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 within the college and University. The CGPS student journey is designed to remove the extraneous aspects of higher education so that our students can focus on the essential part – the business of learning and mastering their subject area. “My… Read More >

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Meet our Team: Maria Theisen

Maria Theisen, Student Support Specialist, MSW Program

Meet Maria Theisen, a Student Support Specialist for the Master of Social Work degree program. Maria joined UNE in the Fall of 2016 and has a background in event planning and college admissions, as well as extensive volunteer work with Girls on the Run International. Maria earned her BA in Psychology from Hamline University and her M.Ed. in Sport Coaching from The Defiance College. 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 one of the people who is dedicated to making that happen every day. What do you do at UNE Online? I am a Student Support Specialist for the Master of Social Work Program. Where are you from? I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I moved to Maine after completing graduate school in 2016. What’s your favorite dessert? Anything coffee related—coffee ice… Read More >

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Meet our Team: Kaitlin Cole

Kaitlin Cole, Student Support Specialist for the Master of Social Work degree program

Meet Kaitlin Cole, a Student Support Specialist for the Master of Social Work degree program. Katie joined UNE in in the spring of 2017 after earning her BA in Political Science with a minor in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Maine in 2015. 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 the Master of Social Work program. Where are you from? I was born and raised in Portland, Maine but my whole family is from northern Maine so I spend a lot of time up there. It is fairly diverse here in Portland compared to the rest of the state and I think a lot of… Read More >

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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 that were highly recommended. Coffitivity is my very favorite tool to use to drown out background distractions. 2. Establish a study zone If you can, dedicate a specific room of your house to become a “study zone.” Try to use this space only… Read More >

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Meet our Team: Whitney Hutchinson

Whitney Hutchinson. MSW Student Support Specialist

Meet Whitney Hutchinson, a Student Support Specialist II for the Master of Social Work degree program. Whitney joined UNE Online in March of 2016 and has a background in counseling and higher education. Whitney earned her M.S. in Counseling from the University of Southern Maine and holds National Certified Counselor (NCC) credentials. She is passionate about assisting UNE Online’s MSW students and helping them stay on track in their programs. 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 the Master of Social Work Online program. Where are you from? I’m a Mainer! I grew up in the small town Buckfield, Maine which is in the Western mountains. What’s your favorite dessert?… Read More >

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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 do you do at UNE Online? I’m a Student Support Specialist here at UNE Online. I support all of our graduate-level Education students – from Master’s to Doctoral, and everything in between. I’ve been here for about two and a… Read More >

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Meet Our Team: Jonathan Chavoustie

Jonathan Chavoustie, Student Support

Master of Social Work Course Descriptions *Please review the UNE Academic Catalog for the full and most up-to-date UNE online MSW course descriptions and program information The UNE Online MSW program is a fully CSWE-accredited program. This program provides the flexibility to choose from three specializations when designing your educational course plan, to best meet your specific personal and professional goals.  Courses are offered 100% online with timely, relevant content taught by dynamic faculty of practitioners, researchers, and educators. Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks are available in the online MSW. Please note the following when making course selections: Degree requirements, course plans, and the curriculum framework vary for each track option Required courses are offered every semester Electives are designated as enrichment and advanced Traditional students MUST complete their foundation field experience (SSW 522) before taking specialization courses – required and electives Advanced students can take enrichment and advanced electives. However, if a student is seeking licensure after graduation, they should take two advanced… Read More >

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Meet Our Team: Brendan Parsons

Brendan Parsons, Student Support Specialist

Brendan Parsons works as a Student Support specialist on our Graduate Programs in Education. Standing tall at 6’5” it’s safe to say Brendan is our tallest staff member. When Brendan isn’t helping his coworkers access items on top shelves, he’s assisting current and prospective students with everything from registration to transcript requests. Brendan’s cool, calm demeanor allows him to work well under pressure and the students he supports often praise him for being easy to talk to. 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 like sharing a little bit about the people that are dedicated to making that happen every day. Here’s more about Brendan: What do you do at UNE Online? I started as a Student Support Specialist for the Science Prerequisites program. That team is unique among Student Support Specialists as they work with students during the registration process… Read More >

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Meet Our Team: Emily Roach

Emily Roach, Student Support Specialist

Emily Roach is a Portland transplant who hails from the great Midwest state of Ohio. She is a Buckeye through and through, but she’s slowly becoming a Red Sox nation convert. Emily is a rockstar Student Support Specialist, and her passion for problem-solving ensures that each one of her students is guaranteed a pathway to success. 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 Support Specialist for our students in the Graduate Programs in Public Health. Once a student is accepted into their program, I become their first point of contact here at UNE Online. My job is to provide students with a personal connection that is sometimes lost in online education settings, and… Read More >

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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 like a broken record, but time management is the bottom line for student success. Before starting my own online graduate program, I knew I would be spending many hours on reading, research, and writing. However, even I was shocked by how much time online… Read More >

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Confessions of a student support specialist - the top 3 issues that online

Confessions of a Student Support Specialist

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, you are responsible for your path. And online graduate school poses unique challenges. True, there are hard deadlines twice a week, but there is no in-class time to keep a student accountable to any particular schedule. You alone need to be the person to initiate school work, and actually sit… Read More >

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Meet Our Team: Josh McFarland

Josh McFarland, Student Support Specialist

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 of his positive energy. This positivity is a huge reason Josh is great at what he does. 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 currently a Student Support Specialist for the online Science Prerequisite Courses. I assist prospective students with enrollment questions and the registration process, and I’m also here… Read More >

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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 that allows students to learn in their way, in their time. The good news: students completely set their own pace. The bad news: students completely set their own pace. What do we mean by this? On the one hand, self-paced online courses… Read More >

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Meet Our Team: Sam Ross

Sam Ross, Senior Support Specialist

Sam Ross is the Senior Student Support Specialist for the Science Prerequisites for Health Professions suite of courses. Sam has more than 15 years experience working with and supporting students in higher education. Sam is a valuable asset to his team as well as the students he works with. 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 the Senior Student Support Specialist for our extremely popular online Science Prerequisite courses. Most of the students I work with are trying to fulfill a requirement to get into some type of health professions program. Knowing that I’m a part of helping people reach such a significant goal makes even the more challenging days worth it. Where are you… Read More >

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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 of their program and work with them to resolve any issues or speed bumps they may encounter. Student Support Specialists are kind of like a concierge for the student. Where are you from? I grew up in South Portland, Maine…. Read More >

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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 England College. What do you do at UNE Online? I am a Senior Student Support Specialist here at UNE Online! Until March, I supported students in the Graduate Programs in Public Health. I was recently promoted to a new role… Read More >

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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 do you do at UNE Online? I supervise all of our Student Support Specialists in the Applied Nutrition, Health Informatics, Education, and Public Health graduate programs, while also serving as the student support specialist for several Public Health students. In… Read More >

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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, staff, and colleagues. For this reason, if you are contacting your instructor (or any other recipient) for the first time, or if it’s been a while since the last communication, it is helpful to include some information that explains who… Read More >

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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 is almost always part of the job. Our group projects are designed by instructional designers and subject-matter experts using the best-practices of online education design, instructional pedagogy, and assessments. It is critical to design group projects for learning success, and… Read More >

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Sailing the Academic Waters with Student Support

Student Support Specialist

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 a commencement with all the bells and whistles. UNE offers those, too. However, UNE supports the entire student journey. Our online students are never alone. We consider students the “captain” of the academic journey. Students make the decisions. What electives do they want? When do they want to graduate? How will they schedule their time around courses? And, just like a tall ship… Read More >

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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 hooding ceremony itself is similar to a graduation in that faculty and students are dressed in academic attire. There are opening remarks, a keynote speech, and then the graduates are hooded. During the ceremony, the name of each graduate is called,… Read More >

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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 or required it, but some students are aware their writing skills aren’t that strong and their papers would benefit from some feedback. Even very capable writers can learn from having an objective reader check for clarity, so writing support doesn’t… Read More >

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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 be showcased New in 2015, UBThrive shines the spotlight on Institutional & Student Success. The presentation, Improving the Online Student Experience through Expert Customer Service, will showcase the high-touch CGPS student support model. Student-centered and successful “Our mission in CGPS is to enhance,… Read More >

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