University of Maine News
A University of Maine-affiliated Summer Technology Camp offered in Orono by the startup High Touch Courses was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about the business and its founder Elizabeth Chabe.
High Touch Courses aims to create online courses for middle and high school students who want to learn about computer programming, Web development and video game design, according to the article. The summer camp, co-located at UMaine, is an intensive, project-based overnight and day camp for students who want to change the world with technology. Four weeklong courses will be offered on topics including Web design, 3-D art and graphic design, game development, and hardware architecture.
A Bangor Daily News column titled Arguably reported in the last five years at the University of Maine, there were 62 reported cases of sexual violence, harassment, stalking, hazing, intimidation or physical assault among students.
In those cases, the BDN reports 47 students were found responsible for violations through the university’s hearing process; one student was expelled and eight were suspended. The majority of punishments included probation, mandatory meetings with school officials, no-contact orders and community or education-related projects. The BDN also continued its reporting on Zedric Joseph, a former University of Maine football player facing murder charges in Florida.
The Morning Sentinel advanced a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cooking for Crowds workshop 1–5 p.m. Monday, July 7, at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office. Topics include safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. To register, visit umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/cooking-for-crowds or bring a check to class.
The Bangor Daily News reported that a number of University of Maine student-athletes have been recognized for their academic prowess.
Inaugural America East Presidential Scholar-Athletes — cited because they earned a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher as an undergraduate student — are Monique Boutin, Ashten Hackett, Darien Lewis, Rachel Wilkinson, Lisa Bijman, Meaghan Bradica, Hallie Lipinski and Kelton Cullenberg. In addition, 16 UMaine men’s hockey players and 20 women’s hockey players were named to their respective Hockey East All-Academic Teams.
The Ticket, 92.9 reported the Toronto Maple Leafs selected University of Maine men’s ice hockey recruit Nolan Vesey in the sixth round of the NHL draft. Vesey is a forward from North Reading, Massachusetts.
Pen Bay Pilot promoted a live science storytelling event that University of Maine marine biology graduate student Skylar Bayer is co-producing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at Frontier in Brunswick.
Five scientists, including UMaine alums Jennifer McHenry and Ryan Elizabeth Cope, will share experiences of being caught “On the Hook” for The Story Collider, which produces live shows and podcasts where people tell stories about how science has affected their lives “on a personal and emotional level.” Tickets may be purchased at online.
Signature and Emerging Areas of excellence in research and education at the University of Maine have been announced by UMaine Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeffrey Hecker.
The designations, which resulted from months of campus dialogue and faculty forums led by the provost, will inform strategic and focused planning and resource allocation to preserve UMaine’s national stature and impact in Maine. The initiative to define UMaine’s Signature and Emerging Areas is a significant component of Blue Sky Pathway 1 — Serving Our State: Catalyzing Maine’s Revitalization in the five-year strategic plan. It will be followed this fall by campus-wide dialogue about foundational areas of research and education for a 21st-century land grant university.
“In this time of rapid change in higher education, it is more important than ever that institutions think strategically about their programs,” Hecker says. “In the Signature Areas UMaine has achieved national and international distinction, and these areas will be key in our planning for the future, including our fundraising and development efforts. The Emerging Areas are those with the great potential to reach that next level of excellence. Together, they make a compelling statement about the distinctiveness of UMaine among America’s research universities.”
The Signature Areas, identified by their strengths in research and education: Forestry and the Environment, Marine Sciences, College of Engineering, Advanced Materials for Infrastructure and Energy, Climate Change, STEM Education, and Honors College. These interdisciplinary Signature Areas are world-class and will feature prominently in UMaine planning for the future.
Emerging Areas represent those programs that may have not yet achieved critical mass or reputation, but have begun to capitalize on interdisciplinary collaboration; have a track record of success with external support from a variety of sources; and involve integration of the research, teaching and service missions. They are: the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering; Northeastern Americas: Humanities Research and Education; Data Science and Engineering; Sustainability Solutions and Technologies; Aging Research; and Finance Education.
Provost Hecker convened the first of three Academic Affairs Faculty Forums on Dec. 3, 2013 to discuss and gather feedback on the Signature and Emerging Areas initiative. In early January, the Advisory Committee for Signature and Emerging Areas drafted the selection criteria, which included: demonstration of a strong “fit to place” meeting Maine’s cultural, workforce and economic needs; international and national reputation; high level of productivity; proven record of sustainability; ability to leverage existing resources; interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary; integration of research, teaching and service missions.
A call for concept papers was issued to the campus community, resulting in 58 submissions. These concept papers were reviewed by a team comprised of UMaine faculty and administrators, a member of UMaine’s Board of Visitors, and external reviewers from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association of the Advancement of Science. Twenty submissions were selected for participation in the full proposal phase of the review.
Public forums were held May 21 and May 22 that included brief presentations on the proposed Signature Areas. Ongoing community feedback was essential in helping the Provost’s team determine the final list of Signature Areas.
Brief descriptions of the Signature Areas:
Forestry and the Environment, focusing on sustainable forests and the forest-based economy, and education in forests, wildlife and the environment. UMaine is nationally and internationally recognized in its advanced wood composites, wood processing, biofuels, wood chemistry and forest resources research. A signature strength for teaching is UMaine’s location, providing unique opportunities for hands-on educational experiences in Maine’s forest and aquatic resources, and in communities statewide. Lead faculty: Hemant Pendse, Forest Bioproducts Research Institute; Robert Wagner, Center for Research on Sustainable Forests; Stephen Shaler, Forest Resources; Doug Bousfield, Paper Surface Science Program; Mike Bilodeau, Process Development Center; Amy Luce, Technology Research Center; Dan Harrison, Wildlife Ecology, Aram Calhoun, Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Marine Sciences, including a multidisciplinary Marine Research Solutions initiative to improve understanding of the physical, biological and socioeconomic processes that shape the ocean; to be a reliable, deeply engaged partner with policy makers, fisheries stakeholders, marine industries and coastal communities, helping to develop solutions for the broad array of issues associated with Maine’s marine resources; and to provide high-quality, interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate education, outreach and research for the Gulf of Maine. Lead faculty: Fei Chai, Pete Jumars, Mary Jane Perry, Rebecca Van Beneden, William Ellis, Sarah Lindsay, Rhian Waller, Marine Sciences; Paul Anderson, Aquaculture Research Institute; Mario Teisl, Economics; Krish Thiagarajan, Mechanical Engineering
STEM Education, including research that investigates the complex intersection of individual content knowledge, social learning environments, pedagogical knowledge of our teachers, and development and use of materials for the classroom. Understanding this complex system requires deep knowledge of disciplinary content and of models of teaching and learning. This area supports expanded and improved teaching and learning of STEM from pre-school through graduate school. Lead faculty: Michael Wittmann and John Thompson, Physics; Jonathan Shemwell, Education; Harlan Onsrud, Computing and Information Science; Susan McKay, RiSE Center; Mohamad Musavi, Engineering
Climate Change, including internationally recognized research, and highly integrated undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities, as well as an emerging academic focus on changing ecosystems and climate — impact on animal and human health. The Climate Change Institute has evolved beyond a singular focus on research to be a leader and a vehicle for broad integration of climate change strengths across campus and statewide. Lead faculty: Paul Mayewski, Jasmine Saros, Ivan Fernandez, Gregory Zaro, Climate Change Institute; Eleanor Groden, School of Biology and Ecology; Mario Teisl, School of Economics; Susan Erich, Anne Lichtenwalner, School of Food and Agriculture
Advanced Materials for Infrastructure and Energy, developing the use of advanced materials in civil infrastructure, energy, aerospace and defense applications. As an interdisciplinary research center, the Advanced Structures and Composites Center focuses on development of novel advanced composite materials and technologies that capitalize on Maine’s manufacturing strengths and natural resources, while creating new industries and job opportunities, and educating students. Lead faculty: Habib Dagher, Stephen Shaler, Larry Parent, Douglas Gardner, William Davids, Eric Landis, Krish Thiagarajan, Advanced Structures and Composites Center
College of Engineering, focusing on the role of the state’s only comprehensive engineering program that features a high level of synergy between teaching, research and public service. Engineering leads the campus with respect to the quality of students it attracts, retention and graduation rates, as well as job placement. Lead faculty: Eric Landis, William Davids, Donald Hummels, Hemant Pendse, Scott Dunning, Engineering; David Batuski, Physics
Honors College, increasing the recruitment and retention of students in preprofessional programs, involving faculty campuswide in the honors education enhancing study abroad and off-campus partnerships that expand and strengthen community-engaged research, and involving students in the creation of new knowledge. Lead faculty, Francois Amar, Honors
Brief descriptions of the Emerging Areas:
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (GSBSE), leveraging Maine’s academic and nonprofit biomedical research institutions, specifically UMaine, University of Southern Maine, University of New England, The Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and Maine Medical Center Research Institute through a unique educational model. GSBSE student research focuses on issues prevalent in the state of Maine, such as cancer- and aging-related illness. Lead faculty: David Neivandt, Chemical Engineering and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering
Northeastern Americas: Humanities Research and Education, focusing on scholarship of New England, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The area is distinctive in its international scope, its multicultural depth and its array of campuswide programs, including the Canadian-American Center, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, Maine Folklife Center, Franco American Programs, Native American Programs and Humanities Initiative, as well as the departments of History, English, Art and Modern Languages. Interdisciplinary, regional research contributes to understanding Maine’s cross-border economy, and it provides interpretative resources for the state’s “creative economy” and its heritage-based tourist industry. Lead faculty: Richard Judd, History; Pauleena MacDougall, Folklife Center; Darren Ranco, Anthropology and Native American Programs
Data Science and Engineering, leveraging UMaine strengths in data science and engineering, and data-sensitive science areas by applying data-centric methods to issues relevant to Maine’s interests and natural and economic sustainability. DSE brings together computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians and engineers with domain scientists to address critical challenges of capturing, storing, managing, sharing, and analyzing massive data sets for new scientific discoveries and insights. Lead faculty: Kate Beard-Tisdale, School of Computing and Information Science; Ali Abedi, Yifeng Zhu, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sustainability Solutions and Technologies, using the field of sustainability science and other interdisciplinary approaches to address the intersecting environmental, sociocultural and economic dimensions of diverse societal challenges, including renewable energy, urbanization, forest resources, water resources, marine fisheries, agriculture and climate change. Faculty conduct sustainability research in collaboration with stakeholder organizations representing government, business and industry, and nongovernmental organizations. Lead faculty: David Hart, Senator George J. Mitchell Center and School of Biology and Ecology; Jonathan Rubin, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and School of Economics; Aram Calhoun, Wildlife Ecology and Ecology and Environmental Science; Shaleen Jain, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Hemant Pendse, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Darren Ranco, Anthropology and Native American Programs; Mario Teisl, School of Economics; Robert Wagner, School of Forest Resources
Aging Research, advancing successful aging in Maine and the nation as it addresses: maximizing individual productivity; minimizing institutionalization and the need for costly long-term care; preventing and mitigating the impact of illness and injury; and promoting community integration, social engagement, full accessibility, personal independence, vitality, mobility, elder friendly communities and citizen safety. Utilizing a research incubator model, this area will maintain productive partnerships with the business and nonprofit sectors. Lead faculty: Len Kaye, Center on Aging and Social Work; David Neivandt, Chemical Engineering and the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering; Laura Lindenfeld, Communication and Journalism
Finance Education, addressing the critical need of the state of Maine to educate business professionals who can carry out economic development and improve job opportunities for the people of Maine. Student learning is enhanced through state of the art technologies and information science, opportunities to invest and manage funds, and engagement with businesses in Maine and nationally. Lead faculty: Ivan Manev, Maine Business School
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Bill Glanz, associate professor in the School of Biology and Ecology and cooperating faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on June 14, in San Diego. He was 65. Glanz was an outstanding teacher and mentor during his 34 years on the UMaine faculty. He continued to share his passion and expertise in natural history, birds and mammals with students, colleagues and the public up until his departure from campus and Maine this past November. He is remembered as a gifted teacher and scientist, naturalist and valued friend.
Aram Calhoun, Ellie Groden and Jim Bird note that those who would like some way to express condolences to the family and/or contribute to Glanz’s remembrance are welcome to join in the following:
Cards, notes and remembrances are being collected for a packet to send to professor Glanz’s daughter, Liz. She is particularly comforted to hear fun stories about her father, impressions, photos, etc. Deadline for materials is July 11.
Contributions for the Orono Boardwalk in professor Glanz’s name are being collected. Checks should be made payable to: The University of Maine Foundation, bog campaign Glanz in the memo line. This is a description of the gift, compiled by Jim Bird:
Glanz was a strong supporter of the Orono Bog Boardwalk. He helped build the boardwalk and, from 2004-13 during the first weekend in May, he led (or co-led) a very popular morning migratory bird walk in the city forest and on the boardwalk. Glanz also took his students to the boardwalk to teach them about the natural history of a northern peat bog. In honor of professor Glanz, the Orono Bog Boardwalk hopes to collect more than $1,000 in funds to sponsor a new boardwalk section in his name. The new section will be put in next year during Phase 2 of the boardwalk reconstruction. It will be located in an area that Glanz would visit to view the annually returning spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis).
All contributions, letters, cards and remembrances may be left with Sue Anderson, 100 Murray Hall, or Catherine Goodine, 210 Nutting Hall.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. All of these can affect people who live on shorefront land. To help property owners take steps now to make their homes more resilient and less damage-prone over the long run, Maine Sea Grant has updated the Maine Property Owner’s Guide to Managing Flooding, Erosion & Other Coastal Hazards.
The online resource contains detailed information on navigating state and federal regulatory and permitting processes associated with actions such as elevating a house, moving a house back away from the water, restoring dunes, creating buffers and stabilizing coastal bluffs. Normandeau Associates Environmental Consultants worked in partnership with Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension to make this new information available. Now, not only can coastal property owners learn more about the hazards they face and what can be done to protect their property, they also can access step-by-step recommendations and permitting guidance.
Examples of property owners who have taken some of these steps are highlighted in case studies from across southern Maine. Information about a tour of resilient properties to be offered in September will be online.
Property owners in Maine’s coastal communities are encouraged to review this updated guidance document as soon as possible. By taking action now to prevent hurricane damage, public and private property owners can greatly reduce their risk of damage and avoid significant costs and delays associated with repairs and restoration.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about this year’s strawberry season. Handley said conditions have been ideal starting last fall and continuing through this week, when many farms in the Augusta area are opening for picking. He said the last two years the crop has come in early, but this year is a more normal ripening schedule. He said he expects the best strawberry crop Maine has had in three or four years.
The Bangor Daily News reported on two studies conducted by researchers at the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) on women’s knowledge of the dangers and health benefits of eating fish while pregnant. The researchers found pregnant women are learning how to safely eat fish after early warnings about the dangers turned many off from eating it entirely. The first study determined that a Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention advisory led women to decrease their consumption of fish, while a follow-up study found a new advisory led to a healthier, more balanced approach to fish consumption. Mario Teisl, an economics professor at UMaine, will discuss study results at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 National Forum on Contaminants in Fish in September.
James Breece, an economics professor at the University of Maine who is a member of the Bureau of Economic Analysis advisory group, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about a statement issued by Gov. Paul LePage that equated Social Security with welfare, and his following clarification of the statement. LePage criticized the newspaper for making an “erroneous interpretation” of a media release from his office that dealt with a report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, according to the article. Breece said it’s not unheard of for people to pick apart components of the bureau’s personal income reports for political or other purposes, and a narrow focus offers perspective on how commerce, industry and governments are doing, as reflected in the pay that employees are receiving.
Including other figures compiled by the bureau provides a fuller picture of what “drives the economy,” the article states.
Steve Coghlan, an associate professor of freshwater fisheries at the University of Maine, was mentioned in a Morning Sentinel article about the Maine Trout Unlimited Trout Camp in Solon. The weeklong camp is sponsored by Trout Unlimited, a national organization that works to conserve coldwater fisheries. Throughout the camp participants fish, learn to tie flies and cast, and study the ecosystem and biology of the Kennebec River. Coghlan is a camp instructor who teaches the students about seine fishing, a method of capturing fish using a large net that usually works best on lakes and ponds or slow-moving water. Coghlan said the camp is mostly about getting students to think about sustainability and the human impact on ecology. “Many popular fisheries, not necessarily this one, but many, are collapsing because they are harvested unsustainably,” Coghlan told campers. “That’s something that you guys coming into this world are going to have to deal with. It’s up to you to think sustainably, to think are we living sustainably and can we sustain ourselves.”
The Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, WVII (Channel 7), WLBZ (Channel 2) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on comments made during a Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce meeting by Susan Hunter, who will take office as the new University of Maine president on July 7. Hunter said UMaine has many research and development projects that are a resource to the state. “In spite of challenges, there are wonderful things happening at UMaine and the sister campuses,” she said. She added she plans to visit with the presidents of each campus to figure out how UMaine can better support them. University of Maine System Chancellor James Page also spoke at the meeting.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 20th annual Maine Child Welfare Conference held at the University of Maine. Child welfare professionals gathered at the conference to learn about potential risk factors affecting the well-being of children. This year’s conference was focused on teaching child protection caseworkers, nurses, social workers, students and mental health professionals how to recognize the signs of mental illness in a parent and if it leads to child abuse.
Monique LaRocque, executive director of Division of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Southern Maine, has been named University of Maine associate provost for the Division of Lifelong Learning (DLL), effective July 1.
LaRocque replaces Lucille Zeph, who resigned as associate provost and DLL dean to allow her to focus solely on her duties as director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at UMaine. For the past three years, Zeph had held both positions.
“Monique has a unique set of skills and experiences that match extremely well with UMaine’s needs at this time,” says Jeffrey Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Online courses, certificates and degree programs are growing pieces of the UMaine academic portfolio. Monique will lead our efforts to grow this portfolio intelligently, ensuring that our offerings match the needs of Maine and beyond, and are delivered with the highest quality.”
At UMaine, LaRocque will help develop online program offerings, particularly at the graduate level, and establish a team to support faculty developing online courses using state-of-the-art pedagogies. LaRocque also will lead the growth of UMaine’s Summer University.
LaRocque joined USM in 2004 as director of summer and winter session, and international programming. She served as associate dean of academic outreach from 2006–10, then as executive director of the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. Prior to joining USM, LaRocque served as assistant dean of academic affairs and director of winter term at DePauw University from 2001–04. She also has held positions at Butler University and Westbrook College.
LaRocque holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in comparative literature from Indiana University, and a second master’s in French from Middlebury College School in Paris, France.
Noah Binette of Berwick, Maine, won first place in the individual exhibit category at the National History Day Competition in June. Binette was one of 47 students representing Maine at the contest held at the University of Maryland in College Park.
The rising sophomore at Noble High School, won the senior individual exhibit division for his presentation on Malaga Island. In April, Binette also won at Maine’s National History Day competition held at the University of Maine.
A new partnership between UMaine and the Margaret Chase Smith Library, with support from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Historical Society, brought the event for students in grades 6–12 to the UMaine campus for the first time since the national program began in 1980.
“Our first year of coordinating National History Day in Maine has been successful for many reasons, and Binette’s win demonstrates the strides we have made in organizing this program,” said John Taylor, Maine National History Day State Coordinator and museum assistant at the Margaret Chase Smith Library. “We look forward to building upon this success as we prepare for the 2015 season.”
The Bangor Daily News covered a Penobscot River rafting trip by University of Maine researchers and students who are noting changes in the waterway by using sonar technology to study the riverbed. “Primarily, we’re interested in the structure of the bottom of the Penobscot River and the changes to that bottom as a result of everything that’s gone on, including human interventions, floods, dam removals and all the other things that have been a part of the history of the river in the last 200 years,” said Sean Smith, an assistant professor at UMaine’s School of Earth and Climate Sciences. He added rivers can’t be managed effectively unless people know how they work and respond to different influences. Gayle Zydlewski, an associate professor at UMaine’s School of Marine Science who studies sturgeon, was also part of the expedition. “Sturgeon would get as far as the Milford Dam, and when the dams went in, they were blocked,” Zydlewski said, adding she wants to know if the fish will use the area and if their population will change now that the dam has been removed.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Timothy Waring, an assistant professor of social-ecological systems modeling at the University of Maine, about a consumer survey on local foods. The survey was conducted by Waring and other researchers at the Maine Food Strategy. The survey found Mainers are going out of their way to buy more local produce and seafood. More than a third of people surveyed said they purchased up to a quarter of their food from local sources. Ninety percent said that freshness, flavor and nutrition were their main reasons for seeking out locally raised food. “They’re also eager to do it to support local farmers, so people are doing it out of some sense of commitment to the people who are raising the food,” Waring said.
A Bangor Daily News editorial titled “Keeping up with Maine’s changing climate” cited several University of Maine initiatives that aim to mitigate the effects of extreme weather. The editorial mentioned the Maine Futures Community Mapper, an online tool developed by Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) that allows people to see the best locations for development, conservation, agriculture or forestry in Maine, and then shows what future landscapes would look like under different scenarios. Research being conducted by SSI with coastal communities to update stormwater plans and identify problem culverts, as well as a bill sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center, that will establish a commission to study ocean acidification and how it affects the harvest of shellfish were also mentioned. UMaine’s Climate Change Institute was cited as “one organization with the expertise to guide community leaders in their climate adaptation and sustainability plans.” The CCI will host a workshop at the Wells Conference Center on Oct. 23 to help Maine communities with climate change planning, the editorial states.