Go Blue Archive - August 2009
The announcement of a federal grant to support the new Sustainability Solutions Initiative at UMaine was a real July highlight in our community. The month also featured a series of accomplishments by our faculty members and staff members, which I am pleased to share in my monthly Go Blue message.
The Sustainability Solutions Initiative, based at UMaine’s Mitchell Center, is an ambitious interdisciplinary and collaborative effort that will include higher education institutions, public schools, business partners and others to address issues critical to our state’s future. Funded by the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program, this initiative will lead to strategies for sustainable development in our state, focusing initially on issues related to urbanization, forest management and climate change. Sustainability science is gaining a lot of attention as colleges and universities around the U.S. and beyond are focusing work in this area. I am confident that UMaine’s program will quickly move to the forefront in this discipline, leading to positive strategies for Maine. Congratulations to Mitchell Center Director David Hart, Maine EPSCoR Director Vicki Nemeth and all the other members of our community who have worked so hard to develop this initiative.
Before noting a few of the notable individual achievements from the past month, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that UMaine has been recognized by the publishers of two selective college guides, listing our university among the best in the nation. ”The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2010″ recognizes “the best and most interesting institutions in the United States and Canada” and it includes UMaine as one of 330 institutions profiled in the guide. Additionally, Princeton Review has listed UMaine — for the sixth consecutive year — as one of “the Best 371 Colleges” in its annual guide book. We are particularly pleased about this continuing recognition in Princeton Review because its methodology features surveys of our own students, who are telling that publication’s editors that they are having a good experience at UMaine.
Congratulations to Gail Dana-Sacco, director of UMaine’s Wabanaki Center, for her selection as a fellow in the 2009 Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership program. The Portland-based Hanley Center selects a small group of fellows to work toward substantive health care change in Maine. The organization recognized Gail for her work related to health issues involving Native Americans and other underserved populations in Maine.
Jeffrey Hall, a UMaine Libra Professor of Neurogenetics, has won a share of the prestigious international Gruber Foundation 2009 Neuroscience Prize. Jeff and two collaborators were recognized for their research related to genetic mechanisms and circadian rhythms. He is one of three UMaine faculty members who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Kudos to Scott Johnson from the UMaine Dept. of Earth Sciences faculty, for his election as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Scott, who specializes in tectonics and structural geology, was recognized for his research, teaching and service contributions to the field of earth sciences. Only about two percent of the society’s members are accorded this recognition, which is the highest member-generated honor in the society.
I would also like to recognize Nory Jones from the UMaine business faculty, for the continuing success of the MBS (Maine Business School) Corps, a community outreach organization Nory created and oversees. The MBS Corps connects UMaine students, staff members and faculty members with nine local community organizations for volunteer opportunities. She recently accepted a $1,000 Wal-Mart community grant to support this meaningful and inspiring effort, which reflects the best of what UMaine has to offer.
Nory’s colleague, Dean John Mahon, has received a unique and truly impressive award from the International Association for Business and Society (IABS). John recently received the association’s “20th Anniversary Commemoration Award for the Best Paper” ever published in its journal, “Business and Society.” A paper John wrote in 1997 remains the most cited paper in the history of that management journal, which focuses on social issues, ethics and their influence on organizations.
I was pleased to note the completion of a process leading to the creation of a dual degree in engineering and liberal arts through a UMaine partnership with the University of Maine at Farmington. UMaine’s own College of Liberal Arts and College of Engineering have a similar arrangement, as do the College of Engineering and Bowdoin College. These are wonderful initiatives, which provide opportunities for prospective engineers to expand their educational options in interesting and valuable ways.
Congratulations to Prof. Len Kaye and his colleagues in UMaine’s Center on Aging on the news of continued funding for the center’s innovation pharmaceuticals mail-back program. The new funding will also allow for expansion of the program, which provides a means for people to mail unused prescription medicines to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for safe disposal. Some 2,000 Mainers have already taken advantage of this program, the benefits of which include those that keep these medicines out of water supplies.UMaine, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland form the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s newest cooperative institute, CINAR (Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region), under a new agreement that began July 1. The partnership will focus on ecosystem forecasting, ecosystem monitoring, ecosystem management, protection and restoration of resources, sustained ocean observations and climate research. The UMaine School of Marine Resources is playing a central role in this initiative, which brings together vast expertise from five institutions with strong national and international research profiles. The institute aims to develop science-based information that will inform policy decisions.
Finally this month, I am delighted that the Board of Trustees recently approved my appointment of John Rebar as executive director of UMaine Cooperative Extension. John has been a valuable leader — both in Extension and throughout the UMaine community — for many years. Everybody who depends on Extension — literally thousands of people all over Maine — feels the impact of John’s leadership of that wonderful organization. Extension brings UMaine expertise and resources to practically every community in Maine, to the benefit of individuals, families and businesses. It has thrived during John’s tenure as interim director and as director on a two-year appointment. I am most pleased that John will continue in this role and I look forward to his ongoing contributions.
As we move into August, I sense the excitement about the new academic year beginning to grow. Our new first-year class will join the UMaine community on Friday Aug. 28, and classes will start the following Monday. Fall Welcome Weekend is truly an annual highlight at UMaine, and I look forward to seeing many of you as we work together to welcome the Class of 2013.