From its very beginning more
than 130 years ago, The University of Maine's reason for existence has
been to address the state's most urgent problems. Over the years, we
have turned our attention to finding better ways to feed a hungry
population, bringing Maine into the industrial age, and developing
products and technologies to make our economy more competitive.
Right now, we can identify no need more urgent than helping to bolster
education in Maine — preschool through graduate school. Although for
decades UMaine's College of Education and Human Development has done an
outstanding job of educating teachers and providing outreach to schools,
it is time for the entire University to become a more central and
comprehensive player in support of education in Maine.
Our Board of Visitors asked me to commission a task force report on the
best ways for us to support Maine schools. Based on this report, which
surveyed teachers and principals across the state, we have developed a
bold plan. Throughout the curricula of UMaine's five colleges, we will
place more emphasis on preparing teachers and supporting schools. A
University priority will be the recruitment of more prospective math and
science teachers to meet a state and national shortage. We also will
attempt to make master's degrees in academic subject areas available
throughout Maine, providing educators with accessible opportunities for
I have appointed Dr. Sue Huseman, an established leader in higher
education, to head the University-wide effort as Director of UMaine's
Center for Teaching Excellence. We are focusing on three primary desired
• Teachers in Maine will be more
numerous, better prepared, and more effective.
• Maine will have a fully adequate supply of mathematics and science
teachers to meet its needs (as well as teachers in other shortage areas,
such as special education and languages).
• It will be far easier for teachers to complete advanced degrees, and
professors at other University of Maine System campuses to find
opportunities for professional renewal by participating in the teaching
of master's programs.
Over time, the effect of all these
improvements toward meeting Maine's Learning Results, toward increased
college attendance and completion rates, and toward improving the
state's economy will be remarkable. Success will result from a coalition
of the University System, state government, teachers, and school
administrators. Maine schools and teachers will always be the stars of
this show. We are here in a supporting role. Partnering with Maine's
schools, we intend to help them do their overwhelmingly important job.
Peter S. Hoff
UMaine Today Magazine
Department of University Relations
5761 Howard A. Keyo Public Affairs Building
Phone: (207) 581-3744 | Fax: (207) 581-3776