PRESQUE ISLE — The interim president at the University of Maine at Presque Isle wants to work to improve the “teaching and learning environment” as the campus searches for a new president.
Nancy H. Hensel, who most recently was the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maine at Farmington, will lead the Presque Isle campus for about a year while a new, permanent president is found.
She replaces W. Michael Easton, who retired earlier this year.
Hensel is the second woman president to run the Presque Isle campus. The late Constance Carlson, the first woman to assume a UM presidency, governed UMPI from 1981 to 1986.
Hensel and other key UMPI staff met Thursday with area reporters.
The new president said she wants to develop more partnerships with the community that offer real work experience for UMPI students.
“We’ve discovered a community that presents a wealth of opportunity for students,” Hensel said, referring to the Presque Isle business community.
Along with fulfilling academic requirements, Hensel believes that graduates also require job-related skills that should be developed.
In her first few weeks on the job, Hensel has seen an increase in enrollment and the implementation of a strategic plan approved last year.
“We really have a dedicated faculty and staff,” Hensel said.
She added that she was impressed with the community volunteers who were on the various foundations and committees.
“This is going to be busy and productive year for the university,” Hensel said.
With a doctorate in early childhood education from the University of Georgia, Hensel has lectured throughout the country and abroad. She has written scores of articles and contributed to several books on women, children and education.
New students are scheduled to begin arriving today for an orientation program throughout the weekend, according to Kurt Hofmann, vice president of enrollment and student services. For the first time, an opening ceremony has been added to the new students’ agenda on Friday afternoon.
About 1,400 students will be attending the university this year, including some who will live in hotel rooms across the street from the campus because of increased enrollment.
“Word is getting out that there’s a quality experience here for students,” Hofmann said.
In other activity, the university this year plans a distinguished lecture series and an observance of Mental Illness Awareness Week in October.
An international conference on rural life is scheduled for next summer on the campus.