Archive for the ‘Honors College’ Category

UMaine at 150

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The University of Maine is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 with events on campus and statewide, and an interactive website to encourage community engagement by the many constituents of the state’s land and sea grant university.

In a Jan. 23 letter to the community, UMaine President Susan Hunter noted the significance of this anniversary for the state and its many constituents — an opportunity to celebrate UMaine’s legacy and to understand how that history informs the university’s future.

“The University of Maine’s 150th anniversary observance will reaffirm the teaching, research and economic development, and outreach mission of a 21st-century land grant institution, and its potential to change lives,” President Hunter said in her community letter.

“For 150 years, the University of Maine has had a leadership role in the state. Because Maine’s potential is our purpose, UMaine serves as the state’s major research and cultural hub, linking our resources with the needs of industries and businesses, schools, cultural institutions, Maine government and communities. In this, our 150th year, there is more recognition than ever that the land grant university can — and must — play a key role in enhancing the quality of life for citizens all across Maine and beyond,” Hunter said.

President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Morrill Act establishing the land grant mission with the goal to provide “practical education that had direct relevance” to people’s daily lives.

The Maine legislature passed a bill to create Maine’s land grant institution on Feb. 24, 1865. Gov. Samuel Cony signed it the next day.

The first board of trustees, chaired by Hannibal Hamlin of Bangor, addressed the Maine people three months later, noting that “it is by the union of scientific knowledge with physical industry, that labor becomes most productive, and the laborer gains.”

UMaine welcomed its first class of 12 students in September 1868; the first graduation was held in 1872.

Today, UMaine enrolls more than 11,200 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Maine and the U.S., and more than 65 countries, and has more than 105,000 alumni worldwide.

UMaine’s 150th anniversary events began with the School of Performing Arts benefit production, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine,” Jan 23.

Other 150th celebration events during this anniversary year:

  • University of Maine Day at the State House in Augusta, Feb. 24 — the date 150 years ago that the Maine legislature passed the bill creating the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
  • Women in Leadership Week, March 23–27, featuring a Presidential Installation on March 26, Collins Center for the Arts.
  • Maine Day, April 29.
  • Commencement, May 9.
  • Open University Day and Homecoming, Oct. 17–18.

More information about these and other anniversary events will be on the 150th website.

The 150th website provides news, archival photos and historical information, and opportunities for members of the UMaine community and its many constituents to share their memories of the university.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Audrey Cross, Ashley Thibeault and Danielle Walczak: Collaborative Researchers

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Click here to view more student profiles

University of Maine Honors College undergraduates Audrey Cross and Ashley Thibeault tracked all of UMaine Dining’s food purchases for several months last year; they tracked everything from mayonnaise to sushi-grade tuna. Then they crunched the numbers, noting the percentage of food purchased from local producers.

They discovered that UMaine stacked up well against other universities with 15 percent of all food coming from local sources dedicated to sustainable practices. They reported their findings in a poster presented at the Maine EPSCoR State Conference in December.

“We want to see if we can get the university to commit to a goal of 20 percent by 2020,” says Cross, a junior, whose work is based on the Real Food Challenge — a national student movement to create sustainable food goals. “Where our food comes from means something. We want students to get in the habit of thinking that way, so after they graduate they can’t go back to, like, the ambiguous tomato.”

The research and analysis were made possible by grants from a new initiative of UMaine’s Honors College. The Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative (SFSRC) brings together students, faculty and community partners to enable an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems of food production and distribution, as well as hunger. SFSRC faculty also see a broader role for the collaborative as a center for innovative solutions to multiple aspects of food systems: social, cultural and economic, as well as physical boundaries and personal challenges. Students of any major are welcome and encouraged, faculty say.

Cross and seniors Thibeault and Danielle Walczak are the first fellows of the program, which received seed funding from the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. The fellowships allowed each student to expand their food-systems-related senior theses, granting them access to a network of faculty and community partners such as farmers and food service professionals. The grant also gave them time to dedicate themselves exclusively to the work for a month following last year’s spring semester.

The idea, say faculty affiliates, is to build a rich collaborative that includes undergraduate students at all levels, university researchers and a network of invested community partners. New lines of inquiry will build on previous students’ work, making it possible to identify common factors and guiding principles that underlie studies in a variety of disciplines.

“Working together the group leverages the multiple disciplines of the participants to generate a broad view of the food system landscape before individual members take on specific projects,” says Francois Amar, dean of the Honors College. “The energy and enthusiasm of the first fellows has been incredible. In addition to wanting to focus on their own research problem or thesis topic, they were very open to reading and discussing articles and meeting with stakeholders who had broader concerns. Undergraduates are not yet fully integrated into a research discipline and so can often be very open to hybrid approaches to solving problems.”

Amar and colleagues say the research collaborative was born after they realized students such as Cross, Thibeault and Walczak were duplicating efforts.

“My colleagues and I realized that a number of students were working on research related to the food system, but were doing so mostly in isolation,” says Melissa Ladenheim, adjunct assistant professor in Honors and interim coordinator of advancement. “The support from the Mitchell Center allowed us to create a nerve center where we can coordinate these efforts. The collaborative fosters continuity in relationships and research that encourage students to engage in meaningful projects with real implications for our community partners.”

For Walczak that meant spending a lot of time on farms last year rather than cloistered in a library. Walczak, who is researching small Maine farms, met with several young farmers to assess their food production, business acumen and community connections.

Her goal is to understand their lives, which mainly involve small, diversified livestock and vegetable production, and what their contributions mean to the state. She discovered that, despite Maine’s aging population, young farmers who own small farms are on the rise. A journalism major, Walczak laid out her discoveries in a piece of literary journalism, outlining the struggles facing these new farmers such as land acquisition, availability of markets, climate change and capital.

“There are successes, but I’m interested in looking behind the statistics and getting the real story: What are the struggles facing these farmers? What makes them tick? SFSRC has allowed me to be really thoughtful about my process and how I set up my project. I was able to discuss ideas and engage in a place-based approach toward our food system,” she says.

Amar sees the year-old collaborative growing far beyond its current incarnation. And though building a large database of original research will require the work of multiple students over several years, the collaborative is gaining attention. The SFSRC team gave a presentation on its model at the National Collegiate Honors Council meeting in Denver in November. The talk attracted interest from faculty and students. Next up is a session on food systems at the 2015 Maine Sustainability and Water Conference in March.

SFSRC, says Amar, has potential implications beyond UMaine.

“Tailoring community-based research to undergraduates is novel and, I think, may be transportable to other complex problems and other institutions,” he says.

UMaine Graduate to Discuss Ancient, Modern Hurricanes During Honors Lecture

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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.

Public Service Mission

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The University of Maine is one of 240 colleges and universities in the United States selected to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

UMaine and 156 other institutions received reclassification; 83 colleges and universities received first-time classification.

In 2008, UMaine and Bates College were the first two institutions in Maine to receive the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The 2015 reclassification is valid until 2025.

Today, five colleges and universities in Maine — UMaine, Bates, Saint Joseph’s College, Unity College and the University of Maine at Machias — are among the 361 institutions nationwide that have achieved the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation.

“Community engagement is an institutional priority that is critical to helping meet the needs of communities in Maine and beyond,” said UMaine President Susan Hunter. “Since its inception, UMaine has been committed to public service as part of its statewide land grant mission. Today, community engagement is an important component of the UMaine student experience, and more integral than ever to our research and economic development initiatives.

“This reclassification by the Carnegie Foundation recognizing our commitment to community engagement is a fitting tribute to UMaine’s 150-year legacy that we’re celebrating in 2015.”

The Community Engagement Classification recognizes those colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement. Unlike the other Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education that rely on national data, the Community Engagement distinction requires colleges and universities to voluntarily submit materials documenting their community engagement.

In order to be selected, the colleges and universities provided descriptions and examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. For reclassification, UMaine and the other institutions also had to provide evidence that the ongoing community engagement has become “deeper, more pervasive, better integrated and sustained.”

In UMaine’s application to the Carnegie Foundation, numerous university-community partnerships and projects were highlighted. University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Sea Grant, all six colleges and many university centers were represented, demonstrating the range and depth of the university’s commitment to engagement, according to Claire Sullivan, associate dean for community engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Several efforts are geared toward the creation of collaborative networks across disciplines, institutions and state organizations.

Partnerships include collaborations with local schools, as well as those that work toward the promotion of the arts and humanities. For example, one cultural project called Tree and Tradition featured a collaboration with the Hudson Museum, the Native American Studies Program, the School of Forest Resources and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, whose mission is to preserve the ancient tradition of brown ash and sweetgrass basketry among Maine’s tribes.

UMaine’s community partnerships also serve an economic development function. That includes the Foster Center for Student Innovation, which has a leadership role in the Blackstone Accelerates Growth internship project.

The university has placed an emphasis on aiding the people of Maine through projects devoted to youth, the elderly, families and diverse populations, as well as tackling important societal and health-related issues, such a hunger, autism spectrum disorders and substance abuse. Cooperative Extension, UMaine’s largest outreach component, has a presence in every county, putting research to work in homes, businesses, farms and communities.

UMaine also has focused on its natural resources through such initiatives as Sea Grant’s Marine Extension Team, linking coastal communities with scientists to address pressing issues, and the Cooperative Forestry Resource Unit, working with Maine’s forest landowners to ensure effective public policy and sustainable forest management practices. The university has been instrumental in developing alternative energies research, education and partnerships, and connects knowledge with action through the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, promoting strong economies, vibrant communities and healthy ecosystems in Maine and beyond.

At UMaine, community engagement is integral to the student experience. Student participation in the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism programs has increased 192 percent in the past three years, with 5,975 students completing 19,400 service hours in 2013. Students are involved in service-learning courses, music and theater ensembles, Alternative Breaks, Engineers Without Borders, sustainable agriculture projects, Black Bear Mentors and the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps, to name a few.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Amy Driscoll, consulting scholar for the Community Engagement Classification, noted that, in this first reclassification process, there is “renewed institutional commitment, advanced curricular and assessment practices, and deeper community partnerships, all sustained through changes in campus leadership, and within the context of a devastating economic recession.”

A news release about the Carnegie Foundation’s 2015 Community Engagement Classification is online.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Tisher Co-Writes Op-Ed on Bruce Poliquin, Politics for BDN

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Sharon Tisher, a lecturer in the University of Maine’s School of Economics and Honors College, and Peter Mills, the executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority and a former state senator, wrote an opinion piece published by the Bangor Daily News titled “Bruce Poliquin has a chance to make his mark, emulate Maine’s environmental heroes.” Tisher is a member of the Maine chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.

Former Director of UMaine Honors Program Dies, Media Report

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported Samuel Schuman, a former director of the University of Maine honors program died Nov. 11. He was 72. Schuman, a professor and college administrator, is remembered by many as “the affable chancellor at the University of Minnesota,” the obituary states. In 1977, Schuman moved into his first administrative position as director of UMaine’s honors program, now the Honors College. Four years later he moved on to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he served as academic dean and vice president of academic affairs, according to the report. The Bangor Daily News also carried the obituary.

2014–2015 CUGR Fall Creative and Academic Achievement Fellowship Winners Announced

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The University of Maine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) has announced the recipients of the CUGR Fall Creative and Academic Achievement Fellowships for 2014–15.

The fellowships were developed to enhance and increase undergraduate student involvement in faculty-supervised research, and awarded by the President’s Office.

Each fellowship provides a $1,000 award for the student to help cover costs of the project. The awards are supported through a PRE-VUE grant with additional funding from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF).

The winning projects:

  • Wilson Adams of Barrington, Rhode Island, bioengineering, “A device for entrapment and microinjection of larval zebrafish”
  • Gwendolyn Beacham of Farmington, Maine, biochemistry, “Characterization of lysogeny regulation in the Cluster E mycobacteriophage Ukulele”
  • Jennifer LF Burnham of Bangor, Maine, microbiology, “Vaccine awareness assistance within the Greater Bangor area healthcare system”
  • Nina Caputo of Canaan, New Hampshire, chemistry, mathematics and environmental sciences, “Fluorescence monitoring of contaminant mixtures in surface fresh water”
  • Tyler Carrier of Barre, Vermont, “Cellular and molecular responses of sea urchin embryos to dissolved saxitoxins from the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense”
  • Nicklaus Carter of Franklin, Maine, bioengineering, “Magnetic properties of iron nanoparticles”
  • Joshua Deakin of Hampden, Maine, business, “Rituals in restaurants: Exploring how newcomers learn organizational culture”
  • Vincent DiGiovanni of Belmont, Massachusetts, biology and chemistry, “New approach to the treatment of Type 2 diabetes using inhibitors based on the acarviostatin family of natural products”
  • Nathan Dunn of Berwick, Maine, mathematics and computer science, “An enhancement of the P301dx application using advanced statistics”
  • Robert Fasano of Jefferson, Maine, physics, “Initialization of composite galaxies in dynamic equilibrium”
  • Scott Forand of Hermon, Maine, new media, “Tiny tactics”
  • Thomas Fouchereaux of Yarmouth, Maine, new media, “Commentrain”
  • Samuel Gates of Old Town, Maine, computer science, “Multi-tag radio frequency indication for indoor positional tracking system enhanced with accelerometer for fall detection”
  • Allison Goodridge of Bowdoin, Maine, mechanical engineering, “Motors and power: Generating physical phenomena for examination of spatial cognition and impulse response in virtual environments”
  • Katrina Harris of Ellsworth, Maine, business and microbiology, “Characterization of the integration morphology of mycobacteriophage ChipMunk including de novo assembly of the genome”
  • Hina Hashmi of Veazie, Maine, microbiology, “Is the ubiquitous antibacterial agent triclosan an uncoupler of mammalian mitochondria?”
  • Leslie Hood of Bangor, Maine, new media, “Epitaph: A humanistic approach to mortality and human-computer interaction”
  • Meghan Hurlburt of Union, Maine, computer science, “Noninvasive monitoring using radio frequency indicator technology: An inexpensive solution for independent aging in place”
  • Eliza Kane of Deer Isle, Maine, anthropology, “The geochemistry and historical ecology of a burnt Mississippian house at the Lawrenz Gun Club site in the central Illinois River Valley”
  • Charm Tharanga Karunasiri of Caribou, Maine, biochemistry, “Characterizing the catalytic domain of Calpain 5”
  • Jay Knowlton of Camden, Maine, biology, “Transplacental arsenic exposure effects on mouse hepatic protein expression”
  • Kathryn Liberman of Sumner, Illinois, marine science and aquaculture, “Developing a zebrafish model for Saprolegnia parasitica to investigate pathogenesis and alternate treatments”
  • Jason Lively of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Earth sciences, “Neutralization capacity of major rock types found in Maine”
  • William London of Carrabassett Valley, Maine, mechanical engineering, “Experimental characterization of fatigue response of mechanically fastened joints in 3-D woven carbon composites”
  • Isaiah Nathaniel Mansour of Fairfield, Connecticut, marine science, “A comparative study of the hemocyanins of the giant keyhole limpet (Megathura crenulata) and the red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)”
  • Zakiah-Lee Meeks of Bangor, Maine, biology and pre-medicine, “Methylation patterns in OPRM1 and COMT variants during opioid withdrawal in the neonate”
  • Alexander William Moser of York, Maine, mechanical engineering and mathematics, “Clean CNG snowmobile”
  • Chelsea Ogun of North Providence, Rhode Island, anthropology, “Promoting and advancing climate education in Maine middle and high schools”
  • Brenden Peters of Orono, Maine, computer science, “Low-power device for indoor mapping and navigation”
  • Samuel Reynolds of Ellsworth, Maine, psychology and biology, “Investigating the role of NMDA receptors in long-term ethanol withdrawal”
  • Jena Rudolph of Old Town, Maine, human dimensions of climate change, “Assessing the efficacy of scenario building to alter perceptions of climate risk and stimulate climate adaptation planning”
  • Andrea Santariello of Tolland, Connecticut, marine science and zoology, “How prey selection contributes to Arctic tern breeding success and chick health at fledging”
  • Julia Sell of Cushing, Maine, physics, “Development of a combinatorial deposition method to allow for rapid synthesis and testing of nanolaminate thin film structures”
  • Adam Simard of Shelburne, New Hampshire, microbiology, “JCPyV internalization: Insight into scaffolding proteins and associated intracellular binding domains of serotonin 5-HT2 receptors”
  • Dustin Sleight of Orono, Maine, mechanical engineering, “Dynamic motion control: Generating physical phenomena for examination of spatial cognition and impulse response in virtual environments”
  • Bryer Sousa of Shapleigh, Maine, chemistry and mathematics, “Two-temperature model molecular dynamics study of the coalescence of metal nanoparticles”
  • Margaret Stavros of Freeport, Maine, biochemistry, “Prenatal exposure to methadone’s effect on the oxytocin receptor pathway”
  • Cody Thies of Pittsfield, Maine, psychology, “Adrenergic modulation of voluntary ethanol intake in C3H/HeJ mice in a chronic intermittent exposure protocol”
  • Ethan Tremblay of Mariaville, Maine, economics and journalism, “An examination of the pro-social impacts of local food purchasing”
  • Ryan A. Wahle of Round Pond, Maine, new media and Spanish, “New age versatile furniture”
  • Emily Whitaker of Westport Island, Maine, molecular and cellular biology, “Identification and characterization of mycobacteriophage Ukulele integration site attP”

Three Students Receive Top Honors in Forestry, Wildlife Ecology

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Lara Katz, a senior from Arlington, Virginia majoring in wildlife ecology, with minors in anthropology and psychology, is this year’s Robert I. Ashman Scholar, the top academic award in UMaine’s forest resources and wildlife programs.

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Katz began her wildlife career volunteering at the Smithsonian National Zoo where she discovered her passion for conserving wildlife and their habitats. At UMaine, she is involved in research focused on fish ecology and river restoration. Her career goals include working as a wildlife biologist and effectively communicating wildlife science to the public for sound conservation.

Also selected for recognition as top students in forest resources and wildlife as Dwight B. Demeritt Scholars are Lucas Lamond and Tabatha Hawkins.

Lamond is a senior from Brewer, Maine majoring in forest operations, bioproducts and bioenergy. He is a student employee working in the University Forests and plans to start his own business managing Maine woodlands for improved wildlife habitat.

Hawkins is a senior from Norway, Maine majoring in wildlife ecology. She also in the Honors College, conducting thesis research on the factors affecting the reintroduction success of the federally endangered tiger beetle in Nantucket. Hawkins is co-president the UMaine Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and is a student ambassador for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology.

BDN Advances Talk by Leading Rabbi in Christian-Jewish Relations

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The Bangor Daily News reported Rabbi A. James Rudin of Florida will speak at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union at the University of Maine and at 7 p.m. the same day at Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor. Rudin is the senior interreligious adviser of the American Jewish Committee and has served as the organization’s longtime director of interreligious affairs, the article states. The title of Rudin’s UMaine talk is “The Jewish Jesus and the Christian Christ: Is There a Difference?” Rudin’s Maine appearances are sponsored by several groups including the UMaine Judaic Studies Program, Honors College and the Wilson Center.

Reception Announcing Sandy and Bobby Ives Fund Oct. 19

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

A new fund has been established at the University of Maine Foundation in honor of the late founder of the Maine Folklife Center Edward “Sandy” Ives and his wife Bobby.

The Sandy and Bobby Ives Fund will be used to provide financial assistance to full-time UMaine students engaging in ethnography, folklore or oral history fieldwork in Maine and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. The UMaine Humanities Center director will oversee the awards to students.

A reception announcing the fund will be held 11 a.m.–noon Sunday, Oct. 19 at Buchanan Alumni House; the reception also will honor Bobby Ives.

The fund was established in 2014 with a gift from David Taylor and LeeEllen Friedland in recognition of Ives’ mentorship and friendship throughout Taylor’s academic experience at UMaine.

Ives was a popular UMaine English and anthropology professor from 1955–99, an internationally known folklorist and founder of the Maine Folklife Center. He was married to Bobby Ives for 57 years before his death in 2009.

Two undergraduate students who are studying folklore — Hilary Warner-Evans and Taylor Cunningham — will speak during the reception.

Warner-Evans of West Bath, Maine, is an undergraduate Honors student in anthropology and one of the first UMaine students to take the new folklore minor. Since 2012, she has volunteered at the Maine Folklife Center, where she has contributed to the center’s community outreach efforts by conducting research for its Maine Song and Story Sampler on Fogler Library’s Digital Commons.

Warner-Evans will present her fieldwork on songs written about the North Pond Hermit at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in Denver this November. She also presented her folkloric research on Geoffrey Chaucer’s, “The Franklin’s Tale,” at Plymouth State University’s Medieval and Renaissance Forum last spring.

Taylor Cunningham of Massachusetts is an English major and Honors student with a minor in folklore studies. She is the coordinator of a new interdisciplinary humanities series of lectures on linguistics and culture, and has been working on the Maine Hermit Project for two years.

The Maine Hermit Project is a collaborative interdisciplinary humanities lab venture involving a team of undergraduate researchers working with Sarah Harlan-Haughey, an assistant professor in UMaine’s Honors College and  Department of English.

Cunningham has presented her work on greening the humanities in Honors at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in New Orleans.

Both students are conducting research on songs and ballads written about the North Pond Hermit, as well as conducting interviews, for a book on the topic. The book — co-written by members of the Maine Hermit Project lab using the Maine Folklife Center archives, Fogler Library’s Special Collections and new fieldwork — will explore different facets of Maine’s interest in and valorization of hermits and outlaws, according to Harlan-Haughey.

A buffet will be offered at the reception. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Joan Peters, 581.1154; joan.peters@umit.maine.edu.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747