The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece titled “How did Maine towns, cities respond to state funding cuts? With reduced spending, higher taxes, more debt,” by Emily Shaw, an assistant professor of political science at Thomas College in Waterville. The complete version of the article first appeared in Maine Policy Review, published by the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine has received a 2013 Exemplary Program Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) for its 22 years of commitment to community engagement.
Each year through a competitive proposal process to receive the $20,000 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, four-year public universities are recognized for outreach and engagement efforts by the C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award and the Engagement Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award, sponsored by APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium. Dr. Lu Zeph, associate provost, dean of lifelong learning, and director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Dr. Claire Sullivan, associate dean for community engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, prepared the proposal for consideration.
UMaine was among eight universities nationwide honored for exemplary proposals for the Engagement Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award. Finalists for the 2013 C. Peter Magrath Award were the Young Scholars Program at Ohio State University, the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program at Pennsylvania State University, the Nuestra Case Initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso and the McCall Outdoor Science School at the University of Idaho. The awards were presented at the 14th Annual Conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Oct. 8 at Texas Tech University. The recipient of the 2013 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award — Ohio State University — was honored at the national APLU Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 12.
University of Maine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron has pledged for the third consecutive year to shave his head if Black Bear fans contribute $10,000 for women’s cancer research.
If the goal is reached, Barron will be bald following UMaine’s Play 4Kay game with the Bearcats of Binghamton University on Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Sandra Kay Yow, the inspiration for Play 4Kay, coached women’s basketball for 34 years at North Carolina State University and earned more than 700 wins (737–344) during her 38-year collegiate coaching career. Yow also guided the 1988 gold medal-winning U.S. women’s basketball team and in 2002 was inducted into the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Yow died in January 2009 during her third battle with breast cancer.
Annually, as part of Play 4Kay, coaches across the country raise breast cancer awareness and money for research. Since 2007, Play 4Kay has raised more than $2.5 million. UMaine fans have contributed just shy of $17,000 to that total. In 2012, Barron shaved his head after fans donated $10,277. Last year, the Black Bear community raised $6,678.
Barron said he admired Yow and is honored to participate in the effort. Barron was an assistant coach for the NC State women’s basketball squad for two seasons following Yow’s death.
“Few coaches have had such an impact, not just with her players but with her peers as well,” Barron says. “Kay was incredibly brave, determined, positive and grounded. During her very long and public battle with breast cancer, and after watching her friend and fellow NC State basketball coach, Jim Valvano die of cancer, Kay decided that she would help start this charity to raise money and awareness for breast cancer and cancer research. I am very excited about having Maine participate in this cause.”
To donate, visit play4kay.org/faf/teams/groupTeamStats.asp?ievent=1081067 and search for Maine Black Bears.
Russian cellist Alexander Lvovich Volpov will be the guest performer at the University of Maine School of Performing Arts faculty concert Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Minsky Recital Hall.
Volpov, born in Sverdlovsk, Russia and educated at Sverdlovsk School for Musically Gifted Children, will join UMaine music professor Phillip Silver on stage. Volpov will play violoncello and Silver will play piano. The recital will include works by Boccherini, Davydov, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Rachmaninoff, and will feature “Sonata for Cello and Piano” by Rachmaninoff.
Volpov is principal cellist of the Northern Ballet Theatre Orchestra and has been guest principal cellist with the Scottish Opera and London Concert Orchestra, among others.
Silver has performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall in London; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Scotland; Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany; Mozarteum in Salzburg; and Henry Crown Symphony Hall in Jerusalem.
Admission is $9, free with a valid student MaineCard. For tickets, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1755. Tickets also may be purchased at the door one hour prior to the show.
Dr. Jeff Hecker, University of Maine Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, is enthusiastic about his role in facilitating implementation of the Blue Sky Plan — the university’s blueprint to become a nationwide leader among America’s research universities in student success, achievement and community engagement.
UMaine President Paul Ferguson named Hecker to this position in July. He replaces Susan Hunter, who was named Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the University of Maine System.
Provost Hecker, the former Dean of the UMaine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says his challenge is to manage the day-to-day operations of the Academic Affairs division while keeping an eye on the big picture — communicating long-range, mission-driven goals, and moving Blue Sky Plan initiatives forward in collaboration with faculty, other Cabinet members and the broader UMaine community.
Hecker describes the Blue Sky Plan unveiled in October 2011 as unified, ambitious, focused and inclusive. He is primarily focused on those initiatives that relate to the academic affairs agenda that are integral to each of the five major Blue Sky Pathways.
“The heart of UMaine’s mission is undergraduate education. As we pursue our research, community engagement and graduate education goals, we can’t lose sight of that core mission,” he says. “The beauty of the Blue Sky Plan is that it is at once aspirational and pragmatic. We are committed to growth as Maine’s land grant research university and equally committed to pursue excellence in our core mission.”
Provost Hecker and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Jeff St. John are leading the campus in addressing a number of the Blue Sky Strategic Initiatives related to academic affairs. The newly reconstituted University Teaching Council and several Blue Sky Advisory Teams are assisting them in addressing a number of priority issues.
Faculty Development is at the top of the list. Those initiatives include promotion of best practices in the classroom, labs and studios, creating faculty development opportunities for the more than 100 adjunct faculty UMaine employs every year, enhancing online teaching quality, and launching the new Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program to develop the next generation of faculty leaders and university spokespeople.
Due to significant enrollment increases, particularly in engineering and sciences, Provost Hecker is also exploring a new initiative to bring postdoctoral fellows to UMaine as Visiting Assistant Professors.
During their two- to-three-year fixed-length appointments, the visiting faculty will hone their teaching and research skills to prepare themselves for careers in academia. At the same time, they will help address the need for high-quality instruction in high-demand areas, such as mathematics, English and laboratory sciences.
The idea, Hecker says, is to create opportunities that benefit both the postdoctoral faculty member and UMaine. “These positions could be an important piece of the puzzle,” Hecker says. “We are exploring cost-effective ways of meeting our students’ needs for quality, innovative instruction.”
A second Blue Sky emphasis for Provost Hecker is student success. He is leading a multipronged approach to improve the four- and six-year graduation rates by 10 percent by 2017. “Relative to our peers, we do well,” he says, adding that UMaine’s four-year graduation rate is about 40 percent and its six-year rate is about 60 percent. “But we can do better.”
An advisory group is gathering data about factors that impact whether students remain enrolled, including affordability; timely access to courses they need; and quality of their campus experience.
Dr. St. John, says Provost Hecker, is also working on the UMaine Blue Sky Plan Pathway 2 initiative to improve annual student retention by 5 percent by 2017. From 2011–12, UMaine succeeded in that effort — 81 percent of the 2012 cohort of first-time, full-time students stayed in school, which was a 5 percent improvement from the 2011 cohort, according to the University of Maine Office of Institutional Research. The challenge is to maintain that improvement.
Lastly, Provost Hecker and Faculty Senate President Harlan Onsrud are working collaboratively to create a process of inventorying UMaine’s academic programs to better define UMaine’s strengths and opportunities. By jointly hosting Academic Affairs Faculty Forums in which faculty members discuss academic initiatives and how to best advance strategic goals, the university is engaging in an open process that will help to guide investments central to future success.
“It’s fantastic having an opportunity like this,” Hecker says. “This is my 28th year of employment here and I am thrilled to be in a leadership role, helping UMaine achieve its goals.”
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The Associated Press, Bangor Daily News, WVII (Channel 7), Kennebec Journal, WLBZ (Channel 2) and Portland Press Herald were among news organizations to report that Karlton Creech has been named the University of Maine’s director of athletics. UMaine President Paul Ferguson named Creech to the position, effective Feb. 10. Creech is currently the senior associate director of athletics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The San Francisco Chronicle, News & Observer, Boston.com, Seacoast Online, MPBN, Ocala Star-Banner and Winston-Salem Journal carried the AP report.
The December 2013 issue of Impact, a Maine State Chamber of Commerce publication, featured an article on the University of Maine’s involvement with the Maine Invention Convention. The event is a statewide competition that promotes problem solving and inventing by students in grades five through eight throughout the school year and ends with the statewide contest hosted by UMaine in May. The next two issues of Impact are expected to include articles on more of UMaine’s innovation, research and economic development initiatives.
Michael “Mick” Peterson’s recent trip to Turkey to consult with the six major race tracks of the Jockey Club of Turkey was the subject of a story by a horse racing columnist Kadir Kiygir. Since 2004, the UMaine professor of mechanical engineering has contracted with track owners and racing industry leaders to test the strength, stability and water-retaining qualities of natural and synthetic track surfaces in an effort to improve safety for horses and jockeys. The Orono-based Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory founded by Peterson is working with the Jockey Club in the U.S. to develop a database of surface-testing analyses and records of track maintenance and injuries, both human and equine.
The Bangor Daily News reported that for the third year in a row, University of Maine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron has announced he will shave his head after his team’s annual Play4Kay game Feb. 9 if the community raises $10,000 for the Kay Yow Foundation to support breast cancer research. Play4Kay is named after Yow, a longtime North Carolina State women’s coach, who died of breast cancer in 2009.
Nearly 90 musicians and vocalists will take the stage Friday, Jan. 17 when the University of Maine School of Performing Arts presents the student-directed production, “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics.”
The 7:30 p.m. event in Hauck Auditorium, directed by UMaine music education senior Ben McNaboe of Yarmouth, will showcase a full symphony orchestra of nearly 50 musicians and 40 vocalists, all of whom are UMaine students, faculty and alumni.
“The program is made up of music from all of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s biggest shows,” says McNaboe. “I think a lot of people have this initial reaction of it being old or out-of-date music, but to me, and I think to a lot of people in the musical theater community, it’s timeless.”
The program will feature 22 selections from such award-winning American musicals as “The Sound of Music,” “The King and I,” “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!,” “State Fair” and “Carousel.” The event will also feature vocal performances by the university’s premier a cappella ensembles — Maine Steiners and Renaissance. The groups will perform “There is Nothing Like a Dame” and “Do-Re-Mi,” respectively.
UMaine music faculty members flutist Liz Downing and pianist Laura Artesani will perform in the symphony orchestra. The experienced orchestra had its first rehearsal Dec. 8, while the vocalists began rehearsing in November.
UMaine business management junior Morgan Cates of Camden, Maine, will host the event.
Tickets are $22 and available from the Collins Center box office. Ticket information is available at 207.581.1755 or tickets.collinscenterforthearts.org. For more information about the performance or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1781. The event’s snow date is Sunday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m.
All proceeds will benefit the UMaine’s School of Performing Arts (SPA) to enhance funding for musical and theater tours, instrument repairs and equipment purchases.
“The initial idea to do the project wasn’t as much about raising money,” says McNaboe, who began planning the event a year ago. “It came from this place of identifying that we really don’t collaborate across mediums as much as we should. This is a chance to get a large number of SPA students together in a situation where all of us are working together, between the orchestra and the vocalists on stage, to make this project happen.”
To view the event on Facebook, visit facebook.com/events/1401074010132734.
Contact: Maria NeCastro, 207.581.3743 or Monique Hashey, 207.581.4721
University of Maine marine scientist Bob Steneck participated in a Florida State University-led study that recommends a paradigm shift for fisheries science and management.
The study spearheaded by FSU biology professor Joe Travis advocates that fisheries experts and managers consider how overfishing and environmental changes disrupt species interactions and alter ecosystems, including pushing some ecosystems past their tipping points.
“In order to succeed, fisheries management must focus on species interactions,” says Steneck, a professor based at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole.
Historically, Steneck says, fisheries science has focused on population dynamics, sustainable yields and influences of biological and oceanographic processes on fisheries.
“By incorporating a more ecological approach, we argue that managers can better understand the dynamics of a fishery, and which species interactions, if affected, can push the ecosystems that house a fishery past its tipping point,” he says.
The loss of one major species from an ecosystem can have severe and unintended consequences because of the connections between that species and others in the system. These changes often occur rapidly and unexpectedly and are difficult to reverse, say the researchers.
“You don’t realize how interdependent species are until it all unravels,” says study co-author Felicia Coleman, director of Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.
One case study looks at the collapse of sardine and anchovy stocks — partially as a result of overfishing — in the 1970s in the Northern Benguela ecosystem off Namibia. Subsequently, the far less calorie-rich bearded goby and jellyfish flourished. African penguins and gannets that had preyed on energy-rich sardines and anchovies, have suffered, say the researchers. African penguins and gannets have declined by 77 percent and 94 percent, respectively.
In addition, Cape hake and deep-water hake production plummeted from 725,000 metric tons in 1972 to 110,000 metric tons in 1990, say the researchers, and the population of Cape fur seals has dramatically fluctuated.
In Europe, Steneck points to the Atlantic cod stock’s seeming inability to rebound from overfishing. Currently, the cod’s former prey, a small fish called sprat, has become hyperabundant to the point that it preys on larval cod.
Closer to home, the decimation of cod and other large predatory species also resulted in a proliferation of sea urchins. In the late 1980s, a sea urchin fishery subsequently developed and boomed, but by the mid- to late-1990s, overfishing had decimated that industry.
With sea urchin stocks depleted, the macroalgae eaten by sea urchins increased substantially. This, in turn, created an ideal habitat for crabs, which are major predators of sea urchins.
In the same ecosystem, Steneck says declines in soft-shell clams are due to an explosion of non-native green crabs. “All of these examples result from strong ecological interactions that are not captured in most fisheries management models,” he says.
While it’s easy to write off one such case study, Travis says taken all together, the paper is a compelling case that “tipping points are real, we’ve crossed them in many ecosystems, and we’ll cross more of them unless we can get this problem under control.”
Steneck agrees. “Our paper provides case studies from all over the world illustrating how a chain of events taken with an appreciation for species interactions can contribute to complex problems in fisheries management,” he says.
The study, titled “Integrating the invisible fabric of nature into fisheries management,” was published in the Dec. 23, 2013 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Travis and Coleman say they hope the research accelerates changes in how fisheries scientists approach ecosystem problems and how fisheries managers integrate system issues into their efforts.
The researchers recommend that more effort be devoted to understanding links between species that set up tipping points in ecosystems and they advised managers be cognizant of data that indicates when a system could be approaching its tipping point.
“It’s a lot easier to back up to avoid a tipping point before you get to it than it is to find a way to return once you’ve crossed it,” Travis says.
Fishing experts generally understand how overfishing affects other species and the ecosystem as a whole but it “needs to be a bigger part of the conversation and turned into action,” Coleman says.
Seven other scientists from the University of Connecticut, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale in France participated in the study.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has named Karlton Creech director of athletics, effective Feb. 10.
Creech, 41, currently senior associate director of athletics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), will bring 10 years of senior athletics administration experience to UMaine. Creech was one of three finalists invited to interview on campus by the search committee out of a national pool of 68 applicants. The committee, led by Dr. Robert Strong, professor of finance and NCAA faculty representative, consisted of faculty, staff and community partners.
Since 2012, Creech has been UNC senior associate director of athletics, serving as chief of staff and overseeing the department’s capital projects, human resources and facilities. From 2004–12, he was associate executive director for UNC’s Educational Foundation Inc., where he managed capital projects (including coordination of the $88 million football stadium expansion), the Annual Fund, marketing, fundraising and ticket sales programs, as well as donor stewardship and development. He also worked for the Student-Aid Association at North Carolina State University from 2001–04, coordinating ticket sales and fundraising.
“I am so pleased that Karlton will be joining the UMaine leadership team,” said President Ferguson. “He brings to us a remarkable record of athletics leadership and management at the University of North Carolina, one of our nation’s great public research universities. His level of professionalism, coupled to his strong experience in fundraising and management, will no doubt move Black Bear Athletics to new levels of excellence and community engagement.
“I look forward to welcoming Karlton and his wife, Staci, to campus this spring,” President Ferguson added. “I want to especially thank Seth Woodcock for his superb service as interim AD, as well as the entire Athletics Department for their dedicated work during this interim period. I am enthusiastic about their partnership with Karlton.”
Creech, a native of Chapel Hill, received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from North Carolina State University and will complete a master of arts degree in management and leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in 2014. His wife, Staci, a Pennsylvania native who attended UNC on a golf scholarship, received a bachelor of arts in elementary education and currently teaches at the elementary level.
“I am thrilled to be named the next director of athletics at the University of Maine,” Creech said. “It will truly be a privilege to serve the student-athletes, coaches and staff of UMaine Athletics.
“I would like to thank President Ferguson for entrusting me with the responsibility to lead UMaine Athletics. President Ferguson’s Blue Sky thinking is inspiring, and I look forward to partnering in the achievement of his vision for the University of Maine to become the most distinctively student-centered and community-engaged of the American Research Universities.
“Staci and I are proud to be the newest members of the UMaine family, and we are eager to build strong relationships throughout the community.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Bangor Metro interviewed Susan Lizzotte, head coach of the University of Maine’s swimming and diving teams, and student-athletes Lauren Dwyer and Cody Lachance about the swimming lessons the team offers to local children. Lizzotte, who oversees the program offered to children who are 4 to 13 years old, said each collegiate instructor is assigned to a small group of students, and sometimes there is one teacher per student. Dwyer, a captain on the UMaine swim team and instructor in the program, said she developed her swimming skills as a student in the swim school and teaching the classes is like coming “full circle.”
Gianna Marrs, director of financial aid for the University of Maine, spoke with the Associated Press for an article about the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit and how it is being overlooked because of the state’s failure to market it effectively. UMaine financial aid officials said they tell students about the program and available resources but can’t guarantee they sign up after graduation. Marrs said UMaine is “trying to do more in general to help students manage their loans and help them just become better consumers,” and “the Opportunity Maine tax credit does play a part in that.” News & Observer, Miami Herald, Portland Press Herald, Boston.com, Sun Journal and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
The Sun Journal recently published an opinion piece by Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine. The column is titled “Boycott of Israel goes too far.”
Two University of Maine theater instructors will star in a UMaine English teacher’s award-winning comedic play set to premiere at Penobscot Theatre in Bangor.
Boston-born Travis Baker teaches English courses at the university and earned a master’s in English at UMaine in 2006. He penned “One Blue Tarp” after he heard a comment on a local radio sports talk show about how the Maine Red Claws — the NBA D League team that plays in Portland, Maine — should have been named the Blue Tarps.
Tom Mikotowicz, who teaches directing, playwriting, history and performance theory at UMaine, plays native Mainer Dave Stillman. The independent Stillman likes life as it is in the small coastal town of Clara, and that includes his right to have a junk pile under a blue tarp in his dooryard.
Julie Lisnet, who teaches acting at UMaine, plays Joan, Stillman’s wife who wants him to get rid of the tarp and the junk collection he has amassed so she can have a garden and not have passersby stare at the mess.
“One Blue Tarp” was named Best Play for the state of Maine in the 2013 Clauder New England Playwright Competition. It runs from Jan. 30, 2014 to Feb. 16, 2014 at the theatre on Main Street in Bangor.
The five seniors on the University of Maine women’s soccer squad excelled on the pitch and in their classes; all have GPAs of 3.4 or higher and, in three of their four seasons, the Black Bears advanced to at least the America East semifinal round. Here are question-and-answer interviews with captain Lisa Bijman, captain Maggie Malone, Meaghan Bradica, Hallie Lipinski and Nikki Misener.
Lisa Bijman: Consistently excellent
Maggie Malone: Strength through leadership
Meaghan Bradica: Positive attitude and balanced perspective
Hallie Lipinski: A silent leader
Nikki Misener: Team comes first
WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine Athletics Department is sponsoring a bus trip on Jan. 11 to the Frozen Fenway game in Boston where the University of Maine men’s hockey team will take on Boston University. Bus tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased by calling 581.1086 by Jan. 3.
The Bangor Daily News reported a committee appointed by the Bristol Board of Selectmen plans to determine whether the town should have input over the proposed offshore wind project by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies. The proposed project would be about 10 miles away from Bristol and 2.5 miles off Monhegan Island. Andrea Cox, the committee’s chairwoman said residents have shared some concerns about the proposed wind farm, but the group will create a website and seek answers before forming an opinion. She said UMaine representatives have met with the Board of Selectmen at two meetings and a public hearing on the project.
The Village Soup reported the University of Maine will celebrate the opening of its new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC) on Jan. 9. In partnership with the Juice Conference, Midcoast Magnet, Belfast Creative Coalition and Realize!Maine, the dedication will kick off with a mini-Juice Conference titled “IMRC (Immerse) Maine: Celebrating Creative Innovation” that will present the center’s possibilities through speakers, seminars and tours.