Thomas College has announced it is opening the Center for Innovation in Education, which will offer a course of study designed for future teachers to be prepared to teach in proficiency-based classrooms.

In a news release Thursday, the Waterville college said it will be the only Maine college “delivering an educational suite of courses that provide such a high level of proficiency-based instruction and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) models.”

The Thomas center will be “a world-class (virtual and physical) environment that establishes the institution as a regional and, ultimately, global hub of technological distinction and innovation,” according to the release.

Maine high schools are required to implement proficiency-based — or standards-based — curriculum by 2018. The curriculum is based on students mastering concepts and skills before moving along, rather than advancing because of their age or grade level.

“In response to this mandate, Thomas will prepare classroom-ready education graduates to successfully meet this requirement,” the release said.

The college said the program comes with “a significant philanthropic investment from the Lunder Foundation,” which is a Portland-based private foundation that supports education, the arts and health care.

More details about the program will be released at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in a news conference at the school featuring Thomas President Laurie Lachance and representatives from the Lunder Foundation. Thomas, a private school with about 1,000 undergraduates, describes itself as a “career-oriented college committed to preparing its undergraduates for careers in all forms of business, technology, criminal justice, psychology and education.”

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