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Students from UMPI, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland debate higher education issues

University of Maine at Presque Isle Education students from the U.S. and Canada recently participated in an international debate about higher education with students from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland.

The hour-long debate, titled Higher Education in the USA, Canada & Poland: Similarities & Differences, was able to happen in real time through the use of teleconferencing technology. The debate, conducted in English, was held during University Day on April 13 and was organized by UMPI’s chapter of the Student Education Association of Maine [SEAM].

SEAM students met with students from Adam Mickiewicz University’s Student Professional and Personal Counseling Majors Club. These students are part of the Polish university’s Faculty of Educational Studies, which comprises students from both undergraduate and graduate programs and is ranked #1 among all schools/colleges of education in Poland.

“The idea of organizing a debate was in response to questions about higher education in Poland I had been asked on a number of occasions by American and Canadian students at UMPI,” Dr. Tomasz Herzog, Associate Professor of Social Studies Education and UMPI’s SEAM advisor, explained. “It was also aimed at letting students from Adam Mickiewicz University learn about higher education from their North American peers.” Adam Mickiewicz University is Dr. Herzog’s alma mater.

During the event, several aspects of student life were discussed, including:

• Admission requirements, the process of recruitment, and exams;

• The program of studies, internships, courses, and international exchange programs;

• Interdependence between education and the situation for graduates in the labor market; and

• Student life

“The debate was an excellent opportunity for students to see the similarities and differences in their higher education experiences,” Herzog said.

SEAM students took care of all the organizational and logistical details on the American side of the discussion. The four main participants at UMPI included Kate Heighton and Seth Renaud, both Teacher Certification Program students from Canada, and Samuel Picard and Michael Leclair, both Secondary Education Social Studies majors from the U.S. Their portion of the event was supported organizationally by Professor Carolyn Dorsey and Linda McLaughlin.

The main participants from Poland included Jakub Wierzbicki (moderator), Zuzanna Szczepaniak and Marta Warciarek. Their portion of the event was supported organizationally by Dr. Małgorzata Rosalska and Mr. Michał Jankowski.

At the UMPI debate site, there were many students, faculty, staff, and community members who attended the event. Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Dr. Anthony Cortese also attended a long portion of the session and mentioned it during his community lecture that evening.

With the debate a declared success, Dr. Herzog said he is already working on his next project – one that will provide new learning opportunities for UMPI students through strong international, educational, and technological components.

For more information about UMPI’s Education Program, please contact Dr. Herzog at 768-9429 or