Student Comments

I have taken numerous English courses online through the University of Maine at Presque Isle. As a non-traditional student, I enjoy the flexibility and asynchronous nature of online courses, allowing me the opportunity to participate during times of the day that best suit my schedule. In my experience, discussions and analyses of works during an online course far exceed those in a classroom. Student participation is greater and discussions are more substantive. Unlike face-to-face classes, students participating in online courses have the opportunity to think about, research, and develop ideas without the constraints of time.

I have taken online courses through other institutions of higher learning and all have fallen short of what I have come to expect from an online course after experiencing UMPI's program. UMPI professors not only monitor their courses, they participate and facilitate, offering ideas and guidance. Enrollment in the English degree program at UMPI offers students the opportunity to participate in a range of course offerings which may not be available to them locally, such as Literature of the Sea, Crime and Punishment, and Studies in the English Language. The combination of unique courses, enthusiastic educators, and students from around the country, the world even, makes the online English program at UMPI an exciting and engaging educational opportunity.

--Jessica Hayes, class of 2008

I completed my BA in English at UMPI in the fall of 2007. I can honestly say that my time at UMPI has shaped my entire future. I had no clear goals coming into the English program. I knew simply that I loved the field of English, and despite not knowing where this love would take me, I followed my passion nonetheless. In my years at UMPI, I worked very closely with certain members of the English faculty whose guidance and encouragement helped me to formulate my future plans. I am now embarking on a graduate career in English Literature at the University of New Hampshire. Because I was able to form such a close bond with my English professors at UMPI, three of them wrote my letters of recommendation to grad school without hesitation - actually offering to do so without my having to ask. Strong faculty support was without a doubt a determining factor in my acceptance to grad school where I have been offered a Teaching Assistantship for the next two years, a role I relish as I will be able to use the knowledge my mentors have imparted onto me in order to teach others. This just proves that even though UMPI is a smaller University, one can still get a great education there and find just as many successes upon graduating as they could if they had gone to a bigger, less affordable college.

My impression of the English department at UMPI is that it is a close-knit group of individuals whose vast differences in such areas as Literature, Composition Theory, Creative Writing, and Poetry work to offer students in the field of English a well-rounded education. These same individuals are willing to push students to think beyond the preconceived ideas of texts, encourage independent thought, allow students to learn from each other, and are always available for questions or concerns outside the classroom. The English faculty at UMPI encouraged me to take part in several different events such as traveling to Utah three years in a row to the National Undergraduate Literature Conference where I read critical papers I had written for class. I also read a creative nonfiction piece at UMPI's University Day and read poetry at a reading that one of my instructor's organized. The English faculty at UMPI cares about students both during and after college and do their absolute best to make their classes interesting, progressive and inspiring.

--Kathleen Harrigan, English major, attending University of New Hampshire (MA in English), graduated 2006

I have the privilege of writing you today after finishing the last (and hopefully successful!) round of exams for my Master of Arts in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of
Connecticut. Had I not taken ENG 388: Literary Theory at UMPI, I wouldn't be where I'm at today... What can UMPI's English Program do for you (besides potentially subject you to [and well prepare you for]) the 'joys' of Grad School? It can get you working at the University Times. It can get you in the way cool play. If you write well enough, it can get you to the National
Undergraduate Literature Conference in Utah (yes Utah! - Hello Ogden!). You get to go to college in the County! And if that's not enough, it can appeal to your thrifty nature, because, that's right ladies and gentlemen; you can obtain a world-class English degree at bargain prices! What you do with it from there is obviously up to you, but rest assured, the standards of the department will ensure you are operating at a level comparable to the finest programs in the country. Sound too good to be true? Well it isn't, so stop that. You will be exposed to the latest theories, the most up to date readings in the field, and absolutely excellent professors. See
if you can get them to cough up some of their evals. It's all there in the collective pudding. My undergrad degree from UMPI is in Behavioral Science - Sociology, but the classes I took in English (and the inspiration I received from Dr. Rice) prepared me well for where I'm at right now. In fact, I'll be teaching an upper division Native American Literature course for the English Department at UConn in the fall. So if you're reading this, count yourself lucky that you're considering the English Department at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. And then commit, before somebody else does, and you potentially lose a spot in the best English Department 'North of Ordinary.' You owe it to yourself, your future colleagues, and the world.

Best wishes,
Theodore Van Alst
Native American Cultural Society Office
University of Connecticut

--Theodore Van Alst, Behavioral Science major, English minor, graduated 2004

Other comments (without attribution)

I was thankful knowing the instructor was present in the Blackboard participation. I have attended on-line classes in the past where the instructor did not participate much in the class and there was a loss of continuity. With this class Professor Rice made known his presence throughout which is a plus and a must for any online class.

I really enjoyed this class. I like most of the readings assigned and I learned a great deal about Philosophy and Science fiction. I would reccomend this class to anyone interested in reading. I like the professor very much, too; he was very involved in our Blackboard discussions and very helpful when we needed some ideas for our papers. I am actually planning on taking another online class with Rice next semester! :)

The course was well structured, assignments were listed well in advance.

The online environment works well to accommodate the different academic and professional needs of a diverse student body. I liked having access to videos and papers online to argument required readings materials. There is more to literature than words.

The professor certainly spent a great deal of time in all phases of the education process, from the planning straight through all the blackboard responses. It is clear to see that you are excited about what you're doing; thanks for the enthusiasm!! I can say I have learned alot this semester, and that stretching my abilities wasn't a bad idea after all.

This class was a first for me with the subject material. I found the material very interesting. Students were required to put thought into the class material and to interact with others in regards to their opinions. This format made for a VERY interesting class and really allowed a person to learn other views of subject material. Professor Rice was excellent this semester with both the material and the framework of the course. A GREAT class!!!

When I first read the lecture notes I was quite intimidated. But this class allows a student at any level to enter where he/she can. Some of the concepts were difficult for me to grasp but others could seen them clearly and helped with my understanding. The professor did not "dumb down" an upper level class and I like that. It made it a challenge and made my brain stretch. It was a class filled with concepts and ideas which we had to learn to attach to different literary works. All in all, I learned a lot...and I'm taking the lecture notes with me!