More students seeking 4-year degrees

Posted Nov. 15, 2010, at 9:03 p.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — Enrollment of first-year students across the University of Maine System grew only 4.4 percent this fall to 4,236, but the number of students transferring from one of the state’s community colleges to a four-year campus rose 12 percent over last year, according to a UMS press release.

“The number of Maine community college students choosing to pursue a four-year degree continues to grow,” Rosa Redonnett, UMS executive director of student affairs, said Monday after a board of trustees meeting at the University of Maine at Farmington. “Our campuses are working with MCCS staff to further simplify the transfer process and provide counsel to prospective students.”

Distance education and the offering of online classes continues to grow at the seven campuses in the system. The percentage of credit hours offered through interactive television and at distance learning centers such as the Hutchinson Center in Belfast also has increased. The percentage of distance education credit hours offered grew 8.5 percent over the previous year and online credit hours increased by 27 percent, according to Redonnett.

The enrollment report, which noted that overall enrollment is relatively flat, was one of more than a dozen items the UMS trustees dealt with in a meeting that began Sunday afternoon and ended Monday.

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Rebecca Wyke, UMS vice chancellor for finance and administration, told trustees that all seven campuses and the system office ended the fiscal year on June 30 in balance. Operating expenditures, according to the press release, were $5 million less than expenditures were the previous fiscal year.

In other business, the board approved the elimination of Bachelor of Science degrees in bilingual secondary education and English-drama-art secondary education at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Trustees also OK’d the creation of an associate of science degree in dental assisting at the University of Maine at Augusta. New mission statements for the University of Maine, UMF and the University of Southern Maine were endorsed, the press release said.

In addition, trustees authorized the following construction and renovation projects:

  • $4.85 million to renovate Alfond Arena at UMaine, including new dehumidification, ventilation and ice-making systems to be paid for by grants from the Harold Alfond Foundation, Efficiency Maine and private donors.
  • $3.75 million from a June 2010 general obligation bond to improve energy efficiency and replace building systems at UMaine’s Nutting Hall, home of the School of Forest Resources and the Department of Wildlife Ecology.
  • $2.02 million from a combination of federal and state grants and a state bond for renovation of the Folsom-Pullen classroom building at the University of Maine at Presque Isle to improve energy efficiency, renovate classroom space and update the building’s mechanical systems.
  • $850,000 in funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish a science technology research center on USM’s Portland campus to increase the capacity to serve students in science and biology programs.
  • $767,250 in grant funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to renovate and expand USM’s existing nursing simulation lab in Portland from two beds to four beds and update related equipment, patient rooms, simulated patient mannequins and office space.
  • $983,000 to purchase and renovate facilities in Falmouth to create UMaine’s Tidewater Regional Learning Center, which will house Cumberland County Cooperative Extension offices and programs, and establish new teaching facilities and a farm-based demonstration area to be funded by one-time Cooperative Extension funds, a donation from the Tidewater Conservation Foundation and private donors.

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