Dear UMA Community,
I’m so very excited to have joined the University of Maine at Augusta! During my first week settling in I have been getting to know the Augusta campus and its people, and I very much look forward to spending time at the Bangor campus and the Centers and sites over the next few months. As part of my role, I also embrace community engagement and anticipate becoming involved in some way in all the communities we touch. In the meantime, I am studying documents and asking questions so that I can be the best president possible for this remarkable university, which is headed in all the right directions for higher education in the twenty-first century.
For decades, UMA community members have acted as champions of diversity by advancing our mission of access to high-quality distance and on-site education for students of every age and background. All our locations play a vital role in living that mission. We know that a bold engagement with future-focused technology facilitates access, as do an array of learning modes designed to provide an education that meets students where they are, with programs designed for today’s economy. Our programs build credentials toward a career while encouraging the intellectual curiosity and flexibility of mind needed to succeed in the twenty-first century so that we can act as a catalyst for positive change. Indeed, the ultimate purpose of educational access, according to our mission, is transforming lives. I am looking forward to working together with all of you to support that central tenet, that assumes education is a public good, our academic theme for the year. To do so, I commit to listening to you, paying attention to future trends and challenges, and advocating for the university in our communities and in the U Maine System. Of you, I ask for candor (so that we can address issues early and effectively), grace as I make my mistakes (because I will!), and patience as we redefine together what it means to be UMA in the 2020s. Thank you in advance for your forward-looking engagement as we work together through this transition and beyond.
About Dr. Cushman
President of UMA since July 2023, Jen Cushman is devoted to small campus communities that transform the lives of lesser-resourced students. After earning her PhD in German from Ohio State in 1996, she taught English in Russia and Poland, first with the Peace Corps and then privately. Her first professional position was as assistant then associate professor of German and Russian at the University of Minnesota Morris. She was then director of off-campus study at the College of Wooster in Ohio for two years, and seven as dean of international education at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania. An American Council on Education Fellows year shifted her vocation, and she moved to campus dean at Ohio University Zanesville before becoming chancellor of Penn State Beaver in 2016. She and her husband, Matt Dingo, have two children: Halina is in graduate school at University of Colorado Boulder, and Jakub is in his second year at Penn State.
The President’s Office is located in the Alumni Center on the Augusta campus.