New certificate in research, innovation and strategy offers experiential learning opportunities to students

Over the past two years, the Experiential Program Innovation Central (EPIC) committee has developed guiding principles for collaboration among a group of centers and partnered with the Division of Lifelong Learning (DLL) to implement innovative programming across majors. The result has been the creation of the first Certificate in Research Innovation and Strategy (CRIS) with pathways for different majors and programs, providing students the opportunity to obtain an interdisciplinary credential focused on the needs of 21st-century employers. 

EPIC engages multiple research-based and experiential learning centers with the common goal of promoting experience in research, scholarship and creative activity for undergraduate students. This initiative leverages the resources and services of campus centers and institutes, creating unique experiential learning experiences for students.

Participating centers include the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR), the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC), The advanced structures and composites center (ASCC), the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL), the Foster Center for Student Innovation, and the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center. More centers will be added in subsequent phases of this program. 

This new certificate program is designed to complement a student’s core curriculum, and provide them with tangible skills to meet the needs of employers throughout Maine and across the world.

“Students with this certificate become desirable candidates for the employers, showing their research, strategy, innovation and communication skills under a single certificate,” explains Ali Abedi, associate vice president for research and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research.

Last year, DLL worked with various colleges to create pathways for their respective programs. Four pathways for the College of Engineering are now available, allowing students to tailor the content of the program to their field of study. More options with other colleges will be offered in the future. “Currently, the certificate can be obtained through multiple pathways. All engineering pathways are approved, business pathways have been drafted and are under review,  while liberal arts and natural sciences pathways are also being created,” says Abedi. 

The first course in the certificate, INT 125, will be running this spring and still has seats available. Students can register now for spring semester courses on MaineStreet or find more information about the certificate on the CRIS webpage

Coursework is designed to provide skill-building in project management, critical and computational, problem-solving, marketing and communication, team management and research. Students will gain new workforce development skills that they otherwise would not through their regular academic program. 

Hands-on experience with those resources,  understanding how to use changing and emerging technologies to creatively solve problems, and learning ways to articulate their knowledge in real-world work settings clearly and effectively, are all key objectives of the certificate.

For questions about this program, please feel free to contact either Ali Abedi, the associate vice president for research or Elisabeth Maberry,  director of operations for the Division of Lifelong Learning.