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
The University of Maine football team, led by 21-year head coach Jack Cosgrove, finished the 2013 season ranked No. 11 in the NCAA FCS Coaches Poll and No. 12 in The Sports Network FCS Top-25 Poll.
The Black Bears — 10–3 overall — had one of their best seasons in school history. They won the Colonial Athletic Association title with a 7–1 league record, made their seventh overall NCAA postseason appearance and captured 10 wins for the first time since 2002.
In both national polls, FCS national champion North Dakota State (15–0) earned the No. 1 ranking and runner-up Towson University (13–3) of the CAA attained the No. 2 ranking.
The University of Maine is launching an innovative leadership program that will prepare a group of faculty from across the campus to serve as ambassadors to Maine communities and constituents. The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program will help to strengthen UMaine’s contributions to the state by building a network of faculty leaders who can communicate the importance of UMaine, and build stronger bridges to people and organizations across the state.
The six-month program will provide training in media relationships, interpersonal communication, audience analysis and partnership building. As part of the program, the Faculty Fellows will participate in a state-of-the-art communication and engagement training in conjunction with representatives from Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Combining theater improv techniques with communication training, the experience will help participants communicate about UMaine and their own work with passion and confidence.
Laura Lindenfeld, Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, proposed and designed the program in conjunction with Jake Ward, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development, and Judy Ryan, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Administration, in order to create better pathways for making UMaine’s work matter more to the state.
“The program is designed to get faculty members and researchers more connected with Maine communities,” Lindenfeld said. “The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program will help us bridge boundaries and create stronger connections between our university and the state. We already do so much for the state, but we can do more. Getting a creative, entrepreneurial group of professors together through this program is a remarkable opportunity to increase our ability to help businesses, industries, and citizens. I want this program to help us make a tangible difference, and that is so inspirational and exciting.”
From engineering to marine sciences to art history, the program includes 20 outstanding faculty members who will learn about contemporary issues in Maine. The program will prepare them to make their own research more engaged and relevant to the issues in Maine.
Kathleen Bell, Associate Professor of Economics, was selected to participate in the program. She hopes to gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that will help her advance as a leader, researcher, and community member.
“I adore living in Maine and working at UMaine,” Bell said. “This program really presents me with a unique opportunity to understand the shared histories of Maine and UMaine, and to participate actively in their shared future.”
Ali Abedi, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will also participate in the program and hopes that it can bring about new connections between the state and the university.
“The University of Maine has been playing a pivotal role in Maine’s economy and improving people’s lives for a long period of time, but it is often hard to clearly link the research activities and their impact to the State’s quality of life and show the importance of investing in educating the next generation of students,” Abedi said. “The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program is a great way for UMaine faculty to get trained in how to communicate their research with Maine’s stakeholders in a language that is clear, concise and to the point.”
Lindenfeld and the UMaine administration will be running monthly training sessions with faculty this spring semester and plan to make the program a cornerstone training initiative at the university. The program, funded in large part from the Office of President Paul Ferguson, clearly aligns with the vision and strategies of the University of Maine’s strategic plan, the Blue Sky Project.
“Part of our job as faculty members at a land and sea grant institution is to create a shared vision with the state and find ways to connect our efforts in research and teaching with the daily lives of Mainers,” Lindenfeld said. “This is a big responsibility that we bear, and my aspiration in designing this program was to help us increase our ability to address the needs of people right here at home. We hope this program is a big step in that direction and are so excited to have launched the Blue Sky Faculty Fellows.”
The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program will hold its first training session Jan. 14 at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation.
The Blue Sky Faculty Fellows
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Associate Professor, School of Economics
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Assistant Professor in Management, Maine Business School
Associate Research Professor, Center for Research and Education & Maine Education Policy Research Institute
Research Assistant Professor, School of Marine Sciences
Associate Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, School of Forest Resources
E.L. Giddings Associate Professor of Forest Policy, School of Forest Resources
Professor, Department of English
Director of Academic Programs, Innovation Engineering
Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering
Mauricio Pereira da Cunha
Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Associate Director and Professor, Climate Change Institute, and School of Biology and Ecology
Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Associate Professor, Department of Education and Human Development
Research Professor of Marine Sciences
Associate Professor of Forest Biometrics and Modeling, and Irving Chair of Forest Ecosystem Management, School of Forest Resources
Associate Professor, Department of Art
Associate Professor, School of Marine Sciences
Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The University of Maine will dedicate its new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an afternoon conference celebrating innovation and the state’s creative economy Jan. 9.
The 15,000-square-foot IMRC Center in the newly renovated Stewart Commons is home to UMaine’s Department of New Media and the MFA in Intermedia Program, and available to Maine entrepreneurs for creative exploration. It features intermedia graduate research labs, state-of-the-art technology classrooms, audio and video production studios, a 3-D and immersive visualization presentation environment, and facilities for prototyping, fabrication and computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing.
The more than $10 million renovation of Stewart Commons, which also houses the Wyeth Family Studio Art Center, was funded in part by the state of Maine through a Maine Technology Asset Fund award from the Maine Technology Institute.
The IMRC Dedication Ceremony begins at 5 p.m., followed by a reception and facility tours. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.3582.
The conference, IMRC Maine: Celebrating Creative Innovation, from noon to 4:30 p.m., is held in partnership with the Camden-based Juice Conference and Midcoast Magnet, the Belfast Creative Coalition and Realize Maine Network.
Juice conferences connect leaders of the creative economy to foster growth and prosperity. Weaving the arts, technology and entrepreneurship, Juice inspires innovation by bringing talented people together from widely different backgrounds to learn, exchange ideas and share success stories.
The UMaine event will be a mini-Juice conference and the first outside the midcoast region.
The conference will feature a keynote by award-winning graphic designer John Bielenberg, co-founder of Future, and two seminars: “What’s Possible Tour,” featuring presentations by entrepreneurs who have used the IMRC prototyping and media development facilities, and “Diving Deeper: Prototyping Specifics,” featuring detailed presentations on 3-D printing and media production.
The full schedule of IMRC Maine is online. For more information, call 207.236.6545.
The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine has received a 2013 Exemplary Program Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) for its 22 years of commitment to community engagement.
Each year through a competitive proposal process to receive the $20,000 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, four-year public universities are recognized for outreach and engagement efforts by the C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award and the Engagement Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award, sponsored by APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium. Dr. Lu Zeph, associate provost, dean of lifelong learning, and director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Dr. Claire Sullivan, associate dean for community engagement in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, prepared the proposal for consideration.
UMaine was among eight universities nationwide honored for exemplary proposals for the Engagement Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award. Finalists for the 2013 C. Peter Magrath Award were the Young Scholars Program at Ohio State University, the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program at Pennsylvania State University, the Nuestra Case Initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso and the McCall Outdoor Science School at the University of Idaho. The awards were presented at the 14th Annual Conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Oct. 8 at Texas Tech University. The recipient of the 2013 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award — Ohio State University — was honored at the national APLU Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 12.
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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.
Dr. Jeff Hecker, University of Maine Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, is enthusiastic about his role in facilitating implementation of the Blue Sky Plan — the university’s blueprint to become a nationwide leader among America’s research universities in student success, achievement and community engagement.
UMaine President Paul Ferguson named Hecker to this position in July. He replaces Susan Hunter, who was named Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the University of Maine System.
Provost Hecker, the former Dean of the UMaine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, says his challenge is to manage the day-to-day operations of the Academic Affairs division while keeping an eye on the big picture — communicating long-range, mission-driven goals, and moving Blue Sky Plan initiatives forward in collaboration with faculty, other Cabinet members and the broader UMaine community.
Hecker describes the Blue Sky Plan unveiled in October 2011 as unified, ambitious, focused and inclusive. He is primarily focused on those initiatives that relate to the academic affairs agenda that are integral to each of the five major Blue Sky Pathways.
“The heart of UMaine’s mission is undergraduate education. As we pursue our research, community engagement and graduate education goals, we can’t lose sight of that core mission,” he says. “The beauty of the Blue Sky Plan is that it is at once aspirational and pragmatic. We are committed to growth as Maine’s land grant research university and equally committed to pursue excellence in our core mission.”
Provost Hecker and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Jeff St. John are leading the campus in addressing a number of the Blue Sky Strategic Initiatives related to academic affairs. The newly reconstituted University Teaching Council and several Blue Sky Advisory Teams are assisting them in addressing a number of priority issues.
Faculty Development is at the top of the list. Those initiatives include promotion of best practices in the classroom, labs and studios, creating faculty development opportunities for the more than 100 adjunct faculty UMaine employs every year, enhancing online teaching quality, and launching the new Blue Sky Faculty Fellows Program to develop the next generation of faculty leaders and university spokespeople.
Due to significant enrollment increases, particularly in engineering and sciences, Provost Hecker is also exploring a new initiative to bring postdoctoral fellows to UMaine as Visiting Assistant Professors.
During their two- to-three-year fixed-length appointments, the visiting faculty will hone their teaching and research skills to prepare themselves for careers in academia. At the same time, they will help address the need for high-quality instruction in high-demand areas, such as mathematics, English and laboratory sciences.
The idea, Hecker says, is to create opportunities that benefit both the postdoctoral faculty member and UMaine. “These positions could be an important piece of the puzzle,” Hecker says. “We are exploring cost-effective ways of meeting our students’ needs for quality, innovative instruction.”
A second Blue Sky emphasis for Provost Hecker is student success. He is leading a multipronged approach to improve the four- and six-year graduation rates by 10 percent by 2017. “Relative to our peers, we do well,” he says, adding that UMaine’s four-year graduation rate is about 40 percent and its six-year rate is about 60 percent. “But we can do better.”
An advisory group is gathering data about factors that impact whether students remain enrolled, including affordability; timely access to courses they need; and quality of their campus experience.
Dr. St. John, says Provost Hecker, is also working on the UMaine Blue Sky Plan Pathway 2 initiative to improve annual student retention by 5 percent by 2017. From 2011–12, UMaine succeeded in that effort — 81 percent of the 2012 cohort of first-time, full-time students stayed in school, which was a 5 percent improvement from the 2011 cohort, according to the University of Maine Office of Institutional Research. The challenge is to maintain that improvement.
Lastly, Provost Hecker and Faculty Senate President Harlan Onsrud are working collaboratively to create a process of inventorying UMaine’s academic programs to better define UMaine’s strengths and opportunities. By jointly hosting Academic Affairs Faculty Forums in which faculty members discuss academic initiatives and how to best advance strategic goals, the university is engaging in an open process that will help to guide investments central to future success.
“It’s fantastic having an opportunity like this,” Hecker says. “This is my 28th year of employment here and I am thrilled to be in a leadership role, helping UMaine achieve its goals.”
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has named Karlton Creech director of athletics, effective Feb. 10.
Creech, 41, currently senior associate director of athletics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), will bring 10 years of senior athletics administration experience to UMaine. Creech was one of three finalists invited to interview on campus by the search committee out of a national pool of 68 applicants. The committee, led by Dr. Robert Strong, professor of finance and NCAA faculty representative, consisted of faculty, staff and community partners.
Since 2012, Creech has been UNC senior associate director of athletics, serving as chief of staff and overseeing the department’s capital projects, human resources and facilities. From 2004–12, he was associate executive director for UNC’s Educational Foundation Inc., where he managed capital projects (including coordination of the $88 million football stadium expansion), the Annual Fund, marketing, fundraising and ticket sales programs, as well as donor stewardship and development. He also worked for the Student-Aid Association at North Carolina State University from 2001–04, coordinating ticket sales and fundraising.
“I am so pleased that Karlton will be joining the UMaine leadership team,” said President Ferguson. “He brings to us a remarkable record of athletics leadership and management at the University of North Carolina, one of our nation’s great public research universities. His level of professionalism, coupled to his strong experience in fundraising and management, will no doubt move Black Bear Athletics to new levels of excellence and community engagement.
“I look forward to welcoming Karlton and his wife, Staci, to campus this spring,” President Ferguson added. “I want to especially thank Seth Woodcock for his superb service as interim AD, as well as the entire Athletics Department for their dedicated work during this interim period. I am enthusiastic about their partnership with Karlton.”
Creech, a native of Chapel Hill, received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from North Carolina State University and will complete a master of arts degree in management and leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in 2014. His wife, Staci, a Pennsylvania native who attended UNC on a golf scholarship, received a bachelor of arts in elementary education and currently teaches at the elementary level.
“I am thrilled to be named the next director of athletics at the University of Maine,” Creech said. “It will truly be a privilege to serve the student-athletes, coaches and staff of UMaine Athletics.
“I would like to thank President Ferguson for entrusting me with the responsibility to lead UMaine Athletics. President Ferguson’s Blue Sky thinking is inspiring, and I look forward to partnering in the achievement of his vision for the University of Maine to become the most distinctively student-centered and community-engaged of the American Research Universities.
“Staci and I are proud to be the newest members of the UMaine family, and we are eager to build strong relationships throughout the community.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The 2014 senior capstone art exhibition runs through Jan. 31.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The UMaine Community is proud to unveil three new University of Maine entrance signs installed this week at the three points of entry of the University of Maine. This installation is a significant event under the UMaine Blue Sky Project Branding Initiative and the Paint, Polish and Plant Initiative of Pathway 3: Embracing a Culture of Excellence: Promoting Spirit, Community and Collaboration and Pathway 5: Restoring the Dream: Renewing Pride and Stewardship of Place. The signs, replacing the nearly 20-year-old University of Maine signs, were designed by UMaine’s Division of Marketing and Communications and were paid for by the Thayer Fund for Campus Excellence, a private gift endowment fund.