Public Service Mission

University of Maine News - Thu, 01/08/2015 - 09:37

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

Categories: Combined News, News

2015 Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Writing Prize Awarded

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:42

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.

Categories: Combined News, News

McGill’s Ecology Blog Ranked Among Most Influential, University of Michigan Reports

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:39

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, 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.

Categories: Combined News, News

Kersbergen Quoted in Current Publishing Article on Organic Dairy Farmer Training

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:39

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.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Hoskins Dishes on Dirt in Sun Journal

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:38

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.

Categories: Combined News, News

Steneck Quoted in Press Herald Article on Protected Gulf of Maine Fishing Ground

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:51

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.

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UMMA to Benefit from State Tourism Grant, Press Herald Reports

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:50

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.

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Concert to Celebrate UMaine’s 150th Anniversary, Maine Edge Reports

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:48

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.

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UMaine Extension Videos Cited in Caledonian-Record Article on Fruit Pruning Season

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:47

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.

Categories: Combined News, News

Foster’s Reports New Deadline for York County Master Gardener Training

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:47

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported the deadline has been extended for applications for the 2015 University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer training in York County. Friday, Jan. 23 is the new deadline to apply for the training that begins Jan. 27 at the Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale.

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Annual Skate with the Bears Jan. 11

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/06/2015 - 16:46

Friends of Maine Hockey will host the annual Skate with the Bears event from 4:15–5:15 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11 at the Alfond Arena. Members of the University of Maine men’s and women’s ice hockey teams will be on the ice meeting fans, signing autographs and posing for photos.

Friends of Maine Hockey board members also will be in attendance to answer questions, sign up new members and sell merchandise in support of the teams.

The event is free and open to the public. There is a limited supply of free skate rentals available. Hot cocoa, coffee and doughnuts will be provided by Dunkin Donuts, as well as pizza from Domino’s.

Categories: Combined News, News

Merritt David Janes: Broadway Performer

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 17:00

University of Maine alumnus and Broadway performer Merritt David Janes “DJ” will return to his alma mater in January as a guest artist in the School of Performing Arts benefit concert, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine.”

In recognition of UMaine’s 150th anniversary, more than 75 students in the School of Performing Arts will present selections from the Great American Songbook in a concert that aims to raise awareness of the school and funds for outreach programs. The student-run production takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 in the Collins Center for the Arts.

While on campus, Janes will teach a free master class on musical theater that is open to the public. University and area high school students will perform for and be coached by Janes at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 in Minsky Recital Hall.

Janes is currently on a national Broadway tour of “The Phantom of the Opera.” He is a Colchester, Vermont native who graduated from UMaine in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in music education with concentrations in voice and trumpet.

What will your role be in the School of Performing Arts benefit concert?
I am honored to be the guest artist and cannot wait for this event. I will be singing six songs with the very talented jazz musicians in the UMaine big band. When I was a student, I never would have guessed I would be so excited to go to Maine in January.

Describe the master class you will be teaching:
I am really looking forward to this. My job as an actor allows me to stay in touch with my love of teaching with master classes like this one. I will be working with students on music they are in the process of preparing. The focus of our time will be on combining the technical aspects of musical performance with the artistic; bringing yourself to the material by relating artistically and technically with the intention and circumstance of the material.

Why UMaine?
I attended the Maine Summer Youth Music Program from seventh grade through my senior year in high school and was inspired to enroll in UMaine’s music school by the excellent teachers I worked with there.

Why did you decide to come back and support your alma mater in this way?
The School of Performing Arts and the Maine Center for the Arts — now the Collins Center for the Arts — are very special places for me. I have had so many great memories on the MCA stage in so many different flavors of performance with the UMaine Symphonic Band, UMaine Singers, Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Maine Steiners, and then coming back with the Broadway tour of “Sweeney Todd.”

I have always jumped at every opportunity to perform there since I was in middle school, so when they asked me to come up this time, it was a no-brainer.

Describe your career path since graduation:
In my final year at UMaine, I had the privilege of student teaching at Windham High School with Richard Nickerson and the world-famous Windham Chamber Singers. After graduation, I was faced with the difficult decision to choose to begin my teaching career or pursue a career in performing. Call it fate or a total lack of practicality, but I decided to roll the dice and give performing a shot.

I then attended The Circle in the Square Theatre School (in New York City) for two years. In the last two months of my time there, in an effort to “practice auditioning,” I booked my first professional role as Robbie Hart in “The Wedding Singer” Broadway tour.

As luck would have it, I’ve been touring ever since for the last seven years in five other Broadway tours: “Sweeney Todd,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Shrek,” “Catch Me if You Can,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Describe your current job on the National Broadway Tour of “Phantom of the Opera”:
I think it’s safe to say the 25th anniversary Broadway tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” is the most prestigious production I’ve been a part of. For the first time in my career I am in an understudy position. I perform nightly as a featured ensemble member and it is my pleasure to understudy the wickedly talented, Helen Hayes Award nominee Edward Staudenmayer in the role of Andre. It has been quite the adventurous ride and I can’t believe that it has already been a year.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine has made all the difference in the world. Receiving a great experience at an excellent music school is an invaluable and very unique tool that gives any performer on today’s stage the gift of versatility and consistency. I would not have had the ability or stamina to perform any of my previous roles without the experiences I was given at UMaine.

How does UMaine continue to influence your life?
My experience at UMaine continues to help me in many ways. My time there really taught me how to think outside the box and allowed me to sharpen my ability to anticipate, create and seize new and exciting opportunities.

When you were at UMaine, what was your favorite place on campus?
I was very fortunate to have regular access to Minsky Recital Hall which became my favorite place to rehearse and even served as a calming escape from time to time.

What’s your most memorable UMaine moment?
My time on the European concert tours with the Singers, Steiners and Oratorio Society were filled with irreplaceable memories of singing all over Europe in some of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Particularly on my last European tour with the Singers and the Steiners where I had the opportunity to conduct a combination of both the Steiners and Renaissance a cappella groups.

Tickets for “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine” are $25, $12 for students with a valid MaineCard. Tickets are available at the Collins Center box office, by calling 581.1755 or online. For more information about the performance or to request a disability accommodation, call 581.1755. The event’s snow date is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24. More about the concert is online.

Categories: Combined News, News

Cultural Connections

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 14:28

The University of Maine Humanities Center will host the third annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day at various locations Jan. 24 with a kickoff event Jan. 23.

Free events for participants of all ages will be offered at venues including the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA), Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum. This year’s Humanities Day is co–hosted by the Maine Folklife Center and UMMA.

The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day began in 2013 to create a better forum for connecting UMaine faculty, staff and students with the general public in the region, according to UMHC director and UMaine history professor Liam Riordan.

Local partners of the day are the Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum.

Free bus service will be available from the UMaine campus to Bangor and is supported by the UMaine Office of Student Life.

The events kick off 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 with a humanities-themed PechaKucha presentation at Coe Space, 48 Columbia Street in Bangor. Speakers will include UMaine faculty and local cultural leaders. Refreshments will be provided and a $6 donation is suggested.

Events on Saturday, Jan. 24 are:

  • 11 a.m.–11:45 a.m. at Maine Discovery Museum — Bangor Children’s Choir performance
  • Noon–12:45 p.m. at Bangor Public Library — Brown bag luncheon discussion of the “Future of the Book” with Michael Alpert of UMaine Press, Deb Rollins of Fogler Library, Joshua Bodwell of Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and Barbara McDade of the Bangor Public Library
  • 1–2:45 p.m. at University of Maine Museum of Art — Exhibit tour led by George Kinghorn, UMMA’s director and curator, at 1 p.m. and artist lecture by Brenton Hamilton at 2 p.m.
  • 3–3:45 p.m. at Bangor Public Library — “Philosophy Tea” and group discussion of Edith Cobb’s “The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood” with Kirsten Jacobson, an associate professor of philosophy at UMaine, and members of the club, Philosophy Across the Ages
  • 4–4:45 p.m. at Bangor Public Library — “An Oral Historian’s Work” lecture and discussion by David Weiss, founder of Northeast Historic Film

The UMHC has partnered with the Bangor Daily News on “My Maine Culture,” a project to celebrate Maine’s sense of place. In December, members of the public were invited to submit a digital postcard — an image or video with accompanying text — that captures participants’ Maine culture or what they love about the state.

The BDN will publish highlights from the digital postcard collection before the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day to contribute to the day’s events, and BDN editor Erin Rhoda will share examples during the PechaKucha event Jan. 23. The Maine Folklife Center also may choose to preserve the digital postcards in its archives.

The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day is one of several UMHC events planned for 2015. The UMaine Humanities Center, housed in UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2010, advances the teaching, research and public engagement of the arts and humanities to create richer collaboration among Maine residents. More about UMHC is online.

For more information about the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center, at 581.1848 or, or visit the Facebook event page.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Categories: Combined News, News

Dill Speaks with Sun Journal About Common Winter Pests

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 11:18

James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Sun Journal for an article about insects that are common in Maine during the winter. Dill spoke about several pests and how to cope with them, including snow fleas, western conifer seed bugs, northern house mosquitoes, winter moths and spiders and Asian lady beetles. “It used to be when I first started, people would say, ‘Oh, boy, it must be boring during the winter being an entomologist,’” Dill said. “With the things that have come in, and looking at pests and you name it, there’s truly not a slow time of year anymore.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Milardo’s Research on Aunts, Uncles Cited in News-Press Parenting Column

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 11:17

Research by Robert Milardo, a professor of family relations at the University of Maine, was cited in a News-Press parenting column about the important role aunts and uncles play in children’s lives. Milardo’s writings show aunts and uncles help parents care for their children, give parents breaks and lend advice to both children and adults, according to the article. “Not all nieces and nephews are close with uncles and aunts, but for some, their relationships are truly extraordinary — they fuse elements of parent-like obligations with friendship,” Milardo said. “When adult siblings have reasonably close relationships, without question everyone can benefit.”

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Investigating Source of Unauthorized Tweet, Media Report

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/05/2015 - 11:15

The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine is investigating an offensive and unauthorized tweet that was posted using an official university Twitter account. The tweet has been deleted and security on the account has been updated. “There is no evidence that any of the systems at the University of Maine were compromised,” according to John Forker, chief information security officer for the University of Maine System. Sun Journal carried the BDN report.

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