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UMaine’s Explorations Program Receives National Award

Contact: Ethel Hill, 581-1834

The University of Maine’s Explorations Program for first-year students who are undecided about a major has received one of only three certificates of merit in the Academic Affairs category from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). The association has more than 10,000 members in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Canada, according to Ethel Hill, program director.

Students in the program take a seminar taught by one of four advisers to explore academic degree programs, campus resources and career options. The experience affords students an opportunity to assess their abilities, interests and goals while methodically investigating the variety of academic programs offered at UMaine. At the end of the first year, students are more confident not only in identifying major or minor options, but also in their abilities to succeed in higher education.

Hill says UMaine’s Explorations Program may have been selected over others because of the lasting relationships advisers and students develop through counseling and the seminar. Program advisers are Emily Jirsa, Dominick Varney, Julie Loppacher,
Barbara Ouellette and Hill. Hill and Varney each have been recognized by the NACADA’s Northeast Region 1 for academic advising excellence in Maine, in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

About a quarter of each first-year class comprises students who are undeclared, Hill says.

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