New 6-week fall term at UMPI to help students graduate faster

Posted Sept. 13, 2012, at 4:18 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Over the past few years, the University of Maine at Presque Isle has done a great deal to better the college, the education they offer, and the environment.

The institution has constructed a windmill and taken other steps to reduce UMPI’s carbon footprint, forged partnerships with area high schools that will give students a head-start on college, and signed an agreement to allow UMPI education students to complete their student teaching requirements at a private school in Thailand.

Additional work to enhance its curriculum will begin in October as the college unveils a short fall term to help students seeking a degree get it faster.

The university announced recently that it would institute the term to provide students and others looking to complete their four-year degrees with a concise, six-week session as an alternative, or an addition, to the regular 15-week semester.

The term runs from Oct. 15 to Nov. 30.

Michael Sonntag, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the college, said that the fall term will give students who are progressing well in their “normal” 15-week coursework the opportunity to pick up an extra course, thus helping them to finish their degree faster.

“And if a 15-week course just isn’t working for students for whatever reason, this gives them an alternative, allowing them to pick up a new course midsemester and avoid getting behind,” he explained. “Our short terms will help us meet the University of Maine System board of trustees goals of promoting quicker time to degree completion and increasing graduation rates.”

Sonntag said the university hopes to achieve several other goals with this and future short terms. They include providing students with greater scheduling flexibility to encourage more people to pursue their degrees, and providing even more support in helping them stay on track and complete their degrees in a shorter period of time.

University officials said they have been moving in this direction already by implementing several initiatives, including new online majors, a wider variety of online courses, and a comprehensive list of summer courses.

Sonntag said UMPI eventually hopes to have year-round short-term course offerings.

The college won’t have any kinks to work out with the new fall course as it was piloted in January. They plan to offer another January term next year, as well as two six-week short terms in spring 2013.

News of the fall term comes just after UMPI debuted its new UMPI OpenU project, which allows learners of all ages to participate in online college courses for free, as long as they aren’t seeking college credit.

The project began Sept. 4, the first day of the fall semester at UMPI.

For more information about UMPI’s fall 2012 short term, or to sign up for classes, contact the Office of Student Records at 207-768-9540.

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