The university we all call home just got a little more help thanks to UMPI’s being selected to receive a grant worth almost $2.25 million. The United States Department of Education made the announcement in early October that UMPI had been selected for a 2019 Title III Strengthening Institutions grant to be distributed over the next five years.
Serving as Title III Project Director, Dr. Deb Roark, UMPI executive director for university advancement and external affairs, was instrumental in UMPI’s attainment of the grant. Dr. Roark mentioned the opportunities that the Department of Education selection brings to campus. “We have an opportunity over these next five years to build and solidify UMPI’s reputation with respect to the student experience.” More important to students, faculty and staff, Dr. Roark described the plan for the money’s use. “These funds are dedicated to increasing access, improving the student experience and providing our students with the tools they need to successfully transition from the campus to their careers.”
In addition to career readiness programs, the grant allows UMPI to introduce two new bachelor’s degree programs in fields in which workers are in high-demand. The two new majors–Computer Science and Health Administration–weave in smoothly with UMPI’s preexisting course offerings. UMPI also is developing stronger career readiness programs and more opportunities for students to have on-site experience when they graduate.
President Ray Rice spoke to the significance of the new majors and readiness programs introduced in a campus press release: “The (new) programs here will help us to better meet the workforce needs of our region and state while providing our students with new avenues for prosperous careers…. (The new programs) will allow us to even better prepare out students for future careers.”
The grant allows UMPI to introduce another computer lab as well, as it will be needed for the new computer science major. Renovations and updates in technology validate “U.S. News & World Report”’s 2020 Best Colleges list as a top 5 Most Innovative School for regional colleges in the North. The chancellor of the University of Maine System, Dannel P. Malloy, spoke to the innovation offered at Maine’s universities. “Student-focused innovation attracts investment and is one of the reasons why Maine’s public universities deliver unmatched quality and affordability.”
Receiving this grant brings only good for UMPI and its students. Growth is what small universities such as UMPI need to survive. Having a larger variety of majors and innovative technology will attract more students. No matter what, $2.2 million is a lot of money that will all be used to help UMPI.