Eric C. Brown, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maine at Farmington, will take over July 1 as interim president of the university, the University of Maine System board of trustees announced Tuesday.
Brown, who has been a member of the UMF faculty since 2003, will replace Kathryn Foster, who is leaving to become president of The College of New Jersey.
“Leadership transitions are an opportunity for our campuses to consider how best to advance our One University service to our students and state,” James Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System, said in a written statement.
“I am pleased that Dr. Brown has agreed to provide steady and proven direction while we assess institutional priorities and engage our campus and community stakeholders in a discussion about how UMF can be an even stronger contributor to public higher education’s response to Maine’s dire demographic and workforce challenges.”
Page will work with campus and community leaders in Farmington over the summer and the system board of trustees on the search for Foster’s successor.
Brown has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs since December 2016, and has been a member of the University’s President’s Council and the System’s Chief Academic Officers Council.
He has bachelor’s degrees in English and zoology from the University of Maine, and a doctorate in English from Louisiana State University. He has served as a postdoctoral fellow in the department of English and American literature at Harvard University.
“As interim president, my approach will be to identify, encourage and invest in our best ideas, our more-innovative programs, our most-energetic and forward-looking initiatives,” Brown said in a statement issued by UMF.
“There is no shortage of excellence at UMF, and I believe my experience as a scholar, teacher and administrator here has well-prepared me to draw on this excellence to work towards solutions to both the immediate problems at hand and the larger challenges ahead.”
Foster, a native of New Jersey, was named UMF’s 14th president in 2012. She currently earns an annual salary of $181,608.
Under her leadership, enrollment numbers at UMF stabilized, the university achieved a 10-year accreditation and a number of capital projects, including the installation of a central biomass heating plant, were completed, according to university officials.
“We have been incredibly fortunate to have had a visionary leader in the form of President Kate Foster to lead us for the last six years and wish her well with her new position,” said Professor Clyde Mitchell, the UMF faculty representative to the UMS board of trustees.
“We are grateful for the appointment of Provost Eric Brown as the interim president for UMF. Dr Brown is well-known and respected on campus and throughout the community. He has a deep understanding of UMF, its values and its students, staff and faculty. His appointment will provide much-needed stability and certainty in a time of significant change here at UMF.”