June 21, 2018
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Trustees to consider University of Southern Maine president’s new post, plan for Orono campus

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The University of Maine System board of trustees will vote Monday on the approval of resigned University of Southern Maine President Selma Botman’s placement in a new job in the chancellor’s office.

System Chancellor James Page announced Botman’s appointment as special assistant to the chancellor on global education, where she will lead efforts to expand the system’s international education programs.

“I am deeply committed to the success of USM, but wish to continue to serve the University of Maine System in a different capacity,” Botman wrote in a late-June letter to Page. “I look forward to continuing to work with the campuses and the Board of Trustees to advance the University of Maine System’s strategic goals in global education.”

Her term as president was scheduled to expire June 30, 2013.

Botman would make $203,000 in her new post, the same amount she made as president of the system’s second-largest university. She also would be permitted to continue to use the title “president.”

Duties outlined in her new agreement include working with campuses to find international student recruitment agents and building relationships with global institutions for faculty exchange programs.

Page recommended Theo Kalikow, who recently retired from the presidency at the University of Maine at Farmington, step into the USM position. Kalikow would earn the same salary as Botman.

Her appointment also is subject to board approval on Monday.

Botman announced her resignation from the presidency two months after a facultywide no-confidence vote was held on the USM campus.

Of the ballots cast over two days in the first week of May, 68 percent voted no confidence in Botman, but because only about 75 percent of the faculty voted, the total fell short of the two-thirds threshold overall.

The Human Resources and Labor Relations Committee will discuss the appointments early in the all-day meeting before the full board votes in the afternoon.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board will consider changes to the language of the compensation review program which would clarify the chancellor’s authority to require a system-level review of certain raises and appointments to positions, especially at the administrative level.

After a review of the $7 million in salary increases over the past seven years, a representative from the system’s human resources office and the chancellor said at the May board meeting that they largely are satisfied with the system’s compensation program, but that a few alterations might improve oversight.

The trustees also will receive an update on the collective bargaining agreement discussions between the system and the five employee bargaining units whose contracts expired on June 30 or Aug. 31 of 2011.

Any collective bargaining agreement that is reached requires board approval and ratification by the union members before contracts can be executed. Page said that if any tentative agreement is reached before Monday’s board meeting, it will be brought before the trustees for approval.

The trustees also will take a look at The Blue Sky Project, a five-year plan for the system’s flagship university that has been in the works since November 2011. The plan outlines how UMaine should approach its future and lays out a number of goals aiming to strengthen the university and the state as a whole.

More information about the project and its full text are available at umaine.edu/blueskyplan/.

Among the other items on the agenda are:

• The appointment of Richard Cost as president emeritus at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

• An update on energy use and sustainability within the system.

• An update on the status of capital projects and building upgrades within the system.

• The reinstatement of the Bachelor of Arts in Theater program at UMaine.

• A new mission statement for the University of Maine at Machias.

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