University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy discusses a proposed unified accreditation system in this Sept. 12, 2019, file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

University of Southern Maine staff and faculty challenged Chancellor Dannel Malloy about some of the system’s strategic initiatives — as well as the departure of President Glenn Cummings — at an on-campus meeting Friday.

At the town hall-style session, USM staff said they were concerned about a lack of transparency from the university system’s board of trustees and called for an open process in a search for a new president. They also raised concerns about the campus losing its autonomy and pointed to an MBA program recently merged under the University of Maine in Orono.

Malloy acknowledged the frustration, but added that enrollment in the graduate school of business has more than doubled in the last three years.

“I understand that. I want to work with you. I’ll say it again — I’m not sure the MBA program was handled as well as it should have been and could have been. Or quite frankly, we haven’t done that again. We’ve made changes, but we haven’t done it again. We haven’t repeated that endeavor. And I want to be very clear about it,” he said.

In an interview following the meeting, Malloy said that the system’s push toward “unified accreditation” — in which all seven campuses will be accredited as one institution — has opened the door to new possibilities, such as the cybersecurity program now shared by USM and the University of Maine at Augusta.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.