Greetings New and Returning Students!

Deborah Hodgkins and Tong Liu at the Awards Ceremony

     The Office of Academic Affairs is located on the second floor of Preble Hall, room 232. In the Office of Academic Affairs we are all things academic—as the names implies.

     The Office of Academic Affairs provides direct administrative support to the provost and to the dean of professional programs and to the dean of arts and sciences in areas relating to academic policies, procedures and programs.

     The Office of Academic Affairs also provides support and services to faculty–both full-time and part-time (also known as adjuncts)–and maintains a variety of records and policies. Some of the events that this office helps to oversee include the Annual Awards Ceremony, the Commencement Ceremony and the administration of student course evaluations called BLUE.

     The annual awards ceremony takes place every April. The awards ceremony is an event where we recognize the accomplishments of our top students in terms of academic work and service to the campus community.

     At the awards ceremony, students get departmental awards and scholarships for outstanding achievement in their particular fields of study. Students are also recognized for being active in both the Honors Program and Student Government Association.  A very popular addition to the ceremony is the Student Leadership Awards. Students have the ability to vote for their fellow students for such accolades as the UMPI Spirit Award, Resident Assistant of the Year, Outstanding Student Leader Award and Student Organization of the Year Award, just to name a few.

     Additionally, each year the Outstanding Staff and Outstanding Faculty awards are presented. As a student, you can help honor your favorite faculty and staff members by nominting them for these prestigious awards.

     Following the awards ceremony there is always a special catered reception for students to celebrate with family, friends and faculty members. This event is by special invite and we hope to see you there!

     One of the most important events the Office of Academic Affairs oversees is Graduation, formally called Commencement. Commencement is a time for you to celebrate all of your hard work as you move from one chapter of your life to the next with greater knowledge, confidence and hope for the future.

     The graduation ceremony typically lasts for about two hours, is held in the morning and ends with the famous “tossing of the caps,” followed by a formal reception.  Commencement festivities also include a graduation banquet that takes place the night before, which your friends and family are also invited to attend. Some of our past commencement speakers have included Maine singer/songwriter Ellis Paul, Maine Senator Angus King and John Cariani, award-winning actor and playwright.

     We hope that as your time grows closer to finishing your program of study that you will consider participating in this important event—you will have earned it!

     Another important duty of the Academic Affairs office is the administration of course evaluations through an online course evaluation platform called BLUE. This is a very valuable and powerful tool that allows you as students to share information about your learning experiences and the quality of instruction that you are receiving. Student feedback offers usable knowledge for faculty that can help them to improve the effectiveness of their teaching and your overall experience as learners.

     At the close of each semester you will receive and email from BLUE (umpi.academic@maine.edu) alerting you that it is time to evaluate each course you are enrolled in. We ask that you please don’t delete the email, but take a few moments and provide your honest feedback. Rest assured that your responses will remain completely anonymous unless you chose to sign your name!

     In addition to the three larger events mentioned, the Academic Affairs office also helps to support faculty, provides services and maintains records. This includes the hiring of adjunct or part-time faculty, tracking faculty evaluations including promotion and tenure, and monitoring faculty contracts and faculty development applications and funds.  Faculty development funds and support are an opportunity for faculty to stay current in their particular fields of study or areas of expertise.

     The Academic Affairs office also helps to maintain course syllabi, curriculum documents, academic policies and memorandums of understanding.  These MOUs are special agreements with other institutions, which help to expand academic opportunities for our students.

     Please feel free stop by and visit. We wish you a productive and rewarding academic year!