Re: “USM to combine 15 departments into new Student Services Division” (Nov. 14):

I am the parent of both a current University of Southern Maine student and a prospective USM student. I was extremely disheartened to read that USM President David Flanagan has proposed a new administrative position with a $135,000 annual salary.

That’s about $30,000 more than the combined salaries of two of the tenured faculty positions that President Flanagan retrenched a month ago – assistant professor of theatre ($46,818) and associate professor of music ($58,342) – according to the report “University of Maine System. Salaries of Regular Employees. As of April 8, 2014”.

Currently, professors and professional staff share responsibility for student advising. Under President Flanagan’s consolidation plan, professors and professional staff will still share responsibility for advising, but they’ll report to a new boss.

The Press Herald reported: “Chris Quint, USM’s executive director of public affairs … said every freshman will be assigned a faculty mentor in their major field of study, and a professional advisor. The mentor will help an undecided student settle on a major and course selections. The professional advisor will offer emotional and psychological support to students who have difficulty adjusting to college life.”

The change seems to be the creation of a “vice president of enrollment management” to oversee it all.

I am very troubled by the USM president’s proposed investment in another highly paid administrator. I am not convinced that his vice president of enrollment management is worth more than two professors – and since I’m the one paying tuition, I cast my vote to get the two professors back.

I’ll even give him my blessing to use the $30,000 left over toward “professional advisors,” or, if he really insists, toward a modestly paid Student Services Division director.

Kelley McDaniel


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