Hone your writing skills while deepening your appreciation of literature. Through discussion and close personal attention, you’ll develop analytical, critical reasoning, and communication skills highly sought after by employers in many fields. These skills will also provide you with an excellent foundation for graduate study.

Degree Offered: B.A.
Offered on the Augusta and Bangor campuses

Studying Lives, Changing Lives: UMA Psychology Students Bring Food to Hope House


UMA Bangor Psychology students organize a food drive for the Hope House

Dr. Kati Corlew's Fall 2014 psychology classes (two sections of Intro and two sections of Development) recently conducted a food drive for the Bangor Hope House. Student Lisa Tissari had the idea. All of the Psych classes were having a test that week, and she noted that we could really use the positive psychological boost of doing something good for others.

Students received an extra credit point by either participating in the food drive OR doing a random act of kindness sometime during the week. Most students opted to join the food drive. Students donated 147 non-perishable food items -- more than 100 pounds of food. The donations filled Dr. Corlew's trunk. She delivered the donations on October 31st. Staff, volunteers, and clients at Hope House all expressed gratitude, and sent warm thanks to the classes for their generosity.



Donations 2

Inaugural Student Research Conference Coming to UMA Bangor in 2015


University of Maine at Augusta Social Science major Sarah Therrien '13 presents research on access to mental health and substance abuse treatment in the state of Maine.

Students at the University of Maine at Augusta are carrying out a surprising amount of innovative research.  It's time to celebrate that fact.


As part of an ongoing push by the Social Science Program to support student research (in classes, independent study, internships, capstones, and/or with faculty), the Social Science Program will launch an inaugural Student Research Conference in the Spring 2015 semester.


The conference theme will be “Celebrating Student Research” and will highlight students who have participated in or conducted research as part of a class, in conjunction with faculty research activities, or as independent projects. Students will be provided an opportunity to present their activities to other students and faculty. This conference will take place on the UMA-Bangor Campus. Students of the Social Science Program as well as all UMA students will be invited to present their research and research skills development and attend to support their peers. Students from the Augusta Campus will be offered transportation to attend at the Bangor campus. A guest speaker will be invited.


As the Spring 2015 semester gets underway, look for updates and a call for participants.  For more information, please contact Assistant Professor Kati Corlew (207-262-7752|kate.corlew@maine.edu).

Professor Dean Earns 2014-2015 Meritorious Faculty Award


At ceremonies marking the start of the 2014-2015 academic school year, Assistant Professor of Education and Coordinator of Teacher Certification Cynthia Dean was awarded the University of Maine at Augusta's Meritorious Achievement Award for the year.  UMA Provost Joseph Szakas commended Professor Dean for her outstanding work:


deanmeritoriousfaculty"Cindy Dean came to UMA and the College of Arts and Sciences a few years ago to develop our secondary education pathway. This pathway allows our students to achieve certification to teach in Maine public high schools after graduation. She completed the entire curriculum from scratch; she forged relations with Maine public schools to allow student teaching placement; she has worked with the University of Maine at Machias and University of Maine at Presque Isle to enable UMA students to become certified in elementary and special education pathways as well.

"UMA now has over 300 students enrolled in one of these education pathways and Cindy’s mentoring and advising has been instrumental in their success. She also serves on UMA’s Faculty Senate and Honor’s Council. This summer you could find her in UMA’s community garden, where she took over supervision of students (and most of the weeding, harvesting and pest control). She has also already begun collaborating with our new Augusta writing center coordinator to develop a course in writing tutor methods that will enable UMA students to become more effective peer tutors. Cindy does all this while staying very involved in Maine’s K-12 educational circles. She is a wonderfully collaborative colleague and supporter of our students."

Congratulations, Professor Dean!



UMA Social Science Program Welcomes New Faculty


Assistant Professor of Social Science Kati CorlewThe social science program at the University of Maine at Augusta is proud to announce the newest addition to its faculty.  Assistant Professor Laura Kate "Kati" Corlew comes to UMA with wide and deep expertise on organizational structure, the role of culture and community in psychology, civic engagement and the response of communities to climate change.  Dr. Corlew earned her PhD in 2012 Community and Cultural Psychology from the University of Hawai'i with a dissertation on the response to climate change in the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.  Dr. Corlew's many published works in quantitative and qualitative analysis include publications in the American Journal of Community Psychology, The Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health PromotionThe Community Psychologist, the Global Journal of Community PsychologyWeather, Climate and Society, the Review of Disability Studies and Centerings. Before coming to UMA, Dr. Corlew worked two years as a research fellow with the East-West Center, collecting and presenting network data on connections between climate change professionals across the Pacific Islands.  In Spring 2014, Dr. Corlew received an American Psychological Foundation Visionary Grant for $19,972 supporting continued research on psychological recovery and risk perception regarding natural disasters and climate change in Hawaii and American Samoa.


Dr. Corlew is especially looking forward to teaching at UMA's Bangor campus.  "I was drawn to UMA Bangor after hearing about its tight-knit community and strong student-support focus," she says. "I hope to contribute my background in Community Psychology to developing opportunities for students in Maine communities for hands-on education that will help students gain the skills they want while also supporting the community."


Welcome, Professor Corlew!



UMA Social Media Research Featured at Two 2014 Conferences


jamescookfall2012Assistant Professor of Social Science James Cook continues to research the sociological patterns and impact of social media this year, and his research is being featured in two academic conferences.  At the 2014 meetings of the New England Political Science Association in April, Prof. Cook presented the findings in a new paper entitled "Making Connections: Twitter Networks of the Maine State Legislature." 



Twitter is not just about breakfast anymore. The social media platform has been adopted as a platform for political news and discussion at the national level, but its use in state politics is more recent and more poorly understood. This paper presents an analysis of thousands of Twitter posts by, to and between members of the Maine State Legislature to develop understanding of the ways in which this global medium is used for local political ends. Maine state legislators have adopted Twitter to varying extents, for varying purposes, forging connections with one another and with constituents in different ways. I chart the impact of geography, demography, biography and ideology on the
volume, content and network structure of legislators’ political tweets. Patterns of adoption and online communication reflect not only political allegiance but personal and regional forces as well.


At the end of September, Prof. Cook travels to Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada to make a different presentation to the Social Media & Society 2014 International Conference (for updates, follow the Twitter hashtag #smsociety14).  "When Friendship Gets Fuzzy: Tie Formation and Role Performance Among Teddy Bears Online":



BackgroundHomophily, the tendency for people to disproportionately form ties with similar others, is consistently observed in offline social communities (McPherson et al, 2001).  The question remains unsettled whether homophily results from active choices made in an environment of alternatives or from the tendency of people to form ties in groups that are already homogeneous.  Meanwhile, according to the dramaturgical tradition in sociology (Goffman, 1959) we play out our scenes according to assigned or assumed roles emerging from the beliefs, values and conventions of the groups surrounding us.  How are role-play and social distinction accomplished in an online environment where the physical body is no longer visible (Boyd and Heer, 2006; Code and Zaparyniuk, 2009)?

ObjectiveThe paper asks whether homophily and dramaturgical role-play appear online when the constraints and cues of the offline world are removed.  At a distinctive social media website called The Bear Club (thebearclub.co.uk), participants refrain from sharing their human names, ages, demographic characteristics or appearance, instead depicting themselves as teddy bears by name, in blog posts and comments, in photographs, and in choosing “bear buddies.”  Member bears each join one of 8 clans, and each clan is described as having a distinct personality (“shy,” “good listener,” “socialable and funny,” and so on).  However, bears from all clans have equal access to information about the activity of bears in all other clans, erasing structural barriers to interclan-interaction.  In the absence of both offline cues and online barriers, are these clan markers still associated with distinctive modes of expression and tie formation?

MethodsObservation of the complete population of 1,925 user accounts at The Bear Club included collection of content and network data regarding 5,213 selections of “bear buddies” and 17,140 comments on blog posts.  Network analysis and content analysis were used to assess the salience of social distinctions in tie formation and clan identity.




In addition to his research activity and his support for the broader social science program at UMA, Prof. Cook teaches courses in Social Networks and Analyzing Social Media for the UMA Social Media Certificate, a set of ten classes that develop students' skill in creating, analyzing and marketing social media.