University of Maine System trustees announce search for next USM president to launch in late summer

University of Maine System Chancellor James Page.
University of Maine System Chancellor James Page. Buy Photo
Posted May 18, 2014, at 8:12 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The University of Maine System board of trustees on Sunday announced plans to launch a search for the University of Southern Maine’s next president, according to a system news release

After an executive session during day one of a two-day board meeting, board Chairman Samuel Collins and Chancellor James Page said that a search committee will be convened late this summer to find the next leader of the recently embattled university.

“Earlier this year, I committed to asking the trustees to commence the search process once the campus community defined a vision for the future of USM,” Page said in the release. “This has now been accomplished, trustees agreed to commence the search process, and now USM will begin the work of becoming Maine’s Metropolitan University.”

Current President Theo Kalikow signed on to a two-year contract, with the option of a one-year extension, in July 2012 after former President Selma Botman resigned in the wake of a facultywide “vote of no confidence.”

Botman took a post in the system office, leading an effort to expand the system’s international education programs. Early this year, Yeshiva University in New York City hired Botman as vice president of academic affairs and provost.

USM, and the system overall, faces a trying fiscal future. The university was tasked with finding $14 million in savings, or about 10 percent of its budget, for the next fiscal year. Kalikow proposed eliminating three programs — American and New England studies, geosciences, and arts and humanities at the school’s Lewiston-Auburn College facility. USM still has to figure out where to cut $2.5 million. The board is scheduled to vote on the budget during Monday’s trustees meeting.

The search for the school’s next president will run until “a successful candidate is identified,” according to the system office. Trustees hope to fill the post by July 2015, if not sooner.

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