A few weeks after the 2014 election, Jim Page, the Chancellor of the University of Maine System, asked me if I would take on the job of creating the Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies – a revolutionary initiative that will bring together under one roof the Maine Law School, an MBA program created by merging the two existing programs in Orono and Portland, and the Muskie School of Public Service.
I jumped at the chance. After all, I had first put this idea forward in a January 2009 speech on the reform of public higher education in Maine – the speech that triggered two campaigns for governor.
While you are here, you’ll get some CLE credits, learn some tools that will help you take advantage of future opportunities, hone your skills and reconnect with old friends.
I would ask you also to spend some time thinking about how we train and educate lawyers and other professionals in our Maine community, and whether, in light of what we are seeing in Maine today, it’s time to rethink some of what we do.
Our Maine community is facing a raft of challenges.
The Maine Center for Graduate Professional Studies, which will be one of the first benefits of Chancellor Jim Page’s commitment to creating One University from the current seven-university System, should be one of the most productive and exciting reforms in higher education in Maine history, and could make the University of Maine System a leader in graduate and professional education.
The Center is a demand-driven response to student needs and Maine’s economic challenges, and it is, and needs to be, significantly supported by outside, private investment. It will be a consortium initially comprised of the System’s single MBA program, the Maine Law School and the Muskie School of Public Service graduate programs in public health and in policy, planning and management, and it will be located in one building in Portland, along with an incubator/accelerator facility that will marry innovation with the classrooms.