Supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the new health informatics program, which launched in January, is UNE’s first “competency-based” degree offering. It’s part of an emerging trend in higher education that recognizes there are millions of working adults who need to complete their first degree, earn a second or simply update their skills but can’t afford to put their lives on hold to do so.
UNE’s online health informatics graduate program allows students to work at their own pace, completing course work in an online curriculum developed with input from key stakeholders in Maine’s health care industry. UNE President Danielle Ripich considers it an essential step in the university’s ongoing effort to meet the needs of both students seeking meaningful careers and Maine businesses that are clamoring for skilled workers.
“We need to continue to look for ways to provide access, to keep costs for students contained and to creatively educate the next generation,” she says in a commentary about the new program published in the most recent newsletter of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions. “It is an exciting time for higher education, and we can be leaders in many ways as we use our strengths to keep our programs engaged in these challenges and opportunities.”…
Jay Collier, previously the program director of Project>Login, a workforce development initiative of Educate Maine for the computing and information technology fields, recently was hired to coordinate UNE’s computational and digital programs. He sees the competency-based approach of the new health informatics programs as one that could easily apply to other disciplines as well.
“The core of this new degree program is making sure we are teaching our students to make decisions that are grounded in critical thinking,” he says. “The core competencies at the heart of the health informatics field are the same skills required by other industries as well.”