Our View: UMaine System graduate study center would help economy grow

From the Portland Press Herald, October 24, 2016.

By The Editorial Board

For a while, Maine’s “one university” concept sounded like a nicer way of saying “budget cuts.”

For two painful years, it was the rationale behind the consolidation and elimination of programs needed to close a deficit in the operating budget in a time of declining enrollments. It was especially acute at the University of Southern Maine in Portland and Gorham, where the bulk of the cuts were made.

Now we are seeing the first real sign that “one university” can mean more than just cuts. It can also mean growth in new and exciting ways.

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UMaine System releases plans for consolidated graduate center in Portland

From the Bangor Daily News, October 21, 2016.

By Nick McCrea

BANGOR, Maine — Leaders of the University of Maine System on Thursday released details of their plan to unite graduate programs for aspiring businesspeople, lawyers and public administrators under one roof.

The Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies will bring the system’s existing graduate programs in law, business and public policy together into one entity. The system says it’s the first such center established by a higher education institution in the country.

The hope is that the center’s revamped programs will help reverse the state’s aging demographics by drawing young people to Maine and keeping them here after they earn their graduate degrees. For example, the center hopes to counter a drastic shortage of lawyers in rural Maine by getting new graduates to work in those parts of the state, according to Eliot Cutler, a two-time gubernatorial candidate who UMS hired a year and a half ago to lead the effort.

Cutler said the broad goal of the new center is to have those graduates not only work in underserved professions, but also to establish initiatives, businesses and programs to help boost the state’s economy. Continue reading

UMaine System posts first look at plan for $150 million graduate center

From the Portland Press Herald, October 20, 2016.

By Noel Gallagher

An ambitious $150 million proposal by the University of Maine System to create a new graduate center for business, law and public policy in Portland would be phased in slowly, with first-stage funding of $15 million for the first few years, according to a business plan posted online Thursday.

But a funding source for two-thirds of the capital needed has not yet been identified, according to the plan.

“It is, I think, something that can transform Maine’s economy, rebuild communities around the state and address several problems that have been plaguing Maine for years,” said Eliot Cutler, who led the effort to develop the business plan. Continue reading