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News from the University of Maine
Updated: 17 hours 49 min ago

UMaine Inclement Weather Policy Reminder

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 10:00

Members of the University of Maine community are reminded that the inclement weather policy is online (umaine.edu/weatherpolicy), complete with the best options for getting up-to-date information about delays and class cancellations.

For the most timely notification of weather-related class cancellations or postponements, members of the University of Maine community are strongly encouraged to sign up for text and/or email message alerts (umaine.edu/emergency).

Notifications also are posted on the UMaine website (umaine.edu) and portal; in FirstClass folders (Announcements & Alerts; Provost/Academic Affairs and UMaine Forum); and on University of Maine Facebook (facebook.com/universityofmaine) and Twitter (twitter.com/umainenews). These notification options are considered the most reliable options.

In addition, updates can be heard by calling 581.SNOW (1.800.581.SNOW outside the local area), with early morning notifications recorded by 6 a.m., and others made throughout the day. Local media also are notified of UMaine’s weather-related cancellations and delays.

Categories: Combined News, News

WVII, WABI Report on IMRC Center’s Dedication Ceremony

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:29

WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the dedication of the University of Maine’s new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center at the renovated Stewart Commons on the UMaine campus. The IMRC Center is home to UMaine’s Department of New Media and the MFA in Intermedia Program and is available to Maine entrepreneurs. Owen Smith, director of the center and the MFA in Intermedia Program; Larry Latour, chair of the New Media Department; and Jeff Hecker, the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, spoke to reporters about the importance of the center and what it provides to students, faculty and the community.

Categories: Combined News, News

BDN Interviews UMaine Student About School of Performing Arts Fundraiser

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:28

The Bangor Daily News spoke with Ben McNaboe, a senior music education major at the University of Maine, about the upcoming School of Performing Arts fundraiser show he created and organized. On Jan. 17 McNaboe will lead about 90 musicians and vocalists in a student-produced show titled “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics.” It will be the largest student-run performing arts production at UMaine in more than a decade, the BDN reports. McNaboe said he chose the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein because “the audience for their music is huge” and “all generations can relate to it.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Steneck Quoted in Huffington Post Blog on Shrimp, Lobster Populations

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:27

Robert Steneck, a marine scientist at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Huffington Post blog post titled “Shrimp down, lobster up: Is there a connection?” Warming temperatures are leading to a thriving lobster population in the Gulf of Maine while lobster numbers are declining farther south, according to the report. Steneck said the shift is happening because warming waters in the area have aided the lobster boom, but he worries if temperatures get too warm — above 20 C (68 F) — the area could become too stressful for lobster.

Categories: Combined News, News

Media Report on Seventh-Grader Committing to UMaine Hockey Team

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:26

SB Nation College Hockey, CBS Sports, NESN, Diehard Sport and Examiner.com reported seventh-grader Oliver Wahlstrom of Yarmouth, Maine has committed to play college hockey at the University of Maine. Wahlstrom is the youngest player to commit to an NCAA college hockey program and won’t be able to attend the university until the fall of 2019, according to the reports. At nine years old, Wahlstrom became an Internet sensation when he made a shootout goal in a skills competition hosted by the Boston Bruins.

Categories: Combined News, News

Maine Folklife Center Research Cited in Press Herald Blog

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:20

Research from the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine was cited in the latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” The post, titled “The Beans of Maine,” stated according to the Maine Folklife Center’s foodways research, Maine’s Saturday bean suppers originated from the pilgrims, who would cook enough so they would not have to cook on the Sabbath. The beans cooked all day Saturday, and were eaten for dinner that night and the next morning.

Categories: Combined News, News

Garland Talks to WABI About MOFGA Seeking to Increase Presence

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:19

Kate Garland, horticulturist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) for a report on the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association wanting a presence in Penobscot County. To test community interest, the group is hosting a Stone Soup Social Jan. 11 where members are invited to bring chopped vegetables to add to a pot of soup. Garland said the event’s purpose is to gather enough interested people to determine if setting up a Penobscot County chapter would be a viable option and to find out what educational and social activities people are interested in.

Categories: Combined News, News

Oratorio Society Concert Rescheduled for MLK Jr. Day

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 16:17

The University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ presentation of “Ein deutsches Requiem” by Johannes Brahms has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20 in the 900-seat Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center in Hampden.

Retiring Professor Ludlow Hallman will conduct the Oratorio Society Concert, which is dedicated to the memory of those killed during the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Jan. 20 was chosen as the new concert date in tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Kelly Scheetz, soprano; and Justin Zang, baritone, will be soloists.

Brahms’ Opus 45 is a prayer for the souls of the departed. “Brahms’ text addresses those who are left behind, with words of comfort and consolation,” Hallman says. “It is a very personal and heartfelt master work. He envisioned it as a work for all of humanity, transcending specific religious belief or nationality.”

Hallman has conducted the University Orchestra, an auditioned group of 45 musicians, and the Oratorio Society, a mixed choral ensemble of community members and university students. He has also directed the Opera Workshop, chaired UMaine’s Music Department and served as resident director of the New England Universities in Salzburg program — which was the immersion training for students of German. In addition, he has conducted and directed music for multiple operas and musical comedies and served as assistant conductor of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Admission is $10, free with a student MaineCard. For tickets or disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to the performance.

Categories: Combined News, News

The University of Maine Launches an Innovative Faculty Leadership Program

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 17:27

The University of Maine is launching an innovative leadership program that will prepare a group of faculty from across the campus to serve as ambassadors to Maine communities and constituents. The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program will help to strengthen UMaine’s contributions to the state by building a network of faculty leaders who can communicate the importance of UMaine, and build stronger bridges to people and organizations across the state.

The six-month program will provide training in media relationships, interpersonal communication, audience analysis and partnership building. As part of the program, the Faculty Fellows will participate in a state-of-the-art communication and engagement training in conjunction with representatives from Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Combining theater improv techniques with communication training, the experience will help participants communicate about UMaine and their own work with passion and confidence.

Laura Lindenfeld, Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, proposed and designed the program in conjunction with Jake Ward, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development, and Judy Ryan, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Administration, in order to create better pathways for making UMaine’s work matter more to the state.

“The program is designed to get faculty members and researchers more connected with Maine communities,” Lindenfeld said. “The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program will help us bridge boundaries and create stronger connections between our university and the state. We already do so much for the state, but we can do more. Getting a creative, entrepreneurial group of professors together through this program is a remarkable opportunity to increase our ability to help businesses, industries, and citizens. I want this program to help us make a tangible difference, and that is so inspirational and exciting.”

From engineering to marine sciences to art history, the program includes 20 outstanding faculty members who will learn about contemporary issues in Maine. The program will prepare them to make their own research more engaged and relevant to the issues in Maine.

Kathleen Bell, Associate Professor of Economics, was selected to participate in the program. She hopes to gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that will help her advance as a leader, researcher, and community member.

“I adore living in Maine and working at UMaine,” Bell said. “This program really presents me with a unique opportunity to understand the shared histories of Maine and UMaine, and to participate actively in their shared future.”

Ali Abedi, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will also participate in the program and hopes that it can bring about new connections between the state and the university.

“The University of Maine has been playing a pivotal role in Maine’s economy and improving people’s lives for a long period of time, but it is often hard to clearly link the research activities and their impact to the State’s quality of life and show the importance of investing in educating the next generation of students,” Abedi said. “The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program is a great way for UMaine faculty to get trained in how to communicate their research with Maine’s stakeholders in a language that is clear, concise and to the point.”

Lindenfeld and the UMaine administration will be running monthly training sessions with faculty this spring semester and plan to make the program a cornerstone training initiative at the university. The program, funded in large part from the Office of President Paul Ferguson, clearly aligns with the vision and strategies of the University of Maine’s strategic plan, the Blue Sky Project.

“Part of our job as faculty members at a land and sea grant institution is to create a shared vision with the state and find ways to connect our efforts in research and teaching with the daily lives of Mainers,” Lindenfeld said. “This is a big responsibility that we bear, and my aspiration in designing this program was to help us increase our ability to address the needs of people right here at home. We hope this program is a big step in that direction and are so excited to have launched the Blue Sky Faculty Fellows.”

The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program will hold its first training session Jan. 14 at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation.

The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows

Ali Abedi
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kathleen Bell
Associate Professor, School of Economics

Amy Blackstone
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology

Mark Brewer
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Nic Erhardt
Assistant Professor in Management, Maine Business School

Janet Fairman
Associate Research Professor, Center for Research and Education & Maine Education Policy Research Institute

Lee Karp-Boss
Research Assistant Professor, School of Marine Sciences

Jessica Leahy
Associate Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, School of Forest Resources

Rob Lilieholm
E.L. Giddings Associate Professor of Forest Policy, School of Forest Resources

Margo Lukens
Associate Professor, Department of English
Director of Academic Programs, Innovation Engineering

David Neivandt
Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering

Mauricio Pereira da Cunha
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Rich Powell
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Jasmine Saros
Associate Director and Professor, Climate Change Institute, and School of Biology and Ecology

Denise Skonberg
Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Shihfen Tu
Associate Professor, Department of Education and Human Development

Rick Wahle
Research Professor of Marine Sciences

Aaron Weiskittel
Associate Professor of Forest Biometrics and Modeling, and Irving Chair of Forest Ecosystem Management, School of Forest Resources

Justin Wolff
Associate Professor, Department of Art

Gayle Zydlewski
Associate Professor, School of Marine Sciences

Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Categories: Combined News, News

Phys.org Reports on Olsen’s Research on Sexual Selection of Birds

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:49

Phys.org reported on research on the sexual selection of birds conducted by Brian Olsen, assistant professor in the University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology and Climate Change Institute. Olsen found when looking for a mate, female coastal plain swamp sparrows choose males with large bills. He also found small-billed males are more at risk of being cheated on by their mates.

Categories: Combined News, News

Extension Educator Wertheim Featured in Village Article

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:46

Frank Wertheim, an agriculture and horticulture extension educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed by The Village for a feature article on himself and his work with Cooperative Extension. Wertheim said the best part of his job is “creating programs and working with a community of volunteers, farmers and the farming community, and engaging others.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Maine Edge Previews University of Maine Museum of Art’s Winter Exhibits

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:44

The Maine Edge published an article previewing the University of Maine Museum of Art’s winter exhibits that will open to the public on Jan. 17 and run through March 22. The three exhibits are Hannah Cole’s “Time’s Wife;” Kenny Cole’s “Parabellum (Prepare for War);” and “From Piranesi to Picasso: Master Prints from the Permanent Collection.”

Categories: Combined News, News

Bid Review Date Set for UMaine Offshore Wind Project, Renewable Energy News Reports

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:43

Renewable Energy News reported the Maine Public Utilities Commission will consider a long-term energy contract for a proposed offshore wind project by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies. Regulators will deliberate the project’s proposed term sheet Jan. 14.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Events

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:42

The University of Maine in collaboration with the Greater Bangor Area NAACP will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. with events including a march, lunch and panel discussion from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Jan. 20.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day events will kick off at 12:30 p.m. with a march starting at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Memorial Plaza that will be led by the Black Student Union, a University of Maine student organization.

Lunch will be served at 1 p.m. in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union and music will be provided by the singing group Voices for Peace. After lunch and opening remarks, a panel will discuss “What Would King do? Lessons for Today” followed by a question-and-answer period and small group discussions on the ways King inspires hope for change individually and throughout the world.

All events are free and open to the public.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Wins New England Higher Education Excellence Award

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:40

The University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator was named the winner of the Maine State Merit Award by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) in its announcement of the 2014 New England Higher Education Excellence Award winners. The six state merit awards — one for each New England state — are given to individuals, programs, organizations, institutions or businesses that exemplify excellence in promoting college readiness and success for students. The Target Technology Incubator houses UMaine researchers and private sector technology firms and provides an environment for business development and commercialization. The NEBHE will hold its 12th annual award ceremony March 7 in Boston.

Categories: Combined News, News

Dedication Ceremony for UMaine IMRC Center, Conference ‘Celebrating Creative Innovation’ Jan. 9

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:57

The University of Maine will dedicate its new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an afternoon conference celebrating innovation and the state’s creative economy Jan. 9.

The 15,000-square-foot IMRC Center in the newly renovated Stewart Commons is home to UMaine’s Department of New Media and the MFA in Intermedia Program, and available to Maine entrepreneurs for creative exploration. It features intermedia graduate research labs, state-of-the-art technology classrooms, audio and video production studios, a 3-D and immersive visualization presentation environment, and facilities for prototyping, fabrication and computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing.

The more than $10 million renovation of Stewart Commons, which also houses the Wyeth Family Studio Art Center, was funded in part by the state of Maine through a Maine Technology Asset Fund award from the Maine Technology Institute.

The IMRC Dedication Ceremony begins at 5 p.m., followed by a reception and facility tours. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.3582.

The conference, IMRC Maine: Celebrating Creative Innovation, from noon to 4:30 p.m., is held in partnership with the Camden-based Juice Conference and Midcoast Magnet, the Belfast Creative Coalition and Realize Maine Network.

Juice conferences connect leaders of the creative economy to foster growth and prosperity. Weaving the arts, technology and entrepreneurship, Juice inspires innovation by bringing talented people together from widely different backgrounds to learn, exchange ideas and share success stories.

The UMaine event will be a mini-Juice conference and the first outside the midcoast region.

The conference will feature a keynote by award-winning graphic designer John Bielenberg, co-founder of Future, and two seminars: “What’s Possible Tour,” featuring presentations by entrepreneurs who have used the IMRC prototyping and media development facilities, and “Diving Deeper: Prototyping Specifics,” featuring detailed presentations on 3-D printing and media production.

The full schedule of IMRC Maine is online. For more information, call 207.236.6545.

Categories: Combined News, News

Sexual Selection May Result in Bigger-Billed Male Birds, says UMaine Researcher

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:33

To female coastal plain swamp sparrows, male bill size matters.

When looking for a mate outside of their pair bond, female coastal plain swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana nigrescens) choose males with large bills, according to a University of Maine-led study conducted along Delaware Bay.

Small-billed males are more at risk of being cheated on by their mates. Males with larger bills than their avian neighbors, on the other hand, sire a greater percentage of young birds in their territory, says Brian Olsen, assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology and Climate Change Institute.

Thus, Olsen says, sexual selection may explain why males have larger bills than females along the Delaware coast.

“Conventionally, bird bills have been considered one of the premier examples of how diet shapes morphology: the right tool for the right job,” he says.

For the past 40 years, researchers have explained differences between the shapes of male and female bills by differences in diet. But Olsen and his colleagues say their research suggests that female mating preferences alone could do it.

“It really makes me wonder how much of bill shape, or the shape of any other structure for that matter, is due to mating preferences instead of better survival,” Olsen says.

Olsen and his fellow researchers also found that bill size increases with age. So, by selecting males with larger bills, females are picking a mate that has the right stuff to survive and successfully defend a territory over multiple years.

“In other words,” says Olsen, “the genes of older males have been tested and proven worthy, and females who prefer to mate with the largest-billed males can then pass these good survivor genes on to their offspring.”

Since the difference in large and small bills is only a few millimeters, Olsen says he doesn’t know how female swamp sparrows make the distinction. He suspects song may play a role, since male bill shape can greatly influence singing.

Russell Greenberg of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoological Park; Jeffrey Walters of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences; and Robert Fleischer of the Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics at the National Zoological Park also participated in the study.

The team’s research article, “Sexual dimorphism in a feeding apparatus is driven by mate choice and not niche partitioning,” was published in the November 2013 issue of Behavioral Ecology.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Categories: Combined News, News

WVII Reports on Literacy to Go Program, Interviews Bennett-Armistead

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:12

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Susan Bennett-Armistead, the Correll Professor of Early Literacy at the University of Maine, about the new Literacy to Go program that aims to promote early literacy. UMaine’s Fogler Library and Old Town’s elementary school and public library are teaming up to offer themed kits that include three books inside a pizza box to help children get interested in and excited about reading. Bennett-Armistead said each site is expected to have 20 kits on a variety of topics and librarians will be taught how to use the kits with young children.

Categories: Combined News, News

Breece Quoted in Press Herald Article on Maine’s Economic Forecast

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:11

James Breece, an economics professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about the future of Maine’s economy. Breece said most economists would agree with the prediction of mild job growth for the next year made by Charles Colgan, a professor at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. Breece added that the continuing decline in manufacturing in the state is slowing the economy and there’s a disconnect in Maine between strong economic gains and high corporate profits and the slow return of jobs that were lost during the recession.

Categories: Combined News, News

Award-Winning Ice Age Research

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 17:11

A University of Maine alumnus and faculty associate in the Department of Anthropology recently won an international prize for his ice age research related to the first human settlement in the high Peruvian Andes.

Kurt Rademaker, who is also an associate graduate faculty member at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, won the Tübingen Research Prize in Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology. The award is open to recent doctoral recipients around the world in in a variety of areas including archaeology, ecology and human evolution.

The goal of Rademaker’s research is to better understand the timing, environmental setting and adaptations related to the early settlement.

“Human colonization of the Americas was the most rapid and extensive geographic expansion in our species’ history, in which hunter-gatherers successfully settled some of the most challenging environments on Earth,” he says.

Rademaker and his team discovered humans lived at 14,700 feet elevation in southern Peru about 12,000–12,500 years ago, making the Andes settlements the highest known ice-age archaeological sites in the world.

“The fact that hunter-gatherers were physiologically capable of living in high-altitude mountains at the end of an ice age is an example of how amazingly adaptable our species is. My team and I are trying to learn more about how people managed this initial settlement and how Andean environments, ecology and culture have changed since then,” he says.

Rademaker collaborates with researchers from throughout the United States, Canada, Peru, Chile and Germany.

“Many different skill sets are needed to do interdisciplinary work, and archaeology is labor-intensive, so this means building teams of people with varied specializations,” he says.

Rademaker considers his work somewhat nontraditional because he uses an interdisciplinary systems approach that combines archaeology and other earth science techniques to investigate the long-term evolution of landscapes in which people play an important role.

Rademaker and his team can sometimes estimate the age of settlements by tools found at sites. Other times the researchers excavate areas in rockshelter sites used as camps and retrieve organic material such as animal bones that people discarded then radiocarbon date the bones to determine their approximate age.

Research conducted by Rademaker and his team suggests that the first people in the Peruvian Andes settlements hunted Andean camelids — ancestors of today’s alpacas and llamas — and Andean deer. The people may have also eaten plants, but a complete picture of their diet awaits further study, Rademaker says.

“One interesting finding is that there are stone tools in the shelter that do not come from the highlands but from lower-elevation canyons,” Rademaker says. “So these people may have been moving between low and high elevations, perhaps seasonally.”

The Tübingen Research Prize is administered by the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology housed in the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory and Archaeology of the Middle Ages at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany. The prize, in its 16th year, was created to promote innovative research among scholars studying ice age archaeology, Quaternary ecology and human evolution.

“It is such a great honor to win this award,” Rademaker says. “Tübingen has one of the premier archaeological departments in the world. The Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology is renowned for its archaeological sciences expertise and groundbreaking work on human prehistory and evolution throughout Africa, Asia and Europe.”

In accepting the award, Rademaker is slated to deliver the prize lecture Feb. 6 at the Fürstenzimmer of Schloss Hohentübingen, where he will receive 5,000 Euros ($6,800). As the winner, he is also expected to contribute a research paper summarizing the major aspects of his research for the journal Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte.

“I have lots of ideas for future research, so I hope to have the opportunity to continue in academic archaeology,” Rademaker says.

Rademaker has been researching early human settlements in the high Peruvian Andes for about 10 years and has made 13 trips to Peru to complete his master’s and Ph.D. research.

“In total, I have spent about a year of my life camping in the high Andes while doing fieldwork,” he says.

Rademaker, who has been interested in the settlement of the Americas since he began his career in archaeology in 1996, became involved in Peruvian archaeology and climate change through the Climate Change Institute when he came to UMaine in 2003.

“I had the good fortune to have Dan Sandweiss as my graduate adviser,” Rademaker says. “Dan invited me on his field project in Peru in 2004, and I have been hooked on the Andes ever since.”

In 2008, Rademaker won the Society for American Archaeology’s Douglas C. Kellogg Geoarchaeology Award and the Geological Society of America’s Claude C. Albritton Archaeological Geology Award for research by a graduate student. Rademaker is the second person to win both awards and the only person to win them in the same year, according to his former adviser Sandweiss, the dean and associate provost for graduate studies and a professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies.

Rademaker earned a doctoral degree in Quaternary archaeology from UMaine in 2012 and a master’s degree in Quaternary and climate studies in 2006. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky. He is expected to teach archaeology courses at UMaine during the spring semester.

“In addition to being a unique source of information about our own species’ development, archaeology also is a tremendous source of information about past climate and environmental change,” Rademaker says. “Future environmental change is the most serious challenge our civilization faces. Archaeology can help us understand the development of Earth’s landscapes and our current situation.”

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Categories: Combined News, News