A Sea of Change:
Addressing Homogenization with Distinctive Programs
Authored by Joshua Carbonell
The Maine coast is not just for tourists.
Nestled between the mouth of the Saco River and Hills Beach, one of the region’s most rapidly developing universities is welcoming in a sea of change. The University of New England (UNE), founded in 1978, recently developed a strategic plan for the next five years. The plan serves as a scaffolding to
guide the institution toward establishing its identity in a period of homogenization in higher education.
This case study explores the role the Office of Student Engagement plays in making all aspects of UNE distinctive. Student Life programming must adhere to and support the development of UNE’s emerging identity. A reflection of UNE’s programming highlights the Student Engagement Office’s impact on distinctiveness. Taking a step back, an overview of UNE’s strategic plan and mission is provided. A consideration of institutional structure as well as conversations with regional colleagues put Student Life programming into perspective. As the tides turn, intentional changes must be made. Guided by its strategic plan, recommendations to expand New Student Orientation, collaborate with faculty, and utilize the coastline are explored to steer UNE toward distinctiveness.
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