Associate professor and former dean Lynn Kuzma has been chosen to lead the University of Southern Maine’s Metropolitan University initiative, overseeing USM’s focus on creating new partnerships with the community.

“This is my passion,” Kuzma said Monday, adding that she will work with others to “bring USM back to its roots.”

Kuzma, former dean of the university’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, is an associate professor of history and political science. She has been named to a 12-month term, after which the university will evaluate whether to continue the position, end it, or open up a national search, she said.

Kuzma will work with an advisory committee to implement “collaborative objectives for USM and the surrounding community,” such as improving K-12 education in Portland, increasing local economic development, safeguarding the environment and refining public health infrastructure.

Kuzma will be paid a stipend in addition of her regular faculty salary, bringing her total compensation to $120,000.