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Students host 9th Fit and Fun Day

Local kids will unknowingly be getting exercise while taking part in fun activities during the 9th semi-annual Fit and Fun Day, to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 in Gentile Hall. The event is sponsored by the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Physical Education Majors Club.

The Club has organized the free play day for area children in grades 1-5 for the past four years to teach them about health and fitness in a fun environment. Activities may include a wide range of activities, from cup stacking, rhythm activities, and parachute games to juggling, and ball handling games, and improving motor skill techniques through activities such as throwing with rubber chickens, frogs, and turtles.

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University, SAD1 sign Professional Development School agreement

Officials with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Maine School Administrative District #1 have signed an agreement that will allow UMPI Education students to take part in extensive internships at Pine Street Elementary School and Presque Isle High School while providing professional development opportunities for veteran teachers there.

President Don Zillman and Dr. Gehrig Johnson, MSAD#1 Superintendent, signed the memorandum of understanding during a March 2 press conference at Pine Street school. The agreement establishes a Professional Development School partnership between the two educational entities and sets forth five main goals: to increase PK-12 student achievement, improve teacher preparation, enhance professional development opportunities for UMPI and MSAD#1 faculty and staff, more effectively transition students from grade 12 to college, and enhance Advanced Placement opportunities for high school students.

Under the partnership, selected students in UMPI’s Education Program will have the opportunity to take part in a two-semester teaching internship. The first semester experience would include the first five days of school and one day a week for the rest of the semester, all in the same classroom, while the second semester would be a full immersion into that same classroom for 15 weeks.

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UMPI’s Education programs secure MDOE reaccreditation

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s College of Education has been fully reaccredited by the Maine Department of Education following a unanimous vote on Feb. 11 by the State Board of Education.

At a meeting in Augusta, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to reaffirm UMPI’s Education programs after reviewing the interim status report officials had submitted near the beginning of the year. In reviewing the report, one MDOE official stated that she was “impressed with the amount and the quality of the work” that has been done. The affirmation extends the University’s state approval cycle for its education preparation programs through the winter of 2011.

“This is an important accomplishment and members of the College of Education – its chair Dr. Reginald Nnazor, the college’s faculty and staff, and all other support staff – are to be commended for their hard work,” Dr. Michael Sonntag, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said. “I was present at the meeting in Augusta and the Board commented on the positive change in atmosphere as well as the sense of renewed energy and focus on our campus since their last visit. I feel confident we will be able to show them even better things at their next visit in the winter of 2011.”

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SAGE kicks off spring class offerings

A University of Maine at Presque Isle program that serves local residents over 50 and believes in “learning for life” will host its spring kick-off with a luncheon event at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 19 in the Campus Center.

Seniors Achieving Greater Education [SAGE] has worked for more than a decade to bring short courses in arts, sciences, and specialty areas to the region’s senior community. SAGE is one of 16 senior colleges in the Maine Senior College Network, and the only one north of Orono.

At the March 19 luncheon, participants will have the opportunity to socialize with SAGE members. Following lunch, they will learn all about upcoming SAGE classes. This spring, SAGE officials are offering a dozen courses and learning excursions – on topics ranging from Darwin’s Origin of Species and Financial Foundations to the Civil War and Italian cooking. Learning excursions include trips to the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum, the Musee Cultural Du Mont-Carmel in Lille, and the Houlton sector of the U.S. Border Patrol.

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UMPI, Momentum Aroostook join forces to offer second Young Professionals Institute

Momentum Aroostook and the University are teaming up for the second year in a row to provide the area’s young professionals with a one-of-a-kind leadership development opportunity.

The two entities will host the Young Professionals Institute, a professional development short course designed specifically for emerging leaders looking to hone their professional skills. The program will be offered at the University during eight afternoon sessions between March and April. The Wednesday sessions will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 4, 11, 18, and 25 and April 1, 8, 15 and 22.

Officials are pleased to be partnering again on this project and hope to build on the successes they realized during the 2008 course.

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University hosts Job & Career Fair 2009

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host its Annual Job & Career Fair in the Campus Center from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25. Thirty businesses and governmental agencies from the region and across the state are expected to participate in the event.

“The Job & Career Fair provides a unique opportunity for our students and the public to network with employers, discover opportunities, and to gain professional employment,” Barbara DeVaney, Director of Career Services, said.

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NEASC approves UMPI’s five-year report

The University of Maine at Presque Isle recently received some positive news from its national accrediting body that confirms the institution is meeting important standards set forth for institutions of higher learning.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges [NEASC] through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education recently accepted the University’s five-year interim report, submitted in the latter half of 2008. NEASC, one of six regional accrediting associations in the U.S., conducts comprehensive evaluations of schools every 10 years. UMPI was last fully reviewed and reaccredited in 2003. The University’s next self-study will be due in 2013.

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Wood leads workshop in New Mexico

University of Maine at Presque Isle Biology Professor Dr. Bonnie Wood recently led a four-hour, hands-on workshop entitled Lecture-Free Teaching: A Learning Partnership of Science Educators and their Students in Socorro, New Mexico. She was invited by The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at New Mexico Tech (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology).

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Dorgan Community Journalism Scholarship established

A Journalism student at the University of Maine at Presque Isle will receive the first award from a newly created scholarship on campus.

Senior International Studies Major Dave Hamilton will receive the first-ever Darrell Dorgan Community Journalism Scholarship. The $600 scholarship was created through gifts from Darrell Dorgan, an award-winning journalist, and an anonymous donor.

Hamilton, of Mapleton, serves as the Editor of the University Times, the student newspaper.

“I’m honored to receive this scholarship and to be its first recipient,” Hamilton said. “Working with the University Times has given me the opportunity to go out into the community and coordinate with people to get local stories into our newspaper and also help to build positive relationships that will last.”

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Social Work students prepare for Guatemala trip

Four University of Maine at Presque Isle students are heading out on the learning opportunity of a lifetime this week as part of an international service learning and Social Work experience.

Kasey Knowles, Skowhegan, senior Behavioral Science student; Laura Long, Blaine, senior Social Work student; Jessica Plant, Perth Andover, NB, junior Social Work student; and Tia Shaw, Perth Andover, NB, senior Social Work student, leave on Feb. 13 for their Guatemala Service Learning Project.

The four will travel with Social Work Professor Shirley Rush to Guatemala to spend a week in and around Quetzaltenango, serving as volunteers in community development projects throughout the region. They will be doing renovation work at a kindergarten building in Xela, the indigenous term for the town of Quetzaltenango. They will be among a group of 22 volunteers, who come from all over the U.S. and range in age from 7 to 70, participating in the week of service in Xela.

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