Archive for the ‘Education and Human Development’ Category

CUGR Research Fellows Announced

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) has launched the Research Fellows Program, a new Blue Sky initiative to support University of Maine faculty efforts in promoting undergraduate research opportunities. Emerging from 2011 stimulus funding of CUGR as one of six initiatives through the 2011 Presidential Request for Visions of University Excellence (PRE-VUE) Program, this CUGR Research Fellows Program is intended to improve undergraduate research and scholarship mentoring skills, expand curricula to include research and scholarship experiences, and develop proposals for further funding specifically involving undergraduate students.

Twenty-three faculty members who were nominated by their deans to be CUGR Research Fellows will participate in the two-year development program. Workshops will focus on topics such as mentoring undergraduate students, funding sources, responsible conduct of research and grant writing. Each CUGR Research Fellow receives a modest stipend and one undergraduate assistant.

The CUGR Research Fellows are:

Laura Artesani, Associate Professor of Music
Dan Bilodeau, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Tim Bowden, Assistant Professor of Aquaculture
Steven Elmer, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Physical Education
Nuri Emanetoglu, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Nick Giudice, Associate Professor of Spatial Information Sciences
Rob Glover, CLAS-Honors Preceptor and Assistant Professor of Political Science
Will Gramlich, Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry
Hamish Greig, Associate Professor of Stream Ecology
Mark Haggerty, Associate Rezendes Preceptor for Civil Engagement
Sarah Harlan-Haughey, Assistant Professor of English and Assistant Professor of Honors
Kim Huisman, Associate Professor of Sociology
Karl Kreutz, Professor of Geological Sciences and Climate Change Institute
Jordan LaBouff, CLAS-Honors Preceptor and Assistant Professor of  Psychology
Roberto Lopez-Anido, Professor of Civil Engineering
Benildo de los Reyes, Professor of Molecular Genetics
Shannon McCoy, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Reinhard Moratz, Associate Professor of Spatial Information Sciences
Balunkeswar Nayak, Assistant Professor of Food Processing
Brian Robinson, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Climate Change Institute
Mary Shea, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Ebru Ulusoy, Assistant Professor of Marketing
Faren Wolter, Lecturer

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Caron Writes Book After 20 Years of Research, BDN Reports

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News reported on a new book published by Sandra Caron, a University of Maine professor of family relations and human sexuality. Caron’s book, “The Sex Lives of College Students: Two Decades of Attitudes and Behaviors,” is based on the results of a sexuality survey she administered to thousands of students over the past 20 years. The findings range from how often college students have sex, masturbate and fake orgasm to what they think about the role of love in sex, honesty, having a gay friend and practicing safer sex. Sun Journal and Seacoast Online also carried the BDN report.

WVII Reports on Literacy to Go Program, Interviews Bennett-Armistead

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Susan Bennett-Armistead, the Correll Professor of Early Literacy at the University of Maine, about the new Literacy to Go program that aims to promote early literacy. UMaine’s Fogler Library and Old Town’s elementary school and public library are teaming up to offer themed kits that include three books inside a pizza box to help children get interested in and excited about reading. Bennett-Armistead said each site is expected to have 20 kits on a variety of topics and librarians will be taught how to use the kits with young children.

‘Literacy To Go’ Kits Feed Interactive Learning

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Parents in the Orono and Old Town areas will soon be able to feed their young children’s love of reading with “Literacy To Go” — informational text, a storybook and a storyboard all delivered in a themed pizza box kit.

The University of Maine Raymond H. Fogler Library is utilizing a $43,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to partner with UMaine’s College of Education and Human Development, Old Town Elementary School and Old Town Public Library to train librarians to promote early literacy with informational text.

Informational text is nonfiction that imparts information about the arts, sciences and social studies. The vocabulary is technical and realistic photographs and illustrations are generally included.

“The kits are really just the vehicle for this change in thinking about libraries as a source of support for family literacy,” says Susan Bennett-Armistead, the grant’s principal investigator and Correll Professor of Early Literacy in the College of Education and Human Development.

Fogler Library purchased books for its kits and the Correll Fund purchased books for kits at Old Town Elementary School and Old Town Public Library.

A variety of themes will be highlighted in each set of 20 kits, which will be distributed in January to Fogler Library on campus, as well as to the Old Town sites. Two books in each kit will be written for children birth-to-5 (most are for children 3–5 years of age); one is fiction and one is informational text. The third book is for parents to read. The books are intended to promote conversation between parents and children and the felt storyboard can be used to reinforce concepts.

It’s important for good-quality informational texts to be accessible to very young children, says Bennett-Armistead. “When you’re doing read-aloud with your little ones and when you’re playing with these materials, you’re actually building their vocabulary or you’re helping them build their world knowledge, which has a direct impact on their comprehension.”

Librarians will be taught how they can use the kits, how they can develop future kits and how they can work with the families around promoting early literacy concepts during a series of six training workshops that start in late January.

“The real change is the knowledge base of librarians,” says Bennett-Armistead. “Librarians are now going to be in the fold for really advocating for parents and their children to be interacting around text. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to assist librarians in thinking about ramping up summertime programs, so that we don’t have as significant an educational loss in the summertime.”

Bennett-Armistead is thankful that the Institute of Museum and Library Services saw the potential in promoting early literacy in this way and of the opportunity to work with Fogler. “Whenever there’s an opportunity for collaboration, you have a richer outcome,” she says.

Cynthia Crosser, Fogler’s social science and humanities reference librarian, and Jason Charland, grants management coordinator for the College of Education and Human Development, wrote the grant proposal with Bennett-Armistead. They were awarded the grant in late September.

In January, they’ll apply for a grant renewal titled “Literacy To Go Farther” to expand the training program and kit concept.

UMaine Reports Record Student Retention Rate Related to the Blue Sky Plan

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Active, interested University of Maine students stay in school, says Robert Dana, UMaine’s dean of students.

Fostering student engagement is therefore important for Dana, who knows a thing or two about longevity and stability. The vice president for student life has been at the state’s flagship university for nearly three decades.

“UMaine truly is a world-class institution and student success is at the top of the priority list,” he says, adding that it’s empowering to help lead the charge for a UMaine Blue Sky Plan Pathway 2 initiative to improve annual student retention by 5 percent by fiscal year 2017.

From 2011–12, UMaine did just that. Eighty-one percent of the 2012 cohort of first-time, full-time students stayed in school. It was a 5-percent improvement from the 2011 cohort, according to the University of Maine Office of Institutional Research.

The national first- to second-year retention rate for four-year public institutions is 72.2 percent, according to ACT (2013) and the national retention rate for selective public institutions is 77.6 percent, according to Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (2013).

Dana says that UMaine President Paul Ferguson has energized this community specifically through the Blue Sky Plan and his total commitment to student success and his emphasis on our obligation to support students so they can achieve a college education. According to Dana, this orientation creates all sorts of opportunities.

Opportunities, for instance, to create “super-enriched” interconnected academic, cultural and social environments that serve as effective, durable, connected student support structures. It helps, Dana says, that all faculty and staff are “pulling in the same direction.”

He points to several recent developments intended to bolster student academic engagement and success, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center, the College of Education and Human Development Advising Center and the Unum Black Bear Leaders program.

Advisers, he says, provide academic guidance, personal support and resources and seek to forge authentic supportive relationships with students. The advisers understand that students are complete and complex human beings, and not just an education or engineering major, Dana says.

The Unum Black Bear Leaders program provides selected first-year students with a trained one-on-one coach, team-building activities, as well as yearlong mentoring, seminars, social events and experiences.

The retention rate of the 113 first-year students who participated in the 2011–12 Unum Black Bear Leaders program was 87 percent; 73 percent surveyed said they had gained leadership skills, life skills and knowledge by participating in the program.

Of the students who completed the program, 13 percent withdrew after the first year, compared to 31 percent of first-year students with similar characteristics who chose not to participate.

Jeffrey Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, says it’s key that the multipronged approach to improving both retention and four- and six-year graduation rates is informed by data.

Retention is affected by a number of factors, says Hecker, including affordability, quality of instruction, access to required classes and quality of residential life.

There are more than 200 campus organizations in which students can become socially and culturally engaged and connected, says Dana, whether they’re from Maine, another state or country, are a veteran and/or a nontraditional student.

Dana listed a myriad of ways that students can be a contributor and leader on campus, including through research, volunteering, Greek Life, athletics, theater, music, GLBT advocacy, recreation, the campus newspaper and student government.

“Engagement matters,” he says. “Community matters. Being truly engaged in the world around us provides us with the opportunity to realize leadership. We admit people capable of greatness. It’s true you can do anything you want…teacher, doctor, lawyer, scientist…”

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Penobscot Bay Pilot Reports on Butterfield’s Trip to Beijing

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The Penobscot Bay Pilot reported on University of Maine professor Stephen Butterfield’s recent trip to Beijing, China. Butterfield, a professor and chair of UMaine’s Department of Exercise Science and STEM Education, traveled to China to help train students at Beijing Sport University on how to test motor proficiency of children with intellectual disabilities.

UMaine Study Cited in Press Herald Editorial on High School Accreditation

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

A 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development’s Center for Research and Evaluation was cited in a Portland Press Herald editorial on high school accreditation. The study found 102 of the state’s 119 public secondary schools were accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The study also found some schools dropped accreditation in the early 1990s because of budget constraints and that high school accreditation rarely comes into play when New England colleges review applications.

Brewer Community Center to Offer Online UMaine Classes, BDN Reports

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The Bangor Daily News reported the new Brewer Community Center will provide 18 wireless computers that will be connected to the University of Maine to offer online or satellite classes, according to Gordon Stitham, Brewer Housing Authority’s executive director. Stitham said the facility is meant to be used by the community and offer more educational opportunities to residents.

Milardo Quoted in Down East Article on Maine’s High Divorce Rate

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Robert Milardo, a professor of family relations at the University of Maine, was interviewed for the Down East magazine article “Splitsville, USA: When it comes to divorce in the United States, Maine is second only to Nevada. Why?” Milardo said he believes the rate reflects Maine’s aging population. “People who are older have more experience with divorce, and Maine has the oldest population in the U.S.,” he said. Milardo also said he expects the rate to decrease because people who are marrying today are experiencing less divorce.

UMaine Community Charitable Projects to Benefit the Less Fortunate

Monday, November 25th, 2013

People in the giving spirit at the University of Maine have been making the holidays brighter for others.

The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, Greek Life, athletic groups and student organizations have all spearheaded charitable efforts this season.

The Bodwell Center has been a driving force for the Holiday Sharing Program and FIGI Christmas since 2004. In collaboration with Greek Life, the center collects holiday gifts for Crossroads Ministries, where families from the greater Old Town and Orono areas select presents for their children from among the donated gifts.

People may donate gifts through Dec. 6 at the Bodwell Center on campus or to Crossroads Ministries in Old Town.

Bodwell Center volunteers also participated in an American Red Cross blood drive and the fourth annual GobbleFest. At the Nov. 13–14 blood drive at the New Balance Student Recreation Center, donors gave 174 units of blood and about a dozen double red cell donations. The American Red Cross and UMaine Office of Student Life sponsored the drive.

GobbleFest was a combined effort of the Bodwell Center and Old Town-Orono YMCA. Nov. 17 at the YMCA, UMaine students collected turkeys and cash donations so Crossroads Ministries could provide Thanksgiving dinners for families in need. The Bodwell Center continued to collect turkeys and cash donations through Nov. 22.

Crossroad Ministries also will benefit from a food drive sponsored by UMaine Printing and Mailing Services. Campus mail carriers are accepting nonperishable food donations as part of the drive, and drop boxes are located in Keyo Building. The food donations will be accepted through Dec. 16.

Male Athletes Against Violence and HerCampus sponsored a Cans For Those Who Can’t event Nov. 23. That night, people who donated canned goods for Strong Mind-Strong Body Inc.’s Thanksgiving food drive were admitted free to the Bear Brew Pub in Orono.

The University of Maine Sports Medicine Team and the University of Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee collected nonperishable food at UMaine football, women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey games. The donated canned goods were given to The Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord Food Pantry, which serves those in need in the greater Bangor, Orono and Old Town communities. Donations continued to be accepted through Nov. 22 at the Mike Kessock Sports Medicine Center in Memorial Gym.

Kappa Sigma sold donated coats for $5 each at its second annual Coats for the Cold on Nov. 15–16. HerCampus UMaine, an online publication, held a bake sale in conjunction with the coat sale. All the combined proceeds went to Fisher House Foundation, which has homes near military and VA medical centers. When servicemen and women are hospitalized due to combat injuries and sickness, their loved ones can stay at the houses.

Alpha Delta held a food and clothing drive Nov. 11–22 in Memorial Union and gave all donated items to Hope House, a homeless shelter in Bangor.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745