Dear UNE Students,
I write to you about UNE’s decision to cease operations at the Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Center (MARC). MARC has achieved great success in its mission and made a change in many students’ lives. This is a significant change for UNE and not one that we take lightly. It is especially challenging for those students who have volunteered and worked in the MARC, and for those whose academic majors and career aspirations are connected to work with marine mammals. The UNE leadership considered this decision very carefully and from all possible angles. We came to the conclusion that students’ interests are best served by transferring the resources, activities and space now dedicated to the MARC to new initiatives connected to the modern marine ecosystems and economies. Research and career opportunities are growing in areas in which UNE is well situated to expand, including in aquaculture, animal behavior, fisheries, climate change and many others. UNE has the opportunity to partner with Maine, US and international industries for research, internships and job prospects. Federal and other research funds are flowing towards activities for which the MARC is not suited. Animal rehabilitation is an important, yet tiny, sector of the economy into which UNE students will enter.
Unfortunately, rumors are circulating that UNE took this decision with only “profit” in mind, or without thought of how it would affect students. Nothing could be further from the truth. UNE makes no money with this decision. Indeed, it allows us to maximize the use of student tuition dollars for activities directly related to the student academic experience.
The College of Arts and Sciences takes its mission to “transform passions to professions on the beautiful coast of Maine” very seriously. I would not support any decision that did not promote our students’ best chances for future success. Nor would I abandon UNE’s role in promoting research, teaching and hands-on experiences in marine environments in Maine and beyond. The Marine Science Center, though no longer home to an animal rehabilitation center, will be the hub of academic, experiential, and research activities that will enhance the student experience now and well into the future.
I invite you to contact me if you would like to discuss this issue with me. Best wishes to you all,
Jeanne A.K. Hey, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
University of New England
Transforming Passions to Professions on the Beautiful Coast of Maine
Dear UNE Students,