Student Success Stories
Prior Learning Assessment Experience – Student Success Story
Pamela J. Belisle, Executive Director
Employer Parent Resource Center
“Both formal and informal education have played a significant role in the parenting education services and administrative services that I provide at the Parent Resource Center.”
A graduate of Old Orchard Beach High School, Pamela Belisle attended Westbook College for one semester when, due to financial aid challenges, she was unable to return and stopped attending in 1991.
She went back to school in 1993 at Andover College for an Associate’s of Science degree in the Medical Assistant program which she received in 1995. At that time, Andover College was not yet fully accredited which meant that none of Pamela’s course credits were transferable to a four-year degree program.
In 2008 however, she decided to re-explore her options for going back to school to complete a four-year degree. At that time though, was told that she would need to start from step 1 and that none of her past credits nor her professional knowledge could be applied. Disappointed and discouraged she put her educational aspirations on hold once again.
In the summer of 2013 she gave it another try and reached out to University of Maine at Augusta to explore new options for completing her degree. “I decided it was time to take the leap and reach out to UMA and re-start my journey toward my bachelors of science degree with a focus in mental health and human services.”
Her first step was connecting with Haley Brown in the dean’s office who first introduced her to Prior Learning Assessment options – “she was WONDERFULLY supportive…. a fantastic guide!” says Pamela.
Finally her past and current learning through on-the-job training and professional development could be applied to her degree.
“So far, nine courses toward my degree where accepted through the PLA portfolio process. I’ve saved approximately $7000 and 1 year of schooling in the process.”
Biggest Surprise: “I found the process to be very clear in the areas that were necessary for the portfolio. Haley was a great guide and very supportive.”
Biggest Challenge: Navigating the waiting and exchange between professors as they each had to be approved to review the portfolio, review it, and then communicate which portfolios pass and what other items might be needed. “I wonder if there may be an easier way to move the portfolio process forward. For instance a team review with a check list of competencies vs. each individual professor needing to be approved to review a portfolio, then the student needs to reach out to them, then the student waits to hear back, etc.”
For general information on UMA Prior Learning Assessment contact Laurie Ficker, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services & Prior Learning Assessment at 1 (877) UMA-1234 ext. 3241 or (207) 621-3241.
For Portfolio reviews contact Haley Brown.