President Handley announced today the appointment of Bonnie Sparks as Executive Director of University College. University College supports students and faculty from UMS universities involved in learning and teaching online and at eight outreach centers across the state.

Ms. SBonnie Sparksparks knows University College well—she has served as Director of the Hancock County Higher Education Center since ­­­­­­1989, where she was responsible for the planning, development and monitoring of University and Community College activities, courses and programs in the Center’s region.

“When I opened the Ellsworth Center in 1989 I never imagined that we would one day offer more than 40 degree programs, that some students would eventually become faculty, and that we would form partnerships that would grow the student population to 500,” Sparks said. “I have focused much of my professional life on access to higher education for the residents of Maine. At the Center, we have created degree pathways that encourage people in our diverse community to meet career goals. My work with University College has merged the access mission with a commitment to service that supports academic success. I am honored to serve in a leadership position with colleagues who share this commitment.”

Ms. Sparks, an Ellsworth resident, earned her Ed.M. at Boston University and her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts. Before coming to University College, Sparks worked as a case manager for the Training and Development Corporation in Bangor and as an educational counselor for the University of Maine.

“We are very grateful to have a person of Bonnie’s commitment and character in our organization, and we are fortunate to have such an experienced leader and manager in this new position,” said Handley. “Through the years Bonnie has worked with campuses and organizations across Maine, and this will ensure effective communication and a seamless transition.”