2018-19 Catalogs

Academic Support Services



Advising offers USM students an integrated approach to academic advising and career development. Advisors provide academic advising and early career planning assistance to support the development and achievement of students educational and career goals. During their first semester at the University following orientation and initial registration, students are assigned a professional advisor and a faculty academic advisor within their respective academic departments. Professional and faculty academic advisors work in partnership to support and encourage a student’s success throughout their academic career. Students are encouraged to maintain close contact with both advisors. 

Students who have not declared a major are provided with a professional advisor from Advising.  Advisors assist students in the development of educational and early career goals as well as the selection of an appropriate major. Students should be ready to declare a major before completing sophomore status at the University. Once students declare their major they will also be assigned a faculty academic advisor.

Students admitted conditionally are also provided with a professional advisor from Advising.  Our focus is academic success and support for all participants and we offer several key elements to help students succeed. These include a developmental approach to advising, courses to strengthen academic performance, and carefully selected course schedules. Students admitted conditionally will have a personalized Academic Plan. Upon completion of the requirements of the academic support plan, students are transitioned from conditional status and are also assigned a faculty advisor in their major department.

Professional advisors are assigned to students who have not been admitted to the institution and are taking courses on a space-available basis.

The USM Early Study–Aspirations Program offers opportunities for high school students to take college courses to enrich their high school experience. The program is designed to help students supplement, not supplant, the academic program of the high school. Academic requirements must be met, and permission from high school and parent(s) is expected. Financial assistance is available. For more information call (207) 780-4040.

Students who have questions regarding general academic policies and procedures, as well as about other aspects of University programs, are encouraged to contact Advising in 137 Luther Bonney Hall on the Portland campus (780-4040), 119 Bailey Hall on the Gorham campus (780-5652), and 119 Lewiston-Auburn College in Lewiston (753-6500).

Career and Employment Hub

The USM Career & Employment Hub assists students in connecting to their future. We offer students a variety of services from their first day on campus to years after they graduate. Our focus is on students and assisting them in getting connected to the greater community whether that be via an internship, job shadow, informational interview, part-time or full-time employment, connecting them with a community partner or preparing for graduate school.

The Career & Employment Hub offers students the following services: Exploring majors to possible careers, taking assessments like the MBTI, Holland Code or StrengthsFinder; Developing a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn account, finding opportunities through individual appointments, internship matching fairs, job fairs, professional bootcamps, and workshops.

We assist students in cultivating professional experiences through work study, internships, part-time/ full-time employment, job shadows, informational interviews, Community Career Connections and assist students in understanding what employers want from college graduates.

We are committed to mobilizing USM students, faculty, and staff to address community-identified needs in partnerships marked by respect, reciprocity, and mutual benefit. We connect employers with our faculty about experiential learning experiences.

For more information on career services and internships, please visit The Career and Employment Hub website.


Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

The Office for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is dedicated to helping students earn college credit for learning acquired outside a traditional academic environment. This can include knowledge gained from the workforce, life, and the military.

PLA allows us to build a bridge between your practical/life knowledge and the academic learning we provide on campus and online. Our pathways to academic credit might include: testing optionscredential reviews, and academic portfolio development. These assessments are available to the general public as well as USM students.

Military Credits - Served in the military? Our Veterans Services team can review your military transcript to see if college credit is available based on your knowledge and experience.

Standardized Testing

We may offer credit that can be posted to your transcript free of charge for some high school testing.

Already knowledgeable in a subject area? We offer three kinds of computerized tests where you can demonstrate your basic knowledge. Bypass a foundational course in favor of one that puts you closer to your degree.

  • CLEP - USM faculty reviewed exams with a score of 50 or higher (offered on-site at USM)
  • DSST - USM faculty reviewed exams with a score of 400 or higher (offered on-site)
  • UExcel - USM faculty reviewed exams with a score of B or higher

Course Challenge Exams - Hoping to place out of a course in an area not covered by available CLEP, DSST, or UExcel exams? In certain cases, a faculty member might develop an individual test to assess your knowledge of course material. You can earn credit for the course if you pass the exam.

Language Examinations - NYU and BYU FLATS exams let you earn up to 6 general elective language credits. You can take one of the language tests in roughly 2.5 hours at the Portland Campus Testing Center.

Credential Review - You may be able to earn course credit for some licenses, certificates and other credentials from organizations outside the University. We can review your license or certificate to determine whether credit is applicable.

Academic Portfolio Assesment  - If there's no available exam to help you demonstrate what you've learned, we can work with faculty members to help you create an academic portfolio to reflect your knowledge. Your portfolio will include a letter of intent, resume, a narrative, and any supporting materials you may have (certificates, awards, letters of recommendation, etc.) to document your mastery of course learning objectives. Portfolio credit options include general electives, subject­ specific electives, and individual course equivalencies.

Veterans' Services

USM's Veterans Services is an on-campus resource for veterans, servicemembers, and their families. Transitioning from combat to the classroom can be challenging and so can navigating the U.S. government benefits known as the GI Bill®. USM Veterans Services is here to help. 

Military Credits - Served in the military? Our Veterans Services team can review your military transcript to see if college credit is available based on your knowledge and experience.

Contact us at (207) 780-5232 or usm.veterans@maine.edu. Find out more at https://usm.maine.edu/veterans.

University Libraries: Centers of Learning, Research, Writing and Technology

The University Libraries provide a full range of resources and services in person and virtually. The Libraries are open long hours and conveniently located on each of USM's three campuses (Gorham, Portland, Lewiston-Auburn). The Libraries offer a range of comfortable spaces for studying, group work and assistance. Find out more at http://usm.maine.edu/library.

Learning Commons at Glickman Library (2nd Floor) and Gorham Library offer research and writing help, learning assistance, group study rooms and computers and technology support. Similar services are offered at the Lewiston-Auburn Library Information Commons. Find out more at http://usm.maine.edu/learningcommons.

Selected Services
Collections and Resources
  • Over 240 library databases, most full text
  • Access to over 35,000 electronic journals via our databases with most articles available in full text
  • URSUS Catalog access to 375,000 books supplemented by more than 1.5 million print titles held in the libraries of the other campuses of the University of Maine System, the Maine State Library and the Bangor Public Library with two or three day intercampus delivery
  • E-Books, audio books and DVDs

Find out more at http://usm.maine.edu/library/collections.

The University Libraries also include two special collections:

Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education is the only separately established history of cartography library in northern New England. The cartographic collections contain fine examples of original maps, atlases, geographies, and globes spanning the years 1475 to the present augmented by a 4,000-volume reference collection of related works. Find out more at http://usm.maine.edu/maps/.

Special Collections consists of a rare books and manuscripts collection, the University Archives and the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine. Find out more about the various special collections at http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections.

Center for Technology Enhanced Learning (CTEL)

The Center for Technology-Enhanced Learning (CTEL) offers resources to USM faculty and staff, including learning and instructional design support and faculty development.  With the goal of expanding higher education opportunities for the people of Maine and beyond, CTEL focuses its efforts on supporting courses and academic programs that attract new audiences to USM, such as, place-bound or working adults. CTEL works closely with other USM units including the Glickman Library, ITMS, Learning Commons, and the Center for Collaboration and Development. CTEL delivers year-round programming using various workshop formats. CTEL also offers the following grant programs: CTEL Community of Practice grants, CTEL Technology-Enhanced Learning grants, and CTEL Learning Innovation Grants. Contact CTEL by phone: (207) 780-4540, email: ctelhelp@maine.edu  or online: usm.maine.edu/ctel.

Computing Services

The Computing Services departments provide a variety of technology support services to students, faculty, and staff at the University.

Computer labs for general student use are located on the Gorham, Lewiston-Auburn, and Portland campuses and in the University Libraries. The computer labs have Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh computer systems, and academic software applications. Black and white or color printing is available for a nominal fee using the USM Campus Card. Computer classrooms are available on all three campuses for class activity periods.

Resident students are provided an Internet connection in each room as part of their room package. The USM IT Help Desk, located in Upton Hall, Gorham, assists with setup and maintenance of the resident student computers on a walk-in and appointment basis. A walk-in and call-in Help Desk, located on the 3rd floor of the Glickman Library, Portland, assists all faculty, staff, and students with computer problems, including some common University login, e-mail, and Internet problems. Assistance can be requested by phone at 780-4029, by e-mail at usm-helpdesk@maine.edu, or on the Web at http://usm.maine.edu/computing/helpdesk. Discounted high speed Internet service from Spectrum is available to faculty, staff, and students.

For more information about any of the services offered by Computing Services, please visit us on the web at http://usm.maine.edu/computing.

Instructional Technology and Media Services

The Instructional Technology and Media Services (ITMS) Department provides classroom and instructional technology support for the academic programs of the University. This support includes group or individual sessions on instructional applications of technology in Portland, Gorham, or Lewiston-Auburn.

Other services include the delivery and maintenance of classroom equipment on all three campuses. The Department maintains a collection of non-print materials, with electronic listings available on the USM Web site (http://usm.maine.edu/itms). ITMS staff are available to help with the rental of materials for classroom use.

Offices are located in Luther Bonney Hall in Portland, (207) 780-4280, Bailey Hall in Gorham, (207) 780-5356, and LAC Library Commons in Lewiston-Auburn, (207) 753-6540.

Academic Assessment

The Office of Academic Assessment coordinates the administration of various testing programs, such as USM's Mathematics Placement Program (e.g., Accuplacer Math Tests) for incoming and transfer students, in addition to certification and national tests for graduating students (e.g., Miller Analogies Test, GRE Subject Tests, LSAT, and others). Students are encouraged to contact the Office for further information at Room 628 Law Building, Portland campus or visit our Web site for test registration and schedules at http://usm.maine.edu/assessment.

The Office also conducts institutional assessment studies, administers student surveys, assists departments in evaluating courses and programs, develops tests and assessment instruments, and provides technical support to the faculty for their tenure and promotion.

Disability Services

The Disability Services Center (DSC) provides a wide range of services to qualified students with attentional, learning, physical, psychological, sensory, or other health-related disabilities. To receive disability accommodations for the first time at the University of Southern Maine, you must register with the DSC. Our website has information about How to Register for Academic Accommodations and Housing Accommodations. If you have a disability and want to learn about our services and request accommodations, please contact the DSC to schedule an intake appointment.

Disability Services Center (DSC)

242 Luther Bonney Hall, Portland

780-4706, 780-5646 (TTY)
email: dsc-usm@maine.edu

fax: 780-4403

Learning Assistance and Tutoring: The Learning Commons

The Learning Commons is an open space designed to foster collaborative and active learning, filled with moveable tables, rolling whiteboards, and plush furniture. In addition to subject-based tutoring, we offer help with time-management and study skills, technology assistance, and research guidance, as well as reservable group study spaces and access to community computers. While physically located in Bailey Hall Library in Gorham, the Glickman Library in Portland, and the Library at Lewiston-Auburn College, many of our services (including tutoring!) are also available online.

Tutoring at USM

The tutoring service at The Learning Commons is a peer support service, meaning that all of our tutors are current USM students who have completed a nationally-accredited tutor training program. We have over 70 tutors who are able to provide assistance in numerous subject areas, including Math, Science, Writing, Accounting, Finance, and Economics.

USM students are allowed two appointments per week, per subject area. For example, a student can schedule two writing appointments as well as two math appointments. Appointments are available in Gorham, Portland, Lewiston-Auburn, and online.

Scheduling a Tutoring Appointment
To view the schedule or book an appointment, please visit Schedule A Tutoring Appointment. Any courses for which tutoring is offered are listed on the site, and updated each semester.

To view a "how to" document with screenshots of the site, please click HERE.

Technology Assistance

The Learning Commons offers instruction on the technologies used at USM, including Microsoft Office programs, Google applications, software used in online courses, and other tools related to student  academic needs.

To meet with a Technology Assistant,  please visit Schedule A Tutoring Appointment.

Research Assistance

College-level research involves finding appropriate peer-reviewed sources. Our Reference Librarians and Research Skills Toolbox can help. All USM students can work with any Reference Librarian in Portland, Gorham, or Lewiston-Auburn.

Walk in or schedule an appointment with a Reference Librarian to help you save time with your research assignments.

Acing Your Courses

The “Acing Your Courses” section of our website is full of helpful content, ranging from how-to videos (e.g. “Skills for Acing Math” or “Navigating Blackboard”) to tips for online courses and how to work effectively in groups.

Group Study Rooms

There are a number of group study rooms within the USM Libraries. All USM students can use any of these privately enclosed spaces to study in groups or to work collaboratively on projects.

To view or reserve one of these spaces, please visit Group Study Rooms.

For more information, call (207)780-4228.