David Neivandt, associate vice president for research and graduate studies and director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering at the University of Maine, was cited in a MaineToday Media story about the state lagging behind in hiring foreign technology workers. The story reported that, despite a shortage of technically skilled professionals in Maine, businesses have, for the most part, not utilized the federal H-1B visa program that allows them to hire foreign guest workers with expertise in science, medicine, computers and engineering. Colleges and universities in Maine appear to be the exception. Neivandt said that in 2001, when he came to the U.S. from Australia, he obtained a visa in a few months. One major drawback, he said, is that spouses may not work unless they obtain their own H-1B visas.
In his Jan. 12 online edition of the Minnesota-based Star Tribune, meteorologist Paul Douglas used the University of Maine Climate Change Institute’s Climate Reanalyzer’s Global Forecast System Model. The Climate Reanalyzer indicated the Gopher State would come out of the deep freeze and have several days with temperatures in the 30s.
The Rockland-based Courier Gazette carried a story about Don Shields being named the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s Maine Sportscaster of the Year. Shields, who calls University of Maine women’s basketball games for Learfield Sports/Black Bear Sports Properties, also has called area high school basketball contests for 30 years.
Wabanaki reconciliation will be the focus of a keynote address at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast on Jan. 19, sponsored by the Greater Bangor Area NAACP and the University of Maine.
Doors open at 8 a.m. in UMaine’s Wells Conference Center. Tickets are $20; $12.50 for children 12 and under; free for students with a MaineCard. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance. Early ticket purchase is recommended (umaine.edu/multicultural). For ticket information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.4095.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast will open with welcoming remarks by Michael Alpert, president of the Greater Bangor Area NAACP; UMaine President Susan Hunter; and UMaine Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana.
Keynote speakers Esther Attean and Denise Altvater will speak on “Truth, Healing and Change: Maine-Wabanaki Reconciliation.” Attean and Altvater are the advisers to the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
Attean, a member of the Passamaquoddy Nation, co-directs Maine-Wabanaki REACH and is a training specialist with the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, working with young people transitioning out of foster care. Attean was part of the Indian Child Welfare Act Training Workgroup and for seven years worked for the Penobscot Nation Department of Human Services, providing family support and community program development services.
Altvater is the youth outreach and education coordinator of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, and directs Maine’s Wabanaki Youth Program of the American Friends Service Committee. She is the Passamaquoddy representative to the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission and is the Wabanaki liaison on the Board of Overseers for the Maine State Prison. For decades, she has worked to create a support and communication network for Native communities in the region.
Other community leaders expected to participate in the King Breakfast include gkisedtanmoogk, a commissioner with the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission; and Mother Marguerite A.H. Steadman of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bangor.
For more information about the breakfast, call 207.581.1406.
Michael Alpert is the newly named president of the Greater Bangor Area NAACP. Alpert directs the University of Maine Press in Orono, a division of UMaine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library.
The Greater Bangor Area NAACP holds monthly meetings and special programs on issues of concern to the civil rights community. More information is available by calling 207.548.2081.
Applications are now open for the Communicating Science 2015 Workshop (http://comscicon.com/apply-comscicon15), to be held in Cambridge, MA on June 18-20th, 2015. Graduate students at US institutions in all fields of science and engineering are encouraged to apply. The application will close on March 1st. Acceptance to the workshop is competitive; attendance of the workshop is free and travel support will be provided to accepted applicants. Participants will build the communication skills that scientists and other technical professionals need to express complex ideas to their peers, experts in other fields, and the general public.
There will be panel discussions on the following topics:
- Communicating with Non-Scientific Audiences
- Science Communication in Popular Culture
- Communicating as a Science Advocate
- Multimedia Communication for Scientists
- Addressing Diversity through Communication
In addition to these discussions, ample time is allotted for interacting with the experts and with attendees from throughout the country to discuss science communication and develop science outreach collaborations. Workshop participants will produce an original piece of science writing and receive feedback from workshop attendees and professional science communicators, including journalists, authors, public policy advocates, educators, and more.
University of Maine Marine Extension associates are involved in emerging efforts to develop aquaculture for American eel. Last October, scientists, eel biologists, eel merchants, entrepreneurs and government regulators attended a workshop on the eel industry sponsored by the USDA Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center and organized by Barry Costa-Pierce (University of New England), Michael Timmons (Cornell University), Dana Morse (Maine Sea Grant) and David MacNeill (New York Sea Grant). Despite complications resulting from the potential listing of American eel as an endangered species, workshop participants concluded that the development of a local industry would benefit both wild fishermen and aquaculture entrepreneurs. Discussions will continue at the Northeast Aquaculture Conference and Exposition (Jan. 14–16 in Portland, Maine) and the Maine Fishermen’s Forum (March 5–7 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine).
Farms.com reported Jim Dwyer, a crops specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will give a talk at the 74th Maine Agricultural Trades Show set for Jan. 13–15 at the Augusta Civic Center. Dwyer is scheduled to do a presentation on potato pest management on Jan. 13. Since 1941, the annual show has offered a place for agriculture producers and consumers to experience a variety of exhibitors, meetings, seminars and activities related to farming, according to the article.
Applications are due Feb. 19 for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Program that starts March 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the UMaine Extension Piscataquis County office, 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Live video conferencing of the training will be provided at Extension offices in Skowhegan, Fort Kent, Presque Isle and Houlton.
UMaine Extension educators and other experts will provide 48 hours of research-based horticulture training over 16 weeks. Classroom and hands-on instruction will be included. The program will focus on ornamentals, garden vegetables, small fruits and fruit trees. Topics include soil science, composting and fertilizing, botany, growing nightshade vegetables, plant health and other aspects of plant management. After successful program completion, each Master Gardener Volunteer is expected to provide 40 hours of assistance to a community gardening project.
The $220 fee is due the first day of class; limited partial scholarships are available. For more information, or to request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.564.3301, 800.287.1491 (in Maine), TDD 800.287.8957. The application and more information also are available online.
The Bangor Daily News reported Bangor’s Business and Economic Development Committee approved a $1,000 Individual Artist Grant that could allow a 10-foot-tall “monumental fiberglass buoy-like floating sculpture” to be anchored in the Kenduskeag Stream in downtown Bangor this summer. The buoy, created by Eastport artist Anna Helper, will be part of her exhibition on display from June through September at the University of Maine Museum of Art, which is located next to the Kenduskeag Stream between Central and State streets, according to the article. Helper told the BDN she hopes the piece will draw people to the museum.
Peer-reviewed studies by University of Maine economics professor Todd Gabe were mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “Waterfront Concerts poised for biggest year to date, promoter tells Bangor business gathering.” Since the concert series began in 2010, it has held 75 events along the banks of the Penobscot River, according to the article. Gabe’s studies found that in the first four seasons, the concerts contributed an estimated $47.5 million to the Bangor area economy, and that contribution has grown each year, the article states. The BDN report also was carried by the Sun Journal and cited by Mainebiz.
A free informational meeting for current and interested elderberry growers will be held 1–3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls.
Tori Lee Jackson, UMaine Extension educator and associate professor of agriculture and natural resources, and David Handley, UMaine Extension vegetable and small fruit specialist, will facilitate.
Topics will include elderberry growers’ experiences and potential future needs, management practices and challenges, research-based information on elderberries as a potential production crop and insurance programs that cover elderberries.
For more information, to make a reservation, or to request a disability accommodation, contact KymNoelle Sposato, 207.353.5550, email@example.com.
The University of Maine is one of 240 colleges and universities in the United States selected to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
UMaine and 156 other institutions received reclassification; 83 colleges and universities received first-time classification.
In 2008, UMaine and Bates College were the first two institutions in Maine to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The 2015 reclassification is valid until 2025.
Today, five colleges and universities in Maine — UMaine, Bates, Saint Joseph’s College, Unity College and the University of Maine at Machias — are among the 361 institutions nationwide that have achieved the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation.
“Community engagement is an institutional priority that is critical to helping meet the needs of communities in Maine and beyond,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter. “Since its inception, UMaine has been committed to public service as part of its statewide land grant mission. Today, community engagement is an important component of the UMaine student experience, and more integral than ever to our research and economic development initiatives.
“This reclassification by the Carnegie Foundation recognizing our commitment to community engagement is a fitting tribute to UMaine’s 150-year legacy that we’re celebrating in 2015.”
The Community Engagement Classification recognizes those colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement. Unlike the other Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education that rely on national data, the Community Engagement distinction requires colleges and universities to voluntarily submit materials documenting their community engagement.
In order to be selected, the colleges and universities provided descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. For reclassification, UMaine and the other institutions also had to provide evidence that the ongoing community engagement has become “deeper, more pervasive, better integrated and sustained.”
In UMaine’s application to the Carnegie Foundation, numerous university-community partnerships and projects were highlighted. University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Sea Grant, all six colleges and many university centers were represented, demonstrating the range and depth of the university’s commitment to engagement, according to Claire Sullivan, associate dean for community engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Several efforts are geared toward the creation of collaborative networks across disciplines, institutions and state organizations.
Partnerships include collaborations with local schools, as well as those that work toward the promotion of the arts and humanities. For example, one cultural project called Tree and Tradition featured a collaboration with the Hudson Museum, the Native American Studies Program, the School of Forest Resources and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, whose mission is to preserve the ancient tradition of brown ash and sweetgrass basketry among Maine’s tribes.
UMaine’s community partnerships also serve an economic development function. That includes the Foster Center for Student Innovation, which has a leadership role in the Blackstone Accelerates Growth internship project.
The university has placed an emphasis on aiding the people of Maine through projects devoted to youth, the elderly, families and diverse populations, as well as tackling important societal and health-related issues, such a hunger, autism spectrum disorders and substance abuse. Cooperative Extension, UMaine’s largest outreach component, has a presence in every county, putting research to work in homes, businesses, farms and communities.
UMaine also has focused on its natural resources through such initiatives as Sea Grant’s Marine Extension Team, linking coastal communities with scientists to address pressing issues, and the Cooperative Forestry Resource Unit, working with Maine’s forest landowners to ensure effective public policy and sustainable forest management practices. The university has been instrumental in developing alternative energies research, education and partnerships, and connects knowledge with action through the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, promoting strong economies, vibrant communities and healthy ecosystems in Maine and beyond.
At UMaine, community engagement is integral to the student experience. Student participation in the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism programs has increased 192 percent in the past three years, with 5,975 students completing 19,400 service hours in 2013. Students are involved in service-learning courses, music and theater ensembles, Alternative Breaks, Engineers Without Borders, sustainable agriculture projects, Black Bear Mentors and the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps, to name a few.
“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”
Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, noted that, in this first reclassification process, there is “renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices, and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”
A news release about the Carnegie Foundation’s 2015 Community Engagement Classification is online.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
A first-year elementary education major at the University of Maine has been awarded this year’s Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Writing Prize for his essay, “Reconciliation.”
John Dennis of Bangor, Maine, will receive $500 for his award-winning essay. He will read his essay and be presented with his award at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast, Jan. 19 at the University of Maine.
Dennis is a storyteller and musician. Before joining the UMaine community, he served as cultural director for the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.
This year, the peace writing competition, sponsored by the Wilson Center in Orono and open to all UMaine students, focused on the topic of forgiveness and reconciliation as defined by Desmond Tutu. The contest is named in honor of Dorothy Clarke Wilson, an internationally known peacemaker who was committed to writing on social issues and world peace.
Honorable mentions this year by author and essay: Michael Bailey, “The Celebrated Genocide: Manifest Destiny and Native Peoples”; Berkay Payal, “Road to ‘Paradiso’: Forgiveness”; John Peters, “In the Eye of a Storm”; Olga Remesha, “My Tribe Surrounded by My Heart”; and Anna Weigang, “Metamorphosis.”
The Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Writing Prize is awarded each year by the Wilson Center, whose mission is to offer opportunities for spiritual growth to UMaine students, to work for social justice and to honor diversity. More information about the Wilson Center is online.
An ecology blog co-written by Brian McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling at the University of Maine, was named the fourth most read science blog, according to a University of Michigan news release. “From the Lab Bench, a blog about all things science,” in association with nature.com, recently conducted a survey to identify the most influential science blogs and bloggers, the release states. McGill’s blog, “Dynamic Ecology,” was ranked the fourth most read among 600 respondents. McGill maintains the blog with Meg Duffy, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, and Jeremy Fox, an associate professor of population ecology at the University of Calgary.
Richard Kersbergen, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator on sustainable dairy and forage systems, was interviewed for a Current Publishing article on a Freeport farm’s new Organic Farmer Training Program and a unique piece of milking equipment it may use. While on sabbatical, Kersbergen has been working on the Wolfe’s Neck Farm training program that aims to open doors for people interested in organic dairy farming in Maine, according to the article. He said he hopes to help bring a portable milking parlor to the farm. The equipment isn’t used in the country, but is used in Europe, according to Kersbergen, who saw it in use in Holland and Germany. “The idea is, we import one as a model for a startup farmer to use,” he said. “The idea is to increase the number of organic dairy farmers. There are lots of startup expenses. This equipment could be transferable from farm to farm, for a dairy farmer whose lease arrangement might not work out.”
Bruce Hoskins, assistant scientist of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Sun Journal column that listed 10 things to get excited about this year. Hoskins remarked on the U.N. General Assembly naming 2015 the International Year of Soils. “People just kind of take it for granted. It really is the foundation for all plant production, food production,” said Hoskins, whose lab annually tests 15,000 soil samples then suggests how to improve crop production.
Robert Steneck, a marine scientist at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for an article about the conflict over efforts to reopen part of Cashes Ledge, a protected Gulf of Maine fishing ground. Fishermen say access to the area will help them survive tight groundfishing regulations, while conservationists say the rare ecosystem should be left alone, according to the article. Steneck, who traveled to Cashes Ledge annually in the 1980s and 1990s, said he was amazed by the amount of fish in the area, but has witnessed a significant decline in abundance during that time because fishermen began targeting the area, the article states. Steneck told the Press Herald that Cashes Ledge is as an example of “an ecosystem past” that is largely gone from New England after centuries of commercial fishing. “These local stocks are very fragile and I think we have extirpated most of them along the Gulf of Maine,” he said.
The University of Maine Museum of Art will benefit from a fall 2014 Tourism Enterprise Marketing Grant, according to the Portland Press Herald. The Maine Office of Tourism recently announced eight recipients for the grants that aim to support tourism marketing projects in 2015 that will increase visitor traffic to Maine, the article states. The Maine Art Museum Trail, which UMMA is a member, will receive $8,591. The trail is a collaborative of eight art museums that plans to rebrand since it’s initial development in 1997. The funding will go toward efforts such as creating a new brochure, an updated map and distribution of those products, according to the Press Herald.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release advancing a student-run concert that will celebrate UMaine’s 150th anniversary and serve as a School of Performing Arts fundraiser. “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine” will feature performances by a full big band, string orchestra and singing groups, as well as 13 featured vocal soloists. More than 75 students will bring to the stage selections from the Great American Songbook during the Jan. 23 concert at the Collins Center for the Arts. Proceeds benefit the UMaine School of Performing Arts student initiatives and outreach programs. Music Industry Today also posted the release.
Videos created by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension were mentioned in a Caledonian-Record article about pruning fruit trees. The best time to prune tree fruit and small fruit, such as berries, is late winter to early spring while the plants are dormant, according to the article. The article stated UMaine Extension “has a couple of great videos for pruning blueberries and apples,” and included a link to the videos.