.1%
the Stonecoast Writers’ Conference. And Bachelor’s Degree                                   12.7%
the growth and recognition of USM’s mu- Work Experience in a Related Occupation             10.9%
sic and musical theater programs that at- Short-term on-the-job Training                    10.5%
tract an increasing number of out-of-state Long-term on-the-job Training                     5.8%
students have resulted in the creation of Moderate-term on-the-job Training                  3.8%
the School of Music. Finally, the under- source: maine department of labor
graduate co-curricular student experience
has been enhanced through new initiatives in civic engagement, community service,
leadership development, co-curricular learning, and experimental learning outcomes
aligned with the new general education curriculum.
2008 recommendations: Fully implement the redesigned general education cur-
Redesign of the general education or Core curriculum has been the subject of con-
siderable study and discussion. A comparable commitment must now be made to
implementation of that curriculum design. In doing so, faculty and academic lead-
ers should tie implementation to both the following recommendation concerning
changing work place expectations and to a subsequent recommendation about im-
proving the persistence of undergraduate students.
2008 Recommendation: Prepare graduates to succeed in a global, technology-
based economy through both general education and specialized degree programs.
Our 2007 interviews with business and civic leaders indicated that the rapid emer-
gence of a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy will place increasing de-
mands on the University’s education, research, and technical assistance programs.
Their views are supported by the Brookings report that observed:
    Implicit in these industrial and occupational shifts are rising demands for skilled
    labor. The bar is rising in part because the state’s shifting job mix requires it. As
    the mix of jobs tilts further toward managerial, professional, and technical work,
    more workers need more education because those occupations generally require
    some form of post-secondary education or training. For that reason, MDOL
    projects that the number of jobs in occupations requiring post-secondary educa-
    tion or training is expected to rise by 16 percent, while the number that do not
                                                            Required Workplace Skills
                                                     Advanced Generalists
         will rise by eight percent. Contributing      • Specialization matters, but it is the ability to
         to the rising skills demand is the              acquire multiple specializations over time
         rapid proliferation of computers and            within a general area that will determine
         telecommunications technologies that            long-term success.
         demand all workers have the requisite       Education for Change
         knowledge and skills to use them. In
                                                       • How do we make people comfortable with
         addition, a wider array of skills and
         broader knowledge are required as
         more Mainers find themselves working        History
         in smaller establishments where they          • Innovation
         must master more skill sets, including      The Arts and Sciences
         self-management.” 20                        Math: The Biggest Challenge
     Specialization skills and broad-based com-      Citizens of the World:
     petencies are both critical to the vitality of    • Connections to other people
     the region’s economic base. Our commu-          Languages, Travel
     nity leader interviews and focus groups told      • Connections to the environment
     us that while some members of the commu-        Citizens of Home
     nity are looking for graduates with specific      • Civic culture, volunteerism, leadership
     skills or training, all seek graduates with From a Fall 2006 presentation by
     generalist competencies, employees who are Professor Charles Colgan
     creative and entrepreneurial, and who have
     the leadership skills to initiate and sustain innovation (see sidebar). Preparing gradu-
     ates with these competencies is not only the job of specialized programs, it is a core
     responsibility of the liberal arts that underpin all degree programs. As faculty and
     academic leaders continue to revise the University’s general education curriculum,
     they must continue to give specific attention to what students are expected to learn
     consistent with these workplace skills.
     Changing the way the University identifies and defines the specialized needs and
     competencies of regional employers also is critical to both their and USM’s future.
     Increasingly the focus is moving towards core sets of technical knowledge and skills
     that cut across specific industries, rather than the historic and traditional focus on
     industries and products.
     The key to building successful and sustainable business and technology clusters is to
     produce those skills from within the state, which is a direct product of the education
     systems and the state’s investment in R&D. Higher education, especially where USM
     is located in the region with the majority of Maine’s potentially competitive busi-
     ness and technology clusters, will need to be particularly responsive to the emerging
     thinking about specializations as traditional program curricula are redesigned and
                                                      Community College Transfers
                                                         to UMS Campuses
imperative 2000
recommendation                                                2001 & 2006
Clarify, focus, and assure the affordability                        2001      2006
of programs and the availability of services               USM  105            241
                                                           UMO   55            126
designed to encourage university attendance,
                                                           UMA  64             117
persistence, and lifelong learning.
                                                           UMF  20              26
Report Card. While student financial aid                   UMFK 12              27
has been increased somewhat, it remains                    UMM 16               13
a problem in recruiting and retaining                      UMPI  35             39
students. The University’s retention and
graduation rates continue to remain well below national norms and, therefore, are
a major problem.
Three pieces of good news are (1) the increased size of graduating classes as a propor-
tion of total student enrollment, (2) the continuing attraction of USM to students
who choose to finish their college experience at USM, and (3) the increasing num-
ber of full-time students. USM attracts more transfer students than any other UMS
campus and in the typical year, half or more of graduating seniors did not begin their
collegiate studies at the University.
Despite these accomplishments, two significant problems remain.
Student Financial Aid. While USM has increased financial aid by one-third, held
tuition increases at or below the UMS average, and substantially enhanced merit
scholarships, the cost of attending the University for many Maine students contin-
ues to be a challenge. Moreover, USM has far less capacity to use student financial
aid in a variety of forms to recruit and retain students than does the University of
Maine. For example, the discount rate—the difference between stated tuition, fees
plus room and board, and what students actually pay—was 10.4% for entering fresh-
men at USM in 2005 compared to 28.6% at the University of Maine, and 4.6% for
USM transfers compared to 10.7% at UM. This is because UM has more scholarship
funds from private contributions and is able to allocate more from its E&G operating
budget than USM.
Retaining able students. USM, like its peer institutions throughout the nation and the
other UMS campuses, faces the increasing challenge of helping students in “transi-
tion from high school or work experience become successful college students—to in-
crease the rate at which they continue on to complete undergraduate degrees.”21 The
University’s undergraduate retention rate continues to be unacceptable: almost one-
third of fully admitted entering first-year undergraduate students do not return for
their second year, and just over a third complete their baccalaureate degree programs     25
     at the University within six years—though that figure is an improvement over the
     past eight years. Even when those students who have transferred to other institutions
     are considered, these percentages place USM well below peer institutions nationally.22
     Failure to retain students capable of college-level work has a profound effect on the
     University’s enrollment and overall financial condition. If USM’s student retention
     rate cannot be brought into line with peer institutions, then it will be very difficult
     for the University to realize the vision and goals expressed by the regional commu-
     nity. The needs of the region, the state, and the University indicate that USM must
     address this problem more aggressively and comprehensively than in the past.
     2008 recommendation: Improve student success and persistence in completing
     undergraduate degrees.
     If the continuing financial challenge is the most critical obstacle to USM’s becoming
     a “top-ranked public, regional comprehensive university,” the University’s compara-
     tively poor student retention rate surely is a close second. As we concluded in our
     report card, the poor rate at which students continue through and complete their
     undergraduate degrees has continued for far too long—it is a significant negative for
     the University that must be corrected.
     The primary focus should be on first-year students because, as a group, they are most
     at risk of not adapting to the expectations of or not becoming committed to the
     value of a university education or most inclined to transfer elsewhere. At minimum,
     USM’s retention and graduation rates should be in the upper half of peer institutions
     nationally. Ideally, it should be near the top. This means a 25-30% improvement in
     the retention rate of first-year students and a 50-60% improvement in the six-year
     graduation rate.23
     The vast majority of students not continuing their degree programs at USM or any
     other institution have the academic potential to succeed at a four-year college rather
     than a community college. What is required is a serious, focused, comprehensive,
     consistently evaluated program clearly supported by the sustained commitment and
     dedication of faculty and academic leaders. The Board of Visitors would like to
     request an annual report and presentation regarding USM’s work to enhance reten-
     tion and progress toward improvement in retention rate as compared to benchmark
     imperative 2000 recommendation
     Place the broad and continually changing needs of lifelong learners within the region at
     the core of the design and delivery of academic programs, develop a comprehensive network
     of institutional partnerships and collaborations, and make creative use of electronic learn-
26   ing opportunities for students.
Report Card. Substantial progress has been made in each of the three areas.
Access to degree programs and courses. As a regional, urban, comprehensive university,
USM’s delivery of academic programs is responsive to the needs of lifelong learners
who typically have jobs and family to balance with their pursuit of an undergraduate
or graduate education. Classes are offered from early morning to late in the evening at
Portland, Gorham, Lewiston-Auburn, and outreach centers. There also is Weekend
College, Winter Session (during the four weeks between the fall and spring semes-
ters), and several different summer sessions that run from early May to mid-August.
Indeed, over the course of the entire fiscal year, the total enrollment of students regis-
tered for undergraduate and graduate courses at USM probably is the highest of any
university or college in Maine.
Noncredit programs and courses. In addition to regular academic courses, a wide range
of continuing education programs served thousands of Mainers in 2006–07. More
than 63,000 enrolled in non-degree courses and another 49,000 in specialized confer-
ences, by far the largest and most comprehensive set of programs in the state.
Perhaps the newest example of USM’s commitment to lifelong learning is the Osher
Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) that provides intellectually stimulating learning
opportunities and special activities for persons 50 years of age or older in a university
environment. OLLI recently counted its 1,000th member and had over 4,000 reg-
istrants for courses. Supported by grants from the Osher Foundation, USM’s OLLI
has been designated as the National Resource Center for the more than 100 Osher
institutes throughout the country.24
Partnerships with other institutions. The network of collaborative partnerships with
other institutions has grown significantly over the past several years. In addition to
a series of articulation agreements, including 2 plus 2 programs with guaranteed ad-
missions, with several campuses of the Maine Community College System, there are
partnerships with other University of Maine System campuses, and a number of com-
munity organizations. The new UMS Center for Tourism, Research and Outreach
(CenTRO) is a joint program of USM and UM. An important new partnership is
with the Maine Center for Enterprise Development, a technology-oriented business
incubator at USM. Another is the newly formed center for fostering laptop education
that has grown out of former Governor King’s Maine Laptop Initiative.
Online learning. The University has taken several steps to expand online learning,
including formation of the Center for Technology-Enhanced Learning (CTEL) in
the Abromson Center, where nearly 50 faculty have received grants to develop on-
line courses. Headcount in online courses increased from 294 in 2000–01 to 1996 in
2006–07 and credit hours from 862 to 5606. Gains were particularly significant in            27
     specific programs, especially in the College of Education and Human Development.
     USM is now poised for phase II of the online initiative—building a robust array of
     online and “blended” (part online, part face-to-face) programs that attract new audi-
     ences to the University.
     2008 recommendation: Continue the good progress in each of these areas,
     especially in expanding online education.
     USM has made significant progress in growth in noncredit programming and region-
     al partnerships with other institutions. In the area of online education, the University
     should build on current efforts within individual degree program areas in financially
     prudent ways, both to expand opportunities for students and, where appropriate, to
     increase revenues.

     Assessing Progress and Outcomes of These 2008

     The report cards in this report on the six recommendations included in our 2000 A
     Southern Maine Imperative demonstrate the value of a systematic assessment of prog-
     ress. We also have learned the importance of using measurable outcomes in assessing
     progress and assuring that such assessment become a regular, ongoing activity of the
     USM Board of Visitors. During the remainder of this 2007–08 academic year, the
     Board of Visitors will work with USM and University of Maine System officials as ap-
     propriate to develop useful outcome measures for each of the 2008 recommendations
     included in this report. During each subsequent academic year, progress reports will
     be prepared on each of the recommendations and outcome measures will be reviewed
     for appropriateness and modified as necessary.

                                          end notes
    Pamela Plumb and Elizabeth Reuthe,           overhead from grants and contracts. Other
Report on Interviews and Focus Groups in         university expenditures are self supporting
Preparation for the Update of the 2000 South-    such as residence halls and food service, and
ern Maine Imperative, Report to the USM          direct expenses on grants and contracts.
Board of Visitors, April 2007.                   14
                                                    For illustrative purposes only, if the alloca-
   Looking Out for Portland and the Region       tion of state appropriation matched USM’s
2007, Portland Community Chamber of              share of enrollment, USM’s share would rise
Commerce, October 2007, p: ii & iii. The         from around 23% to the 28-30% range, a
Portland metropolitan statistical region in-     roughly 25% increase. The additional $10-11
cludes Cumberland, York and Sagadahoc            million available to USM would substantial-
counties.                                        ly increase the capacity of the University to
                                                 fulfill the community’s vision and mission.
   Looking Out for Portland and the Region,
p: 3.                                            15
                                                     On average, USM graduates leave with
                                                 more than $22,000 of student loan debt.
  The Princeton Review, New York, NY. The
Review bases its ratings on standards for aca-   16
                                                    “Maine’s State and Local Government Pay-
demic performance and anonymous surveys          roll and Expenditure,” a background paper
of students.                                     prepared by Philip A. Trostle of the Univer-
                                                 sity of Maine, for the Brookings Institution
   Newsletter of the Association of American     Metropolitan Policy Program in support of
Colleges and Universities, June 2007. Since      its larger project, “Charting Maine’s Future.”
2000 USM has undertaken a substantial re-        October, 2006, pages 29-30.
design of general education in the College of
Arts and Sciences, Lewiston-Auburn College       17
                                                     Southern Maine Imperative, p. 10. Pro-
and the Honors Program aided in part by a        grams that have established some degree of
$192,000 grant from Maine’s Davis Educa-         national recognition in one or more of these
tional Foundation.                               criteria include the College of Education and
                                                 Human Development’s Extended Teacher
   USM Brand Tracking: Summary Report of         Education Program (ETEP) and Southern
Findings, Critical Insights, Portland Maine,     Maine Partnership, the Muskie School’s In-
January 2006.                                    stitute for Health Policy, and the Osher Map
  The School of Business received accredita-     Library and Smith Center for Cartographic
tion for the first time in 2000 and the MSW      Education.
program in 2002.                                 18
                                                    Charting Maine’s Future, p. 59
  US Census Bureau American Community            19
                                                    Imperative, p. 10
Survey 1995–2005.
                                                    Charting Maine’s Future, p. 55
  USM Alumni Association. Currently, 75%
of USM graduates over the past 40 years and      21
                                                    Imperative, p. 12
almost 80% from the past 20 years continue       22
                                                     Comparisons have been made to two
to reside in Maine, primarily in southern        sets of peer institutions, one selected by the
Maine. This includes the more than 8% who        University and the other identified by the
were out-of-state students.                      Education Trust. Students included in these
   The Declaration of Metropolitan Universi-     analyses have been fully rather than condi-
ties is included in Appendix B.                  tionally admitted to the University.
   Imperative p. 12.                             23
                                                     The first-to-second-year retention rate
                                                 would increase to above 75% and six-year
   See Table III.                                graduation rate above 50%.
    Operating budgets cover academic pro-        24
                                                    The Bernard Osher Foundation has pro-
grams and support services and are supported     vided $6.0 M for OLLI.
by tuition and fees, state appropriation, and

                                               appendix a
                     Expectations of Community Leaders for USM
     In the spring of 2007 consultants engaged by the Board of Visitors conducted individual and
     small-group interviews with 25 community and civic leaders in southern Maine.1 The results
     of those interviews were then reviewed by the Board of Visitors.
     1. What is your evaluation of USM’s role in the region/state? What is the importance of USM to
     the region?
     USM is vital to the southern Maine community. A common theme from community leaders is
     this: A healthy USM leads to a healthy region, which in turn leads to a healthy state. Commu-
     nity leaders told us that USM must play a key role in the economy of the region both serving
     and driving the economy, helping to create jobs, and supplying qualified employees. It must
     continue to be a “comprehensive, multi-campus urban university,” which serves learners of all
     ages at all academic periods of their life.
     Community leaders say that USM is being responsive to the economic needs of the region
     and they hope it can do more. They recognize and value how the Portland, Gorham, and
     Lewiston-Auburn campuses have changed with new facilities over the past several years, and
     the impressive growth in private support. At the same time, some members of the community
     are worried that the University’s priorities will be “driven by the highest bidder” given the small
     increases in state support over the past seven years.
     2. What has changed over the past six years at USM, in the community, and the context within
     which USM works?
     Four important changes were identified by community leaders. First is the transition of the
     Community College System from technical colleges to two-year colleges awarding associate’s
     degrees and the transferability of students to a third and fourth year at USM. This allows USM
     to function as a four-year selective undergraduate and graduate institution but reduces USM
     enrollment. The low tuition Community College System—USM’s undergraduate tuition is
     $198 per credit hour compared to $80 at a community college—has led to a reduction in
     USM’s enrollment in a period when the University has become increasingly tuition depen-
     Second, the economics and financing of public services continues to shift and place consider-
     able stress on higher education in general and USM in particular. The increasing drive for
     lower spending and taxes has limited increases in state support and is likely to do so in the
     Third, the emergence of a knowledge-based, technology-driven economy along with new
     economic “clusters” create expensive demands on USM’s education, research, and technical
     assistance programs. USM needs to play a key role in supporting and developing emerging
     industries as well as the changes occurring in more traditional industries. This applies to what
     students learn and how they learn. Some members of the community are looking for gradu-
     ates with specific skills or training, some of which require especially costly programs. All seek
     graduates with more general characteristics such as creative, entrepreneurial people with lead-
     ership skills who can initiate change and innovate.
Fourth, the southern Maine region is changing demographically to become considerably more
diverse than historically has been the case. USM is recognized for its work in valuing and
supporting diversity, although the costs of recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty have be-
come increasingly difficult. Similarly, the aging of Maine’s population and the growth of in-
migrating retirees will provide opportunities for educational and cultural programming and
will generate needs for lifelong learning and needs in the geriatric care field. A final element
regarding changing demographics is the decline in the number of high school graduates in
Maine, which in turn means a declining pool of traditional first-year students for all Maine
colleges and universities.
3. What do community leaders want from USM and are those needs being met? Are there specific
programs that USM should be offering?
The core answer is that community leaders want USM to be the “fuel in the engine of eco-
nomic and societal growth.” There is broad recognition that “USM can’t be all things to all
people” and that it should “pick the programmatic areas in which it can excel or which are
most appropriate for its audience,” but there is not consensus on what those different areas of
focus should be. They vary according to the perspective or particular needs of each segment of
the community. As was the case in 2000, community leaders believe that USM must provide a
solid core of learning for all students while at the same time build distinctive areas of excellence
in specific areas, especially selected graduate programs.4
Our primary conclusion from these interviews and focus groups is clear: While USM is on the
mark toward meeting community expectations, the University still needs to focus, to be known for
excellence in some definable way, and to make difficult choices regarding the use of scarce resources.

1. Pamela Plumb and Elizabeth Reuthe, Report on Interviews and Focus Groups in Preparation for the Update
of the 2000 Southern Maine Imperative, Report to the USM Board of Visitors, April 2007.
2. The major reductions have been in non-degree and part-time students taking credit courses.
3. This problem is exacerbated by substantially higher healthcare and energy costs, the same problems that
face private businesses and local governments.
4. Such programs are more expensive to support than undergraduate programs and require scholarship
opportunities for recruiting and retaining the most competitive students.

                                             appendix b

             Coalition of Urban & Metropolitan Universities
The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities brings together universities that share
the mission of striving for national excellence while contributing to the economic develop-
ment, social health, and cultural vitality of the urban or metropolitan centers served. The mis-
sion and characteristics of urban and metropolitan universities are not well understood, and
any system for ranking or describing universities and colleges has been based on the traits of
highly traditional, residential colleges serving full-time, 18-21-year-old students. Systems such
as Carnegie’s classification scheme do not include measures for the significant applied research
and service activities of urban and metropolitan universities.
     Declaration of Metropolitan Universities
     We, the leaders of metropolitan universities and colleges. . .
          • reaffirm that the creation, interpretation, dissemination, and application of knowledge
            are the fundamental functions of our institutions;
          • accept a broad responsibility to bring these functions to bear on our metropolitan
          • commit our institutions to be responsive to the needs of our communities by seeking
            new ways of using resources to provide leadership in addressing metropolitan prob-
            lems through teaching, research, and service.
     Our teaching must:
          • educate students to be informed and effective citizens, as well as capable practitioners
            of professions and occupations;
          • be adapted to the diverse needs of metropolitan students, including minorities and
            underserved groups, adults of all ages, and the place-bound;
          • combine research-based knowledge with practical application and experience, using
            the best current technology and pedagogical techniques.
     Our research must:
          • seek and exploit opportunities for linking basic investigations with practical applica-
            tion, and for creating interdisciplinary partnerships for attacking complex metropoli-
            tan problems, while meeting the highest standards of the academic community.
     Our professional service must:
         • develop creative partnerships with public and private enterprises that ensure the
           intellectual resources of our institutions are fully engaged in mutually beneficial ways;
         • include close working relationships with elementary and secondary schools aimed at
           maximizing the effectiveness of the entire metropolitan education system;
         • make the fullest possible contribution to the cultural life and general quality of life of
           our metropolitan regions.
     An Urban or Metropolitan University:
         • is located in a major metropolitan region
         • is interactive with its region
         • strives for excellence while being especially attuned to the needs of its region
         • works with the region to develop academic programs that meet the region’s needs
         • draws most of its students regionally, and most remain in the region after they
         • believes in giving its students practical, real life experiences as part of their education
         • lends its expertise to help solve community problems while practicing and teaching
            good citizenship
         • actively builds partnerships to achieve its goals
         • provides an educated citizenry and workforce for the state