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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 15 hours 4 min ago
Amy Benoit Frappier, a University of Maine graduate and Skidmore College professor, will deliver the 2014–2015 Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture on Monday, Feb. 2.
Frappier will speak about “The Natural Philosophy of Hurricanes in the Anthropocene” at 4 p.m. in the Buchanan Alumni House. She will discuss the study of ancient and modern hurricanes, the consequences of a changing Earth and what it means for humans to be a small part of a global force.
Frappier graduated from UMaine with Honors and a degree in geological sciences in 1999. She earned her Ph.D. in Earth and environmental sciences from the University of New Hampshire in 2006. Frappier currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Skidmore College and serves as the Charles Lubin Family Professor for Women in Science.
In 2002, the Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture series was established to show appreciation to UMaine Honors graduates and to recognize their accomplishments, vision and connection with UMaine.
The University of Maine will host former state attorney general, politician and alumnus James Tierney Feb. 10–11.
Tierney, who served in the Maine State Legislature, was the state’s attorney general from 1981–1990 and the Democratic candidate for governor in 1986. While attorney general, he was active in litigation against the tobacco industry.
Tierney currently teaches at the law schools of Harvard and Columbia. At Columbia Law School he directs the National State Attorneys General Program. He also has served as a consultant to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and has worked to oversee elections in Albania, Bulgaria, Cameroon and Croatia.
Tierney will deliver the talk, “Race and American Justice,” from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 11 in the Estabrooke Ballroom. He will discuss recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, and the role race plays in the American justice system.
Tierney also will lead a session for students from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10 in the FFA Room of the Memorial Union. He will speak about his career in law, share experiences from his time as attorney general and offer advice to students considering law school and a career in the legal profession. The session is hosted by the UMaine Political Science Department and the UMaine Pre-Law Society.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Robert Glover at 581.1880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Provost Jeff Hecker are pleased to invite members of the university community to participate in the second Academic Affairs Faculty Forum of the year. The open forum, focusing on evaluation of student learning outcomes in foundational areas, will be held from 3–4:40 p.m., Feb. 4, in the Bangor Room, Memorial Union.
The meeting will continue the dialogue started at the Faculty Forum on Oct. 6, 2014 focused on “Foundational Competencies for the 21st Century.” In that forum, a panel of faculty members discussed the learning outcomes identified through the LEAP Initiative of the AAC&U. A sense emerged at the forum that the LEAP outcomes have value and that, while we think UMaine is doing well providing our students the opportunities to develop these competencies, we need to assess more effectively.
Subsequent to the Oct. 6 forum, Brian Doore, director of assessment, and Kirsten Jacobsen, associate professor of philosophy, attended a meeting regarding the Multi-State Collaborative (MSC), an agreement among signatory states to work together on a pilot project to test a process for learning outcomes assessment based on the LEAP VALUE rubrics. UMaine has now been invited to join the MSC. The Feb. 4 forum will focus on what this means for UMaine and how interested faculty can get involved.
You can find relevant background materials, including video of the Oct. 4 forum, linked on the Provost’s Web page.
Forum participants are encouraged to look over some of the background information prior to the forum. Additional information, including a link to a video of the forum and a summary of key topics discussed, will be added after the meeting. There will be a space where faculty members can submit reactions, comments or questions.
Top 10 lists are compiled annually — last year there were lists for best books, Seinfeld characters, movies and restaurants. In 2014, an article about a University of Maine professor’s research made a best-read list.
Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, co-authored a paper about teaching approaches.
Aleszu Bajak penned “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds,” for ScienceInsider about the research that Smith and others conducted with lead author Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle. The piece was ScienceInsider’s third most popular of the year, just behind pieces on plagiarism and Ebola.
The researchers re-analyzed 225 studies that compared grades of students enrolled in undergraduate science, engineering and mathematics courses taught in a typical lecture format with the grades of students in STEM courses that utilized active learning methods.
Freeman, Smith and others found students in classes that incorporated active learning techniques were 1.5 times more likely to pass than those in traditional lecture format classes. In addition, they found students in active learning sections earned grades nearly one-half a standard deviation higher, or, for example, a B rather than a B-, than students listening to a lecturer.
The well-read study, “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,” was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
In Bajak’s ScienceInsider article about the study, Harvard University physicist Eric Mazur was quoted saying the research is important and that “it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data.”
He continued, “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis — an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.”
Also in December, Smith and Farahad Dastoor, lecturer of biological sciences, were highlighted in a National Science Foundation story titled “Rules of engagement: Transforming the teaching of college-level science.”
Thanks to Smith and Dastoor, 800 UMaine students in three introductory biology sections utilize clickers (response devices) and engage in small group conversations rather than sitting and listening to information dispensed by a “sage on a stage.” Smith “is helping to re-envision science education on her campus as well as across the country,” says the article.
In 2013, Smith became principal investigator on four projects and co-principal investigator on another that were granted $6.8 million in total funding from the National Science Foundation; UMaine’s portion was $1,012,269. The projects are aimed at improving nationwide science instruction and assessments. The studies are collaborative with other universities and involve UMaine administrators, faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students, undergraduates and area K–12 teachers.
Contact: Beth Staples 207.581.3777
Chef, author and sustainable food system expert Barton Seaver is being honored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center (MCSPC) as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow at a reception at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the University Club, Fogler Library at the University of Maine.
The MCSPC is a nonpartisan, independent, research and public service unit of UMaine.
Seaver works collaboratively with industry and institution leaders, policymakers, media and conservationists and is a leading voice for sustainable food systems. The director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health spearheads initiatives to inform citizens about how menu and diet choices can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies and thriving communities.
“Esquire” magazine’s 2009 Chef of the Year also is on a mission to restore people’s relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other — through dinner. Seaver is both a National Geographic Society Fellow and the first Sustainability Fellow in Residence at the New England Aquarium, where he educates restaurant and culinary school staffs about sustainable seafood. In 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Seaver to the United States Culinary Ambassador Corp.
The Jan. 27 event is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine and the university’s School of Marine Sciences.
The MCSPC brings Fellows to campus each semester to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty in discussions about research and public policy, tour research projects and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. By connecting Maine leaders with students and faculty, the program stimulates interest in state policy research and gives policymakers a better understanding of the value of the university.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a rehearsal of University of Maine students for the upcoming student-run benefit concert “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine.” The Jan. 23 event at the Collins Center for the Arts will celebrate UMaine’s 150th anniversary and serve as a School of Performing Arts fundraiser. More than 75 students will bring to the stage selections from the Great American Songbook through performances by a full big band, string orchestra and singing groups. Morgan Cates, a business administration major who will emcee the event, said proceeds from the concert will go toward SPA outreach programs that place UMaine students in the community and public classrooms to “spread the joy of the performing arts.”
The University of Maine football program has released its 2015 schedule.
The season is highlighted by a pair of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) contests at Boston College and Tulane, a home game against Yale, and a competitive set of Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) league contests where UMaine will face all three CAA teams who made the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
The Black Bears’ season opener is Sept. 5 at Boston College. The team’s first home game will be Sept. 26 against Rhode Island. UMaine closes out the regular season at New Hampshire on Nov. 21.
“When we informed our team of the 2015 schedule I was taken by the level of excitement in the eyes of our players,” says head coach Jack Cosgrove. “This is as challenging a schedule as we’ve ever encountered here to two FBS games and a great Ivy League opponent in Yale for our non-conference slate. The CAA segment speaks for itself, we need to be ready each and every Saturday. So our fans know, our preparation for this great schedule has already begun.”
Season tickets are on sale and can be reserved by calling the ticket office at 207.581.BEAR or 800.756.TEAM.
Sheila Pendse, a project development associate in the Dean’s Office of the University of Maine College of Engineering, is leading a project that aims to engage female middle school students from rural Maine communities in forest bioproducts research programs and STEM careers.
The Engineering Information Foundation recently awarded Pendse $12,540 to create a Sustainable Energy Leaders of the Future (SELF) group to address the need for a diverse workforce in the state’s forest industry.
Girls Engineer Maine (GEM), a statewide educational outreach program designed to increase the number of women studying engineering, aims to start the education initiative by promoting awareness about the responsible use of a forest ecosystem among middle school girls.
The project’s objective is to introduce about 80 girls to forest bioproducts research for potential renewable energy sources and value-added materials that will provide STEM career opportunities within Maine’s forest industry, according to the researchers.
SELF will pair each participant with a female mentor who is enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program at UMaine. When the participants start high school, they will have the opportunity to create research projects in sustainable forest management and forest bioproducts, the researchers say.
The Bangor Daily News reported several University of Maine students were part of a panel discussion at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. The four members of the panel discussed being young and black today and cited experiences both on and off campus, according to the article. The panelists were Izundu Ngwu, an international student from Nigeria; Ronald Robbs, an elementary education major and president of the Black Student Union at UMaine; Ogechi Ogoke, a chemical engineering major and president of the UMaine chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers; and Muna Abdullahi, director of Multicultural Student Life on campus. Each stressed the need to achieve King’s dream that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, the article states. “Maine may be one of the whitest places I’ve ever lived, but it also may be one of the most open and accepting places,” Ogoke said. “You are able to grow here as an individual.”
Nory Jones, a University of Maine professor of management information systems; and John Mahon, the John M. Murphy Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy, and professor of management at UMaine; were recent guests on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. Jones and Mahon spoke about what it means for a corporation to be socially responsible.
The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast sponsored by the Greater Bangor Area NAACP and the University of Maine. Wabanaki reconciliation was the focus of this year’s keynote address by Esther Attean and Denise Altvater, advisers to the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission. “For me, the work of Martin Luther King was about giving everyone a voice,” Altvater said. The Portland Press Herald also mentioned the breakfast in a report on celebrations around the state.
The Bangor Daily News reported on the upcoming student-run benefit concert “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine.” The Jan. 23 event at the Collins Center for the Arts will celebrate UMaine’s 150th anniversary and serve as a School of Performing Arts fundraiser. More than 75 students will bring to the stage selections from the Great American Songbook through performances by a full big band, string orchestra and singing groups. UMaine alumnus and Broadway performer Merritt David Janes will perform during the concert and teach a free master class on musical theater on Jan. 22. “[Janes] has experienced much success since leaving UMaine, so this is a great opportunity to have an artist of his caliber perform on stage alongside our students,” said Ben McNaboe, a music education major who is the show’s music director and conductor. “It’s just an unbelievable experiential learning experience for us all.”
Professor of mechanical engineering Michael Peterson’s work with the New York Racing Association was cited in the New York Times and Queens Chronicle following the deaths of 11 horses since late November while running at Aqueduct Racetrack. The New York Racing Association is working with Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory in Orono, as one measure to ensure the safety of equine athletes and jockeys.
The Mount Desert Islander reported Acadia Senior College in Bar Harbor will host University of Maine history professor Liam Riordan at its Food for Thought program at Birch Bay Village in Hulls Cove on Jan. 23. Riordan is expected to present his talk, “Does the American Revolution Look Different from the Penobscot River?” His presentation will focus on three events of the Revolution — the capture of the Margaretta, the burning of Falmouth and British control of Castine — to better understand the Revolution in Maine, according to the article.
Krista Capps, a research assistant professor in the University of Maine Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, is leading a project that aims to provide the foundation for greater understanding of urban rivers in developing countries.
The project, “Mexican Urban Stream Ecology Collaboration (MUSE),” received a $60,690 grant from the National Science Foundation for initial data gathering in Mexico.
Much of what scientists know about the influence of urbanization on stream ecology comes from studying rivers and streams in countries such as the United States and Australia, according to the researchers. However, urban rivers in developing economies may be used by humans for sources of untreated drinking water, direct conduits for sewage and freshwater fisheries.
Understanding how biological communities and processes are affected by increasing urbanization is essential to correctly manage urban watersheds in developing regions, the researchers say.
MUSE will bring together stream ecologists and fish biologists from the United States and Mexico to begin to understand the links among urbanization, stream ecology, and freshwater fisheries in southern Mexico.
The researchers say they hope the project initiates a new collaboration that will generate knowledge and resources for scientists and natural resource managers.
The Portland Press Herald covered the University of Maine’s FY16 Community Conversation, a follow-up to a similar gathering held in October. UMaine President Susan Hunter; Jeff Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost; and Ryan Low, interim vice president for administration and finance, spoke during the event. The officials said they expect to cut $8.5 million from the school’s $242 million budget the year ending June 2016 without layoffs or eliminating academic programs, according to the article. The officials also said enrollment and credit hours are up this year, boosting tuition revenue.
The Kennebec Journal covered an online marketing session for farmers led by Tori Jackson at the 74th Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta. Jackson, an associate professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke about the importance of marketing a farm like any other business. “The first thing you want to do is sell things your customers want. Sometimes that’s not going to match what you think you want to do initially,” Jackson said. The presentation targeted startup farmers or those seeking to change or grow their business, according to the article. Jackson stressed the importance of building a brand and creating an online presence.
The Bangor Daily News reported Ten Bucks Theatre Company and Orono Community Theatre are coming together for the first time to offer Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” at the Cyrus Pavilion Theater on the UMaine campus. The Cyrus Pavilion Theater was named after Orono Community Theatre director Sandy Cyrus’ late husband and former UMaine theatre professor Edgar Allan “Al” Cyrus. Bringing both acting groups to the theater means a lot to the directors — Sandy Cyrus and UMaine theatre instructor Julie Lisnet, who was a student of Al Cyrus, according to the article. “We all feel so much affection for this building. Al had his eye on the building for so long. It was a sheep barn when I was a student at UMaine,” Lisnet said. “There’s a lot of memories here. It means a lot to all of us.” The play is slated for 7 p.m. Jan. 16–17 and Jan. 23–24; and 2 p.m. Jan. 18 and 25.
The University of Maine’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology (WFCB) formally recognized its new name and celebrated the department’s tradition of education and research at a recent event.
The division, previously known as the Department of Wildlife Ecology, officially changed its name in September 2014 to better reflect its current graduate and undergraduate programs.
About 300 supporters of the department were invited to the Jan. 15 event on campus.
“The change directly mirrors the department’s academic structure,” says Lindsay Seward, an instructor and coordinator of the undergraduate ecology and environmental sciences program.
Wildlife education at UMaine began with the establishment of the Maine Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit in 1935 and approval of a master’s degree in wildlife management. A bachelor’s degree in wildlife management was created in the mid-1940s, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees were offered in 1983 with the creation of the Department of Wildlife in a new College of Forest Resources. In 1994, the name was changed to the Department of Wildlife Ecology.
The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology offers programs that lead to undergraduate and graduate degrees. Undergraduate students pursue concentrations in fisheries, wildlife science and management, and conservation biology.
Over the past several years, WFCB has experienced growth in both academics and research. Undergraduate enrollment has nearly doubled over a four-year period and research productivity continues to be high, according to department officials.
“We look forward to a promising future as our program continues to grow and evolve to meet the conservation needs of today,” says Daniel Harrison, current chair of the department.
The curriculum offered through the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology allows students to meet the requirements for professional certification by the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society.
Aquatic and fisheries work within the department has increased over the last decade. More than 40 percent of current graduate students have projects that are directly linked to commercial and recreational fisheries, according to Joseph Zydlewski, an associate professor in the department and assistant leader of fisheries for the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
The name change also conforms to similar college departments throughout the country, as well as state agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
Richard Kersbergen, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator on sustainable dairy and forage systems, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for the report, “Organic milk scarce on Maine store shelves as demand outstrips supply.” The shortage is caused by basic supply and demand, according to the report. “Organic milk production has been relatively flat in terms of the amount of milk being produced, but the demand is obviously going up,” Kersbergen said. He added that transitioning from being a conventional dairy farmer to an organic dairy farmer could take up to three years.