Overview of the Maine Higher Education Partnership
Prepared for the Governor’s Task Force to Plan for Higher Education in the Kennebec Valley
June 16, 2005
Chancellor Westphal and President Fitzsimmons established the Maine Higher Education Partnership (formerly known as the Higher Education Joint Advisory Committee), or MHEP in the spring of 2003 to assure Maine’s public higher education systems complement and collaborate with each other through a formal communication structure in order to enhance higher education opportunities for Maine students. The System leaders appointed Presidents from each of their respective Systems and charged them to meet regularly to discuss and take
action on opportunities for collaboration. MHEP meets monthly.
The MHEP members currently include Presidents Charles Lyons (UMA), Richard Pattenaude (USM), Barbara Woodlee (KVCC), and Joyce Hedlund (EMCC). Charles Lyons and Barbara Woodlee are Co-Chairs. Membership is currently in transition with President Lyons leaving at the end of June.
Budget and Staffing:
Currently, each System contributes $6,650 to support the Partnership’s part-time staff salary and incidental meeting expenses. Heidi Farber staffs the Partnership, coordinating meetings and facilitating action items.
A Mission of Collaboration and Cooperation
MHEP’s mission of collaboration between the state’s community colleges and universities is unprecedented in nature and is reflective of the cooperative and supportive relationship modeled by Chancellor Westphal and President Fitzsimmons. Although it has been challenging at times to find solutions to complex differences, the benefits of bringing faculty and staff together from both Systems have been clear. In addition to forging new agreements between
the Systems as described below, MHEP has been a catalyst for increasing communication and awareness between faculty and staff across both Systems.
Priority Action Items:
1) AdvantageU - Guaranteed Admission Agreement
Status: Completed; Implementation is Ongoing
In the truest form of cooperation and collaboration, the Presidents of MHEP initiated and negotiated a guaranteed admission agreement (AdvantageU) between all of Maine’s 14 public community colleges and universities. The agreement, signed by Chancellor Westphal and President Fitzsimmons in March, 2005, is an effort to improve the ease and rate of 2-year to 4-year college transfer in Maine. It guarantees any Community College student graduating in Liberal Studies admission at junior standing at any University of Maine System institution. An ad-hoc committee of representatives from all 14 public community colleges and universities currently meets monthly to implement the agreement. The AdvantageU program will be available to students beginning fall semester of 2005. The website, www.AdvantageU.me.edu, is managed by the Maine Community College System.
2) AA Realignment
In accordance with the University of Maine System strategic planning process and in close coordination with the Maine Community College System, MHEP began preparation to study and make recommendations regarding the offering of appropriate associate degree programs by the UMS and MCCS. Work on this initiative has been suspended.
3) Co-located Higher Education Center
Status: Completed; Implementation is Ongoing
A press event was held on October 28, 2003 to announce the opening of the Hancock County Higher Education Center, a union of University College at Ellsworth (UMS) and the Eastern Maine Community College Center in Ellsworth (MCCS). Chancellor Westphal and President Fitzsimmons presided over the event and praised the partnership as an effort to improve access to higher education, serve student needs better, and improve efficiency by reducing staff and resource costs. In all, five of the eleven off-campus centers are now co-located, with a sixth one in Rockland currently being planned.
4) Faculty Development and Training
In response to a request from the Chancellor and President, MHEP met with faculty leadership from both Systems to discuss opportunities for cross-system faculty development and training. The USM representative, Donna Bird, took the initiative to send the USM Center for Teaching brochure to all Maine college and university campuses, public and private alike, inviting their full- or part-time faculty to attend any of the USM Center for Teaching workshops free of charge. MHEP has encouraged all UMS and MCCS campuses to do the same.
5) Joint Purchasing of IT Software
As a result of MHEP direction, IT Directors from both Systems have done more to leverage the maximum buying power within and between Systems in order to achieve the benefits of lower costs and greater software availability for all. NMCC has joined the Novell ALA Agreement and KVCC and CMCC have recently purchased hardware and software from The Computer Connection at discounted rates. In addition, the MCCS campuses have been invited to join the recently approved UMS antivirus software license with Symantec.
6) Collaboration of Library Directors
MHEP met with Library Directors from both systems in response to a proposal by
University College staff to provide off-campus library services (OCLS) to Community Colleges at various outreach Centers. Although the particular proposal was not approved, MHEP commended the UC staff on the spirit of the proposed initiative and encouraged the Library Directors to work to promote an environment of collaboration between Systems. They were also encouraged to take concrete steps to save money, increase efficiency, serve students better, and improve the overall quality of library services as opportunities arose. The Committee specifically recommended that the Library Directors work closely with their peers at all UMS and MCCS campuses to pursue opportunities for joint purchasing and use of library databases.
Future Direction of the MHEP:
It is clear that many opportunities still exist for collaboration between the two Systems and that MHEP members continue to be committed to working together toward the common goals of the Partnership. The group meets next on June 20, 2005 and will continue to pursue opportunities such as:
o joint efforts to save money and increase efficiency in energy management;
o joint purchasing at the CFO level; and
o bringing faculty together from both Systems for development and training.