AUGUSTA, MAINE – Following approval by the Board of Trustees Executive Committee on June 8, University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that Dr. Rebecca Wyke, of Augusta, will be the next President of the University of Maine at Augusta. The appointment of Dr. Wyke, who is currently serving as the System’s Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, will be effective July 1 and follows an extensive campus and community engagement period to discuss the university’s need for stable leadership and opportunities to advance UMA’s service and scholarship missions.
UMA has a statewide mission to serve non-traditional, adult, and place-bound learners from campuses in Augusta and Bangor, University College locations in eight underserved Maine communities, early college partnerships with a number of Maine high schools, and through expansive online and distance offerings.
Dr. Wyke, a twenty-year resident of Augusta, was first appointed Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration in 2008, following her service as the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Administration and Finance, the agency that oversees the state budget and administrative functions.
During Wyke’s time as the University System’s finance and administrative lead, the University of Maine System has achieved $82 million in annual savings and built new capacity for collaboration across the campuses by developing a statewide, single-entity approach to managing administrative functions and delivering support services to Maine’s seven mission-differentiated public universities. Maine’s universities also froze in-state tuition rates for six straight years during this period, the longest tuition freeze in the System’s history, to keep the cost of public higher education within the reach of Maine families.
Dr. Wyke served as President of the University of Maine at Augusta for six months in 2015. Her Maine-based experience in public higher education and commitment to UMA’s mission and its students brought highly valued stability and progress to an institution then in the midst of leadership transition. The need for proven and consistent leadership for the university was identified consistently by the staff, faculty, students, and stakeholders participating in the community engagement that followed the April 11 announcement that Dr. James Conneely would be resigning the UMA presidency on June 30.
“Rebecca Wyke has been a key player in the progress we have made in public higher education in Maine as we have aligned our institutions for the times and prepared our universities to be stronger, more responsive state partners as part of our One University initiative,” said Chancellor Page. “Maine has critical workforce and demographic challenges. UMA in particular is well-positioned to help Maine’s adult and place-bound learners affordably gain new skills and door-opening credentials. Becky has the skills, experience, and commitment needed to ensure that UMA helps to carry on our statewide efforts to expand access and improve attainment for anyone who aspires to a college degree.
“The campus and community provided significant and timely input into our leadership discussions over the last several weeks, a testament to the shared commitment to the institution and its vitally important mission. I wish to thank the many members of the university community who contributed to this process.”
The UMS Board of Trustees Executive Committee unanimously authorized Chancellor Page to execute a contract with Dr. Wyke for a fixed three-year term as UMA’s President at their June 8, 2017 meeting.
“Helping students overcome obstacles is the greatest obligation and opportunity in public higher education today,” said Dr. Rebecca Wyke, incoming President of the University of Maine at Augusta. “The faculty and staff at UMA are talented and dedicated public servants who have an unmatched commitment to expanding access and student success. It has been a privilege to work with my UMA colleagues over the years, and I am pleased to have this new opportunity to serve alongside and lead our dynamic and dedicated team in Augusta, in Bangor, and at our University College locations across Maine.”
“Dr. Wyke is an excellent choice for the position,” said Dr. Frank Ellis, Professor of Psychology and Human Services at UMA. “She certainly understands UMA, its students, faculty and administration and will work diligently to help us fulfill our potential. President Wyke possesses many of the skills we will need in a leader as we better position the university to serve today’s students and achieve long-term, institutional success.”
“The faculty at UMA love to teach, inspire, and help our students achieve. We are pleased to welcome a new leader to our community who shares these values,” said Dr. Cynthia Dean, Associate Professor of Education at UMA. “Dr. Wyke brings proven, stable leadership to our university and a commitment to public service and student success that aligns very well with our statewide mission of access, scholarship, and service.”
“Effective and impactful educational programming has to meet students where they are in life and location,” said Dr. Jan Mokros, Chair of the UMA Board of Visitors. “Dr. Rebecca Wyke knows this and she knows us.
“Becky has taught UMA students in the classroom and at a distance. She has also been a strong advocate for the resources and services our campus and community-based students need to succeed. The Board of Visitors is pleased to welcome Becky and her proven public higher education leadership to the University of Maine at Augusta.”
“Dr. Rebecca Wyke has helped put the University of Maine System in a position where it can provide stronger, more responsive service to our state,” said Dr. Peter Guzzetti, a member of the UMA Board of Visitors. “She is a talented and engaged leader who will help our dedicated faculty and staff increase the university’s capacity to serve our students and state.
“The UMA Board of Visitors and our friends, neighbors and colleagues in the Kennebec Valley, the Bangor region, and the communities served by UMA’s University College locations are ready to work with and support Dr. Wyke as she takes the helm of our university.”