The University of Maine at Presque Isle has embraced a new way of teaching and learning that puts students—their learning styles, needs and passions—first.
Proficiency-based learning, as UMPI offers it, allows students to work at their own pace as they meet learning standards, provides a wealth of hands-on learning opportunities, focuses on achieving standard competencies across all courses, and incorporates career preparation throughout their college experience. This kind of education is not only completely unique—UMPI is the first public university in Maine to offer proficiency-based learning—but also provides students with numerous benefits. Here are just six of them.
Preparation for a Career
From the first semester to the last, UMPI prepares each student to be a professional. By helping students become confident in their skills, we guide them toward being comfortable as professionals and as successful employees. We strive to enable a vocation based on their passions and support them in developing skills that lead to a fulfilling, lasting career. Along the way, UMPI aids students with building and developing strong resumes and interview skills to demonstrate their competencies to future employers.
Since UMPI was founded in 1903, we have proudly built a strong community while providing a superior value. At UMPI, students learn at their own pace, creating the option for highly-accelerated learning. According to CNN Money analyst Blake Ellis, the average student debt in 2013 was around $29,000. Our goal is to make college realistic and attainable by offering a high-quality, low-cost education—in 2013 the average student debt at UMPI was only $18,000. This means students can pay off loans faster, and with smaller monthly payments, allowing graduates to start realizing their career rewards, such as being able to afford a mortgage or car payment, much sooner.
“I graduated with reasonably low debt and was very satisfied that I got a great education, met some awesome people, and had a job offer three days after graduation. Compared to the other schools I was looking into for my field (physical education), UMPI was definitely the best fit for me financially. Not having to pay outrageous student loans allowed me to buy my first car and sustain the payment. And because my fiancée is also an UMPI alum who graduated with low debt, we’ve been able to settle down and buy our first house together much earlier than we would have if we’d gone to college somewhere more expensive.”Julie Wescott, Class of 2008
UMPI’s proficiency-based learning approach accommodates different styles of learning and ability levels. Students are able to progress at their own speed and demonstrate their knowledge and skills, regardless of whether the learning takes place online, in the classroom or through an off-campus internship.
By personalizing the experience for our students, we can offer deeper learning, instill confidence, and empower our graduates to pursue more opportunities.
“When I decided to leave teaching and go to medical school, I had no idea what kind of obstacles I would be facing, but I’m grateful I was able to face them with UMPI. The flexibility they offered allowed me to complete the degree I needed in the shortest time possible. Faculty and staff were excellent in helping with my credit transfers and strategic course scheduling. And the fact that they offered the majority of general education requirements during the summer online and through the CLEP program allowed me to focus on the rigorous science coursework during the regular semesters. I am now nearly finished with my first year of medical school and can confidently say that the professors and Biology program at UMPI provided me with the tools and ability to succeed at this demanding level.”Jonathan Stormer, Class of 2013
Voice and Choice
At UMPI, we want students to have a say in not only what they learn, but how they learn. We empower each student to create their own educational experience. By doing this, we can offer a more engaging learning environment.
“I tell anyone who asks where I went for my undergraduate degree. It’s extremely important to me that people know exactly what is going on at UMPI, and just what kind of a place it is. UMPI is the place that didn’t tell me, but showed me, not only do I deserve to compete and work with the best and brightest, but also that I should expect to do so. The quality of education I received from UMPI’s faculty, and the support that I received from staff and administrators has helped me get where I am today. Students across the country would be hard-pressed to find a deeper and more valuable education than they can receive at UMPI. Expect more from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and don’t be surprised when you get it.”Theodore Van Alst, Class of 2004, Assistant Dean of Yale College
By giving each student a voice and personal choice, we create an environment where they are invested in their academic work and motivated to continually learn, creating successful, confident, and competent graduates.
Real-World Problem Solving
One of our goals at UMPI is to encourage our students to make the world a better place by tackling real issues through hands-on learning. We teach valuable skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, to help our students accomplish something meaningful both in the classroom and after they graduate.
We offer students a freedom of choice that creates ownership of their degree and allows them to discover their unique identity. Students can choose to demonstrate their deep understanding of a subject by writing papers, developing videos, taking multiple-choice exams, designing a project, completing a research study, and more.
“My classes at UMPI gave me great hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to make lives better for people in the community and in the State of Maine. In one of my classes, we learned about what life was like for women coming out of the prison system and not only did we do papers and presentations about that, we also did fundraising to help increase employment opportunities for those women who were transitioning back into the community. This made the issue very real for me and has helped me in the work I do now in the mental health field.”Kimberly Francis, Class of 2012
UMPI strives to develop an ongoing passion for learning in each student. We want them to be as successful as possible in both their career and their life, which is why we place so much emphasis on career preparation.
By offering on-the-job training, mentorship, connections with alumni, interview preparation, and many other opportunities, we empower them to become highly-competitive candidates for their dream job. UMPI helps students become civic-minded leaders in the community and map skills to help achieve ongoing success throughout their lives.
During a student’s years with us, we learn together what it takes to be successful in ever-changing industries. In addition to theories learned in the classroom, students learn the most current information by being in the field and adapting to real-life situations. Upon graduating, the transition from college to the work force will be smooth because each student will already have the skills and knowledge it takes to succeed.
“The University of Maine at Presque Isle helped my transition from college to the workplace immensely. The staff at UMPI did a great job in setting standards for professionalism in the classroom. The professors were always putting you in real-life situations in which you would have to work as a team, work under a deadline, and even work with non-profit organizations in the community to get professional experience. What helped me the most is that the staff at UMPI always taught me to compete with myself to become the best person that I can be, in and out of the workplace.”Kyle Corrigan, Class of 2013