University of Maine News
Helping build and maintain caring school communities is the focus of two summer programs offered by the University of Maine Peace and Reconciliation Studies Program in collaboration with the Restorative School Practices Collaborative of Maine.
The sixth annual Summer Institute in Restorative Practices will be held June 30 to July 2 at UMaine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The program, facilitated by Barbara Blazej and Pam Anderson, will introduce participants to the full range of restorative school practices designed to build caring school communities in which students, staff and administrators feel connected and respected, and learning outcomes are enhanced.
Restorative Conference Facilitation Training will be held Aug. 4–5 at the University of Maine in Augusta. Facilitated by Blazej and Margaret Micolichek, the training will focus on restorative conferencing that is designed to be an effective intervention to address serious misbehaviors or harmful incidents in schools, and foster positive re-entry for suspended or expelled students.
Blazej and Anderson are founding members of the Restorative Practices Collaborative in Maine. For eight years, Micolichek served as director of the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast in Belfast.
For more information about session fees, available CEU’s and registration deadlines, email email@example.com.
WVII (Channel 7) interviewed Nory Jones, a professor of management information systems at the University of Maine, for the two-part report, “Social media sabotage: Online content affecting job opportunities.” Jones said more than a third of employers are finding reasons not to hire candidates based on their social media presence. She added employers want to understand what kind of person is behind the resume, and reminded people to look at social media posts as a tool to “developing your positive brand.”
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for two reports about state political campaigns. For the report, “Maine 2nd District Republicans duke it out in attacks ads,” about the race between Bruce Poliquin and Kevin Raye, Brewer said negative ads can sometimes fail. “Attack ads are viewed more skeptically in Maine, and certainly Poliquin runs the risk of being seen by voters as overly negative, overly aggressive, and that could certainly backfire against him,” Brewer said. In the report, “Maine Legislative races go high tech,” Brewer spoke about the way technology now allows candidates to know how a voter feels about issues before engaging them. He said independent or unenrolled candidates who don’t have the same access to these campaign tools are at a greater disadvantage than ever before.
The Boothbay Register mentioned the UMaine Business Challenge in an article about the Boothbay-based Above and Beyond Scheduling winning second place in the contest. The UMaine Business Challenge was founded in 2011 by a group of 2010 UMaine graduates who wanted to give back to their alma mater while creating more opportunities for student entrepreneurs. Above and Beyond Scheduling is a new business venture by Juliette and Ronald Cohen that will act as an in-between service for patients and caregivers using a network of certified nurses, aides and specialists. The Cohens won $1,000 and consulting services provided by Cary Weston of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications. “This win means a lot to both of us,” Juliette Cohen said. “Now we can use our resources in other ways, and we won’t be stretched so thin at the beginning.”
The University of Maine’s proposed offshore wind pilot project was the focus of the Working Waterfront editorial, “Changing wind direction should not blow Maine off course.” The project was recently chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and will receive $3 million for further research and development. It will be considered for more funding should it become available. “The potential benefits of offshore wind generation are too great to put on the shelf,” the editorial reads.
The Huffington Post spoke with Andrew Plant, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Aroostook County, about growing soybeans in northern Maine. Plant said growers in northern parts of the state who are searching for crop alternatives to increase net farm income should consider planting soybeans. He said the beans perform best in well-drained soils, which are typical in Aroostook County, and can easily fit into a two- or three-year rotation with or without potatoes.
The Bangor Daily News posted “Bangor 2020: A Sustainable Future for the Queen City,” a collaborative, multimedia project designed to report on the possibilities of what Bangor could and should do to become a more vibrant, attractive and livable city by the year 2020. The project was the result of University of Maine students in Jennifer Moore’s digital journalism class working with mentors at the BDN.
Jake Ward, the University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about the university’s proposed wind project off the coast of Monhegan Island. The project, known as New England Aqua Ventus, was recently chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and will receive $3 million for further research and development. It will be considered for more funding should it become available. Despite some opposition from island residents, Ward says the project has a lot of support and is confident that a full-scale unit will be built.
The Associated Press previewed a conference co-hosted by the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard that aims to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. “Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening,” will be held May 20–21 at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Paul Mayewski, a UMaine professor and director of the Climate Change Institute, is one of several scheduled speakers that will address global, national and Maine issues related to the environment, trade, politics and policy. The Portland Press Herald, WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) carried the AP report.
A tour of the University of Maine Fogler Library was advanced in the latest Family Ties genealogy column published by the Bangor Daily News. Fogler Library and the Penobscot County Genealogical Society will sponsor a public tour of the library from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, beginning in Special Collections on the third floor, according to the article.
Michael “Mick” Peterson, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report on University of Maine System trustees working to develop a plan to close a budget gap. Peterson told the trustees that while 31 percent of the system’s budget is dedicated to instructional costs, the figure doesn’t reflect the true value of those services. “When we start looking at our similar peers — and certainly our aspirational peers — they’re spending 40 percent on instruction, we’re spending 30 percent — that’s a big difference,” Peterson said.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Preserving the Harvest workshop will be held 4:30–7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, at Little Ridge Farm, 101 Gould Road, Lisbon Falls.
UMaine Extension staff members will lead the workshop, which will include hands-on, USDA-recommended hot water bath canning and freezing food preservation methods. Participants will learn how to preserve pickles, jam, vegetables and fruits, as well as rhubarb-orange chutney. Home food preservation allows for year-round consumption of locally grown foods and enables preservers to control additives, including sugar and sodium.
Fresh produce, canning jars and other canning equipment will be provided. Participants should bring a potholder. Cost is $15 per person; partial scholarships are available. Register online by June 10. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (toll-free in Maine).
Human activity resulting from the Spanish conquest had a profound effect on coastal change in northwestern Peru, according to researchers at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.
Daniel Belknap, a professor of Earth sciences, and Daniel Sandweiss, a professor of anthropology and Quaternary and climate studies, researched how demographic and economic effects of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire altered landscape development on the Chira beach-ridge plain in northern coastal Peru.
The findings were documented in an article, “Effect of the Spanish Conquest on coastal change in Northwestern Peru,” which was published the week of May 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The researchers determined that human activity, specifically the disposal of mollusk shells, was essential to preserving the sandy beach ridges along the Chira River in Peru.
“This type of interdisciplinary research is a hallmark of the Climate Change Institute at UMaine and contributes to better understanding of the impacts of humans on coastal systems,” Belknap says.
The study illustrates the value of comparing historic, archaeological, climatic and geological data and demonstrates that human activity alters landscapes, as well as cultures. The research also provides evidence of a previously unrecognized consequence of the Spanish conquest, according to the article.
“We show that humans had a clear effect on a coastal system that now appears to be an uninhabited, natural landscape, yet is the product of millennia of anthropogenic modification of the environment,” the report states.
The Chira River carries primarily sand at its inlet. The ridges, or narrow dunes that run for miles parallel to the shoreline, are built entirely of sand. Most ridges with sharp crests are covered by shells that are associated with fire-cracked rocks, fire pits and other artifacts that suggest the shells were deposited by humans. The shells act as armor, protecting the ridges from erosion caused by onshore winds, according to the researchers.
For more than 30 years, archaeologists and geologists have been studying beach ridges in northern Peru to better understand maritime economies, the influence of El Nino cycles and the effects of sea-level change and sediment supply on coastal systems, the article states.
Previous research has shown disposed shells are instrumental in holding sand ridges in place in the face of persistent winds. Belknap and Sandweiss, who conducted a field examination of the ridges in 1997, hypothesized that only the shell-armored ridges are stabilized and would maintain their shape and prevent winds from blowing sand inland.
The studied region was the first area in Peru to experience the direct effect of European presence, according to the researchers. In 1532, Francisco Pizarro and his conquistadors moved to the Chira Valley, where they founded the first Spanish settlement in what is now Peru.
The Spanish conquest caused extreme depopulation of the Chira coast within a century, which drastically changed the economy and devastated traditional coastal shellfish harvesting. North of the Chira River, the changes affected the evolution of beach ridges, the article states.
The researchers found the last well-preserved ridge corresponds in age with the Spanish conquest of the region, and they correlate the devastation of the coastal population after European contact with a distinctly different geomorphology.
Population growth into the 19th and 20th centuries no longer resulted in shell waste on the coastal ridges because of mollusk exportation to interior markets. For the past 500 years, demographic decline and economic change have eliminated shell heaps on the coast, causing the newly formed dune ridges to dry up and eventually blow inland.
The researchers suggest there may have been more ridges than the nine documented dunes in the Chira beach-ridge plain, but for cultural and climatic reasons, there was no shell waste to stabilize them and some of the ridges may be composites of several events.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
Findings of a research team that included University of Maine biologist Michelle Smith have been highlighted by Science, Wired and The Chronicle of Higher Education. The study, led by University of Washington biology lecturer Scott Freeman, found that 55 percent more students fail lecture-based science, engineering and math courses than classes with some active learning. The researchers also found that active learning improved students’ exam performance — in some cases enough to change grades by half a letter or more.
WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the Maine Invention Convention competition held at the University of Maine News Balance Recreation Center and hosted by the Foster Center for Student Innovation.
About 100 middle school students from around the state competed in the contest that promotes problem solving and innovation. “Students have been working all year to choose a problem and then come up with a solution for that problem and make an invention for it,” said Jordan Nickerson, assistant community outreach coordinator at the Foster Center. Inventions included an automatic dog toy organizer and dispenser, and a pickle cup fork to prevent messes while eating juicy food.
The Lowell Sun mentioned the University of Maine’s enrollment figures in the article, “Applications growing at public colleges.” The article stated both applications and admissions to UMaine have increased by more than 20 percent since 2008.
The Bangor Daily News advanced a May 20–21 conference co-hosted by the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. The free conference, titled “Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening,” will be held at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Speakers, including UMaine professor and Climate Change Institute director Paul Mayewski, will address global, national and state issues and implications related to diminished sea ice in the Arctic, including the changing environment, trade, geopolitics and policy.
James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in a nationally syndicated column by Bangor writer Sarah Smiley. Smiley often writes about her family and their Dinner with the Smileys tradition of getting to know someone over a meal. Dill, who was invited to share a meal and stories with the Smileys, told the family about his job at UMaine Extension where he and his co-workers help farmers identify and control pests that might destroy crops. Dill took the family to the insect room of his Orono office where he showed off cockroaches, ticks and preserved butterflies and tarantulas. He also told stories of keeping bed bugs as pets when he was a child. Parade, Bangor Daily News, Daily American and Reporter-Times carried the column.
An economic impact study on Maine’s craft beer industry that was commissioned by the Maine Brewers’ Guild and conducted by two professors at UMaine’s School of Economics was the focus of a Mainebiz article. The study found the state’s craft beer industry could double in the next four years. It also found that Maine breweries sold $92.6 million worth of beer while employing almost 1,500 workers, and the industry generated an additional $35.5 million from sales at brew pubs, restaurants and retail shops. With revenue from peripheral industries, such as festivals, hotels and beer tours, the study estimated the Maine craft beer industry resulted in an annual statewide economic impact of $189 million, according to the article.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “Campus lifestylers, easy access to guns: A cocktail for violence at US colleges,” by Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine, and Deborah Rogers, a UMaine English professor. The column originally appeared in Times Higher Education.