Seven years ago, in my April 2011 State of the Academy Report, I laid out a plan to advance Maine Maritime Academy as a contemporary college. A fundamental component of that plan was the implementation of annual planning, programming, budgeting and execution. One of my goals was transparency. We also needed a system of guidelines and procedures to provide consistency and ensure effective utilization of resources.
Since that time, we have put those systems into place and worked collaboratively to align programs with the institution’s vision and mission statements. Most recently, we have worked strategically across divisions and departments to develop rigorous plans for the future.
Stakeholders throughout our community have embraced overarching strategic goals for the Academy, established by the Board of Trustees, and we now have a shared responsibility for reaching those goals through division objectives and attendant action steps toward measurable outcomes.
It has given me a great sense of pride to witness the depth of community involvement in planning for our future. Participation has been high, and we have identified critical initiatives for the welfare of the institution. We are coming to realize a shared vision of who we are and what we envision we can become.
We are coming to realize a shared vision of who we are and what we can become.
The achievement of this vision depends on every one of us, because we are at a critical crossroads as the cost of higher education continues to escalate. In order to attract and serve our student population, we need to generate more scholarship dollars to offer as we compete with other colleges for the students in each incoming class.
As of this spring, we have committed to two major initiatives that will provide the foundation for generating more scholarship revenue: the establishment of an ancillary enterprise, and the establishment of a culture of giving within our community.
We are preparing to move forward with the construction of the Maine Maritime Academy Firefighting Training Facility, a first step and a significant component of extended career-related training for professional mariners through a new Center for Professional Mariner Development (see Campus Currents for details). We will build the Center in multiple phases as an ancillary source of revenue to support the operational cost of the institution, thereby lowering the budgetary reliance upon tuition and, ultimately, lowering the cost of attendance for students and their families in the future.
In addition to ancillary revenue, we will work toward establishing a culture of giving within our community.
Philanthropy must play a much larger role in supporting our bottom line. I believe that if we can build a spirit of philanthropy within our student body, we can build a culture of giving, and that can extend as far back as our first graduating class. Increasing Annual Fund participation is a critical pathway to increasing financial aid support at Maine Maritime Academy.
Through a concerted, far-reaching fundraising approach and a revenue-generating Center for Professional Mariner Development, both of which will be implemented in phases, we will set the financial foundation for achieving our goals.
I hope you will engage with us as we undertake these initiatives. I invite and welcome your ideas, your enthusiasm and your participation.