September 11, 2013

Price of keeping ex-USM chief employed? $363,028

After a year in a job created just for her, Selma Botman submits a report that leaves several goals unaddressed.

By NELL GLUCKMAN Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

(Continued from page 1)

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Former University of Southern Maine President Selma Botman

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

Page, the chancellor, said he wanted Botman to outline a plan before the system committed to any programs.

"We needed a strategy before we went out and spent a lot of money," he said. "We didn't have a picture of how it would all work."

"It was worth it, given that we had a contractual obligation" to Botman, said Gregory Johnson, a member of the board of trustees and chairman of the academic and student affairs committee.

"I think it reaffirms, in some ways, the work we were already doing. And now that can be refined," Johnson said.

"They needed something for her to do," said Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine, in Orono. "My question would be, well, will that be used for future reference or will it just gather dust?"

In addition to the rationale for recruiting international students and the list of recruitment agencies, Botman's report included a five-year business plan, a rationale for using recruiting agents, a discussion of the tuition international students would pay, examples of how the university might phrase promotional materials, a three-page list of international high schools and other data.

In the business plan, Botman estimated that implementing her strategy would cost the Maine system $287,500 per year. With her projected enrollment of 579 international students, at the end of five years the university system would see a $31 million increase in revenue.

"This would bring increased prominence to the state and much-needed resources to the university," the report said.

Though she was given a $20,000 budget for out-of-state travel, Botman used only $1,236.41. She went to New York City to meet with administrators from the State University of New York, a leader in international student recruitment, and to the University of Northern Arizona in Phoenix to meet with its vice provost for international education.


The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service based in Hallowell. It can be reached via email at and can be found on the web at


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