UMA Research Learning Experiences (RLE) Pilot Program 2022/23

We are pleased to announce a request for proposals for the new Research Learning Experience (RLE) Initiative pilot program at UMA. Supported in part by a generous donation from the Harold Alfond Foundation, we are initiating a Research Learning Experience (RLE) pilot program in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Our goal is to engage students in discovery, knowledge creation, and authentic professional practices—regardless of their area of study—starting in their first year at our university. The format of RLEs combines a suite of best practices for first-year retention to give our students a mindset that will both help them to get the most out of their degree and put them on a path to long-term success.

We are asking faculty, or teams of faculty, to offer RLEs for the 2022-2023 academic year for first- and second-year students.

Please note that this application and RFP is specific to UMA and may differ from the pilot programs at other UMS universities. This UMA-specific pilot program is based on feedback we received from UMA faculty and staff, and we have the ability to modify it in the future.

Application Deadlines

  • For a Fall 2022 Bridge Experience & RLE – Application deadline is May 20th – Extended to June 10, 2022
  • For a Spring 2023 Bridge Experience & RLE – Application deadline is October 15th, 2022
  • For a Summer 2023 Bridge Experience & RLE – Application deadline is February 15th, 2023

Applications should be submitted to Charlotte MacDonald (

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to Pamela MacRae ( or Con Sullivan (

Recent Awards

Fall 2022 RLE Award

Dr. Jennifer Long, Assistant Professor of Biology, BIO 110 General Biology I Laboratory

The University of Maine at Augusta is piloting its first RLE program this fall for students offering a BIO 110 General Biology I Laboratory RLE section. Students will use UMA’s Augusta campus as their living laboratory to explore the interrelationships between organisms and their environment. This research learning experience will start with a tailored bridge experience where students will learn about ecology and species identification while becoming citizen scientists and creating useful data for conservation. Topics covered will include biological classification, cellular metabolism in living organisms, basics of energy and nutrient flow through an ecosystem, species interactions in a community, and the importance of biodiversity.

Students will work through all the steps of the scientific method, from finding and reading scientific articles, formulating a testable hypothesis, designing an experiment, using appropriate statistical analysis, and writing a scientific paper. At the end of the semester, they will then share their results and conclusions in the form of a final written report and an oral presentation for the class.