September was certainly a productive and exciting month at UMaine. Our fall semester is off to a great start, and I wish to thank everybody who has worked so hard on the countless details necessary to help our students get underway successfully. This includes faculty advisers, student affairs and auxiliary services staff members, and all the other members or our community who assist students in some way. That helpful spirit reflects well on the entire university, and explains why I received more complimentary emails at the start of this semester than ever before.
I enjoyed seeing so many of you at the annual faculty and staff breakfast. It was – by far – the largest turnout we’ve had at one of these events, and I am thankful to all who helped make it a success, particularly Bill Dalton and the rest of the staff at the wonderful new Wells Conference Center.
Later this month, we will get the official fall enrollment number for UMaine. As I mentioned last month, enrollment is at an all-time high this fall, due to widespread appreciation for UMaine’s academic programs, the quality of our faculty and the overall student experience. It also reflects very hard work by a lot of people, including Sharon Oliver and the admissions staff, Peggy Crawford and her colleagues in student financial aid, Bursar Dennis Casey and his staff and Tammy Light and those who work with her in student records. This continued progress is attributable to the great efforts of the entire UMaine faculty and staff, and I appreciate it very much.
As we look toward October’s events, I would like to draw your attention to CC21: Climate Choices for the 21st Century, a major, two-day conference coming up Oct. 23 and 24. UMaine’s Climate Change Institute is organizing the conference, which will include leading experts in this field, along with CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley, who has reported extensively on environmental issues. This promises to be a wonderful event, and we can all be proud of UMaine’s role in it. Some 500 people are expected to attend the conference.
Our new, shorter Go Blue message format seems to have been met with positive reviews last month. As I mentioned then, I will limit these messages to just a few representative examples of UMaine’s recent achievements. The new Inside UMaine website, features more monthly highlights and an Along the Mall page that focuses on faculty presentations and publications.
I am most pleased to note the ways in which UMaine is stepping up to help Maine citizens develop strategies for coping with the coming winter and the extraordinary fuel costs that are anticipated. The UMaine School of Economics has created a Financial Education Initiative, through which faculty and graduate students will travel to several parts of the state to give people practical advice on matters like budgeting and connecting with organizations that can provide help. Similarly, UMaine Cooperative Extension continues to be a central player in statewide efforts to provide useful information to Maine citizens about energy conservation measures and heating through alternative sources. These programs reflect the land-grant tradition of which we are all proud, by bringing expertise to people around Maine to help them manage their every day concerns.
UMaine sociology professor Amy Blackstone has received a National Science Foundation grant to study workplace harassment of older workers in Maine. Amy plans to survey as many as 800 workers in Maine, to develop information about how older people are treated in the workplace.
Amy’s sociology faculty colleague, Steve Barkan, has recently become president of the National Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), a prestigious organization in that discipline.
Climate Change Institute faculty member Molly Schauffler has recently completed an interesting outreach project, working with CCI students and faculty colleagues to create a kiosk exhibit, “The Science of Climate Change: a Journey to Reedy Glacier, Antarctica.” The exhibit is on display at Acadia National Park’s Sieur de Mont Nature Center through Oct. 13.
The UMaine School of Performing Arts recently welcomed home UMaine graduate Joseph Wiggett, an acclaimed vocalist who is now on the faculty at California State University Stanislaus. Prof. Wiggett, who has performed all over the world, was the first featured artist in the School of Performing Arts’ Distinguished Performer and Scholar Series.
Congratulations to Prof. Owen Smith and his colleagues in the UMaine Dept. of New Media, as the Board of Trustees granted recent approval to a UMaine Master of Fine Arts degree in Intermedia. This innovative program combines arts courses with research in a wide range of fields, including business, engineering, social sciences, new media and environmental studies. This is a true interdisciplinary program, and it will create wonderful opportunities for graduate students and faculty members.
Amy Booth, the staff audiologist in UMaine’s Conley Speech, Language and Hearing Center, has an interesting experience coming her way Oct. 7-9. She will work with the Maine Sea Coast Mission’s Island Health Services program staff to provide hearing tests and hearing-related information to people working in Maine’s lobster industry. Amy will spend most of that time on a ship, traveling to island locations as part of that outreach program.
Kudos to Prof. Habib Dagher and the faculty, staff and students at UMaine’s Advanced Engineered Wood Composites (AEWC) Center. At its 30th annual meeting last month in Augusta, the Maine Development Foundation named AEWC winner of one of this year’s Champion for Economic Development Awards. This is a significant honor, which recognizes the center’s R&D work and its implications for economic development and job creation.
The University of Maine Foundation is working on an interesting awards program, and the staff there is looking for nominees. Contact Judy Round (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you know of a UMaine graduate who was able to earn an education because they had scholarship assistance, then went on to establish a record of achievement in business and their communities. The awards will be presented as part of the foundation’s 75th anniversary celebration, and the deadline for nominations is Oct. 17.
The month of October promises to bring with it similar news, and I look forward to sharing it with you next month. As always, I thank each of you for all you do for UMaine and our students.
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