Friday, October 19th, 2018

Eliot Cutler to lead new business school

Sam Hill | The Free Press

Posted on April 14, 2015 in News
By Krysteana Scribner

Former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler was recently appointed by the University of Maine System to develop the blueprints and take the reigns of leadership in the establishment of a new graduate business and law school in Portland.

The center will be located in Portland and is planned to combine the graduate business programs at the University of Maine in Orono and USM with the University of Maine School of Law to better develop programs for students in the community.

Cutler, who ran for governor in Maine as an independent candidate in 2014, explained that the investment for this project is funded through the Harold Alfond Foundation. According to Dan Demeritt, the UMaine system director of public affairs, the program has given an estimated $1.75 million toward the initiative.

“This new graduate school is about finding ways to leverage the programs we have at USM and UMaine through collaboration,” said Demeritt. “This is an exciting example of the type of investment we can draw to the university when we have innovative ideas in plan for our future.”

Cutler explained that because there is no model or plan that has already been put in place, he is the one who will have to develop a plan with the dean and the president over the course of the next year and a half. Assuming the board of trustees approve his plans, he explained that the program will become a collaborative project to give students the chance to obtain more skills for today’s job market.

With courses set to start in the fall, Cutler said that this will give students the opportunity to try things out and give him the opportunity to see how the program initiative works out. He believes that what will measure the school’s success will be the number of student participants.

When asked about whether or not the decision to begin a financially dependant project in a time when USM has been faced with financial crisis, Cutler said the effort being made to develop this new approach for graduate education is entirely funded, and therefore no money is being taken out of the system. He also explained that USM is simply going through a turnaround that requires big changes to occur.

“I’ve done a lot of turnarounds before. You need to remember that at the same time you’re eliminating costs that you can no longer afford to occur, you also need to make investments in the future,” said Cutler. “You are trying to build something better that is more responsive to what the market wants.”

James Suleiman, an associate professor of management information systems said that all of this can become a reality if as a community we can work together to seek out funding for this effort and build a top notch program to accomplish it.

“If it’s adequately funded I think this graduate school will be a success,” said Suleiman. “There are a lot of different measurements of whether or not it will fully succeed, such as whether or not it will get adequate enrollment.”

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