Kudos to University of Southern Maine Professor Robert Sanford and his call for “an increase in the community connections of colleges – particularly public institutions for whom it is clearly a dominant part of their social contract, with greater internships, partnerships, part-time instructors and other involvement in the community.” (“Maine Voices: COVID’s long-term impact on higher ed.” April 12, 2021)

For a model designed specifically for his own institution, Sanford need look no further than the 2014 report, “Forging a New Identity: Report of the Metropolitan University Steering Group,” December 2014 (at digitalcommons.usm.maine.edu/mu/4).

Shortly thereafter, however, a new administration arrived at USM and abandoned the idea of a metropolitan university at the urging of a small group of faculty now mostly retired. These few insisted that USM would better be “a cross between the University of Maine and Bowdoin College” – in other words, “all things to all people” – the very opposite of what Sanford now envisions with keen insight for USM’s future.

Richard Barringer
Portland

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