Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is a Catholic liberal arts college in Standish, Maine, that grants bachelor's degrees in a traditional on-campus setting, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees via online education. The college’s 350-acre (1.4 km2) campus in southern Maine is located on the shores of Sebago Lake, just 18 miles (29 km) from Portland; Maine’s largest city. It is the only Catholic college in Maine.
Saint Joseph’s was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1912 as an institution for women. The college, run by a lay and religious Board of Trustees, was located on the convent grounds in nearby Portland until 1956 when it moved to its lakeside location in Standish. In 1970, Saint Joseph’s became coeducational and six years later began a distance education program for working adults. The Division of Graduate & Professional Studies now offers its online programs to 2,400 students in 50 states and nine countries.
On campus, the college offers more than 40 majors, minors and partnership programs. The average class size is 17. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. On campus, the college offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional programs. The most popular majors are nursing, business, education, exercise science/sports management, and biology.
The Academic Center offers first-year students help with transition to college, including faculty/staff mentors, study skills workshops, tutoring, and a writing lab. Saint Joseph’s also offers internships to enhance education in a professional setting, which can lead to contacts for future employment.
Through the Graduate & Professional Studies online program, there are roughly 2,400 students enrolled in more than 30 academic programs leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as associate degrees and certificates. Support for students includes advisors, online tutors, help desk and financial aid. Students also have the option to take courses on campus during the summer.
As a member of International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), Saint Joseph’s offers study abroad at 265 colleges in 37 countries. Students have the option to study abroad for either a semester or a full academic year.
Saint Joseph’s College teams are known as the Monks. The college fields NCAA Division III sport in soccer, volleyball (women only), swimming, basketball, golf, field hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and cross country. The college is a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), and the North Atlantic Conference (NAC). Intramural teams include everything from basketball to bowling; club sports include dance team, cheerleading, ice hockey and ultimate Frisbee. The athletic center is equipped with a full gym, indoor track, pool, and dance/aerobics room. The 2012 SJC baseball team was ranked 14th in the DIII NCAA ranking in the country. The baseball rankings for the 2013 season was projecting SCJ at 12th in the country. With a win against #1 Wheaton College, the monks moved up to #9 in the country.
Pearson’s Town Farm began as a small garden project in the summer of 2005 developed by Bon Appétit (SJC campus cafe) General Manager Stuart Leckie and Saint Joseph’s graduate Matthew Olson. As the first years past, the garden began to take on a life of its own, run by subsequent student, faculty and staff volunteers.
In the spring of 2009 Bon Appétit wanted to further develop the farm to enlarge its potential. That year a full-time farm manager and interns were hired to expand the growing operation and develop a program that would better educate young people about agriculture and their food. That first summer’s crops were used in the College dining hall, Café Bon Appétit. During the College’s summer break, produce was taken to Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry. This partnership flourished and bolstered the farm’s commitment to helping educate the community and fight the growing food insecurity issues that were arising.
On July 1, 2010, Saint Joseph’s College took over full financial responsibility of the farm. Serving in collaboration with the Mercy Center, Pearson’s Town Farm has been able to further develop and refine its commitment to educating the community and empowering the underserved through simple means of planting seeds and nurturing life. The work on the farm is done by student, staff, and educator volunteers.
Eleven residence halls exist.
The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The nursing program is also approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The Elementary Education and Physical Education majors and the Secondary Education minor are State of Maine-approved programs.
Two teams of Saint Joseph’s College students, staff and faculty are breaking College records when they travel to Guatemala and Haiti after Christmas on International Service Trips. With the largest number of participants since the first annual trip in 2004, a total of 40 members from the College will travel to Haiti and to Guatemala. They will staff medical clinics, build houses, distribute humanitarian supplies and operate children’s programs.
In addition to social and medical activities, team members in Haiti will conduct workshops in computer, technology and business skills in the village of Blanchard, just a few miles outside of Port-au-Prince. The Guatemala team will work near San Antonio Suchitepéquez, a village approximately three hours west of Guatemala City, the country’s capital.
Saint Joseph’s College’s International Service Trips to Guatemala and Haiti are coordinated in conjunction with Partners in Development, a nonprofit organization based in Ipswich, Mass., dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through housing, sanitation, medical and educational programs.
Saint Joseph’s College was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. In the application for this award, Service Learning Coordinator Kimberly Post Rowe tracked both the academic and extracurricular programs within the Saint Joseph’s College community, reporting that 800 students engaged in service both in and out of the classroom over the course of the year, 390 of which engaged in at least 20 hours of service learning per semester, with a total of 12,856 service hours provided.