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UMM Psychology and Community Studies Program to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

Added on: March 18, 2013

Anniversary Reception Planned for March 27

Psychology and Community Studies faculty receiving the President's Campus Leadership Award from Maine Campus Compact
UMM's Psychology and Community Studies program receives the 2012
President's Campus Leadership Award from the Maine Campus Compact.
Left to right: MCC Executive Director Liz McCabe Park, James Moreira,
assistant professor of community studies, Carol Wolf, associate professor
of English, and Lois-Ann Kuntz, associate professor of psychology.

MACHIAS, Maine – For 25 years, helping people has been a hallmark of the Psychology and Community Studies program at the University of Maine at Machias. Unique service-learning opportunities and strong ties with the community have given students a meaningful educational experience.

Contributing to the success of the program has been its ability to adapt and meet the demands of Maine’s workforce, while offering alternative means of course delivery for working adults.

Nearly 300 students have graduated from the program since its launch in 1987, and with 121 students currently enrolled, program coordinator Lois-Ann Kuntz expects that total to rise rapidly.

“The recent popularity of the program is a testament to its relevance,” said Kuntz, associate professor of psychology. “We’re providing a practical education for today’s workforce, and our graduates are finding rewarding careers where they can make a positive impact in their communities and the lives of others.”

Graduates of the program have gone on to careers in health care, counseling, and rehabilitation, while others have entered some of the nation’s top graduate programs.

Unlike a traditional psychology program, UMM’s Psychology and Community Studies program is an interdisciplinary major through which students learn how to study humans and their communities and how to facilitate individual and group change and exchange within them. Students immerse themselves in the major through fieldwork and internships rooted in the dynamic social and natural environments of their communities.

Program faculty are quick to point out that they couldn’t deliver such a meaningful educational experience for students without the assistance of local community partners that provide internship and cooperative education opportunities. Community partners have included Pine Tree Legal Services, Downeast AIDS Network, Community Caring Collaborative, Next Step Domestic Violence Project, Washington County: One Community, and dozens of others.

“The community partners have been invaluable to the success of this program,” said Kuntz. “It’s a mutual benefit and we are grateful for their enthusiasm and assistance in welcoming our students into their organizations.”

The year 2010 marked a milestone for the program when the University launched an online track to compliment its on-campus version, meaning students could now receive the same high-quality degree program from anywhere in the world. The online track also provided educational opportunity for working adults and those raising a family.

With 121 students enrolled this spring, the Psychology and Community Studies program is now the largest of UMM’s 12 bachelor’s degree offerings. Forty-four of those students are doing all of their coursework online.

Among the program’s many accomplishments over the years is a partnership launched in 2010 with the University of Southern Maine to deliver a master’s degree in counseling and rehabilitation to a cohort of Machias students. Through the program, place-bound students are able to earn a master’s degree from USM without leaving the UMM campus.

The program received the 2012 President’s Campus Leadership Award from the Maine Campus Compact for its contributions to community service, service learning, and civic engagement on the UMM campus.

“It’s amazing to think about how far the program has come,” says Kuntz.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to celebrate the program’s success at a 25th Anniversary Reception on Wednesday, March 27, at 9 a.m. in the Portside room of Kimball Hall.

 


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