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UMS Trustees approve UMFK strategic plan

December 9, 2005

NR05198

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved the strategic plan for the University of Maine at Fort Kent 2003-2008, on Monday, December 5. The document affirms the institution's mission to serve the educational, cultural, and economic development needs of Northern Maine.

The plan was prepared by a committee comprised of a broad-base of campus personnel, alumni, community members and students. It had previously been endorsed by the UMFK Board of Visitors and faculty assembly.

In June 2005, the UMS Trustees, meeting on the UMFK campus, ratified the mission statement developed by the same committee and presented by President Richard Cost as the leading document for the Fort Kent strategic plan.

"This is an extraordinary planning document. It captures a vision for UMFK that is clear and concise and at the same time includes sufficient depth to serve as a useful guide to our subsequent institutional academic plan and our institutional effectiveness and assessment plan. The strategic plan presents clearly our threefold mission including programs geared to rural communities, our very special Franco and Acadian Culture and our proximity to Maine's wonderful wilderness environment," said Cost.

Efforts toward writing a new five-year plan, which runs through 2008, began in January of 2003 during Cost's first year as president. He established the committee under the leadership of Vice Presidents John Murphy and Dr. Robert Scott.

The first draft emerged during the spring semester of 2003. President Cost spent the fall of 2003 discussing the plan and seeking suggestions from all members of the campus and Fort Kent communities.

In January of 2004, he submitted suggestions and questions to the planning committee and they released a reworked document in April of 2004 that the president took to the UMFK Board of Visitors for approval.

"The process allowed every member of our campus community the opportunity to respond and become involved in the development of the final document. This plan is indeed representative and reflective of the faculty, students, staff and local community," said Cost. "As a result, it really is a living document that guides our actions and resources here on campus."

Because creation of the UMFK plan occurred long before the release of the University of Maine System's own strategic plan, system officials asked Fort Kent campus officials to hold the document for approval until after the system plan was officially adopted by the Trustees.

The system plan, which was ratified in September 2004, included the establishment of the consortium, which included UMFK, the University of Maine at Machias and University of Maine at Presque Isle.

As a result of this development, the Fort Kent campus reconvened the strategic planning committee in late 2004 to amend the mission statement, by incorporating the new collaborative relationship among the three campuses.

In addition, UMFK was able to identify and clearly state where institutional priorities on the campus level meshed with each of the strategic directions included in the system-wide plan.

"In this process, we found that our institutional priorities and goals for UMFK corresponded well with those of the system," said Cost. "Part of the system plan is the creation of a framework that includes a variety of institutions to meet the needs of all of the people of Maine."

UMFK Professor of Computer Science Dr. Raymond Albert serves as the Fort Kent faculty representative to the UMS Board of Trustees. He attended the recent meeting at which the plan was unanimously approved.

"Several of the trustees went out of their way to express their appreciation of the special challenges faced by UMFK as the first system university to undergo this review under the new UMS strategic plan. It is clearly difficult to be the first to go forward and UMFK not only withstood the challenges of the task at hand but exceeded everyone's expectations," said Albert.

"What is equally remarkable is that UMFK was able to achieve this feat in the midst of the sometimes tumultuous debate and discussion over the overarching UMS strategic plan. The UMFK strategic plan now serves as a model for the other University of Maine System campuses which will each undergo a similar review process and be asked to present their respective strategic plans to the Board of Trustees for approval," added Albert.

The UMFK strategic plan not only calls for the institution to continue its service to the local region and work collaboratively through the consortium, but also focuses on increasing diversity of students, faculty and staff, and cultivating respect for human differences.

The public is encouraged and welcome to view the UMFK strategic plan on-line at www.umfk.maine.edu/stratplan/.