Maine's university chancellor focuses on URock, higher education for all residents
ROCKLAND — James Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System, noted in an address to the Maine Legislature March 7 that the University College at Rockland (URock), and other university off-campus centers, are integral to the statewide educational puzzle.
Maine's higher education leaders from the Community College System, University of Maine System and Maine Maritime Academy addressed a joint session of the Legislature, laying out challenges and opportunities, and seeking continued support from lawmakers.
Page focused on affordability, accessibility, quality and relevance in his remarks about the state and the direction of the University System, according to a press release issued by URock.
Distance education, including off-campus centers and online instruction, provide access to the resources of the University of Maine System, noted Chancellor Page. As a "tool in the toolbox" they "ensure our universities are prepared to meet the needs of adult and non-traditional populations," he said.
Page said many adult learners in Maine are "place-committed" with no option to move to a campus.
In particular, Page remarked about his experience visiting University College at Rockland.
"Last April, I visited the URock Outreach Center in Rockland," he said. "I met Deb Meehan, the director, who introduced me to students of all ages who use her space to study, take courses onsite, online, and live via interactive technologies. They receive advising and financial aid assistance as well as academic tutoring, and they work together to create a local learning community that was exciting to encounter. Critically, these centers serve students who for a number of reasons would not otherwise be at university. When I asked how many of her 600 students would be on a campus if URock didn’t exist, Deb told me 'not 10 percent.' I left URock convinced I had seen a major piece of the solution to this educational puzzle.”
According to Meehan, some students, faculty and staff watched the speech streamed live in a URock classroom. They cheered when URock was mentioned.
“The Chancellor really seems to understand the importance of off-campus centers and distance education as a statewide strategy,” said Meehan. “He grew up in rural Maine and supports our mission of access to higher education for all Mainers.”
University College at Rockland is part of distance education for the University of Maine System. Located on the fourth floor of the Breakwater Building, it enrolls 600 students who can choose from over 600 courses each semester and 40 degree programs.
Free academic advising appointments and financial aid assistance are available by calling them at 596-6906 or 800-286-1594. More information is also available online at www.learn.maine.edu/rockland.