Grant to support the creation of culture change through collaboration the latest investment in higher education innovation made possible through new Unified Accreditation for UMS

ORONO — The Trustees of the Davis Educational Foundation recently awarded a $297,000 grant to the University of Maine System over two years that will be used to fund the development and implementation of interdisciplinary Statewide Strategic Program Plans involving academic programs offered jointly or in coordination by multiple UMS universities. The first two statewide strategic plans will involve the faculty and academic leaders of the four nursing programs and the six education programs of Maine’s public universities.

The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of the Shaw’s Supermarket, Inc.  The funded proposal, Creating Culture Change through Collaboration, was submitted for consideration by the UMS Office of Organizational Effectiveness in support of higher education innovation now possible through Unified Accreditation.  

In June of 2019 the New England Commission of Higher Education approved the University of Maine System’s request to unify the separate accreditations of each of its universities into a unified accreditation for the University of Maine System.  This first-in-the-nation transition allows Maine’s public universities to be evaluated together based on how they share resources to meet accreditation standards and state needs.  

The Davis Educational Foundation is the latest investment in Maine’s public universities tied to the innovation possible through Unified Accreditation.  In October the Harold Alfond Foundation committed to a $240 million, twelve-year investment in the University of Maine System in support of a strategic direction that commits Maine’s largest education and workforce development asset to student success, partnership and prosperity for the people of Maine.  

“Lasting, impactful change in a culture cannot be asserted, it must be achieved,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy.  “The Davis Educational Foundation is generously supporting the work we must do as a statewide enterprise to meet the strategic priorities established by our Board of Trustees and to reach the challenges set for us in the Harold Alfond Foundation gift.”

Nursing and education are two employment sectors facing enormous workforce challenges due to the state’s aging population and the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The collaboration that will be developed starting in early 2021 with the support of the Davis Educational Foundation will identify and develop plans to address needs in nursing and education while creating a template for the multi-campus innovation possible through Unified Accreditation.  

Focus areas for future Statewide Strategic Program Plans will be determined as part of the Davis Foundation initiative with wide consultation across UMS campuses and with key state stakeholders.