January 7, 2005
University of Maine at Fort Kent campus officials are working collaboratively with their respective counterparts at the University of Maine at Machias and University of Maine at Presque Isle to begin planning for the tri-campus consortium that was established in the final version of the UMS strategic plan last September.
In recent months, several meetings have been held amongst personnel at all three campuses to discuss how the institutions can work more closely in a number of areas on both the academic and administrative fronts.
The initial talks come as a result of the revised UMS strategic plan which "creates a consortium involving the universities in Fort Kent, Machias, and Presque Isle to identify ways to share and minimize administrative costs, develop a common set of general education requirements, and collaborate on budgeting and university master plans."
Since last summer, UMFK President Richard Cost has been meeting with UMM outgoing Interim President Sue Huseman and the newly appointed Interim President Cynthia Huggins, and UMPI Interim President William Shields to discuss areas in which the three institutions can work collaboratively.
In December, the three presidents met on each of the three campuses, and toured the facilities at each location to provide each administrative leader with a clear sense of the campus infrastructure.
"We are discovering a number of issues and areas where we three smaller institutions could do things and purchase services that none of us could afford alone, but that as a consortium we can do together," said Cost.
Discussion to date has centered on the coordination of a number of activities that will stand to benefit each of the three campuses and better serve the students who attend these institutions.
Following the many preliminary meetings of the three presidents, the chief academic officers at each institution were brought into the sessions and then the chief financial officers. Since that time, the academic and financial officers have held routine meetings.
In addition, early talks are being held between faculty members in various departments on all three campuses.
Staff members responsible for scheduling and room reservations at the universities have also met for informal discussions on the process and details associated with on and off campus room reservations and the facilities available at each site.
Another meeting in recent weeks brought together the information technology staffs at each institution to discuss what each campus offers and may need in the future.
Similar sessions are planned for staff in other administrative areas in the coming weeks, including the chief student affairs officers.