An open letter to the people of Aroostook County

6 years ago

As community and business leaders in the region, our work on the UMFK and UMPI Boards of Visitors has allowed us to see the many innovative and visionary ways our northern Maine campuses have worked together to best serve the needs of the people of Aroostook County.

From academic partnerships and career preparation efforts to shared staffing and our Upward Bound and Talent Search grant projects, these collaborations and partnerships have enabled our universities to better prepare students for future careers in The County, create positive and lasting impacts on the local economy, and ensure institutional integrity.

We are grateful to UMPI and UMFK administrators, faculty and staff for the inclusive and thorough work they have done to bring such efforts to fruition, and we greatly appreciate the work they will do going forward. Because it is so important to meet the needs of our region responsively and efficiently, the campuses have been charged with establishing meaningful academic partnerships as well as strengthening existing ones — with shared program design, teaching resources, and course instruction between our two institutions as the hallmarks of these partnerships.

We’d like to cite two recent examples of academic partnerships that have been mutually beneficial to our campuses and the workforce development needs in the region. The nursing program partnership between our institutions helps UMFK to provide critical leadership in the University of Maine System’s statewide response to Maine’s nursing shortage. It will allow UMFK to extend its on-site nursing program capabilities, with students completing a UMFK nursing degree on the Presque Isle campus. This collaboration will involve instruction by faculty from both institutions and create spots for 16-24 new nursing students. Similarly, the education academic partnership ensures that we will continue to offer state accredited elementary and secondary education degrees at both campuses. UMPI will provide teacher education faculty support while allowing education students at UMFK to finish their degrees on their campus.

These partnerships and other efforts being explored are all about preserving and extending access to programs so our young people stay and complete their college work here in Aroostook County. In our capacities as the advisory boards to the presidents of our respective institutions, and in our role as advocates for the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, we recognize the impact both institutions have in The County. UMFK and UMPI have long served the needs of our region — from their earliest work as teacher training schools to the efforts underway now — and we’ll continue to look at ways we can partner to provide a comprehensive array of critical programs that best meet the educational needs of Maine citizens and the workforce development needs of northern Maine.


University of Maine at Fort Kent
Board of Visitors:

Don Guimond (Chair), Laura Audibert, Duane Belanger, Niklas Berce, David Cambridge, Douglas Cyr, Lori-Ann Cyr, Susan Devoe, Giselle Dionne, Kris Doody, Robert Dorsey, Andre Leger, Heather Pelletier, Melford Pelletier, Jonathan Roy, Luis Sanclemente, David Saucier, Benjamin Sirois, Tanya Sleeper, Doug Taggett, Susan Whitehead.

University of Maine at Presque Isle
Board of Visitors:

Carl Michaud (Chair), Daniel Bagley, Ellen Bemis, A.J. Cloukey, Rick Duncan, Bill Flagg, Nancy Fletcher, Ben Greenlaw, Darlene Higgins, Jason House, Chelsie Johnson, John Lisnik, Jason Parent, Chantal Pelletier, Tim Poitras, Stephen Richard, David Spooner, Scott Violette.