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Faculty Award Winners

2014 Distinguished Maine Professor Award

Mary Jane PerryMary Jane Perry
Professor of Marine Sciences and Oceanography
Interim Director of the Darling Marine Center

Dr. Mary Jane Perry is an internationally recognized researcher, gifted teacher and dedicated mentor to young scientists. She teaches — and reaches — students from marine sciences majors to Ph.D. candidates, multidisciplinary ocean scientists and the lay audience. Dr. Perry is known for her ability to effectively provide students with the necessary knowledge for understanding, but also to instill the skills and curiosity that motivate them to teach themselves. In the School of Marine Sciences, she has helped focus the successful undergraduate program on hands-on learning, interactivity and team learning. Dr. Perry is an active member of the school’s undergraduate curricula committee, and has served multiple times as the Oceanography Graduate Program coordinator. In the laboratory, Dr. Perry has spent her career passing on her interdisciplinary oceanographic vision, careful scientific approach and high academic standards to her graduate students. One measure of her success is reflected in the careers of her former graduate students. They include a deputy director and program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, a program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and department chairs at Bowdoin College and Princeton University. Dr. Perry and her students have a wide footprint on ocean science in the United States. One of the deepest influences Dr. Perry has had on students and oceanography is through the graduate-level ocean optics course she founded in 1985. The course, funded first by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, then the National Science Foundation (NSF) and now NASA, has maintained a subdiscipline of oceanography and created an international group of experts. A widely published researcher, Dr. Perry’s papers are often at the forefront of new developments and cut across disciplines, opening doors for future investigations. She is a research pioneer in the study of ocean optics and ocean biology, and the use of autonomous underwater gliders for remote ocean measurements. Since 2000, Dr. Perry’s research has brought more than $7 million to the University of Maine in sponsored funding. The diversity of funding agencies sponsoring her research and her service on advisory boards are testaments to her expertise. Dr. Perry has been invited to sit on steering committees and advisory panels of such entities as NSF, the National Research Council, NASA and a number of European science programs. Dr. Perry received a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of California San Diego. She joined the UMaine School of Marine Sciences faculty in 1999, and was named interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in 2013. Dr. Perry was elected an Oceanography Society Fellow in 2010. She received NSF’s Creativity Award in 2009 and 2003, and was one of three invited plenary speakers for the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, the largest and most important gathering of aquatic scientists in the world.


2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award

J Malcolm ShickJ. Malcolm Shick
Professor of Zoology and Oceanography

Dr. J. Malcolm Shick is a gifted educator who introduces students to “a passionate journey of scientific discovery.” In his rigorous classes, students appreciate his knowledge and enthusiasm, the attention to detail in his meticulously crafted multimedia lectures, and his interest in the quality of each student’s learning experience. In the classroom and the lab, Dr. Shick is a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, and colleagues. Two decades ago, his passion for enhancing student learning in his introductory course led him to institute electronic-based practice exams, which he subsequently helped develop into interactive tools on course websites used today. Ten years ago, Dr. Shick helped inaugurate the popular cornerstone Integrative Marine Science series — four modular core courses in the School of Marine Sciences. Similarly in 2012, he introduced a wide-ranging new graduate-level core class in marine biology for incoming graduate students. Dr. Shick’s well-known exploration of the representation of marine sciences in the visual and performing arts, and other humanities, is evident in all his classes, but especially in his course on the biology of marine organisms for first-year students. His other classes include undergraduate courses in ecology, comparative animal physiology, an honors tutorial in “aesthetic marine biology,” and graduate seminars on such topics as photobiology, symbiosis, and physiological and ecological energetics. Dr. Shick’s teaching is informed by his research, largely funded by the National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society, that takes him around the world. His eco-physiological research of the ocean’s creatures, especially corals, helps forecast how they will be affected by environmental change. He has been a visiting researcher and instructor at such prestigious institutions as the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Plymouth (U.K.) Marine Laboratory, the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole), the Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco. In 1974, Dr. Shick received his Ph.D. in biology from Texas A&M University and joined the UMaine zoology faculty. He received UMaine’s 1992 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award and was elected an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 1984.


2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award

M Kate Beard-TisdaleM. Kate Beard-Tisdale
Professor, School of Computing and Information Science
Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis at the University of Maine

Dr. Kate Beard-Tisdale is an internationally recognized researcher in geographic information science. Through her research and research-based teaching at the University of Maine, she has applied GIS and spatial analysis in a wide range of applications — from the analysis of cancer incidence and mortality to emergency response services and precision agriculture. For more than two decades, her work has made significant contributions in the fields of visualization, spatial uncertainty, geo-ontologies, digital libraries, spatio-temporal modeling and event detection. Under the auspices of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Dr. Beard-Tisdale has led or co-led several major research initiatives. Her research has received more than $10 million in funding from sources that include the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Geological Survey. In the last five years alone, she has had more than 36 funded research grants totaling more than $5 million. Dr. Beard-Tisdale was a lead cooperator in the NSF-funded Alexandria Digital Library project based at the University of California Santa Barbara. Similarly, she was the principal investigator on projects to develop digital spatial libraries for the Gulf of Maine and Maine lakes. Dr. Beard-Tisdale’s multidisciplinary research makes her the model of a modern information scientist for her students. Her leadership across disciplines landed a NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award for a novel doctoral research program in sensor science, engineering and informatics. Dr. Beard-Tisdale’s research collaborations included an NSF-funded project to investigate the application of spatial concepts to genome mapping. Working with colleagues at The Jackson Laboratory and Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, the research team studied spatio-temporal models for tracking exposure histories for epidemiological research. Dr. Beard-Tisdale’s extensive research publishing includes 50 journal articles, chapters in 11 scholarly books, and professional presentations at more than 70 international, national and state conferences. Dr. Beard-Tisdale joined the University of Maine in 1987 after completing a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award

Bruce SegeeBruce E. Segee
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group

Dr. Bruce E. Segee has been actively engaged in public service for more than two decades, assisting entrepreneurs and businesses large and small with cutting-edge instrumentation and automation systems. Since 2007, his work has focused on improving the cyberinfrastructure in Maine and the Northeast that is critical to the success of the University of Maine and the region. His interdisciplinary work ranges from development of production-ready infrastructure to the creation of new technologies for visualization, education and communication. His research and outreach efforts have improved the usefulness of laptops in K–12 education, supercomputing and cloud computing, networking and videoconferencing, and resource sharing. Dr. Segee helped spearhead the state’s Three Ring Binder project, which brought $25 million in funding, matched by $6 million in private investment, to form the Maine Fiber Company. It provided unprecedented rural connectivity and job creation with the installation of more than 1,100 miles of fiber-optic cable. Three Ring Binder, completed in 2012, was followed the next year by Gigabit Mainestreet, a public-private partnership between UMaine and Great Works Internet to bring gigabit-speed connectivity to the Orono and Old Town communities, and resulted in UMaine being cited as one of the top 10 universities for connectivity nationwide. Gigabit Mainestreet is part of a nationwide program named Gig.U, and Dr. Segee had a leadership role in bringing Gig.U to Maine. He has served as the director of the UMaine supercomputer, providing cost-effective, cutting-edge computational power for many significant research projects, classes and simulations for K–12 education. In addition, he directs the UMaine Cyberinfrastructure Investment for Development, Economic Growth and Research, and has been involved in the annual Maine Learning Technology Initiative of the state Department of Education. Dr. Segee holds the Henry R. and Grace V. Butler Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from UMaine in 1985 and 1989, respectively. In 1992, he received a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of New Hampshire and joined the UMaine engineering faculty.