The Weekly carried a report on the Penobscot Valley Senior College and the spring courses it is offering starting March 11. The college is affiliated with the University of Maine Center on Aging and the Maine Senior College Network. It offers noncredit courses and learning opportunities such as local history, painting and health care for people 50 years and older.
Archive for the ‘Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’ Category
Phys.org published a report on an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of STEM that was developed by Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology and member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education. Over a two-year period, Smith and three researchers from the University of British Columbia, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period. The results can help inform professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class.
Fred Knight, former director and dean of the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, passed away Feb. 25, 2014 at 88 years old. His obituary is available online.
Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about innovation playing an important role in the future of Maine’s pulp and paper industry. The article states an integral part of the innovations occurring at Old Town Fuel and Fiber is the mill’s collaboration with UMaine and its Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI). The relationship gives the mill the opportunity to take advantage of R&D capabilities it wouldn’t necessarily have access to. Rice said there are no huge changes in technology that will suddenly appear, but he thinks the industry’s economics have the potential to change over time with the addition of new conversions and methods.
Sabrina Vivian, a third-year ecology and environmental science major at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “UMaine students press again for fossil fuel divestment.” Vivian was one of several students in the University of Maine System group Divest Maine that met with the UMaine Trustees Investment Committee to urge the system to stop investing endowment funds in the coal, oil and natural gas industries. Vivian told the committee “people have great power and can have immense impacts on the environment.” She urged the officials to consider creating a timeline for divesting funds from the top fossil fuel companies that are currently being supported. Vivian is a member of UMaine’s Green Team, a student organization that supports sustainable and environmentally friendly efforts on campus.
The University of Maine will be the first stop on the Camden International Film Festival’s five-month Aging in Maine screening tour.
A selection of short films titled “Golden Shorts” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in DP Corbett on the Orono campus. A question-and-answer discussion with Len Kaye, director of UMaine’s Center on Aging, will follow.
Kaye said beneficiaries will be Mainers “who will leave the film screenings better informed of the issues, places to turn for help and the emerging opportunities associated with Maine’s ranking as the oldest state in the nation.”
The tour, which will show award-winning documentary films in 11 communities around the state from March through July, is designed to engage audiences in intergenerational dialogue around issues of aging and dementia-related illness. More information, including a complete list of films and tour dates is available online.
Seventeen University of Maine nursing students and one faculty member will travel to Belize on March 1 to help administer medical aid to villages throughout the province of San Ignacio during spring break.
On their medical mission trip, the students of the UMaine group Nursing International will bring 250 pounds of medical supplies, most of which was donated by the Partners for World Health.
After fundraising $2,000, the group purchased over-the-counter medications such as vitamins and ibuprofen to donate as part of their weeklong stay. Fundraising also helped pay for the extra luggage costs and gift bags the students plan to give children in the rural areas they will visit near the Guatemala border.
In Belize, the group will work with the local health ministries and International Service Learning. The students plan to blog about their experience.
This is the third year UMaine Nursing International students have traveled abroad on medical missions. The trip is open to all nursing majors. For three senior nursing students, this will be the second time they’ve visited Belize.
“I have freshmen through seniors doing the trip,” said Susan Wheaton, a School of Nursing lecturer and the faculty adviser traveling with the students to Belize. “It has required lots of team building. We need to have freshmen working with the seniors because they have not had the nursing training and assessment so early in their nursing academic career.”
Future missions for UMaine Nursing International are expected to include Cuba and Haiti. The group’s motto is “Healing is an International Language.”
A University of Maine professor helped develop an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Michelle Smith, assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology and a member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, designed the classroom observation protocol with three researchers from the University of British Columbia.
Over a two-year period, Smith and her colleagues developed, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period.
“Many observation protocols ask observers to rate instructor quality, but the COPUS focuses on how students and instructors are spending the time,” says Smith.
The resulting data, which can be put into pie chart form, informs professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class. The information is valuable in light of research that indicates undergraduate college students learn more in courses with active-engagement instruction.
A total of 13 student behaviors are documented, including listening to instructor/taking notes, working in groups, answering a question with the rest of the class listening, and engaging in whole class discussion.
A total of 12 instructor behaviors are codified, include lecturing, asking a clicker question, listening to and answering student questions with class listening, guiding ongoing student work during active learning task, and one-on-one extended discussion with one or a few individuals.
Educators can use the information to better understand how they utilize classroom time, as well as identify possible professional development needs. Observation data can also be used to supplement faculty tenure/promotion documentation, Smith says.
Several Maine middle and high school teachers helped Smith and her colleagues test and modify the protocol. “The local teachers were enormously helpful,” says Smith. “They are very dedicated to partnering with UMaine to enhance the STEM education experience for all students.”
The researchers’ article, “The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): A New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of CBE-Life Sciences Education. The article was highlighted as an Editor’s Choice in the Feb. 7, 2014 edition of Science magazine.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student in the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was named by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) as the recipient of the 2013–2014 PerkinElmer Graduate Scholarship.
The PerkinElmer Instruments Co., in conjunction with the Composites Division of SPE, sponsors the annual $2,000 scholarship dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of information on the science, engineering fundamentals and applications of advanced polymer composite materials. This year, more than 40 applications were reviewed and judged by six members of the SPE Composites Division.
Kiziltas will accept the award in April during SPE’s annual technical conference — ANTEC 2014 — in Las Vegas. His research, as described in the winning abstract, will be presented at the conference.
Kiziltas conducts research at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center under the supervision of Douglas Gardner, professor of forest operations, bioproducts and bioenergy, and in collaboration with Hemant Pendse, department chair of chemical and biological engineering.
Kiziltas is currently working in composite material development and processing, including nanocomposites and reinforced engineering plastics for automotive applications. His particular interest lies in the development of sustainable composite materials sourced from recyclable materials such as bio-based resins, cellulose, discarded carpet fibers and natural fibers that serve as reinforcements for bio-based micro- and nanocomposites. His work is supported by UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Alper’s research skills span over diverse fields such as nanomaterials, polymer processing, bio-based composites and sustainability. He is extremely innovative, unpretentious, collegial and cooperative,” says Gardner.
Kiziltas spent the 2013 summer and fall semesters working in plastics research at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. While at Ford, he studied ways to extend the use of soy in polyurethane flexible foams for seat cushions and seat backs as well as sustainable nylon composites for under-the-hood applications.
Kiziltas is the author of more than 10 publications in journals such as Applied Nanoscience and the Journal of Nanoparticle Research. He has presented results of his research in several national and international conferences and has won more than 15 awards including Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) Graduate Scholarship Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award at UMaine’s 2013 Grad Expo, first place in the 2012–2013 SPE ACCE poster competition, and 2013 outstanding Ph.D. student in UMaine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
Rep. Mick Devin of Newcastle who is also a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center was interviewed for a WLBZ (Channel 2) report titled “Crabs and climate change pose threat to Maine shellfish.” Researchers at the Darling Marine Center say climate change is putting more carbon in the ocean which lowers the pH level and makes the water more acidic. Devin said ocean acidification will hurt more than clams because all marine animals are used to living and evolving in a certain pH range. He said scientists and the shellfish industry need to learn a lot more in order to cope with ocean acidification.