Meet Our Team: Jessica Schnitzer, Student Support Specialist

Jessica Schnitzer, Student Support Specialist for Public Health
‘Meet our Team’ spotlights are just one way we like to share a little bit about the people who are dedicated to UNE Online’s signature student-centric experience. What do you do here at UNE Online? I am a Student Support Specialist in the UNE Online Public Health program specifically working with master’s and graduate certificate students. What stands out to you in the program that you work within? What stands out to me about Public Health is its relevance in our current climate. Public Health is on the minds of everyone during the Covid-19 pandemic and is more recognizable in our daily lives more than ever before. I commend our students for making the conscious decision to further their education…

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Meet Our Team: Tessa Hathaway

Tessa Hathaway, Student Support Specialist
What do you do at UNE Online? I’m a Student Support Specialist for the Master of Social Work program. Where are you from? I grew up in Pittsfield, Maine, and I’ve lived in the Bangor area for the past 4 years. What’s your favorite dessert? Anything chocolate – preferably something involving frosting or peanut butter. What is the best professional advice you’ve received? It’s not my responsibility to make others responsible. Read more: Confessions of a Student Support Specialist – The Top 3 Issues that Online Students Face What’s your favorite thing about living in Maine? The seasons! And the accessibility – it’s easy enough to get to other states, and also easy to go to another country! What’s…

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Student Support at UNE Online

Student support
At UNE Online, we believe that a successful student is a supported student. To that end, we offer a variety of academic, technical, and administrative support elements that are purposefully woven into the fabric of our college and specifically designed to assist and support students along their academic journey. Right from the beginning, our enrollment counselors do their best to make sure that applicants are a good fit for the program to which they are applying. Upon acceptance into a UNE Online program, each student is assigned to a dedicated Student Support Specialist. These Support Specialists function as that student’s primary contact within the UNE Online College of Graduate & Professional Studies (CGPS), providing support and acting as an advocate…

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Learning efficiently: 6 steps to success in your online graduate education

6 tips to becoming a successful online student
The best thing about a self-paced program is that its self-paced. That’s also the worst thing about online learning. You’re a working professional, and odds are, you’ve worked from home before. Studying at home, just like working from home, is wonderful, convenient, and comfortable. It’s also easy to get off track. 6 strategies for success in online graduate classes 1. Turn off the distractions It’s tempting to play music or have a television on as background noise, and for some people, it can help set a relaxing environment, but the minute you find yourself distracted by it – turn it off. It may also help to visually pare down your study environment. I also came across some distraction-free writing tools

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Meet Our Team: Greg Andrews

Greg Andrews Student Support Specialist at UNE Online
If you were to look up dedication in the UNE Online dictionary, you would find a picture of Greg Andrews. Greg’s commitment to his students is inspiring, and because of it, he’s become a household name to many of his students. He’s also a native Mainer, and New England sports aficionado, affectionately naming his cat after the famed Red Sox alum Nomar Garciaparra and dubbing a Patriots win as part of his ideal Sunday afternoon. At UNE Online students are our top priority, and their success is what drives each and every one of us to do what we do. We’d like to share a little bit about the people that are dedicated to making that happen every day. What…

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Student success hints from both sides of the screen

Elizabeth Benz, Director of Student Support at UNE Online
As an online education professional, I have researched, studied, and implemented best practices for online student success for thousands of students. Recently, I was interviewed for a blog post titled, “Confessions of a student support specialist – the top 3 issues that online students face,” where I outlined how time management, isolation, and hustle can make or break the online graduate school experience. However, these make or break issues became personal the day I started my own online graduate program. Let me share my personal experience so you, the UNE Online applicant/student, can see these issues in a real and relatable context. Hint One Time management is the number one issue for online graduate students. Sometimes I feel…

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Confessions of a Student Support Specialist

Confessions of a Student Support Specialist
The Student Support Specialist model at UNE Online is special. I recently sat down with Elizabeth Benz, Director of Student Support, recently to discuss what she feels are the top three issues that online graduate school students face, and how she and her team of Student Support Specialists help students overcome those issues. Elizabeth has counseled hundreds of online students through their academic journeys over the years, so she knows a thing or two about what students face when it comes to learning in an online classroom, and balancing work, life, and school. 1. Time management The number one issue that Elizabeth sees online students face in online graduate school is time management. In graduate school, as in everyday life,…

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Meet Our Team: Josh McFarland

Josh McFarland, Student Support Specialist
Note: As of April 2019, Josh is now the Marketing Manager for the Science Prerequisite Courses for Health Professions and our Graduate Programs in Education! While Josh continues to use his effervescent energy to raise awareness about our many online prerequisites courses, you can find the current Science Prerequisites Student Service Advisors on this page. Josh McFarland works as a student support specialist for our Science Prerequisite Courses for Health Professions. Josh is without a doubt, the happiest and most hydrated person in the office! He always has his massive bright blue water jug at his side and big smile on his face. Even the more challenging days at the office can seem like a breeze in the presence…

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Four Tips for Staying On Track In a Self-Paced Course

Staying on Track in a Self-Paced Course
Online learning can be an ideal way to pursue higher education while shuffling the many demands of life, work, and personal circumstances. Here at UNE, we offer many online learning programs, including the science and math prerequisite courses. These courses are designed for students who wish to enter a health professions program, but need prerequisite courses in order to complete their graduate school application. Beyond the convenience of online accessibility, UNE’s science and math prerequisite courses are also self-paced. This means that while students have a set timeframe to complete the course within, they are able complete it earlier by determining the pace and timing of the content delivery, assignments, and exam completion. We pride ourselves on a student-centered approach…

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Meet Our Team: Jason Asdourian

Jason Asdourian, Student Support Specialist
As a Student Support Specialist for students enrolled in deadline-based programs, there’s no one who understands that time is of the essence better than Jason Asdourian. As a former Civilian for the Army, Jason learned the value of time and prides himself on getting things done now, if not yesterday. At UNE Online students are our top priority, and their success is what drives each and every one of us to do what we do. We’d like to share a little bit about the people that are dedicated to making that happen every day. What do you do at UNE Online? I am a Student Support Specialist for our Graduate Programs in Education. I help our students throughout the entirety…

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Meet Our Team: Lisa Shaker

Lisa Shaker, Senior Student Support Specialist
At UNE Online students are our top priority, and their success is what drives each and every one of us to do what we do.  We’d like to share a little bit about the people that are dedicated to making that happen every day. Meet Lisa Shaker Lisa is a Senior Student Support Specialist at UNE. Sometimes Lisa feels like she never left college; after graduating from the University of New Hampshire with her BA in Communication, Lisa immediately started a career in higher education, working at Dartmouth College, the University of Maine School of Law, and Southern New Hampshire University before joining UNE in 2014. Lisa even went on to earn her MS in Higher Education Administration from New…

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Meet Our Team: Hayley Kinsella

Hayley Kinsella, Senior Student Support Specialist
At UNE Online students are our top priority, and their success is what drives each and every one of us to do what we do. We’d like to share a little bit about the people that are dedicated to making that happen every day. Meet Hayley Kinsella Hayley is a Senior Student Support Specialist who has been working at UNE for about three and a half years. Hayley’s favorite part of her job is graduation, and finally meeting in person the students who she’s worked with virtually throughout their student journey at UNE. When she’s not at work, Hayley can be found scouring the beach for sea glass, walking her golden retriever, or rooting for the New York Rangers. What…

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A Story of Two Emails: Using best practices to construct an effective email

Writing Effective Emails
Email. When it comes to communication it is the best and worst of tools. Most of the time it’s quick and easy. While we all know and accept that occasional typos will happen, there are a few ‘mistakes’ that are truly unforgivable. As you might expect, online graduate students use email to correspond with their instructors, university staff, and peers. I think it goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, “Accuracy and formality count in graduate school!” Therefore, let’s take a look at what you can do to make your emails as effective as possible. Constructing the Message Identify yourself.  Your name will display on the email, but keep in mind your instructor is working with many students, researchers,…

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6 Communication Rules for Success in Online Student Groups

Group Project
“In this course you will have a group project…” I think it is fair to say we’ve all been let down by a working group or by individual team members. No matter the setting, there seems to be an aura of dread when group projects are announced.  Add in the fact that online graduate students work within virtual spaces, and it is easy to understand why nervousness sets in. With a few simple communication rules, the group experience can become one of the highlights of your online education. The foundations of great group projects… Here at the University of New England, we value appropriate and productive group experiences because we are preparing students for the modern workplace – and teamwork…

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Sailing the Academic Waters with Student Support Specialists

Sailboat in fog, photo by Elizabeth Benz
Student support specialists are intrinsic to the success of our students. The other day I sat on the Maine coast, not too far from the UNE campus, and watched a tall ship come into port. As usual, many other boats greeted the tall ship and escorted it into the harbor. Complete with a lighthouse, this nautical scene made me think about the differences between traditional student support and our online student support at UNE. If that analogy sounds impossible… let me explain. Many schools only tend to the ports – that is, beginning and end of the journey. Think about it. Schools always offer a robust orientation and commencement with all the bells and whistles. UNE offers those, too. However,…

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A Photo Journey of the 2016 UNE Hooding Ceremony

UNE Online Hooding and Graduation 2016
Each spring, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies holds a Hooding ceremony to honor doctoral and master’s graduates and celebrate the successful completion of their studies. The Hooding ceremony is not meant to replace the university-wide commencement. Rather, it is a special time to come together to meet your fellow students, Faculty, Program Managers and Student Support Specialists for the first time, and celebrate the fact that you’ve completed this phase of your journey. Hooding at UNE is a heartwarming and sometimes emotional event. Connections are made, friendships cemented, milestones met. It’s a time that UNE sets aside to specifically to honor you – we are so, so very proud of you. About the 2016 UNE Hooding Ceremony The…

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What Happens in Those Writing Support Appointments Anyway?

whiteboard, dry erase
The paper you’re reading has lost you: the commas are out of control, the word choices are weird, and that last paragraph doesn’t seem to have a point. It can be hard to know if lack of time was the culprit or if the student has not yet mastered the writing skills needed to express their ideas at the graduate level. Either way, a referral to online writing support is something you may have already done after struggling through a confusing piece of writing. Sometimes the paper comes back greatly improved; other times you may have wondered what exactly was discussed in that appointment. Students contact us for a variety of reasons. Often it is because an instructor has suggested…

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UNE Online recognized as experts in student retention best practices

UBTech 2015 logo
Michelle Littlefield, our Director of Strategic Marketing Initiatives and Elizabeth Benz, Senior Student Support Specialist, had the honor of having been selected to present on student retention best practices at the prestigious 2015 UBTech and UBThrive conference. UNE online programs are housed in the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. As the newest college at UNE, CGPS has blazed the trail for several industry best practices. We work very hard to streamline all processes, regardless of how longstanding they are. And our non-traditional approach caught the eye of UBTech. The UBTech Conference, produced by University Business, is an annual higher education leadership conference for professional growth, new technology implementation, practical success strategies, and high-level networking. UNE’s industry-leading approach to…

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