University of Maine News
Dennis Costin, a special operations chief for the Boston Fire Department, visited the University of Maine to speak to first responders and town officials about emergency preparedness and lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombings, according to WVII (Channel 7). The event was hosted by Speciality Response Solutions.
Fostering student engagement is therefore important for Dana, who knows a thing or two about longevity and stability. The vice president for student life has been at the state’s flagship university for nearly three decades.
“UMaine truly is a world-class institution and student success is at the top of the priority list,” he says, adding that it’s empowering to help lead the charge for a UMaine Blue Sky Plan Pathway 2 initiative to improve annual student retention by 5 percent by fiscal year 2017.
From 2011–12, UMaine did just that. Eighty-one percent of the 2012 cohort of first-time, full-time students stayed in school. It was a 5-percent improvement from the 2011 cohort, according to the University of Maine Office of Institutional Research.
The national first- to second-year retention rate for four-year public institutions is 72.2 percent, according to ACT (2013) and the national retention rate for selective public institutions is 77.6 percent, according to Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (2013).
Dana says that UMaine President Paul Ferguson has energized this community specifically through the Blue Sky Plan and his total commitment to student success and his emphasis on our obligation to support students so they can achieve a college education. According to Dana, this orientation creates all sorts of opportunities.
Opportunities, for instance, to create “super-enriched” interconnected academic, cultural and social environments that serve as effective, durable, connected student support structures. It helps, Dana says, that all faculty and staff are “pulling in the same direction.”
He points to several recent developments intended to bolster student academic engagement and success, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center, the College of Education and Human Development Advising Center and the Unum Black Bear Leaders program.
Advisers, he says, provide academic guidance, personal support and resources and seek to forge authentic supportive relationships with students. The advisers understand that students are complete and complex human beings, and not just an education or engineering major, Dana says.
The Unum Black Bear Leaders program provides selected first-year students with a trained one-on-one coach, team-building activities, as well as yearlong mentoring, seminars, social events and experiences.
The retention rate of the 113 first-year students who participated in the 2011–12 Unum Black Bear Leaders program was 87 percent; 73 percent surveyed said they had gained leadership skills, life skills and knowledge by participating in the program.
Of the students who completed the program, 13 percent withdrew after the first year, compared to 31 percent of first-year students with similar characteristics who chose not to participate.
Jeffrey Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, says it’s key that the multipronged approach to improving both retention and four- and six-year graduation rates is informed by data.
Retention is affected by a number of factors, says Hecker, including affordability, quality of instruction, access to required classes and quality of residential life.
There are more than 200 campus organizations in which students can become socially and culturally engaged and connected, says Dana, whether they’re from Maine, another state or country, are a veteran and/or a nontraditional student.
Dana listed a myriad of ways that students can be a contributor and leader on campus, including through research, volunteering, Greek Life, athletics, theater, music, GLBT advocacy, recreation, the campus newspaper and student government.
“Engagement matters,” he says. “Community matters. Being truly engaged in the world around us provides us with the opportunity to realize leadership. We admit people capable of greatness. It’s true you can do anything you want…teacher, doctor, lawyer, scientist…”
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The UMaine Community is proud to unveil three new University of Maine entrance signs installed this week at the three points of entry of the University of Maine. This installation is a significant event under the UMaine Blue Sky Project Branding Initiative and the Paint, Polish and Plant Initiative of Pathway 3: Embracing a Culture of Excellence: Promoting Spirit, Community and Collaboration and Pathway 5: Restoring the Dream: Renewing Pride and Stewardship of Place. The signs, replacing the nearly 20-year-old University of Maine signs, were designed by UMaine’s Division of Marketing and Communications and were paid for by the Thayer Fund for Campus Excellence, a private gift endowment fund.
The University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ University Singers will perform at two Bangor retail locations on Saturday and Sunday Dec. 14–15. The group will sing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at J.C. Penney court in the Bangor Mall and 1–2 p.m. at Starbucks.
Members of the choir come from a variety of academic disciplines. Under the direction of Dennis Cox, the singers annually perform at multiple concerts on campus, tour New England for a week each spring and perform abroad every four years.
University of Maine students and married couple John Carney and Christine Carney won the Big Gig’s second pitch-off for their promotion of their business, Through Thick and Thin, which offers quirky acrylic cupcake toppers, jewelry and ornaments.
Three businesses had been selected to pitch their products or companies to a panel of judges at the event at Kosta’s Bar and Grill in Old Town.
The winners received $100 and an invitation to compete for a $1,000 grand prize in the Big Gig Finale in April.
The Big Gig is designed to bring together Bangor-Orono area innovators and entrepreneurs and offer networking opportunities. It was started by a partnership between the University of Maine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth.
Sarah Newcomb, a doctoral student in behavioral economics at UMaine and research assistant at UMaine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative, won the Big Gig’s first pitch-off event in October with “Who’s Your Daddy?” — a phone app she developed that allows shoppers to scan products to learn more about its parent company.
More about the Carneys and how UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation helped get their company off the ground is online.
Vice President for Research Carol Kim recently appointed Paul Anderson as the new director of the Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) at the University of Maine. ARI is a statewide resource for research, faculty expertise and facilities dedicated to informing the development of sustainable aquaculture.
In Maine, marine aquaculture includes salmon, oysters, mussels and seaweeds with a growing interest in other species of both finfish and shellfish. There is also a small amount of freshwater aquaculture used to raise bait fish and other species.
Since 2001, Anderson has directed the Maine Sea Grant College Program, another one of UMaine’s research centers overseen by Kim. He will continue in that capacity. “Paul has tremendous leadership skills,” said Kim, explaining that the ARI is an important asset to the developing aquaculture industry in Maine, “I expect successful results as he takes the helm.”
During this two-year appointment as ARI director, which began December 1, 2013, Anderson will oversee a strategic planning effort, an external review of the institute, and will work to align the faculty, student and facilities that are involved in aquaculture-related research towards common goals. “This is an important time in the evolution of aquaculture in the world and strong science is needed to help ensure that aquaculture is integrated in the working waterfront and into the food systems in an ecologically sustainable manner,” Anderson said.
A UMaine alumnus, Anderson served as the extension leader at Maine Sea Grant before becoming its director. From 1989–1999, he worked for the Maine Department of Marine Resources where he directed the Public Health Division overseeing all aspects of seafood safety. In 2003, he chaired the Governor’s Task Force on the Planning and Development of Marine Aquaculture in Maine.
UMaine has aquaculture research facilities at three locations in the state: the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin; the research laboratory at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, and the Aquaculture Research Center in Orono.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the latest visit by certified therapy dogs to the University of Maine’s Fogler Library. The dogs were on hand to offer stress relief and comfort to students, staff and faculty members as the semester winds down. UMaine students said visiting with the dogs helps them relax.
The Maine Edge advanced the University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ presentation of “Ein deutsches Requiem” by Johannes Brahms on Dec. 15 in Hampden. The Oratorio Society, along with the University Orchestra, are dedicating the performance to the memory of victims of the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The Maine Aqua Ventus 1 pilot project, the proposed floating offshore wind project led by the University of Maine and its partner companies, was the focus of the Bangor Daily News editorial “How to prepare for Maine’s next big, windy industry.” The Working Waterfront also published an article about the concern of Monhegan residents over the proposed project’s effect on island tourism.
The Maine Edge previewed the 14th annual Maine FIRST Lego League Championship hosted by Maine Robotics and Time Warner Cable Dec. 14 in Augusta. The University of Maine College of Engineering and Cooperative Extension 4-H program are also supporting the event as part of Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds initiative to address the nation’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math.
The Maine Edge reported on the publication of a journal article written by University of Maine marine scientists Robert Steneck and Richard Wahle. “American lobster dynamics in a brave new ocean,” was published in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science titled “American Lobster in a Changing Ecosystem: U.S.-Canada Science Symposium.” The journal includes scientific presentations made at the symposium in November 2012. Steneck and Wahle’s article proposes that due to fewer predators, warming water, an influx of warm-water species and risks of disease, traditional conditions of the American lobster in the North Atlantic no longer exist.
The Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry recently published an article co-authored by several University of Maine faculty members who were part of a Community Engaged Research Teaching and Service (CERTS) learning circle. In “Moving Beyond the Single Discipline: Building a Scholarship of Engagement that Permeates Higher Education,” the co-authors, led by Linda Silka, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and a professor in the School of Economics, and Robert Glover, an Honors preceptor of political science, use the example of the Sustainability Solutions Initiative to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with engaged scholarship that is designed to address community problems, according to co-author Amy Blackstone, an associate professor of sociology. Other co-authors include Laura Lindenfeld and Claire Sullivan, associate professors in the Department of Communication and Journalism; Karen Hutchins, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism; Catherine Elliott, an associate extension professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension; and Melissa Ladenheim, an adjunct assistant professor in Honors.
Six people are being inducted into the College of Engineering’s Francis Crowe Society during a ceremony Friday, Dec. 13, 1–3 p.m., in Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium, Engineering Science Research Building at the University of Maine.
In the Distinguished Engineer category, inductees are:
Paul Durocher, class of 1982, Chemical and Biological Engineering
David Kinney, class of 1986, Civil and Environmental Engineering
William Pike, class of 1980, Engineering Physics
Scot MacDonald, class of 1990, School of Engineering Technology
In the Faculty Engineer category, the inductee is:
Assistant Professor of Physics Rob Meulenberg, Engineering Physics
And, in the Honorary Engineer category, the inductee is:
Master Sgt. Thomas Banister, senior military instructor for the UMaine Army ROTC Battalion.
The Francis Crowe Society recognizes UMaine engineering graduates and others who have made considerable contributions to the engineering profession. The society is named in honor of Francis Trenholm Crowe, who earned a degree in civil engineering from UMaine in 1905 and was chief engineer of the Hoover Dam. Crowe also was involved in the construction of 18 other major dams in the United States, facilitating farming in a number of areas.
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, and Carol Kim, UMaine’s vice president for research, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Older Mainers are an answer to the state’s economic woes.” The op-ed says as part of the Blue Sky Project, UMaine is considering new opportunities to “collaborate and form interdisciplinary teams to catalyze Maine’s renewal and include older Mainers.”
Scott Johnson, a professor at and director of the School of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Maine, spoke with WGME (Channel 13) for a report on ancient volcanoes in Maine. Johnson and other UMaine geologists said there is evidence of an ancient supervolcano on Mount Desert Island. Johnson also simulated a volcanic eruption by using a trash can full of water, liquid nitrogen and a soda bottle.
The Portland Press Herald, Morning Sentinel, WABI (Channel 5), Bangor Daily News and WGME (Channel 13) reported Jack Cosgrove, head coach of the University of Maine football team, was named Co-Coach of the Year for Region 1 of the Football Championship Subdivision by the American Football Coaches Association. This is the first time Cosgrove has received this recognition in his 21-year career.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the second pitch-off event for the Big Gig, a program designed to bring together innovators and entrepreneurs in the Bangor-Orono area and offer networking opportunities. The Big Gig was started by a partnership between the University of Maine, Old Town, Orono, and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth. Three groups were selected to pitch their products or companies to a panel of judges at the event. UMaine students John and Christine Carney won for their pitch of their business Through Thick and Thin that offers quirky acrylic cupcake toppers, jewelry and ornaments.
WABI (Channel 5), Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal, Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News reported the University of Maine has announced three finalists for its director of athletics position. The finalists are Karlton Creech of the University of North Carolina, Jim Herlihy of the University of Montevallo and Scott Kull of Texas Christian University. On-campus interviews will begin Dec. 15 with the intention of filling the position early in 2014.
“A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging: Stay Smart, Strong, and Active,” written by Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, and Edward Thompson Jr., was cited by the Wall Street Journal as one of six 2013 top guides to life after 50. The book discusses issues related to the mind and body in relation to aging and presents the latest medical and psychological advice on actions men can take to stay healthy.
Kenneth Hillas, a retired senior foreign service officer who teaches a graduate seminar in global politics at the University of Maine, wrote an opinion piece published in the Bangor Daily News titled “As we remember Mandela, don’t simplify his history, legacy.