The 102nd Maine Legislature in 1965 established the University of Maine at Augusta as a community-based institution offering associate degrees under the auspices of the University of Maine at Orono. In 1971, soon after moving to its present location in Augusta, UMA became an autonomous institution, the seventh campus of the University of Maine System. UMA, in that same year, assumed responsibility for providing degree programs and services in the Lewiston-Auburn area.
In 1975, UMA offered its first baccalaureate degree program and began building an integrated faculty community, with appropriate terminal degrees, to teach both baccalaureate and associate degree courses. During this time, UMA also developed a distinctive set of programs, services, and schedules tailored to the unique needs and strengths of its primarily non-traditional student body.
UMA was designated the “Community College of Maine” in 1986 with responsibility for leading the University of Maine System in the provision of associate degree programs and related services throughout the state. As part of this responsibility, UMA developed a statewide interactive television system as well as a network of over 100 off-campus centers and regional sites, and coordinated the delivery of university programs, courses, and services at these centers and sites. In 1994 this system, now called University College, became an independent administrative entity of the University of Maine System. (In 2008, University College returned to UMA.)
In 1995, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees added UMA Bangor to UMA. Founded in 1970 as the South Campus of the University of Maine (at Orono), it later became Bangor Community College, one of the colleges of the University of Maine (at Orono). In 1985, it was renamed University College. In 1995, the Board of Trustees affiliated the Bangor campus with Augusta and Lewiston-Auburn; at the same time the Board also reaffirmed UMA’s role as a provider of selected baccalaureate programs in the Central Maine and Mid-Coast region.
Redirection of UMA’s educational mission has occurred during the past decade. Prior to 1998 UMA offered only 3 baccalaureate programs; since then, however, it has added 15, for a total of 18 baccalaureate degrees. The following data demonstrate how the addition of these degrees has affected UMA enrollments and continues to shape its mission:
- At its 1996 commencement UMA awarded 239 associate and 59 baccalaureate degrees. Nine years later, in 2005, UMA awarded 337 associate degrees and 232 baccalaureate degrees, a 25% increase in baccalaureate degree graduates.
- Similarly, the ratio of credit hours between associate and baccalaureate students changed as well. In fall 2003 associate degree students accounted for 23,513 credit hours while baccalaureate degree students accounted for only 13,822. By contrast, in fall 2005 associate degree students accounted for 17,872 credit hours and baccalaureate students for 17,941, representing an increase in just two years from 37% to 51% of total credit hours generated by degree candidates enrolled in baccalaureate programs.
This increase in baccalaureate credit hours and degrees confirms UMA’s current designation as a Carnegie Classification Associate/Baccalaureate institution.