Artist and information technology major Colin Barclay is one of the typical atypical students at University College at Ellsworth. PHOTO BY UNIVERSITY OF MAINE AT ELLSWORTH

UMaine’s University College caters to the nontraditional student

ELLSWORTH — University of Maine student and artist Colin Barclay is as adept with a welding torch as he is with a palette.

Barclay also is typical of the atypical student at the University College at Ellsworth, where he is enrolled in the Computer Information Systems program.

The program offers everything from certificates and associate degrees to a Bachelor of Science.

Among the fields of study at the University College are computer information systems, justice studies and mental health and human services.

“There can be a lot of crossover between these programs as students add minors and certificates to their studies,” said Lynne Witham, director of the University College at Ellsworth.

She said computer skills are now advantageous in law enforcement and in working for nonprofits and governmental agencies.

Barclay said in an interview with UMaine’s Scholar publication that he has held jobs as varied as high-rise window cleaning and welding and metal fabrication to architectural rendering and graphics.

He thought the college’s computer information program was a good fit because he enjoyed his experience with robotic welder programming and machine tool automation.

“From my experience working in manufacturing, I could see that it wasn’t enough anymore to just be, say, a good welder,” Barclay said. “You have to have a much broader, more specialized and technical knowledge of all kinds of systems to be valuable to companies today.”

He found that as a returning student he could combine his work experiences, interests and life goals.

“University College is uniquely positioned to help returning adult students like myself both attend school and carry on with their current career with as much success as possible,” Barclay said.

The online classes, he said, are as engaging and wide ranging, as were face-to-face classes he has taken in prior years.

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems program includes courses in business management and organizational behavior as well as programming, web applications and development, operating systems, networking concepts, systems analysis, database design and management, project management, an internship with the option of concentrating in any one of several programs: databases, information systems security (cybersecurity), networking, software development or web development.

Students can earn an associate degree, or choose to minor in computer information systems, computer networking, information systems security and web applications.

Certificates are available in health informatics, information systems security, social media and web development.

Computer information systems studies can lead to careers as a network system administrator or manager, web developer, database manager, systems analyst, project manager, programmer, program analyst, web designer, data communications analyst and cybersecurity specialist.

Like the computer programs, students enrolling in Justice Studies can earn anything from a certificate to a Bachelor of Arts or can minor in the discipline.

The four-year degree program includes courses in criminal justice, criminal law, due process, comparative international justice, senior seminar, and either a self-designed concentration or a concentration in criminal justice.

Areas of study in criminal justice include forensic science, investigations, community policing and choices from among criminology, law of criminal evidence, police civil liability, judicial processes, counterterrorism and other electives.

Associate degree programs are available along with certificates in community policing, crime analysis and mapping, digital forensics and paralegal studies.

The ever popular Mental Health and Human Services includes courses in human services, chemical dependency, case management, community mental health, group process, assessment and planning, applied professional ethics, interviewing and counseling, supervision and pre-internship seminar and internship.

Among the jobs available locally are placements with the Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy Acadia, Emmaus Homeless Shelter, Washington Hancock County Agency and The Next Step Domestic Violence Project.

A 2015 graduate, Stacey Herrick, is now employed as the housing navigator at the Emmaus Shelter, and a 2011 graduate, Joan Piskura, works for Maine Pretrial Services as a case manager for Family Treatment Drug Court.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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