PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Over the past few years, the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College have forged a number of partnerships that have benefitted students at both institutions.
In 2010, the schools announced a joint venture that made it easier for students planning a future as preschool teachers to meet newly revised state requirements for educators. When NMCC launched its wind power technology program geared toward training wind power technicians to operate, maintain and repair wind turbine generators, students began coming to the UMPI campus to study its midsize wind turbine and learn from its data.
And now the two colleges have finalized two agreements that will ensure students on both campuses experience a smooth transition if they opt to transfer between institutions.
The first articulation agreement ensures that students at either institution are able to transfer their general education courses easily between schools. Each college defines its own series of general education courses, but the classes required to graduate from both institutions are primarily in the areas of English, math, science and the humanities.
Dr. Dottie Martin, NMCC academic dean, said Thursday that UMPI and NMCC have always had an informal agreement that allowed students to transfer general education credits back and forth. But she said that officials felt it was finally time to put something in writing.
“Since general education courses are a core group of classes that all students must take at the university and the college, it makes perfect sense for our institutions to standardize and accept credits seamlessly from transferring students,” she explained. “The agreement will allow students to more quickly complete their degree and save money.”
She said that it was especially timely considering statewide efforts to increase transferability between Maine’s public universities and community colleges.
Tim Crowley, NMCC president, said that it was a move that would enhance higher education in Aroostook County.
“This agreement creates an important benefit and facilitates the way for our students whose goal is to attain a four-year degree,” he said.
The second agreement allows for transition between NMCC’s early childhood education associate in applied science degree program and UMPI’s bachelor of science in elementary education degree program, which has an early childhood education concentration option. It allows students who complete their two-year ECE degree at NMCC to efficiently transfer to UMPI, and also gives UMPI elementary education students doing an ECE concentration the opportunity to take ECE classes at NMCC that they can then transfer back to their UMPI degree.
UMPI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Sonntag said that the move strengthens a partnership that UMPI and NMCC began back in 2010 to help early childhood teachers meet state requirements to have or move toward a bachelor’s degree.
Linda Schott, president of UMPI, said that the signing of the agreements was an important step forward.
“Both of these articulation agreements provide students with clear pathways to achieving their higher education goals, whether they want to transition from NMCC to UMPI, from UMPI to NMCC, or leverage their associate’s degree in early childhood education into a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “We are delighted to make the process easier for them and to be a leader in the state in terms of increasing transferability.”