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About Us

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center is a nonpartisan, independent research and public service unit of the University of Maine (UMaine). Created in 1989, the Center was named to continue the legacy of Senator Margaret Chase Smith who served as a model of civil discourse and integrity.

The Policy Center informs public policy processes and societal decision-making through timely research and applied public policy activities focused on critical issues facing Maine and the nation.

The Policy Center serves as the state’s premier resource for applied public policy research and engagement.

In the spirit of the Honorable Margaret Chase Smith, we strive to advance a tradition of independent, objective research designed to support effective, transparent, and equitable policy processes. The Policy Center values open communication grounded in civility and a willingness to engage respectfully across differences. Building a sense of community through collaboration is core to our aspiration to improve policy. We value inclusive communication that aims to advance relationships among policymakers, community leaders, and students, faculty, and staff of the University of Maine.

What we do
Within our mission are three core purposes that aim to advance policy processes and decision making at the local, state, and national levels:

Ensuring that UMaine research and engagement are most likely to meet the needs of decision makers requires that we understand the needs of the state. We:
• Conduct non-partisan, evidence-based research on significant issues facing Maine and the nation
• Assess the needs of policymakers, communities, and other stakeholders in Maine and their interest in collaboration

Exchanging knowledge and collaborating across different organizations forms a cornerstone of our work. We:
• Build effective partnerships across diverse institutions in and beyond Maine
• Create and sustain linkages among policymakers, other key stakeholders, and researchers
• Provide policy relevant information and objective research findings to decision makers
• Support a community of researchers across all policy relevant areas of expertise at the University of Maine who advance linkages between research and decision making

Supporting people to build the skills and gain the experience they need to engage in policy processes is core to our vision of helping UMaine serve societal need in Maine and beyond. We:
• Provide professional development for faculty, staff, and students to advance their ability to make their work become more directly engaged with societal needs and policy processes
• Engage students in policy processes and other opportunities to advance their understanding of government and governance
• Advance UMaine’s capacity to produce high quality proposals for external funding related to policy
• Provide leadership opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to mobilize UMaine’s collective capacity to serve the state and beyond

Read more about Margaret Chase Smith.