Now that the framework to balance USM’s budget has been drafted, the administration has focused its efforts to securing a bright future for the school, through four main initiatives that they hope to have completed before President David Flanagan steps down at the end of the semester.
“The budget is balanced and the hardest part is over,” said Quint. “We’re shifting our efforts to the future now.”
One of these goals includes putting together the framework behind USM’s new persona as “Maine’s Metropolitan University.” Quint said that he wants to get the right people involved and engaged in their advising group, and is always open to feedback from faculty and the community.
“We’ll be hosting a series of ‘lighting chats,’ which will be an opportunity for us to exchange questions and ideas with community members,” said Quint.
According to Quint, the ultimate goal during Flanagan’s time here is to send USM along a path that leads to the receival of the Carnegie Designation by 2020. According to their website, the Carnegie Designation is the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in American colleges. It’s what Quint described as, “the gold standard of what it means to be a metropolitan university.”
A second goal for the administration this spring semester is a redesign of some of the academic departments. While Quint didn’t get into specifics, he did say that the three colleges will be restructured to align themselves with the metropolitan model.
“Does this program make sense in this department? What classes or programs could we combine to create administrative efficiencies? Those are the kinds of questions we’re asking ourselves,” said Quint.
The third administrative project under way is an amelioration of student services. According to Quint, the administration is in the process of recruiting a new vice president of enrollment management that would be overseeing athletics, student life, admissions, financial aid and academic advising. The other effect an increased attention on student services would be an easier time for students to engage with the community and find internships.
“The idea is that when a student walks on campus, they’ll have both an academic and professional advisor,” said Quint. “This will make it easier for a student to plan for both life in college and life afterwards, which in turn will help with retention.”
Retention and recruitment is something that Quint believes should always be worked on. This semester Quint said the administration is going to have a “laser-like focus” on ways that USM can increase its applicants and keep them from leaving.
“We’re out in the field aggressively working on it, from marketing to admissions,” said Quint. “We’re going to deploy 900,000 more dollars right now to current students through financial aid. We don’t want them to get to a point where they feel like they have to leave because they can’t afford to stay.”
Quint said that in the future he hopes that USM is able to widen their advertising reach, and progress from email and Facebook ads into more radio and television spots.