May 23, 2018
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UMaine academic report delayed

By Jessica Bloch, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — A group attempting to prioritize the University of Maine’s academic programs and budget is putting off making its final recommendations until next week.

UMaine spokesman Joe Carr said the Academic Program Prioritization Working Group met Thursday morning and determined it had too much new information to consider and discuss to complete a final report by Thursday, which was the date the final version was to be delivered to UMaine President Robert Kennedy.

Carr said Monday, April 12, was the earliest the report is expected to be complete.

The working group’s interim report, which was released on March 24, proposed the elimination of several academic majors, the merging of departments and programs, and the elimination of the department of public administration.

The proposal would cut nearly $12.3 million from UMaine’s academic affairs budget, according to the working group’s interim report.

Since the release of the report, hundreds of UMaine students, faculty members, alumni and members of the community have questioned the recommendations, protested the cuts and signed petitions expressing disappointment with the proposed moves.

The working group held a public forum on March 29, during which people from all areas of the university questioned and commented on the proposal. Students protested the cuts earlier this week on campus.

The total planned reductions amount to 15.4 percent of this year’s total budgets for colleges that will be affected by the changes. Provost Susan Hunter, who chaired the working group, said recently the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences took the biggest cuts, at around $4 million.

The departments that could experience the elimination of majors include foreign languages, women’s studies, music and theater. Instruction and some minors still would be offered in those areas.

After Kennedy receives the working group’s final report, he is due to release his own report by the end of April.

Whatever changes are approved would be phased in between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2014. Students now enrolled would be able to complete their programs.

The working group included Hunter, the deans of all five of UMaine’s colleges, representatives from the faculty senate, and other faculty members and administrators.

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