The UNE Academy of Digital Sciences (often referred to as simply the “UNE Academy”) was Maine’s first accelerated certificate-of-completion learning series providing new and advanced learners with the most in-demand professional competencies as defined by both U.S. Department of Labor and local Maine employers.
Developed in partnership with prominent area businesses, our curriculum integrated curated world-class interactive online instruction with professionally mentored, project-based learning. UNE Academy learners acquired the skills most needed by local businesses and were then connected directly to employers who are eager to hire qualified and competent employees.
Acquiring the Most In-Demand Skills — in Months, Not Years
The UNE Academy was created to serve employer demand for candidates with professional and technical skills in the areas of web development, user interaction, data analysis and project management to meet the needs of learners interested in entering and advancing in digital careers in months, not years—including those who were already working full-time.
Designed to be relevant for learners new to the field or for professionals looking to advance into new digital occupations, the UNE Academy was built upon the same accelerated learning approach that was at the heart of Project>Login’s “Curiosity to Career” model and Maine’s successful campaign to receive TechHire Community designation from the White House.
Four Areas of Career Advancement — Depending on Interests
Based on insights from the Department of Labor’s national competency models, as well as local employment needs, we offered eight-week fundamentals courses that provided hands-on, applicable skills in four vital areas of career advancement, depending on talents and interests.
We also offered an introductory course in Digital Sciences Essentials — a good way to test the waters and explore the digital sciences, and also a good refresher for those re-entering the workforce.
Blended Online/Offline Curriculum
Course material was presented online, augmented by attentive mentorship from accomplished area professionals, who provided guidance through both the Academy’s online interface and frequent “Academy Learning Labs” on UNE’s Portland Campus. Each course included the completion of a final project, enabling learners to practice workplace-ready skills and create a finished product.
Meet the Team
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives
Ellen Beaulieu, Ed.D., M.P.H. leads university-level strategic planning, implementation mapping and the processes for enhancing institutional effectiveness.
Innovations in teaching and learning are of particular importance to Beaulieu. She served on the lead on the planning team for the development of the online UNE Master of Public Health program and championed the community based model of dental education at UNE. Beaulieu holds and values a global perspective on higher education and served as part of an international team to establish the first preventive dental hygiene program in China.
As an adult learner, Beaulieu completed her doctoral studies in Higher Education Administration at Nova Southeastern University where she received the prestigious Community of Scholars Award for her essay entitled 'The learning culture of the next century: Making connections'.
Director of Computing and Digital Programs
Before coming to the University of New England in 2015, Collier was the first program director for Maine-based nonprofit Project>Login (an offshoot of Educate Maine), where he expanded the network of employers, promoted competency-based talent development and founded the Maine Digital Festival.
Collier led the successful bid for Maine to receive TechHire Community designation from the White House and advised the grant development team for the successful TechHire Department of Labor grant. In 2012, Collier led a Leadership Maine team in the development of the curiosity-to-career model which became the foundation of Project>Login’s pedagogical approach in 2013.
Collier has advised and promoted academic and research programs at the Harvard School of Law, the MIT Media Lab and the Maine Department of Education.
Sarah Stillings has spent her entire post-graduate career working in educational technology. Well versed in what inspires educators and learners alike in the vast eLearning universe, Sarah is passionate about uniting education and technology to foster life-long learning.
Before joining the Academy team in 2017, Sarah spent 8 years at Pearson Education crafting customized Higher Education eLearning solutions with the end-users - educators and learners - at the center. She trained and mentored project managers while developing the companion curriculum required for producing eLearning solutions.
Sarah is a learning enthusiast and has completed adult learning courses in the fields of Instructional Design and Web Development. She especially enjoys applying her zest for learning by challenging her abilities in her favorite outdoor sports such as skiing and rock climbing.
Caroline Dennis joined the UNE Academy of Digital Sciences in 2016 as a professional mentor and advisor, bringing with her two decades of experience as a technology entrepreneur, mentor and advocate for STEM education and for women in technology and cybersecurity.
Over the course of her career, Caroline has advised companies on technology and security, mentored students of all ages in technical careers and internships and contributed to curriculum and workforce development efforts in higher education, business and economic development.
Caroline co-founded, built and sold two successful technology companies: an IT and security firm and a wireless Internet service provider. Her accomplishments as an entrepreneur and advocate in the technology and STEM communities have earned her several awards for her business leadership and support in STEM education.
Todd Duchaine joined the UNE Academy of Digital Sciences in March 2017 as a professional mentor. He provides his learners with over twenty years of experience leading, coaching and mentoring IT teams in both waterfall and agile project management.
Todd has a strong background in business analysis, project management, release management and quality assurance. He is currently a principal test engineer and agile quality coach. In addition, Todd is also a Certified ScrumMaster®. All of these varied and diverse IT roles have been performed within some of the most prominent large insurance organizations in the region.
Todd is passionate about applying agile ideas, principles and practices. He is a strong advocate for his learners and works to share his career experiences in a truly meaningful way through all the UNE Academy has to offer.
Ellen Kanner has in-depth experience and knowledge in user experience design including user research, information architecture, social media, technical project management, and emerging technologies for websites and web-based software applications.
Her experience in the Web spans across industries, from higher education, to software design, and newspapers to non-profit fundraising. Her primary focus is user experience design, information architecture, full website redesigns, Wordpress and CMS site development and integration, all of which have allowed her to succeed at Dartmouth College, MaineToday.com, Noel-Levitz and in her own consulting business.
Rob LeVine joined the UNE Academy of Digital Sciences in December 2016 as a professional mentor. He brings over three decades of experience in the field to his role supporting students as they apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to projects reflecting current professional practices.
Rob has been a software engineer, project and group manager. He has published several articles in MaineBiz regarding people management and mentoring.
Deeply invested in the success of his teams, he works to inspire learners seeking new professional pathways. Rob grounds his mentoring approach in the Confucian principle, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Rob has spoken at local middle schools, high schools and universities on topics such as loving your career, technology and personal financial planning.
Mia Morrison works with K-12, undergraduate and graduate students and faculty at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and Foxcroft Academy. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, traveling around the country for numerous speaking, presenting and working engagements.
Her online and face-to-face courses focus on curation of digital tools and resources to maximize student engagement, raise curiosity, foster creativity and promote ownership of the learning experience. Her “Identity and Society” course was designed for 12 students but captivated over 60,000 learners from around the globe during the first year, with her current courses totalling over 130,000 participants.
“I am thrilled to work with the UNE Academy of Digital Sciences,” Mia says. “This unique blend of guided, learner driven and highly interactive study sets a strong foundation for highly sought after competencies.”
Innovation Research Strategist
Holly Parker has enjoyed an education career spanning secondary, experiential and higher education environments. She has 20 years of experience designing and delivering curriculum to secondary and adult learners who bring diverse strengths, challenges and points of view to their learning journeys. Holly uses that broad experience to research, design and implement high impact teaching and learning practices at the Academy.
Holly served for more than 12 years as a consultant for Discovery Education, creating curricula for school systems from St. Croix, USVI, to Kenai, Alaska, helping teachers leverage digital assets, create flipped classrooms and meet state and federal standards. An area of significant interest is collaborating with industry, educational institutions and nonprofits to deliver integrated, transformational learning opportunities to underserved populations.