AUGUSTA – Two students from the other side of the international date line will enroll in classes at the University of Maine at Augusta in the coming weeks, but they won’t have far to travel.

The students are the first of 50 to 100 from the islands of Micronesia who are expected to enroll in UMA’s information and library services program over the next five years. They will begin when the new semester starts in the coming weeks.

“We’re eager to see how this evolves and how it develops, but I think it’s got a lot of good promise,” said Jodi Williams, the UMA professor who coordinates the 270-student, online program that now has students from across Maine and the United States.

The students from Palau, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and other Pacific islands will enroll in the program through an agreement between UMA and Palau Community College.

Other pacts are in the works involving UMA and Pacific island colleges.

“It’s going to grow pretty quickly,” Williams said.

On Thursday, Williams returned from a trip to Palau that gave her a chance to introduce UMA’s library services program to university officials, professors and students.

Williams also continued her work helping Palau Community College move its library services program online, to make it more widely available on the thousands of islands that make up Micronesia.

“It was sort of surreal and fantastical,” Williams said of her trip, her first to the island nation and the first time she met Palauan colleagues with whom she’d communicated for months.

The library services program in Augusta is among the only bachelor’s-level programs of its kind in the United States, in a field that often requires master’s degrees.