WABI (Channel 5) reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture have awarded a $150,000 research grant to the University of Maine to help fund the university’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The project aims to develop a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method to better understand food-borne pathogens, according to the report. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced the award in a press release. “Federal funding is crucial to supporting our university system and this announcement is great news for the University of Maine. Their continued exemplary research and the advancements these programs produce are an important contribution to the Maine economy,” the senators said in a joint statement. The full release is online.
Gretchen Faulkner, director of the University of Maine Hudson Museum, was heralded in a Yahoo Sports piece for her efforts in loaning the museum’s transformation mask that inspired the Seattle Seahawks logo to the Burke Museum at the University of Seattle. A Kwakwaka’wakw (kwock-KWOCKY-wowk) artist or artists carved the cedar mask in the late 19th or early 20th century. Kwakwaka’wakw is an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Faulkner, a New England Patriots fan, said that for years she showed off what she refers to as the Seahawks mask. “I wouldn’t get much response,” Faulkner said. “People were Patriot fans, so they were like, ‘Yeah, sure.’” Interest in the mask has increased considerably since it was unveiled Nov. 18 at a welcome ceremony at the Burke, which included Kwakwaka’wakw community members George Me’las Taylor and Andy Tanis Everson, as well as former Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn. The Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks square off Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX.
Roy Ulrickson III, a graduate student in his final year of the University of Maine’s Master of Social Work program, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Equal opportunity: Why the state should pick up 100% of school costs.” Ulrickson of Dexter has worked in education since 2006.
James Breece, an economics professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed for a China Daily USA article about the Maine International Trade Center (MITC) recently opening an office in Shanghai. The office will focus on foreign direct investment, according to the article. Breece, who teaches a Chinese economy course and has traveled to China many times, said the Chinese don’t know much about Maine because of its size and remote location. He said the Shanghai office will educate the Chinese more about the state and can work to improve tourism, as well as the state’s economic activity with China, including through biomedicine, optical instruments, pharmaceuticals and real estate. “The opportunities in education are endless,” Breece said. “Our educational system particularly is already attracting a great number of Chinese students.”
Brooke Lyons-Justus, a University of Maine sophomore, was quoted in a Bangor Daily News article about the University of Maine System board of trustees voting to partially divest from investments in the coal industry. The decision makes the university the first land grant, higher-education institution in the country to cut fossil fuel from its portfolio, according to the report. Lyons-Justus is a student advocate with Divest UMaine, which is part of a national movement calling on higher education institutions to divest from fossil fuels, the article states. As part of a public comment before the vote, Lyons-Justus said divestment advocates are a concerned group of people who have invested in the university and will play an important role in the planet’s future. “The risk [of divestment] is low, but the message is strong,” she said.
Designing a container to assist a University of Maine Climate Change Institute professor with research is the focus of a UMaine 4-H Science Saturday workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 14 at Edward T. Bryand Global Sciences Center on campus.
Youth in grades 6–8 will build a canister to keep ice core samples gleaned from the Peruvian Andes frozen and intact for research. Participants also will tour the Sawyer Environmental Research Center. And, after lunch, youth will have the option to swim at the pool in the New Balance Student Recreation Center.
The $15 fee includes the science program and lunch; the optional swim is $3. Registration materials are available online. Maximum enrollment is 20; Feb. 6 is the deadline to register. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessica Brainerd, 581.3877.
Nominations are being accepted for the 2015 Barbara Hikel Retiree Award, established in memory of an exemplary University of Maine employee who stayed involved with the university for many years after her retirement. The award goes to a UMaine retiree who provides extraordinary voluntary service to the university. The award will be presented at the 2015 President’s Council of Retired Employees Homecoming. The recipient of the Barbara Hikel Award must be a university retiree (at least 10 years of service and age 55 or older). Typically, those eligible will have retired at least three years before their nomination for the award. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a nomination form.
The University of Maine Humanities Center has organized a screening of Selma on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 6:20 p.m., at Bangor Mall Cinemas on Stillwater Avenue. The general admission cost for the screening will include a brief discussion by historians Nathan Godfried of the University of Maine and Dave Haus of Husson University. For more information, contact Liam Riordan, director of the UMaine Humanities Center, 581.1913.
The University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) has entered into a new agreement with the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Maine MEP) that will expand the center’s capacity, Maine MEP announced.
The partnership, which will place a Maine MEP project manager at AMC, will promote closer collaboration between the organizations with the goal of enhancing the services available to manufacturers in the state, according to a Maine MEP news release.
Forest Wentworth, a UMaine graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology, has been hired as the MEP/AMC project manager. Wentworth will provide research, design and manufacturing services to private sector clients and will serve as Maine MEP’s liaison with AMC, the release states.
“This partnership expands the capacity of AMC to offer engineering and manufacturing solutions to Maine companies,” says John Belding, director of AMC.
Belding said although Wentworth will be mainly responsible for supervising projects in the AMC machine and fabrication shop, he will also contribute to outreach efforts by regularly visiting manufacturers around the state to promote the center’s services.
The Maine MEP is a program of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The full release is online.
The University of Maine is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 with events on campus and statewide, and an interactive website to encourage community engagement by the many constituents of the state’s land and sea grant university.
In a Jan. 23 letter to the community, UMaine President Susan Hunter noted the significance of this anniversary for the state and its many constituents — an opportunity to celebrate UMaine’s legacy and to understand how that history informs the university’s future.
“The University of Maine’s 150th anniversary observance will reaffirm the teaching, research and economic development, and outreach mission of a 21st-century land grant institution, and its potential to change lives,” President Hunter said in her community letter.
“For 150 years, the University of Maine has had a leadership role in the state. Because Maine’s potential is our purpose, UMaine serves as the state’s major research and cultural hub, linking our resources with the needs of industries and businesses, schools, cultural institutions, Maine government and communities. In this, our 150th year, there is more recognition than ever that the land grant university can — and must — play a key role in enhancing the quality of life for citizens all across Maine and beyond,” Hunter said.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Morrill Act establishing the land grant mission with the goal to provide “practical education that had direct relevance” to people’s daily lives.
The Maine legislature passed a bill to create Maine’s land grant institution on Feb. 24, 1865. Gov. Samuel Cony signed it the next day.
The first board of trustees, chaired by Hannibal Hamlin of Bangor, addressed the Maine people three months later, noting that “it is by the union of scientific knowledge with physical industry, that labor becomes most productive, and the laborer gains.”
UMaine welcomed its first class of 12 students in September 1868; the first graduation was held in 1872.
Today, UMaine enrolls more than 11,200 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Maine and the U.S., and more than 65 countries, and has more than 105,000 alumni worldwide.
UMaine’s 150th anniversary events began with the School of Performing Arts benefit production, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine,” Jan 23.
Other 150th celebration events during this anniversary year:
- University of Maine Day at the State House in Augusta, Feb. 24 — the date 150 years ago that the Maine legislature passed the bill creating the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
- Women in Leadership Week, March 23–27, featuring a Presidential Installation on March 26, Collins Center for the Arts.
- Maine Day, April 29.
- Commencement, May 9.
- Open University Day and Homecoming, Oct. 17–18.
More information about these and other anniversary events will be on the 150th website.
The 150th website provides news, archival photos and historical information, and opportunities for members of the UMaine community and its many constituents to share their memories of the university.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
University of Maine marine scientist Pete Jumars was quoted in a ScienceInsider article about a report on the future of ocean research that was recently released by a National Research Council (NRC) panel. The report calls for cutting spending on major ocean infrastructure, such as new ships and fixed seafloor observatories, in order to increase available funding for research, which has been on the decline, the article states. Jumars said bolting expensive equipment in specific places makes less sense now than in the past, due to advances in technology and especially “at a time when oceanographic processes are undergoing tremendous, rapid, climatic spatial shifts.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the third annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day, hosted by the University of Maine Humanities Center. Program events for all ages highlighted the arts, literature and history at community venues including the University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum. Liam Riordan, a UMaine history professor, board member of the Maine Humanities Council and director of the UMaine Humanities Center, said the day offers a chance to take the humanities out of the classroom and into the community to engage the public more effectively. He added that the diverse group of participants made the day a success.
The University of Maine was mentioned in a Mainebiz article about companies in Greater Portland that are finding creative solutions to attract new and talented employees. Kepware Technologies, a communications software company, plans to increase its staff by one third in 2015, according to the article. UMaine’s Electrical Engineering Department, has been a steady source of junior-level talent for the company, which funds three scholarships and hosts five paid summer internships each year, the article states. Kepware’s president told Mainebiz the relationship with UMaine allows the company to get to know the students, and for the students to get to know Kepware. Company officials also sit on UMaine’s advisory board, so they can provide curriculum advice and ensure that students have the skills they need to work in current and emerging markets, the article states.
The Portland Press Herald spoke with Robert Steneck, a marine scientist at the University of Maine, for the article, “As the scallop fishery rebounds, divers hope for a break.” Steneck spoke about the early days of diving for scallops, which began in the 1970s, as an alternative to dragging. “Back then I was not alone in thinking this resource seemed almost unlimited and as far as the eye could see,” Steneck said. “Obviously I was dead wrong about that.” He said both methods of harvesting scallops can disrupt the environment. Steneck said he doesn’t see a perfect way of going forward, but he likes the approach the Department of Marine Resources has been taking, the article states.
James Wilson, a University of Maine marine sciences professor, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News editorial, “Regulations have done little to boost cod in Gulf of Maine: Lobster management offers clear direction.” According to the editorial, regulators craft uniform rules to cover vast areas of the ocean; as if the ocean is a uniform ecosystem. “The Gulf of Maine is a very diverse place,” Wilson said. “Down East Maine, it’s totally different from Casco Bay, and Casco Bay is totally different from Gloucester and from Provincetown. When we manage fish, we treat all those areas as if they were the same.”
WVII (Channel 7) reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting a workshop in Dover-Foxcroft that will offer tips and techniques on how to reach out to potential customers of agricultural products. Extension educator Donna Coffin will lead the workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 11.
Due to the predicted snowstorm, the University of Maine Career Center has postponed its 17th annual UMaine Career Fair. The fair, which was previously scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 28, is now scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 11. The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New Balance Student Recreation Center. All previous employer registrations will be honored. More information, including a list of participating employers, is available online or by contacting Patty Counihan at email@example.com or 581.1355.
The William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce at the University of Maine has been renamed the William S. Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service. The new name better captures the broad range of interdisciplinary initiatives it has been involved with in recent years.
The Cohen Institute is designed to model and promote leadership and public service through programs that reflect and honor the legacy of Secretary Cohen’s extraordinary record of service to the people of Maine and the nation. A central focus of the institute is to provide a forum for the civil, thoughtful and serious discussion of a range of contemporary public affairs issues.
The Cohen Center, established in 1997, has sponsored a number of UMaine programs, including its signature biennial William S. Cohen Lecture Series. The William S. Cohen Papers were donated to Fogler Library in 1996. The Cohen Institute will continue these important programs, including its focus on national and international policy issues.
University of Maine Provost Jeffrey Hecker has appointed political science professor Richard Powell to serve as director of the Cohen Institute until June 30, 2015. One of Powell’s primary goals is to enhance the Cohen Institute’s collaborations with a broad range of programs on campus with similar interests and missions.
Kirsten Jacobson, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Maine, is connecting her students with members of the community in efforts to promote the humanities among residents of various ages.
In 2009, Jacobson created the service-learning program Philosophy Across the Ages to supplement her teaching while serving the public. The outreach program brings UMaine undergraduates together with high school students and retirement community members through discussions of philosophy texts.
Program participants join voluntarily and share a “desire to discuss serious questions of philosophy and examine how they are relevant to everyday life,” Jacobson says.
The project gives Jacobson’s students the opportunity to lead a class discussion, connects local high school students with a university experience, and engages retirement community members to engaging discussions with younger members of their community, Jacobson says.
In the 2013–2014 academic year, 10 UMaine undergraduate students participated in the program, visiting Orono High School and Dirigo Pines, a retirement community in Orono. So far in the 2014–2015 academic year, seven UMaine undergraduate students and 15 Orono High School students have participated, according to Jacobson.
On Jan. 24, undergraduate and high school members of Philosophy Across the Ages will join Jacobson at the Bangor Public Library to host a “Philosophy Tea” as part of the University of Maine Humanities Center’s third annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day. The gathering will involve a discussion of a selection from Edith Cobb’s “The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood.”
Jacobson also is working to create a University of Maine–Orono High School Humanities Collaboration to find creative ways to bring together faculty and students at UMaine and the high school with community members around shared interests in the humanities, she says.
“We envision this project to have a number of stages, and are aiming to establish some form of permanent programing connecting our two campuses and the surrounding community through the humanities,” Jacobson says, adding she hopes the relationship will produce humanities-based collaborative events such as co-taught seminars, workshops and presentations.
Jonathan Rubin, a professor of resource economics and policy at the University of Maine, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) for a report about low gas prices and how it affects the average consumer. “We all rejoice when we go to the pump now, right? We’re paying about two bucks a gallon, which is about half of what it was just a year ago,” Rubin said. “So if you’re cutting that cost in half, the savings are going to be hundreds, maybe four or five hundred dollars would be what a family is going to see in savings. It’s real savings.” He also warned that the low cost may not last. “We probably are close to the bottom of prices, and we would expect them to rise,” Rubin said.