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January 13, 2020

New remote degree options at Unity, UMPI make it easier to learn and work

Two Maine post-secondary schools are making it easier for working adults and other students to earn degrees far from campus.

Unity College, based in the Waldo County town of Unity, has added five new degree tracks to its distance education program, while the University of Maine at Presque Isle will soon begin offering coursework for an associate’s degree at an off-campus site in Houlton.

Unity is now offering online bachelor’s degrees in environmental geospatial technologies, environmental justice and social change, and marine biology and sustainable aquaculture, in addition to a half dozen online undergraduate degrees that were previously available. Besides an online MBA, the college also now has master's degrees tracks in environmental science and in urban ecology and sustainable planning.

“Each program, undergirded by the liberal arts and sciences, is designed to provide the necessary skills for students to enter the next phase of their lives, whether they choose to enter the workforce in the green economy or continue their education,” said Unity’s president, Melik Peter Khoury, in a news release Monday.

Unity’s distance education program offers degrees, certificates and continuing education courses completely through online channels. The program has doubled in enrollment each year since it began in 2016, according to the release.

UMPI, south

In Aroostook County, students can start earning an associate’s degree in criminal justice from UMPI while attending class in Houlton, 40 miles south.

In addition to their on-campus duties, criminal justice faculty will teach class in UMPI's Houlton Higher Education Center, at 18 Military St. An introductory course will begin there Jan. 21, with a variety of required and elective courses available in the fall. Classes will also be available through videoconferencing and online.

The university has delivered many classes at the center since opening it in 2001, but has never offered a complete degree program there, according to a news release Friday. The center also serves as a satellite location for the University of Maine at Augusta, Northern Maine Community College, the Houlton/Hodgdon RSU 29/70 Adult Education Program, TRiO College Access Services and the Maine Education Opportunities Commission.

The center’s director, Tracy Rockwell, said in the release, “Delivering this criminal justice associate’s degree completely in Houlton is filling an important need in our community that has a large opportunity for employment in law enforcement and social justice fields. This is also about long-term workforce development — individuals can get their criminal justice AA from UMPI here in Houlton and then build their career path from there.”

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that UMPI owns and operates the Houlton Higher Education Center.

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