Patty Williams, UMF associate professor of Early Childhood Education. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — University of Maine at Farmington faculty member Patty Williams, has been awarded an Adult Learner Grant of $10,000 from the University of Maine System to create a “Pathways to Teaching for Adult Learners” program. The program is designed to support adults interested in returning to school to pursue a career in teaching.

Williams is an associate professor of Early Childhood Education and chair of the UMF Division for Elementary, Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. She is offering the new program in collaboration with Franklin County Adult Education and the University of Maine at Machias, with the goal of meeting the needs of adult learners to become quality educators while also helping to ease Maine’s teacher shortage. Williams is looking forward to collaborating with the University of Maine at Machias and Franklin County Adult Education partners in developing programs and pathways to help adults pursue careers in teaching.

“I’m really excited about the prospect of expanding on the work we already do in our education programs to outreach to more adult learners, especially those who may have started a degree but were unable to finish,” said Williams. “Our off-campus early childhood B.S. program has been really successful in helping those employed as educational technicians and assistant teachers in early care settings work towards certification as teachers of children ages birth to five and K-3. The hybrid format offers UMF courses online and in-person at Southern Maine Community College.”

The program has several components, including: A Set of Online Courses Designed for Adult Learners. Beginning this fall, the program will offer, “Introduction to Education for Adult Learners,” an online course that includes an introduction to the education field, information important to ensure a successful transition to college, an overview of certification requirements, observation opportunities and guidance on Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). UMF will also work towards offering some frequently needed courses for certification via online and hybrid formats, building collaborations like we have with SMCC.

Education Program Navigator (EPN) Services: These services will work with students during the 2021-2022 academic year to find education programs within the University of Maine System which meet their professional goals. They will work with UMaine System admissions offices to coordinate transfer credit, credit from PLA, financial aid and the development of an educational pathway plan.

Mini-Grant Program: With this program, students can apply for funding to cover costs which may be barriers to completing their education, such as the cost of books or gas.

Individuals interested in the “Pathways to Teaching for Adult Learners” program can begin by filling out the online program intake form: found at Adult Learner Program Application. For additional questions or to schedule an information session about the program, please contact Dr. Patty Williams at [email protected] or (207)778-7109


Patty Williams, UMF associate professor of Early Childhood Education

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