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Making Waves

 Ivona Cetinić plays with son Veles
on a beach in Rhode Island
after her four-week research cruise
aboard R/V Endeavor (in background)
in summer 2014.

University of Maine researcher Ivona Cetinić is one of four Maine scientists featured in The Oceanography Society’s “Women in Oceanography: The Next Decade,” a supplement to the December issue of “Oceanography” magazine.

The special report released Jan. 26 reviews progress in career advancement for female oceanographers over the last 10 years and where additional attention is needed.

Three oceanographers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences — Beth N. Orcutt, Patricia Matrai and LeAnn Whitney — also contributed to this second volume. The first was published in March 2005.

Orcutt and Cetinić, a research associate in the School of Marine Sciences at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, joined forces to articulate the continuing challenges that women face in the field:

“The ratio of women to men at higher ranks in oceanography still lags, even though women have comprised roughly half of oceanography graduate students during the past decade,“ says Orcutt. “We not only looked at recent trends but tried to identify some of the reasons behind this advancement lag.”

“While there have been positive improvements over the past 10 years, such as increasing numbers of female professors, there are still signs of barriers to women advancing in their careers,“ says Cetinić.

“We hope that our analysis is useful to students and early career women oceanographers, who will have the tools to break the glass ceiling that still exists in oceanography.”

More than 200 autobiographical sketches in the supplement provide a broad view of oceanography. The scientists describe rewarding aspects of their careers, as well as challenges and how they balance work and personal lives.

“I love being an oceanographer. I see the ocean as my playground, and gliders, sensors, and filters as my toys. My play buddies are some of the smartest people in the world,” Cetinić says.

“I wake up every day happy and looking forward to facing issues and solving problems that help us to better understand nature and ultimately to be better inhabitants of this planet.”

“Women in Oceanography: The Next Decade” is available online.

The Oceanography Society was founded in 1988 to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education, to promote communication among oceanographers, and to provide a constituency for consensus building across all the disciplines of the field. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization incorporated in the District of Columbia.

The Darling Marine Center, the marine laboratory of the University of Maine, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. It is located on the Damariscotta River Estuary in Maine’s midcoast region, 100 miles south of the Orono campus. Resident faculty and students are associated with UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences. Their research interests range from biogeochemistry, remote sensing and ocean optics to invertebrate taxonomy and ecology, deep-sea biology, phytoplankton physiology and marine archaeology.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, an independent not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine, conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory’s research, education, and enterprise programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine at 150

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:

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

Smith’s Research Hot Topic for ScienceInsider

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

Exchanging Expertise

Kathleen Marciano’s interest was piqued last spring when professor Fei Chai announced in class that summer marine science internships were available in China.

Marciano and friend and classmate Timothy (TJ) Goodrow decided to apply. In May, they learned they had been accepted and in mid-June, the University of Maine students boarded a plane destined for at Xiamen University on the coast of Fujian Province.

“…[I]t was a pretty hectic process; it happened so fast, it didn’t seem real,” says Marciano, who in December completed her degree in marine science with a concentration in aquaculture.

The 22-year-old from Scituate, Massachusetts says she’s always loved the ocean. “Once I got to UMaine I became interested in aquaculture because I believe it to be one of the few ways to sustain a seafood industry while reducing fishing stress on the oceans,” Marciano says.

The internship in China, she says, was a valuable educational, cultural and life experience.

The educational component included working in an environmental toxicology lab 50 hours a week for two months. She studied chronic effects of butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (used in skin sun protection products to absorb ultraviolet radiation) on the development of the marine copepod Tigriopus japonicus.

Goodrow called his internship a once-in-a-lifetime experience to view the world from a vastly different perspective.

“Traveling across the world is not for everyone,” says Goodrow, 22, of Ayer, Massachusetts. “It takes a strong-willed person to complete the challenge, but in more ways than one, it changed me into a better person and I would recommend anyone to do the same.”

And Goodrow plans to take more challenges; after he graduates in May with a degree in marine science and minor in aquaculture, he plans to travel the world.

Students’ pursuit of excellence at Xiamen University made quite an impression on Marciano. Founded in 1921, the university’s motto is “Pursue Excellence, Strive for Perfection.”

“Before I went to China I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after I graduated from UMaine,” she says. “When I … saw how hard the students worked — most of our friends were grad students — I knew I wanted to do the same. I also learned a lot of valuable things from my research that have helped me in classes and in writing my capstone paper. I did environmental toxicology for my capstone.”

Marciano also appreciated the opportunities to see sights, explore and learn about China’s history and culture.

In Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, she toured museums and ancient dynasty sites. She also rode on a train for 24 hours to reach Wuyi Shan — a wild, protected mountainous area that includes rare wildlife species. She says it’s the most beautiful place she’s ever visited in her life.

“…All the mountains and crazy wildlife made me really appreciate where I was and how lucky I was to get such a unique experience,” she says.

Due to her unfamiliarity with the Chinese language and due to the intense heat and humidity, Marciano says she occasionally felt lonely, weary and dependent. But she says the new friends she made in Xiamen were the nicest, most genuine and helpful people she’s ever met.

“I also loved attempting to learn Chinese, emphasis on attempting,” she says. “My friends loved teaching me words and phrases, and no matter how badly I butchered them I still felt like I was learning.”

Communicating also was sometimes a challenge for Goodrow. But he says many people in China spoke some English and he used actions to convey his intentions. Like Marciano, he says the extreme heat and humidity, as well as the rich food, took some getting used to.

Goodrow says the internship — which included lab work and traveling to aquaculture farms — significantly enhanced his knowledge of marine science. The rural communities along the coast cluster around aquaculture farms and organisms raised there, he says.

“The communities are like families — selfless groups of people with the same goal of bettering themselves by working hard,” Goodrow says. “I was so impressed by the tenacity of the aquaculture farmers and their ingenious methods of culturing species of abalone (snail), shrimp and sea urchins.”

Chai, director of the School of Marine Sciences at UMaine, says the exchange program provides students with opportunities to enhance their learning experience and gain a more comprehensive perspective, which will help them in their careers, and will benefit marine science.

“We need to foster global thinking to meet the challenges and issues of the 21st century,” says Chai, who earned his undergraduate and master of science degrees at Shandong College of Oceanology (now Ocean University of China), on the coast of China about 690 miles north of Xiamen University.

“We’re all interconnected and we need to understand each other’s cultures and concerns. And we need to try to find common solutions to address global issues.”

During the fall 2014 semester, 25 students, including 17 from Brazil and eight from China, attended UMaine through the marine science exchange program. Of the eight students from China, four took classes at the flagship university in Orono and four studied at UMaine’s seaside Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

Xiamen University students Yuwei (Talifin) Wang, 20, and Xiaoling (Zoe) Zhou, 19, studied on the Orono campus and Ocean University of China students Shuling (Shirley) Chen, 20, and Yumeng (Julie) Pang, 19, studied at DMC.

These four exchange students say they started learning English at 5 or 6 years of age.

Wang is from Beijing, an ancient city with a population of 22 million people and Zhou is from Chengdu City; the natural home of giant pandas has a population of about 14 million.

At Xiamen University, which has 38,000 full-time students on its three campuses, Wang says his schedule is “study, study, study.” The standard protocol, he says, is for professors to lecture the 140 or so students in class, and for students to sit and take notes.

Wang liked the interaction between instructors and students at UMaine, which has an enrollment of about 11,300. “Here in Maine, we talk with people with different ideas and use knowledge to solve problems in class,” he says.

Zhou appreciated the participatory approach, as well. “The way of thinking in China is to receive knowledge from the teacher,” Zhou says. “Here, it is more active. We ask questions and have to figure things out ourselves.”

Chen, of Changsha, Hunan Province, and Pang, of Linyi, Shandong Province, were impressed with the hands-on learning they participated in at DMC.

“I think I totally engaged in the courses and experience…,” says Pang, who liked the scent of the ocean.

“We have been lots of places for social research or field trips and I also conducted an independent study with the help of several professors; we really had a good time on that. If you really want to get to learn the marine science and you have a strong interest in marine science, you can experience it [at] Darling Marine Center.

Chen was thrilled to be immersed in the ocean environment and said that multiple field trips and cruises provided the opportunity to “connect theory with reality.”

“I feel … much closer to real marine science than before and I really like marine biology,” Chen says.

Pang liked participating in community events, including oyster and pumpkin festivals, and Chen enjoyed spending the Christmas holiday — “one of the best and sweetest time periods here” — with research associate professor Rhian Waller.

The DMC food was delicious and the people were friendly, says Pang who, like Chen, said the Maine winter temperatures were a shock.

The exchange students returned to China in late December. Chai says five students from Xiamen University have been accepted to study marine science at UMaine in fall 2015.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Uncovering a Rivalry

When the Seattle Seahawks lost 24–20 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 16, 2014, the defending Super Bowl champions were 6–4 and reeling.

But a week later, the Seahawks won the first of six straight regular-season contests. In the ensuing Divisional Playoff, the top-seeded Seahawks trounced the Carolina Panthers, then clinched a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it 28–22 victory over Green Bay in the NFC title game.

Some followers say Seattle’s resurgence might be attributed to several factors — key players became healthy, teammates aired their grievances and Percy Harvin was traded.

Gretchen Faulkner, director of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, has another theory.

On Nov. 18, two days before Seattle began its return to glory, the transformation mask that inspired the Seahawks logo was unveiled at the Burke Museum at the University of Seattle, Washington. The Hudson Museum had loaned the mask to the Burke Museum to be included in its Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired exhibit that runs until July 27, 2015.

A Kwakwaka‘wakw (kwock-KWOCKY-wowk) artist or artists carved the cedar mask in the late 19th or early 20th century. Kwakwaka‘wakw is an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The brightly colored cedar mask has mirrors for eyes. When closed, it’s 2 feet long and depicts a bird of prey. When open, it’s 3 feet long and reveals a painted representation of a human face. Masks are traditionally worn in Kwakwaka’wakw ceremonies that include singing, dancing and giving gifts, and often memorialize a deceased chief.

The mask was in good company at the Seattle unveiling, where Kwakwaka‘wakw community members George Me’las Taylor and Andy Tanis Everson blessed the mask and performed a welcome dance. Jim Zorn, Seattle quarterback from 1976–81, also spoke. The Lombardi trophy was situated nearby.

Faulkner traveled to the West Coast for the unveiling at the Burke Museum, which raised funds to have the mask transported across country.

She is pleased the people of Seattle can view the mask in person. But she hopes any luck the mask may have brought to the Seahawks runs out before Sunday, Feb. 1, when they face off with the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.

Faulkner delivered remarks at the celebratory event, saying, “When you live in Maine, you don’t customarily root for the Seahawks, but [2014] was an exception, as among the collection of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine was a mask linked to the team.”

She noted other connections that UMaine has with New England’s beloved Patriots and the Seahawks. In 2005, the Seahawks drafted Mosiula Mea’alofa Tatupu, who played one year of college football for the Black Bears. Tatupu’s father, Mosi Tatupu, played 13 seasons for the Pats, from 1978 to 1990. In addition, the transformation mask was once owned by artist Max Ernst, who, for a time, lived in Arizona, the state where the Super Bowl is being played.

Faulkner has issued a friendly wager with Burke Museum counterpart Julie Stein. If Seattle wins the contest, Faulkner says she’ll ship a “lobstah dinner” to Stein. If the Patriots win, Stein will send a Dungeness crab feast to Faulkner.

Faulkner says Richard Emerick, the late UMaine anthropologist and founder of the Hudson Museum, told her years ago the wooden mask was the inspiration for the Seahawks logo that was introduced in 1975. But there was no corroborating information in the mask’s collection file linking it to the team. In 1982, avid baseball fan William Palmer of Falmouth Foreside, Maine, had bequeathed the mask, as well as other Northwest Coast art and an extraordinary collection of Pre-Colombian artifacts, to UMaine.

After the Seahawks Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, Faulkner told museum board member Isla Baldwin what Emerick had shared with her years before. While researching online, Baldwin discovered a blog written by Robin K. Wright, curator of Native American art and director of the Bill Holm Center at Burke Museum.

A few days before Super Bowl XLVIII, Wright posted a blog “Searching for what inspired the Seattle Seahawks logo.” In her blog, Wright attributed the mask to the Kwakwaka‘wakw and included a photograph of the inspiration mask from Robert Bruce Inverarity’s 1950 book, “Art of the Northwest Coast Indians.”

The mask in the photograph was the same mask displayed at the Hudson Museum, catalogue number HM5521.

In a televised interview just prior to the Super Bowl, Wright said she hoped the blog and TV interview might unearth the location of the mask.

That it did. And it set in motion a number of interesting events.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology Celebrates New Name

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

Extension Brings Seaweed Into Maine Kitchens

Three experts will discuss sourcing, selecting and preparing seafood and seaweed Saturday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

Barton Seaver, Hillary Krapf and Sarah Redmond will share their knowledge about Maine seafood and edible seaweed during the February edition of the yearlong “From Scratch: Your Maine Kitchen” series.

Seaver, a National Geographic Fellow, chef and author, seeks to restore people’s relationship with the ocean, land and with each other — through dinner. In his book, “For Cod & Country,” he showcases seasonal seafood, vibrant spices and farm-fresh produce with recipes for family-friendly meals. In 2009, “Esquire” magazine named Seaver Chef of the Year and in 2008, “Bon Appetit” named his restaurant Hook one of the top 10 eco-friendly restaurants in America. Seaver, who accepted a Fellowship with the Explorer Program at the National Geographic Society, believes sustainability is an ecological and a humanitarian issue. He directs the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Krapf founded the 2014 Maine Seaweed Festival, which highlighted diverse uses and benefits of seaweed as well as the seaweed industry in the state. She says while seaweed is low in calories, eating seaweed and sea vegetables shouldn’t be viewed as a fad diet trend. Krapf will showcase how to incorporate seaweed in soups and salads and demonstrate that it can be a comfort food. Seaweed, she says, is an ideal source of iodine, which is key for healthy thyroid function and overall health. Vitamin K, calcium, iron and essential trace minerals not easily found in other foods also are in seaweed and sea vegetables.

Redmond, a marine associate with the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, says sea vegetables, which are both vegetables and seafood, bridge the gap between land and ocean. Maine is a major producer of wild foraged and cultivated sea vegetables. Maine seafood — including cod, clams, herring, lobster, mackerel, mussels and oysters — is a half-billion dollar industry that supports fishing families, working waterfronts, local economies and the state’s heritage. Redmond will discuss when each seafood is in season, where it is fished and what to look for when choosing, buying and preparing it.

Cost is $40; proceeds benefit the UMaine Extension Nutrition Program in Cumberland County. Register at For more details, or to request a disability accommodation, contact 207.781.6099, 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine),

Additional installments in the “From Scratch: Your Maine Kitchen” series are slated to include “Weird Maine Fermentables” in March, as well as “Maine Cheese Pairings,” “Foraging Maine Greens” and “Drinking the Maine Harvest.” Some topics may change.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Scientists Face Frontiers at Storytelling Event

A field biologist, science writer, river restorer and senior producer will share their experiences at a science storytelling project 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., in Portland.

Skylar Bayer and Ari Daniel are co-producers of the event for The Story Collider, which creates live shows and podcasts in which people convey how science has personally affected their lives.

Frontier is the theme for the storytellers, who will talk about learning about themselves and their disciplines. Scheduled participants are: Chuck Lubelczyk, field biologist at Maine Medical Research Institute; Laura Poppick, science journalist and educator; Molly Payne Winn, monitoring coordinator with Penobscot River Restoration Trust; and Erin Barker, senior producer for The Story Collider, two-time winner of The Moth’s GrandSLAM competition and guest on the Peabody Award-winning show “The Moth Radio Hour.”

Bayer is pursuing her Ph.D. in marine reproductive ecology at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine. She was featured in a prior podcast of The Story Collider titled “Phoning Home from Alvin.” Bayer manages, edits and writes the blog Strictlyfishwrap and was the “the lonely lady scientist” in a 2013 feature titled “The Enemy Within” on “The Colbert Report.”

Daniel tells stories about science using radio and multimedia. He has reported for PRI’s The World, NOVA, Radiolab and NPR. Daniel earned a Ph.D. in biological oceanography at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

For more information, visit Tickets are $10 online at and $12 at the door.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Carnegie Foundation Selects UMaine for 2015 Community Engagement Classification

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

Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day to Feature Community Events Centered On Arts, Literature and History

The University of Maine Humanities Center will host the third annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day at various locations Jan. 24 with a kickoff event Jan. 23.

Free events for participants of all ages will be offered at venues including the University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA), Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum. This year’s Humanities Day is co–hosted by the Maine Folklife Center and UMMA.

The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day began in 2013 to create a better forum for connecting UMaine faculty, staff and students with the general public in the region, according to UMHC director and UMaine history professor Liam Riordan.

Local partners of the day are the Bangor Public Library and Maine Discovery Museum.

Free bus service will be available from the UMaine campus to Bangor and is supported by the UMaine Office of Student Life.

The events kick off 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 with a humanities-themed PechaKucha presentation at Coe Space, 48 Columbia Street in Bangor. Speakers will include UMaine faculty and local cultural leaders. Refreshments will be provided and a $6 donation is suggested.

Events on Saturday, Jan. 24 are:

The UMHC has partnered with the Bangor Daily News on “My Maine Culture,” a project to celebrate Maine’s sense of place. In December, members of the public were invited to submit a digital postcard — an image or video with accompanying text — that captures participants’ Maine culture or what they love about the state.

The BDN will publish highlights from the digital postcard collection before the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day to contribute to the day’s events, and BDN editor Erin Rhoda will share examples during the PechaKucha event Jan. 23. The Maine Folklife Center also may choose to preserve the digital postcards in its archives.

The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day is one of several UMHC events planned for 2015. The UMaine Humanities Center, housed in UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2010, advances the teaching, research and public engagement of the arts and humanities to create richer collaboration among Maine residents. More about UMHC is online.

For more information about the Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center, at 581.1848 or, or visit the Facebook event page.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747


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The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
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