Commonly asked questions

When will roadmap implementation begin?

Implementation planning has been actively proceeding in parallel with the final stages of review and completion of the Roadmap to Excellence document during September – October 2018.  As an outcome of those integrated activities, the dean’s staff will be able to present a first draft of its roadmap action plan for the 2018-19 academic year to the college’s executive committee on November 16 for review.  We anticipate the launch of several new roadmap initiatives soon after.  There are a number of other roadmap initiatives that build on college management activities already in progress.

The number of initiatives and objectives will require a large effort.  How will we be able to accomplish that?

The college roadmap does have an impressive list of initiatives and objectives and it is a reasonable question to ask how we accomplish such as big task in five years.  Our goal for this planning effort was to have a full account of all needs and opportunities identified as priorities by the faculty and staff.  We will strive to make as much progress as possible in each initiative area over the next five years, and then reassess needs and opportunities again.  The dean’s staff and the college’s executive committee will provide leadership on annual planning for roadmap activities and team up with faculty and staff in the college and other UMaine administrative units to make steady progress on our objectives.  Lastly, for high priority initiatives that have significant workloads, we will consider the advantages of hiring temporary staffing or providing faculty release time.

How will roadmap objectives be prioritized and are there specific timelines for completing individual objectives?

A number of factors will influence priorities each year.  Objectives that are low hanging fruit – low effort or cost – may be high on our list.  Objectives that align well with current UMaine or University of Maine System (UMS) initiatives will have a higher priority because of the potential to gain support (endorsement or funding).  Objectives that are a very high priority for a number of academic units or that will benefit a large proportion of faculty and staff will be higher priorities.  Work on some large complex objectives may occur in stages across years, both to manage roadmap workload and account for the long timelines often associated with funding development.  The availability of funding may influence priorities for action in specific objectives in any year.  The dean’s staff and executive committee also must balance time spent on roadmap objectives with addressing college management issues that emerge on a regular but unpredictable schedule.  To the extent possible we will try to bend our work on college management issues to contribute to progress on roadmap objectives.

How will we make progress on roadmap objectives without substantial new funding?

We chose to not let funding needs limit our list of roadmap initiatives and objectives.  For each objective, resource needs and potential funding avenues vary greatly.  For some objectives, all that it is required is to dedicate enough of our time to plan and implement actions for success.  For other objectives, we will need to seek substantial funding which may require lengthy efforts.  Our work on these roadmap objectives will also help us position ourselves to be more effective at tapping streams of funding as they arise at UMaine, the UMS, and from extramural sources.  The college can also prioritize its existing budget to address roadmap priorities.  We also hope that a more effective program of private fundraising (one of the roadmap’s initiatives) will help in key areas.  Further, the skill and efficacy with which our faculty seek and win competitive and other university, public and private funding gives us the confidence to pursue roadmap objectives and associated funding needs on a case by case basis.

I do not see topic or item [X] related to my academic unit, discipline or area of interest mentioned in a particular roadmap objective.  Should it be added?

Generally, for an objective to be included in the roadmap it must be important to several academic units.  We strived to state objectives so they applied broadly across the college and offered the flexibility to be inclusive as needed.  Secondary level detail will emerge during implementation planning for each objective with further input on the breadth and depth of a given objective’s action steps at that time.  Therefore, we noted secondary-level suggestions for future implementation planning but rarely needed to make changes to initiative or objective statements during the review and final editing stages.

The roadmap focuses on change that can be led at the college level. Some challenges our faculty raised during our listening sessions are better addressed at the university or system level. We will support the university and system in their efforts to address those concerns, but will not launch our own independent initiatives in those cases.

How will progress be assessed and communicated?

Reporting on the roadmap’s progress to the college’s faculty and staff will require a well-organized system for effective communication on long-term progress and annual activities.  That system is in development and as of November 2018 we envision 1) a formal statement of annual work objectives and plans for objectives in progress as a baseline for assessment, 2) regular communication to faculty and staff on activities in progress and accomplishments, and 3) a website that will provide comprehensive information on assessment and communication efforts as well as related roadmap information.

External communication will be specific to target audiences as directed by the college’s new communication strategy.  Having a roadmap is already proving to be highly valuable in working with UMaine’s upper administration, external advisory groups, and friends of the college.   We will continue to leverage the value of this planning document in our communication and conversations to advance the standing and success of the college in all that it does.