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The University of Maine at Fort Kent has been awarded a $225,000 Support Early Success in College implementation grant from the MELMAC Education Foundation in Augusta, Maine.

The implementation grant award was effective March 1. UMFK will receive annual allocations ranging from $25,000 to $65,000 over the next five academic years. The first allocation is expected in December.

"I am writing to congratulate you and the University of Maine at Fort Kent on being awarded a five-year Support Early Success in College grant," MELMAC Executive Director, Wendy L. Ault wrote in a letter to Scott Voisine, UMFK Director of Student Affairs. "I am especially pleased that you have successfully accomplished the goals you established for the planning year and are now moving to the implementation phase of your student retention and success program," Ms. Ault added.

UMFK previously received a $6,000 planning grant from MELMAC in 2004 to support an extensive self-study of its current student success and retention programming.

At the completion of the year-long planning process, the University identified three retention priorities: 1) a comprehensive restructuring of the UMFK advising program; 2) the development of more comprehensive career planning and placement services on campus; and 3) the development of institutional learning outcomes for the general education program, or gateway courses.

"These three priorities are all focused on student success. The implementation of these initiatives will bring academic affairs and student affairs staff and faculty together to develop programs that will be a great benefit to our students' lives and learning at UMFK. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with MELMAC to achieve these goals," said Voisine.

The planning committee shared its findings and its foundation document with all of UMFK's campus constituencies. After a period of feedback, the committee was able to identify individuals and organizations within the University that would undertake the work involved with each of the three identified priorities.

The University's student success coordinator will be responsible for the development of career planning and placement services. That person, along with the student success and advising Planning committee, will be responsible for the restructuring of advising on campus. The third priority, which focuses on institutional learning outcome development for the general education program, will be facilitated by an existing academic assessment committee, whose make-up consists of administration, faculty, student affairs staff, and students.

Under the terms of the implementation grant award, each November, beginning in 2007, UMFK will be required to submit an annual report with a detailed accounting of the activities, expenses, and outcomes of the student success project to MELMAC. Additionally, annual reports providing required student retention and graduation data also are due each November from 2005 through 2014.

The MELMAC Education Foundation is awarding $3.4 million to eighteen Maine colleges over the next six years as part of its commitment to the Support Early Success in College initiative.