Experiential Learning is embedded in all curricular and co-curricular programs at UMF. Experiential Learning is a student-focused approach by which students “learn by doing” and by reflecting on their experiences. At UMF, Experiential Learning takes many different forms, including but not limited to: internships and apprenticeships; student teaching and practicum; fieldwork, project-based learning, and research; travel courses, semester abroad, and study away; performance and creative production; service learning and volunteerism; leadership and professional development.
While not all academic programs require their majors to participate in an internship or apprenticeship, UMF students recognize the educational and professional benefits of participating in one or more of these “real world” experiences over the course of their college career. Some students use an internship as an opportunity to gain skills and connections in their chosen field, while others explore potential career paths. Whatever field you are interested in, whatever your goals, UMF can help you find an internship experience that’s right for you.
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UMF offers seven Teacher Education Programs: Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Elementary Education, Special Education, Secondary Education, School Health Education, and World Language Education. Each of these programs features in-depth field experiences, beginning with an Education Practicum early in a student’s college career that prepares them for their culminating Student Teaching experience. During each of these pre-professional teaching experiences, education majors develop their knowledge and skills in classroom settings while working closely with mentor teachers and UMF faculty supervisors.
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The fieldwork that UMF students conduct in a wide array of disciplines complements the instruction they receive on campus in classrooms and laboratories, and prepares them for independent research projects such as their Senior Capstone Projects and Honors Theses. Fieldwork offers students the opportunity to conduct observations and experiments that simulate the type of work they may do in their chosen fields after graduation, whether as an archeologist, geologist, or medical practitioner.
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Project-Based Learning (PBL) involves students collaborating to design, develop, and implement a hands-on solution to a real-life problem. The aim of PBL is to strengthen students’ analytical skills and creative capacity to identify and work through a challenging issue that often has no clear-cut solution, similar to those they are likely to confront in their careers and community after graduation.
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Research is at the heart of any institution of higher education, and UMF is no exception. Developing each student’s research skills begins from the moment they arrive on campus. It is embedded in every UMF course offered in every discipline, culminating in Senior Capstone Projects, Honors Theses and other independent research projects, such as the Wilson Scholars and the Maine Policy Scholars programs. UMF students are encouraged to present their research at on-campus events such as Symposium Day and at regional and national professional conferences such as the New England Political Science Association and the Consortium of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.
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Experiential Learning at UMF knows no boundaries. UMF offers a wide array of study abroad programs through our international partners and providers, and domestic study away programs through National Student Exchange. Education majors may also choose to do their student teaching through UMF programs in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Alaska. The most popular and affordable options to study abroad/away while at UMF are our signature travel courses offered each Winter, May, and Summer terms to a wide variety of destinations, including Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Peru, Japan, Nepal, and Tanzania.
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At other colleges, you can act in a play. At UMF, you can also write your own script and direct its production. At other colleges, you can perform in an ensemble. At UMF, you can also write music for it. At other colleges, you can study video game music. At UMF, you can team up with an animation student and create your own game. Experiential Performing Arts and Creative Writing challenge you to be the CREATOR. UMF welcomes all creative passions – from photography and programming to animation and cooking. If it’s compelling to you, it belongs at UMF.
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Service Learning is a form of Experiential Learning that encourages UMF students to volunteer in the community and reflect on their involvement in order to gain a greater understanding of and insight into their course work and its relationship to societal needs and civic responsibility at the local, state, national and global levels. UMF provides both curricular and co-curricular opportunities for Service Learning and Volunteerism, from Rotaract’s collaboration with the United Way to construct window inserts against the cold for low-income households to the Sustainability Campus Coalition’s Thrifty Beaver Co-Cop.
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