UNE’s commitment to interprofessional education began in 2000 with an interdisciplinary health and healing initiative (I2H2), which brought students together for common learning experiences. In 2010 the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) was established, solidifying UNE’s stake in interprofessional academic and community-based practice education. As one alum put it: “IPEC is a pillar of the UNE community.”

In October 2019 UNE leadership designated IPEC as a Center for Excellence, changing its name to the Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education and expanding its aim to prepare graduates for collaborative leadership and practice in health, humanities, and other workforce fields.

The Center for Excellence received the very first grants awarded to UNE from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation (President’s Award). The Macy President’s award set the stage for a second, larger Macy Board grant received in 2014. Other awards generated by the center included those from the Bingham Program Foundation and the Maine Cancer Foundation. The center also collaborated with UNE’s Nursing Department on the HRSA funded CHANNELS Project, with the School of Social Work and AHEC on their respective HRSA grant awards, and managed the SAMHSA funded Collaborative SBIRT training grant.

The center has provided leadership for and facilitation of a continuum of programming across the University and in the community. From undergraduate to graduate, on campus to clinical clerkships and workplace internships, the center has built and sustained programs based on relevance, evidence, and best practices. At the heart of its accomplishments, we have invigorated a collegial and collaborative culture across UNE’s colleges and among its students, professional staff, and faculty. The benefits to this cultural shift are many, but, perhaps most importantly, students observe and experience collaboration in the implicit curriculum, which they are then able to translate into their roles as future practitioners, workers, and leaders.