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December 9, 2009


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will offer a three-year bachelor’s degree in Education beginning in the fall of 2010, campus administrators and educators announced today at a news conference held on the UMFK campus before an audience of educators and students.

The Student Teachers Aspiring to meet the Real challenges of Schools or STARS program, is the first three-year bachelor’s degree program announced by any of the University of Maine System campuses since Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude called upon them to offer a three-year option for completing a bachelor degree.  
The STARS program is an accelerated three-year bachelor’s degree for the academically-gifted and talented student aspiring to become an exemplary teacher. The STARS program is most appropriate for students who will enter UMFK with Early College, or advanced placement credit.   
“I’m very pleased that UMFK has taken the lead in providing an option that will save students time and money. The University’s commitment to our students’ needs is noteworthy,” said Chancellor Pattenaude. “The three-year degree option draws on one of the priorities of our New Challenges, New Directions Initiative and is a first of many to come,” he added.
The STARS Education Program was created for students who wish to complete their bachelor’s degree studies in less than four years.  Under its accelerated schedule, students would take five classes each semester, carrying approximately 16-18 credit hours. Ideally, a student would enter the STARS program having already completed Early College or advanced placement credit.
“I am delighted to announce the creation of a three-year bachelor’s degree in Education,” said UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost. “This institution was founded 131 years ago as the Madawaska Training School. Its mission was to train teachers in the Madawaska territory so that they could teach at schools within the territory. Today, we continue in that same innovative tradition of training teachers for the St. John Valley, and beyond.
The selective, three-year program creates an environment for optimal learning, emphasizing knowledge, values and experiences by integrating teaching, service, and experiential learning. The program prepares educators to become reflective scholars, instructional leaders, and global citizens.
The STARS program will prepare students to play a key role in a profession that is both progressive and evolving. It will qualify students as ambassadors for educational excellence.
“The STARS program will create an optimal environment for students, emphasizing knowledge, values and experiences,” said Dr. Bruno Hicks, chair of UMFK’s Education Division. “The STARS program will integrate teaching, service and experiential learning, all of which will prepare educators to become reflective scholars, classroom leaders and global citizens,” Dr. Hicks added.
Among the benefits of becoming a STARS student include: competitive job market edge; accelerated admission to graduate school; eligibility for UMFK academic scholarships; admission into UMFK’s Honors program; teacher/scholar distinction on transcripts and diploma; small classes with individualized instruction; specialized field trips and on-going experiential learning; and membership in the 3-2-1 Presidential Club.
In attendance at today’s news conference were school superintendents Dr. Patrick O'Neill, M.S.A.D. #27, Fort Kent; Dr. Todd LeRoy, Madawaska School Department; and Lisa Bernier, principal of Dr. Levesque Elementary School in Frenchville.
Also in attendance at the news conference was Ms. Chantal Morin, a senior at Wisdom High School in St. Agatha. Chantal, who currently ranks second in her class, has applied for acceptance into the STARS program for fall 2010. She currently is taking classes at UMFK through the Early College program.
Chancellor Pattenaude spoke to the news conference participants via video teleconferencing from the University of Maine System offices in Bangor.