July 15, 2013

Off Campus: USM is positioned to prepare students for a changing world

Rather than specific work skills, the university focuses on teaching how to think, solve problems.

By GLENN CUMMINGS

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Be global in our thinking. Building global partnerships and international experiences broadens the perspectives and capacities of our students. It also promotes a key expectation of employers: to work collaboratively with diverse populations.

Be bold. Be nimble. Be sustainable. Putting forth a bold vision, committed to these principles and practices, on a comprehensive, school-wide basis breathes new life into the school and into the region.

Equally importantly, it makes USM attractive to the marketplace of student enrollment. These transitions require flexibility, financial prioritization and investment as well as a long-term plan to make the school fiscally, culturally and environmentally sustainable.

Indeed, building an organizational culture of social and economic entrepreneurship within the university stems from bringing research and learning into the many challenges facing our region and state. It also offers a rich opportunity for educating our USM students in the best possible way.

While the delivery system of high education may, indeed, be changing, let us not forget our key challenge: to continue to build a university that impressively, and uniquely, meets the expectations of a demanding world.

Glenn Cummings is assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Southern Maine and president of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will-Hinckley Sustainable Energy Systems.

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