Beyond Education


Thomas College News



Thomas College Announces New Three-Year Business Degree Pilot

Students Will Incur Less Debt, Enter the Workforce More Quickly

WATERVILLE, Maine - A new three-year pilot program to be launched this fall at Thomas College will allow students to earn an undergraduate business degree in three years instead of the traditional four. The program is made possible through a $135,731 grant awarded to the college by the Davis Educational Foundation. The grant is being matched dollar-for-dollar by the Harold Alfond Foundation to provide scholarship funding.

Thomas College Academic Dean and Professor of Business Administration Dr. Jim Libby is pictured recently with Winston Trott, a Management Major in the Thomas College Class of 2015, discussing the best course curriculum for his final year at Thomas.

The three-year business degree is geared toward high-achieving students who are ready to accept the challenge of this rigorous course of study, and who want to enter the workforce with their bachelor's degree after three years, or earn a Master of Business Administration in their fourth year through the Thomas College Accelerated MBA program. Thomas College is the first college in Maine to offer this combined, compressed option.

The degree can cut the cost of the traditional undergraduate program by more than 25 percent. In addition, students start preparing for their careers on the first day of college. In addition to traditional course work, students in the program will benefit from workshops, seminars and career advising tailored to their specific needs, beginning with online assessments that they will complete for their program adviser prior to arriving on campus. Thomas College already has 20 students enrolled in the program for this fall and is still accepting applications.

Thomas College Provost Thomas Edwards, the architect of the program, said the three-year program reinforces the school's dedication to providing a high-value, affordable college education to all. He said, "Access, affordability, and career preparation are the keys to success in higher education today. With the support of the Davis Educational Foundation, this program provides all three. When you combine a high-quality accelerated program with our Guaranteed Job Program, you have a winning formula for students and their families.

The Guaranteed Job Program guarantees that students who meet its requirements will earn a job within six months of their graduation. Historically, 94 percent of graduates are employed within 90 days after graduation.

Leanne Greeley Bond, director of grants and programs at the Davis Educational Foundation, said, "Helping colleges and universities explore new models that reduce costs for students is a high priority for our foundation. We are pleased to support Thomas College with their three-year degree program and hope it will stimulate even more creative approaches at Thomas and elsewhere.

Students enrolled in the program will complete six traditional courses each fall and spring semester, and a total of four online compressed courses taken during the summer, to fulfill the 120 credit degree requirement. These compressed courses include business communications, humanities, and two additional business-related electives designed specifically for students participating in this program.

The program is based on the success of Thomas College's three-year honors program in accounting which has now been expanded to include all business-related undergraduate degrees. Based on the program's success, the college intends to explore three-year options in areas beyond the business field.



Thomas College to Offer First College-Level Jobs for Maine's Graduates Program
Program builds on its dedication to providing affordable, accessible college education

Maine Graduates Program

Thomas President Laurie Lachance and Craig Larrabee from
Jobs for Maine's Graduates meeting on the campus of Thomas College
to discuss the new collaboration funded by the Unity Foundation.

WATERVILLE, Maine - Thomas College and Jobs for Maine's Graduates (JMG) have forged a new partnership to help more Maine students attain college degrees and land quality jobs after graduation.

The partnership, funded by the Unity Foundation, will provide students who enroll at Thomas College with the same personal attention, guidance and support JMG currently provides at the middle school and high school levels.

Thomas College President Laurie Lachance said the college and JMG are perfectly aligned because both organizations ensure students gain skills that are valued by today's employers, not just earn a diploma or degree. She said, "JMG has helped thousands of Maine youth achieve academic and professional success, while we put a college education and career within reach of all our students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college."

JMG identifies students who face barriers to education and provides them with the support they need, up to and beyond high school graduation, to overcome those barriers. The nonprofit organization aids more than 5,000 students in public schools and town academies throughout the state with counseling and other support services. This will be its first ever college-level endeavor.

JMG President and CEO Craig Larrabee said Thomas College is a good fit for expanding his organization's support to the college level because the partnership offers an opportunity and a solution to narrow the skills gap between what businesses are looking for and the skills that our young people have when they graduate from high school. "So many jobs require skills beyond a high school degree," said Larrabee. "Maine is facing a workforce crisis because of this skills gap. This partnership with Thomas will help us achieve our ultimate goal of helping students continue their education beyond high school. We believe in the leadership and vision of Thomas College, and together we will meet the students where they are, to identify their reality, and what they really need help with in order to achieve a college degree."

Beginning in fall 2014, Thomas College students who enroll in its JMG program will have access to a designated college-level JMG specialist. The offering will be an extension of the counseling programs JMG implements in Maine public schools and town academies throughout the state. The college's JMG program will also offer career counseling services to students starting on their first day at Thomas, connecting them with job shadowing experiences, internship opportunities and more. The new program is being offered to JMG alum who enroll at, or are already attending, Thomas.

Larry Sterrs, CEO and chairman of the Unity Foundation, said, "We have had a long and fruitful relationship with JMG, and now we are pleased to be funding the first-ever JMG program to be housed on a college campus. We hope it will drive enrollment at Thomas. The students who participate in JMG in high school will be more likely to want to attend Thomas, because they will have the same level of support in college as they had in high school. I am excited to see how it rolls out in the first year."

The partnership with JMG builds on the college's Guaranteed Job Program that guarantees students that meet the requirements of the program will earn a job within six months of their graduation. If students maintain a 3.5 overall grade point average, the college also guarantees their tuition will remain the same throughout their college career.

Jonathan Kent, vice president of enrollment management at Thomas, said, "I'm excited about partnering with JMG beginning this fall, as it will add another dimension to recruiting students to Thomas. The relationship that students build with their JMG advisor while in junior high and high school allows them to trust Thomas because of the partnership. I believe that students who may not have considered attending college or who attend a two-year program will now consider Thomas as an option for continuing their education. I'm looking forward to working hand in hand with JMG and the amazing students that choose Thomas College."

www.jmg.org

www.unityfdn.org



Making Maine Work: The Workforce Investment Imperative

WATERVILLE, May 2014 – The next Business Breakfast, presented by Thomas College and the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, will host Ryan Neale, Program Director at the Maine Development Foundation (MDF). Mr. Neale will discuss the topic of Making Maine Work: The Workforce Investment Imperative. A joint effort between Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Maine Development Foundation, the Making Maine Work series provides strategies for raising incomes and improving productivity. He will speak to the latest reports’ focus on both the quantity and quality of Maine's workforce, which are critical to growing our economy. The breakfast will be held on Thursday, June 12, from 7:15 – 9:00 a.m. in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room on Thomas College’s campus at 180 West River Road in Waterville.

Ryan joined MDF in 2010 and is Program Director for the Maine Economic Growth Council. Ryan also works on various research projects and MDF programs. Prior to joining MDF, Ryan worked in the Washington, D.C., office of Senator Olympia Snowe and in human resources in the private sector.

Ryan received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Maine and his Master’s in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School of Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine, where he interned for a number of organizations throughout the state.

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce holds monthly informative presentations on a variety of educational business topics at Thomas College’s Spann Student Commons. The cost of the Business Breakfast is $15 for those members who register before the event and is $17 at the door. The general admission is $20 for the public. A hot breakfast is included with the reservation. To register, go online to www.midmainechamber.com or call 207.873.3315.

The sponsors for the Business Breakfast are AT&T; People’s United Bank; Higgins & Bolduc Insurance; Nicholson, Michaud & Company; O’Donnell, Lee, McCowan & Phillips, LLC; FairPoint Communications; and, the Morning Sentinel, a division of Maine Today Media, Inc.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at bukerj@thomas.edu or 207.859.1319.



New England Community Development Advisory Council Committee
Introduces Newest Member: Thomas College President Laurie Lachance

New England Development















WATERVILLE, March 2014 – The New England Community Development Advisory Council is composed of representatives of various sectors and geographic areas involved in community developments. Current members are representatives of banks, state and local government, foundations, community organizations, academic institutions, and private nonprofit and for-profit developers, although it is not limited to these categories. The Committee works with those interested in the economic strength of New England’s lower-income individuals and communities such as bankers and policymakers. The Council conducts research, organizes investors, and through a series of activities and tools shares ideas that will strengthen low-income communities.

On March 17, the New England Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC) announced that Richard Walker, CDAC Chair, has invited five new members to participate in the Council. President of Thomas College, Laurie Lachance, was honorably one of the five to receive this invitation. In a statement regarding this achievement she said, “I am truly honored to have been named to the Council, as it is a phenomenal group of people from around New England. I know I will learn a lot from the other Council members, as well as from the world-class research and programming of the Federal Reserve Bank itself, that will help Thomas grow and prosper. And I am really excited to tell the story of our wonderful college to leaders throughout the region.”

The group has created a unique collaborative effort to help strengthen nationwide initiatives related to community reinvestment, small business lending, affordable housing finance, and rural and economic development issues. There are two primary goals of Council. The first is to provide a meeting ground for representatives of community development organizations to inform the President and Board of Directors of activities, issues, or barriers to community development; to facilitate communication between sectors that encourages effective use of community development resources; and, to advise on ways in which the bank can assist in support of community development efforts in the region. The second goal of the Council is to convey to the broader Federal Reserve System perspectives of community development to which the system should be sensitive. In an effort to promote economic strength of the lower-income communities here in New England, they work closely with community-based organizations, lenders, and government officials but are open to hearing from anyone who can help them meet their goals. For more information about the CDAC or to contact them, please visit them online at http://bostonfed.org/commdev/necdac/.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at bukerj@thomas.edu or 207.859.1319.




Ten Best Practices to Reduce Legal Risk

WATERVILLE, April 2014 – The next Business Breakfast, presented by Thomas College and the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, will host Jim Erwin, chair of Employment Group at Pierce Atwood. Mr. Erwin will discuss strategies to help you navigate high-risk situations successfully. We all know that more and more workplace situations carry legal risk. How you approach them can make a big difference in your exposure to that risk. Hiring, terminations, impaired workers, social media - these are just a few of the issues where what you decide and how you get there can determine your exposure to liability. The breakfast will be held on Thursday, May 1, from 7:15 – 9:00 a.m. in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room on Thomas College’s campus at 180 West River Road in Waterville.

Jim Erwin leads Pierce Atwood's Employment Group. He has extensive state and federal litigation experience in a wide range of substantive areas at the trial, appellate, administrative, and arbitration levels. His practice involves the defense at agencies and in court of all types of employment claims, including discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims, restrictive covenant and trade secrets enforcement, wage-hour claims and class actions, defamation, and labor arbitrations.

Jim counsels employers on a wide range of workplace issue, conducts training sessions on harassment and other workplace issues, and performs investigations for employers. He also advocates for employers before the Maine State Legislature and administrative agencies on selected, important issues of public policy.

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce holds monthly informative presentations on a variety of educational business topics at Thomas College’s Spann Student Commons. The cost of the Business Breakfast is $15 for those members who register before the event and is $17 at the door. The general admission is $20 for the public. A hot breakfast is included with the reservation. To register, go online to www.midmainechamber.com or call 207.873.3315.

The sponsors for the Business Breakfast are AT&T; People’s United Bank; Higgins & Bolduc Insurance; Nicholson, Michaud & Company; O’Donnell, Lee, McCowan & Phillips, LLC; FairPoint Communications; and, the Morning Sentinel, a division of Maine Today Media, Inc.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at bukerj@thomas.edu or 207.859.1319.














Collins


Collins to speak at Thomas College commencement

The May 10 graduation will be the first students in the innovative retention program Engage, Develop, Guide, Empower for first-generation college students.

http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/Collins_to_speak_at_Thomas_College_commencement_.html


Thomas College Announces 120th Commencement Speakers and Class Marshals

WATERVILLE, April 21 —Thomas College Provost Dr. Thomas Edwards has announced this year’s speakers and honorary degree recipients for the College’s 120th Commencement Ceremonies taking place on the Thomas campus Friday, May 9, and Saturday, May 10.

Commencement will take place Saturday, May 10, at 1:00 p.m. in the Harold Alfond Athletic Center at Thomas College. Thomas College is proud to announce Senator Susan M. Collins as the 2014 Commencement speaker.

Susan M. Collins is a native of Caribou who has represented Maine in the United States Senate since 1996. Known for her work in facilitating bipartisan compromise, Senator Collins is a key leader in the U.S. Congress. Her record demonstrates significant legislative accomplishments in such critical areas as homeland security, national defense, disaster response, education, business development, and health care.

Since she has taken office, she has served as Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the Homeland Security Committee and is an active member of several other committees, including Senate Appropriations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence. She is also a recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Navy’s highest civilian honor, for her work on the Defense Appropriation Subcommittee.

Susan Collins is not only an effective and tireless advocate for Maine families, she is a proven leader who is respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She is also recognized as one of the hardest working members of Congress. Throughout her career in the U.S. Senate, Senator Collins has never missed a roll call vote; casting more than 5,400 consecutive votes.

Dorcas Riley

Dorcas Riley will be the Honors Convocation speaker on Friday, May 9, at 4:00 p.m. in the Laurette Ayotte Auditorium. Dorcas graduated from Colby College in 1980 with a BA degree in government, but during her last semester on Mayflower Hill, she took an Accounting course and absolutely loved it! A year later, she approached then Academic Dean Richard Begin at Thomas College with a proposal to take all the Accounting courses needed to pass the CPA exam in one academic year, which required taking Intermediate and Advanced Accounting classes simultaneously.

Dorcas passed the CPA exam and was off and running with an exciting and fun Accounting and Finance career in Maine, which continues more than three decades later. She began her career with an international public accounting firm, then moved into controller and chief financial officer roles for several central Maine companies: Key Bank, PFG NorthCenter Foodservice (founded by Thomas College trustee H. Allen Ryan), and Kennebec Savings Bank. She is currently Vice President of Finance at Day’s Jewelers, based in Waterville.

Dorcas has been an active community volunteer for many years. She is especially proud of her work with United Way and the Waterville Opera House, and she is honored to be a trustee of Thomas College. Dorcas lives in Mount Vernon with her husband John Bechard.

The Thomas Scholar Award will be given out for the first time this year, honoring Benjamin Hubert ’13, M.B.A. ’14. This award is given to the undergraduate student with the highest overall grade point average of their graduating class.

Speaking on behalf of undergraduate students will be Scarlett Stevens. Scarlett is from Bradford, Maine, and will be receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, graduating magna cum laude.

Speaking on behalf of graduate students will be Javier Abascal Carrasco from Sevilla, Spain. Javier will be receiving his Master of Business Administration degree.

This year’s Class Marshals are Tiffany Beaulieu of Jefferson, Maine, and Jeffrey Berard of Lebanon, Maine. Tiffany will be graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Psychology; Jeffrey will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

For more information on Commencement activities, please visit www.thomas.edu/commencement.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at bukerj@thomas.edu or 207.859.1319.



Alpha Chi Members participate in a Community Service Project

WATERVILLE, March 2014 – On Saturday, March 22nd members of the Alpha Chi community volunteered at Oakland Memorial Hall to help clean and restore the historical building. In total 12 Alpha Chi members volunteered that day completing various projects such as painting and cleaning floors. Members that participated are, Sarah Maffei, Emma Mcllwain, Jessica Bishop, Ben Hubert, Stan Carte, Jason Stevens, Donald DeVun, Ryan Dubois, Evie Johnson, Ashia Jepson, Jim Prenier, and Kady Esty.

The president of Alpha Chi, Jason Stevens, reached out to various towns and agencies within the areas to locate a place where members of Alapha Chi could complete a community service project. As a collective group members wanted to complete a project on a Saturday in groups of 8-15 people. After receiving a positive response from the town of Oakland they made plans to help clean and paint the Oakland Memorial Hall. Emma Warren, a volunteering member of Alpha Chi said, “Our goal for this service project was to venture into the community and put our best efforts into cleaning and restoring Memorial Hall in Oakland. Spending our Saturday working together to improve this historic building felt worthwhile, and I am grateful to be a part of Alpha Chi.”

The group does not have specific plans at this time to return to the Oakland Memorial Hall but on April 19th they will be volunteering for the Oakland School System. During this service project they will be cleaning buses and doing some landscaping around one of the schools.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at bukerj@thomas.edu or 207.859.1319.


Marcel Gagne

We Talk About Customer Service - What We Really Want is Customer Satisfaction!

WATERVILLE, April 2014 – The next Business Breakfast, presented by Thomas College and the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, will host Marcel Gagne, business representative for Goodwill of Northern New England. Mr. Gagne suggests that the only entity that can determine true customer satisfaction is the customer. Learn about the true costs of losing customers and the great savings and effect on the bottom line of maintaining existing customers. He will share what you can do to ensure your customers are not just "serviced" - but satisfied! The breakfast will be held on Thursday, April 10, from 7:15 – 9:00 a.m. in the Spann Student Commons Summit Room on Thomas College’s campus at 180 West River Road in Waterville.

Marcel Gagne has an extensive career in training, management, consulting, and social services. He also enjoyed a decade of engagement doing community and economic work for CEI, focusing on consulting for small and large businesses. Gagne currently is a business representative for Goodwill of Northern New England, serving as a community outreach person for Take 2, an at-risk youth work-ready program in Androscoggin County, as well as being a LEAN/Process Improvement facilitator for corporate Goodwill.

Marcel serves on the Androscoggin United Way’s Allocations Panel; is on the Board of Directors for Community Credit Union; and, is Chair of the Community Advisory Board at USM’s Lewiston/Auburn College. He has conducted numerous customer satisfaction trainings for Chambers, Career Centers, private clientele, and multi-state conferences.

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce holds monthly informative presentations on a variety of educational business topics at Thomas College’s Spann Student Commons. The cost of the Business Breakfast is $15 for those members who register before the event and is $17 at the door. The general admission is $20 for the public. A hot breakfast is included with the reservation. To register, go online to www.midmainechamber.com or call 207.873.3315.

The sponsors for the Business Breakfast are AT&T; People’s United Bank; Higgins & Bolduc Insurance; Nicholson, Michaud & Company; O’Donnell, Lee, McCowan & Phillips, LLC; FairPoint Communications; and, the Morning Sentinel, a division of Maine Today Media, Inc.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Buker at bukerj@thomas.edu or 207.859.1319.


Working on Natural Gas Boiler


Thomas Turns On The Gas!

Thomas College has flipped the switch to a new natural gas furnace. The addition of natural gas is part of the College's Strategic Energy Plan that seeks to provide Thomas College with diverse energy sources that will lower long-term energy expenses and keep tuition costs down. Chris Rhoda, Vice President of Information Services and CIO at Thomas College, said, "Diversifying energy sources is one way the College can reduce costs - when the price of one source goes up, an alternative resource can be tapped. Adding yet another alternative source to the campus was the major reason the College decided to sign a contract with Summit Natural Gas earlier this month."

A total of five buildings will be converted to the use of natural gas initially. Beth Gibbs, Senior Vice President of Financial Affairs and CFO, said, "In the first full year of conversion, we expect to save approximately $90,000." The savings will help the College remain a competitive choice for students pursuing higher education.


Darrin Lane and Jim Raddatz,
Thomas College Physical Plant
staff, working on the new natural
gas boiler





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