University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy has made strides to increase transparency and communicate more with faculty and staff since his contract was renewed in July, according to a faculty representative to the UMaine Board of Trustees.

“I think [Malloy] has made a good faith effort to reach out to folks and make himself accessible,” University of Southern Maine geography-anthropology professor Matthew Bampton said after a board meeting Monday.

Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Faculty have long expressed frustration with Malloy and the way he has run the UMaine System. A mishandled search for a new president to lead Augusta’s campus, along with concerns about faculty retrenchments, unified accreditation and limited opportunities for faculty to participate in important decisions, triggered a series of faculty votes of no confidence in his leadership last spring.

Malloy, a former governor of Connecticut, was hired to lead the UMaine system in 2019, and criticism by faculty intensified at the end of his three-year contract. The UMaine trustees voted in July to renew his contract for one year. But as they did so, both the board and Malloy promised some things would change.

“The year will give the chancellor an opportunity to rebuild trust, increase transparency and sustain the momentum of needed change he has begun,” board Chair Trish Riley said at the board’s July meeting after announcing Malloy’s one-year contract.

Riley said then that the board considered the concerns of faculty and others, but that the system needed continuity and stability as it navigates declining enrollment in higher education and an uncertain economic future, among other things.


The board’s meeting on Monday was the first since Malloy’s contract was renewed.

Faculty representatives say some of the trust rebuilding has begun.

“He’s done several campus visits and he certainly seems to be accessible and amenable to conversation,” said Bampton, although he noted that as a faculty representative he has more access to Malloy than most faculty members.

As part of an effort to mend his relationship with faculty across the seven UMaine campuses, Malloy has been holding joint town halls with himself and campus presidents and blocking off time for “office hours,” when anyone from the school can come chat with him, during campus visits. The new initiatives reflect an openness to increased communication and feedback from faculty, staff and students, Riley said. Malloy did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his new communication strategies.

Malloy has also increased the regularity of his meetings with Riley and board Vice Chair Lisa Marchese Eames. The three now meet weekly, Riley said.

Still, Bampton said, it’s only been a few months since the chancellor’s contract was renewed and he’s looking for continued strong efforts to engage faculty in important decisions and communicate openly with them.

“We’re only in our third week of the new semester so I have to see how things unfold,” said Bampton.

Bampton said the vote of no confidence from the USM campus showed there was a deep sense of frustration, concern and disappointment with Malloy that won’t go away immediately.

“But as an individual and professional, I try to take people as I find them and Chancellor Malloy has been accessible and willing to talk and hear different viewpoints in the very short time we’ve had to explore that since the last meeting, he said. “The situation now seems to have promise, so we will do our best to keep conversations going in a productive manner.”

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