University of Maine System Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude emphasized the confluence of economic development and higher education in a joint session of the Maine state Senate and House of Representatives in his “State of the University” biennial address on March 30.
“Historically, higher education has meant personal growth and discovery, creating and preserving knowledge, and helping our students become lifelong learners and better citizens,” Pattenaude noted. “Today, however, the new ‘normal’ in higher ed is all about rebuilding our economy and creating opportunities for our students to live and work in Maine.”
To steer a path to this “new normal,” the chancellor outlined three initiatives already underway to improve: remediation rates, transfer issues and the University System’s responsiveness to business needs. He noted:
- UMS is partnering with the Maine Community College System and Maine Department of Education commissioner Stephen Bowen to prepare a “Complete College America” grant which will focus on college preparation, remediation and retention.
- Maine’s universities and community colleges will work to solve transfer problems among public institutions. “We are committed to working collaboratively to make the transfer experience smooth, seamless and effective,” Pattenaude said.
- The University System is working to help address the state’s need for graduates in information technology and computer science programs.
Pattenaude said the University System has made significant progress since his 2009 biennial address, which kicked off the New Challenges, New Directions initiative to focus on achieving long-term financial stability, keep education affordable and meet Maine’s changing educational and research needs.
For a complete text of Pattenaude’s speech, click here.