​​UMF brings new bachelor’s degree to SMCC

Southern Maine Community College and the University of Maine at Farmington have entered into a new partnership that allows graduates from SMCC’s Early Childhood Education program to live and work in southern Maine while earning a UMF Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education with K-3 certification.

Under the partnership launched this fall, UMF’s nationally-accredited Early Childhood Education program with K-3 certification is being taught by UMF faculty at SMCC’s South Portland Campus. The initiative is made possible through a transfer agreement that allows graduates to move seamlessly from SMCC’s Associate in Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education to UMF’s bachelor degree program.

“This new collaboration with SMCC was created to help early childhood educators reach their full potential,” said Donna Karno, UMF associate professor of early childhood education. “It offers students who live in midcoast and southern Maine the opportunity to earn the same quality Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree with a K-3 certification as students on the Farmington campus, but without leaving home. UMF is very proud to offer this new opportunity to Maine students.”

This hybrid program provides the in-classroom coursework, local school field study and virtual UMF classroom experience that prepares preservice teachers to teach in many early childhood settings, including kindergarten through third grade in public schools.

“The new agreement allows SMCC graduates to stay in the Portland and southern Maine area while pursuing their bachelor’s degree because the classes are offered at SMCC,” said Rachel Parse, chair of SMCC’s Early Childhood Education program. “This is another way we’re working across the community college and university systems to support students in meeting their educational and professional goals.”

The program’s play-based approach helps prepare educators to motivate young children to learn, help them develop lifelong learning skills and be actively involved in their own learning. The transfer agreement also removes hurdles and paperwork, provides guidance and saves time and money for SMCC graduates who transfer to the UMF program.

According to Julia Jeremias, UMF coordinator of the program and an SMCC faculty member, each student receives individual advising and a plan that meets their personal needs to complete the program in a timely fashion. Students are advised on course selection and field placement for their student teaching experience and will be able to graduate from the program in three years with their Maine K-3 Early Childhood Teacher Certification.

In addition to this new UMF offering at SMCC, the Early Childhood Education Department at Farmington has a long history of partnering with Early Childhood Education programs at many of Maine’s community colleges, including Central Maine Community College, Eastern Maine Community College, Kennebec Valley Community College, Washington County Community College, York County Community College as well as Southern Maine Community College.

For more information on the program, contact Julia Jeremias, UMF coordinator and advisor of the Early Childhood Cohort Off-Campus Program at or 207-778-7274, or visit the UMF website at

More information about SMCC’s Early Childhood Education program is available on the SMCC website at