January 18, 2022

College of Sciences

The March 5 letter by John Diamond responds to a public worry, occasioned by a column in the Bangor Daily News on Feb. 28, headlined, “College of Sciences may face elimination.” Diamond says he wishes to correct an impression left by that column that the University of Maine is contemplating dropping science programs.

I think it will be more difficult to convince the reader that the elimination of a College of Sciences will have little effect on UM’s emphasis on science studies than Diamond supposes. The important words are “… if UM … eliminates its College of Sciences … the academic departments themselves will continue; they simply will be reassigned to one or more of the remaining — and possible renamed or reorganized — colleges. What’s most important to the students — the academic departments which offer courses and degrees — will still exist.” Note the emphasis is on continuation of the “academic deparments which offer courses and degrees.” There is no assurance as to the continuation of the current courses and degrees which are now offered by the College of Sciences.

Diamond says the net impact of administrative and cost reductions on students will be negligible, but “… UM will be more fiscally stable, refocused state university.” Is everybody in Maine now reassured that all is right with the world? Especially in view of the president’s avowed goal of attracting a larger proportion of out-of-state students, who will presumably receive a greater share of reduced administrative attention than in-state students who contribute less ot the university’s fiscal stability. And, how does a prospective out-of-state student evaluate the quality of a university that has eliminated its College of Sciences? Would you think twice before applying?

I agree that the university’s problem is a knotty one, but this particular solution has no legs. Robert C. Dick Castine

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