UMaine launches innovative early college programs For Maine high school students

Photo by: University of Maine

Orono, Maine — In keeping with its long history of being a leader in early college programming, the University of Maine has launched several innovative programs for Maine high school students who wish to earn college credits before they graduate.

UMaine signature online program, Academ-e, has provided educational opportunities to high school students for more than 15 years. Today, Academ-e online offers more than 40 courses and a summer STEM environmental research course in Waldo County. Other new Academ-e initiatives include a statewide online precalculus program, a summer leadership program, an outdoor leadership pathway program and a summer Upward Bound program.

Through a partnership with the Maine Department of Education, UMaine tuition is waived for students of Maine public high schools and homeschools for up to 12 college college credit hours per year.

For more information about Early College Programs, visit or contact Allison Small, coordinator of Early College Programs, 207.338.8004;

Summaries of each of the initiatives follow:


As part of UMaine’s outreach mission to serve students statewide, Academ-e has been expanded. This unique UMaine program, taught by a world-class faculty, provides access and support to all points in Maine, particularly to rural and under-resourced communities. Qualified high school students attending Maine public schools, state-approved independent institutions, GED programs, and private home schools participate in college courses using online technologies. The more than 40 courses include mathematics, sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

STEM Environmental Research Course

Summer 2019 was the first Integrated Science and Career Exploration
(INT 188) course. This early college lab research course is designed to introduce high school students to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It includes 38 hours of course and lab work in which students undertake a guided research project with peers. Students also participate in eight hours of job shadowing and career planning with local STEM-related businesses.

Precalculus Pilot Program

Beginning this fall four Maine public high schools will be participating in a yearlong, tuition-free precalculus course (MAT 122). Through this pilot program, the precalculus course will be delivered online by a UMaine faculty member, with curricular support being provided by respective high school faculty members. UMaine expects to increase the number of participating high schools in the 2020–21 academic year. Precalculus is a four-credit transitional course between high school algebra and college mathematics, particularly calculus. Topics include a detailed study of polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions, stressing ideas needed by those students who will take calculus. Upon completion, students receive high school credit and four college credits.

Outdoor Leadership Pathway Program

In summer 2019, western Maine high school students participated in a new three-week course, Outdoor and Adventure Activities, at Bryant Pond 4-H Camp & Learning Center, earning tuition-free UMaine credit hours. Beginning Nov. 12, UMaine will offer the most widely recognized outdoor leader certification course, Wilderness First Responder, at the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center. This 80-hour certification course meets Department of Transportation National Standards for First Responders, with additional protocols for extended-care situations. UMaine’s outdoor leadership program focuses on developing an individual’s leadership skills while providing intensive training in both contemporary and traditional outdoor activities, and immersion experiences in the Maine outdoors. Graduates are well positioned to succeed in a variety of outdoor-oriented careers in business, nonprofit and educational settings. Students also gain leadership skills and confidence that will serve them in any career.

Summer Leadership Program

The Maine high school Summer Leadership Institute partnered with the University of Maine Early College program to offer the course, Foundations of Leadership (LDR 100), in a combined online/residential campus experience for selected rising high school seniors in summer 2019. This innovative, intensive, three-credit summer leadership course is devoted to the core principle of leadership oriented around public service, and is taught by a team of interdisciplinary UMaine Leadership Studies faculty and guest speakers.



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