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Updated: December 30, 2019

UNE expands cross-disciplinary learning with new center

UNE students from seven health professionals at a table in a learning exercise. Courtesy / University of New England UNE students from seven health professions participate in a team-building exercise that challenges them to build the tallest tower they can in one minute. Carefully designed rules specify who has access to the building blocks and how many each individual can collect. This exercise highlights challenges of communication, leadership and resource allocation in diverse health care teams with complex patients.

In an effort to promote cross-disciplinary learning at its campuses in Portland and Biddeford, the University of New England has established a center that bridges academic and geographic borders.

Serving six of the school's colleges, the Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education will be led by Shelley Cohen Konrad, director of UNE's School of Social Work. The center is not a physical space, but will entail activities at both campuses, a spokesperson told Mainebiz.

The center aims to build on the success of the Interprofessional Educational Collaborative, established by Cohen Konrad a decade ago to enable students from different health professions to better understand each other’s role within a health care team and to work more effectively and collaboratively to improve patient care.

The new center will apply those same principles of cross-disciplinary learning to programs throughout the university — not just to those in the health professions.

 “UNE has been ahead of the trends in interprofessional education for more than a decade,” said UNE President James Herbert in a news release.

"With the new center, we have the ability to broaden the scope of collaborative education and extend its utility to a wide range of programs and opportunities."

In an "On the Record" interview with Mainebiz nearly a year ago, Herbert spoke of building on UNE's approach approach to team-based education.

"UNE is known already for its signature interprofessional education and interprofessional practice, which basically means team-based training and care," he said at the time. "We now want to take that to the next level."

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