Go Blue Archive - April 2009
As we enter the last full month of the academic year, I am pleased to write with my monthly update. March was certainly a busy month, full of accomplishments and noteworthy achievements.
I will describe a few of those achievements, but first I’d like to mention the community budget updates we’ve hosted during the past several days. VP Janet Waldron did a terrific job describing the issues we face, outlining the process we’re following to prepare the FY10 budget, and leading a discussion of the related issues. I appreciate all the work Janet did to arrange these forums, assisted by Claire Stickland, Kathy McIntyre and Sharon Buchanan.
As we said at those forums and in other venues, we all know that the challenges are significant. Based on those well-attended forums, the related feedback and my observations related to the attitudes throughout our community, I am more certain than ever that — despite the difficult, painful choices we will have to make — we will meet those challenges and emerge prepared to continue to serve our students and the citizens of Maine in a sustainable way.
As always, I invite you to visit the Inside UMaine website (www.umaine.edu/insideumaine) for more information about the good work of UMaine’s faculty members and staff members. For daily updates, you can also subscribe to UMaine Today Online, at www.umaine.edu/umainetoday.
Let me start the March review by congratulating those 18 UMaine faculty members whose tenure and/or promotion was approved by the Board of Trustees. This is, of course, a significant professional milestone and we are all fortunate to have these wonderful scholars and community citizens among us. The list is online at http://www.umaine.edu/news/view_release.php?x=1237318556.
Thanks to an innovative idea developed by Dean John Mahon, recent UMaine graduates will have improved opportunities to pursue graduate education in the Maine Business School, while also providing valuable service. Under the pilot program, announced last week, people who graduated from UMaine in May 2006 or later will be eligible — if they meet admission requirements — for scholarships equaling 25 percent of MBA or MSA tuition. In return, those students will commit to 10 hours a week of college or community service. For recent graduates who have lost jobs or are considering putting off entry into the job market, this could be a very valuable opportunity.
In a similar vein, the UMaine School of Economics is offering a series of personal finance workshops through its University of Maine Financial Education Program. These workshops, free and open to the public cover subjects like budgeting, the mortgage process, investing and debt. Three sessions are scheduled for April, and registration information is online at http://www.umaine.edu/news/view_release.php?x=1236956700. UMaine graduate students Sharon Hageman and Hugh Stevens deserve much of the credit, working with Prof. George Criner in organizing this series.
UMaine has been invited to join a multi-university effort to work on important problems facing forest managers around the U.S., as part of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Advanced Forestry Systems (CAPS). A new $350,000 grant puts UMaine in a select group, building on our university’s long tradition of outstanding scholarship in forestry disciplines.
Congratulations to Joe Genco of UMaine’s chemical engineering faculty, who’s been named a 2009 Fellow of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI). Less than three percent of TAPPI’s members become fellows of that organization, so this honor truly reflects Joe’s exceptional contributions to the industry and the association.
I would also like to recognize Ann Sassong of the UMaine School of Nursing faculty. Working with colleagues at several area medical and educational institutions, Ann had an article published in the March issue of “Nursing Clinics of North America.” The article describes a major collaboration among UMaine and several health-care and education partners to change the ways nursing care is delivered in central and northern Maine.
A new exhibition of works by UMaine art professor Susan Groce is on display at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. Susan’s work is part of the “4 in Maine” show at the museum, featuring four independent solo exhibitions through May 24 in the contemporary wing. The preview and opening set attendance records at the museum, with nearly 500 people in attendance. Susan also shared her expertise in environmentally friendly printmaking at the recent Southern Graphics International Global Implications conference. Part of a panel, Susan discussed her research into alternatives to traditional printmaking methods and materials.
I was pleased to note that Jim McConnon and Lou Bassano of the UMaine Cooperative Extension faculty (Jim is also a School of Economic professor) have been recognized by the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals with that organization’s 2008 national team award for Excellence in Community Development Programming. They were recognized for their work developing the Washington County Business Conference and Marketplace, and providing the leadership needed to expand that community-based entrepreneurship model throughout Maine.
Once again this year, UMaine hosted Expanding Your Horizons, a terrific program that brings middle school girls from all around the state to UMaine for a day of hands-on activities that teach them about math and science career opportunities. Nearly 400 girls attended the program, organized by UMaine’s Women’s Resource Center.
Speaking of the Women’s Resource Center, my heartiest congratulations to Sharon Barker, the center’s director, who was inducted in March into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. This is a great honor, truly reflective of Sharon’s immense contributions and hard work in areas that make a real difference in the lives of women and girls throughout the state.
I continue to be impressed with the wonderful programming presented by the School of Policy and International Affairs. We saw a good example last week, when Prof. Rick Wilson from American University’s Washington College of Law gave a riveting talk about his experiences in representing detainees at Guantanamo. Adm. Gregory Johnson, a UMaine graduate and member of our Board of Visitors, served as a discussant, sharing his perspectives from his long career as a leader in the U.S. military. SPIA programming draws in a number of community people who are interested in these high-level discussions related to foreign affairs.
We also have some significant student achievements to share this month.
The UMaine Clean Snowmobile Team finished fifth in the 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held on Michigan’s Upper peninsula. The team, under the direction of Prof. Mick Peterson, took the cold start award at the competition. This year’s UMaine team included the following students: Brendan Goodwin, Katelyn Wheeler, Joshua Collupy, Xibei Ding, Michael Lovett, Bennett Luja, and Drake Voisine.
Congratulations also go this month to Daniel Flannery, a student in UMaine’s Intermedia M.A. program. along with his brother Michael, Daniel won grand prize in the children’s music category of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. The Flannery brothers song, “One Wasn’t Enough,” was judged favorably on originality, melody, composition and lyrics. The song is now eligible for further significant awards.
In conclusion, let me say how pleased I was when Gov. Baldacci announced, in his state-of-the-state address, two references to bonds that would fund UMaine-related initiatives that would help with statewide economic development. The bond would create a UMaine-led engineering education and technology collaborative involving Southern Maine Community College and USM. Another bond under consideration by the legislature would create an R&D fund through which UMaine researchers could compete for grants. We’re a long way from the point where any of this funding becomes reality, as the legislature is currently working on the budget and bond proposals, but the potential is exciting and indicative of the high regard Maine’s leaders have for UMaine’s capacity to foster economic development.
It is an exciting time, as we move toward May 9 and commencement. I look forward to next month’s Go Blue message, which will include information about our annual faculty and staff awards, along with details about commencement and the Class of 2009.