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 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.
A University of Maine graduate student is researching ways to use lobster shell waste to create a pigment extract as a green alternative to synthetic versions found in fish food.
Beth Fulton, a Ph.D. student in food science, is working with other researchers on the project that aims to use environmentally friendly solvents and methods to develop a carotenoid pigment extract from lobster shell waste generated by processing facilities. The extract would be used in food for farmed salmonid fish, such as salmon and trout.
“I feel this project could lead to a really simple answer to a lot of problems that we have in Maine at the same time,” Fulton says, noting that decreasing waste and disposal costs by recycling secondary processing resources could have a positive effect on the fishing industry and communities.
Lobster shells are rich in carotenoid pigments — yellow to red pigments found in plants and animals — that can’t be synthesized in salmonid fish but can be used as a natural colorant in food. Farmed salmonid fish get their color from their diet, which contains commercial pigments that may include synthetic carotenoids from petroleum products, dried copepods, whole yeast and algae, or oil extracts from krill. Fulton says 15 percent of salmon feed cost comes from the commercial pigment alone.
“This pigment can potentially replace artificial color in common food products like farmed salmon feeds, and increase the value of whole lobsters,” Fulton says.
Fulton of Lee, N.H., has been working on the project since 2011, primarily with her faculty adviser Denise Skonberg, an associate professor of food science at UMaine. After citing Skonberg’s research in her master’s thesis at the University of New Hampshire, Fulton decided she wanted to attend UMaine to earn her Ph.D. under Skonberg’s guidance. Fulton also has a bachelor’s degree in food science from Cornell University.
When Fulton first came to UMaine, Skonberg suggested she look at what seafood byproducts are getting thrown away in the state and determine usable and efficient food uses for them.
“When we process lobsters — which are 70 percent of this state’s fishing income — we throw away almost 80 percent of the animal, including shell and organs,” Fulton says.
Fulton took Skonberg’s advice and related it to what she had learned while completing her master’s work on green crabs. During that research, she was fascinated by the adult crabs’ ability to change color from orange to green-blue every year.
“That color change is not very well understood, but has been attributed to interactions between proteins and carotenoids in the shell,” Fulton says. “So I started reading a lot about the pigments in lobster shell because they are similar to the ones seen in green crabs.”
In lobster shell, the main pigment is a red-colored carotenoid called astaxanthin, which when bound to a protein called crustacyanin is a blue-green color, she says.
“I started reading a lot about astaxanthin and found there is a very large market for this pigment, and most of the stuff we use in our salmon food is made artificially from petroleum products that are not extracted from natural sources. Consumers are becoming aware of that and are demanding natural colors,” Fulton says.
Fulton is currently examining different methods of removing minerals from lobster shells. She studies a variety of factors, such as how fine the shell needs to be ground, what type of food-grade chemicals should be used, how the shell should be exposed to the chemicals and what type of agitation should be used to maximize the removal of minerals.
She plans to determine the best treatment for pressurized liquid extraction and then look at the effect removing the minerals has on both cooked and high-pressure shucked waste.
Once the extract is developed, it will be assessed for total carotenoid content, carotenoid profile and antioxidant activity. The researchers also propose the extract will then be added to food for rainbow trout, and the effectiveness of the extract in coloring the fish will be studied in comparison to a conventional synthetic pigment.
After Fulton graduates in 2016, she plans to work in the seafood industry.
The project has received a $4,800 Maine Agricultural Center grant, and Fulton has received a $3,000 graduate student award from the Northeast Section of the Institute of Food Technologists for related research. The group recently applied for a grant to fund the project titled “Green production methods for a high-value product from lobster shell waste.” The proposed study would last two years starting in June 2014.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
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
The 2014 senior capstone art exhibition runs through Jan. 31.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
University of Maine alumna Carrie Enos has been named president of the University of Maine Pulp & Paper Foundation.
She replaces Jack Healy, who has held the position since 2007 and is retiring this spring.
Enos graduated from UMaine in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. She has worked in the paper industry since 1997, most recently in the position of finished products business unit manager at the Verso Paper Mill in Bucksport. Enos has also been employed at International Paper in Jay (now Verso Paper), Sappi Fine Paper in Skowhegan and Eastern Fine Paper (now Lincoln Paper and Tissue) in Lincoln.
“After an extensive national search, we are pleased to have someone of Carrie’s background and caliber to lead our organization,” says John Donahue, chair of the Pulp & Paper Foundation’s Executive Committee. “She will do an outstanding job of executing our strategic plan, working with our partners and donors, and assisting and guiding scholarship students.”
Enos and her family live in Bangor. She will begin her new role in mid-January.
Incorporated in 1950, the University of Maine Pulp & Paper Foundation manages the Consider Engineering Program, and supports 87 scholarships at both full tuition and other levels to encourage UMaine engineering students to consider a career in the pulp and paper industry.
“The Global Politics of Food and Water” will be the theme of the 2014 Camden Conference and accompanying course offered by the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning.
The 27th annual Camden Conference will take place Feb. 21–23 in Camden and will also be part of a three-credit UMaine course with classes on Saturday, Jan. 25, March 22 and April 12.
The conference and course will explore water and food security topics from many perspectives around the world as they relate to human life, global climate change and relationships between countries.
The course will be taught by UMaine faculty G. Paul Holman, Libra Professor of International Affairs; Timothy Cole, an associate professor of political science and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Capt. James Settele, director of the School of Policy and International Affairs. Guest lecturers will also be featured.
To receive credit, students in the course must attend all three sessions and the three-day conference in Camden or at satellite broadcast venues at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast or the Strand Theatre in Rockland.
Frederick Kirschenmann, a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., will be the conference’s keynote speaker. Andreas Merkl, president and CEO of Ocean Conservancy, will be the featured speaker.
The Camden Conference was founded in 1987 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization that aims to foster education and discussion on world issues.
More information about the 2014 Camden Conference is available online. More information about the accompanying UMaine course is available by calling Marlene Charron at 207.581.4095 or visiting the Division of Lifelong Learning’s website.
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
The University of Maine’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program was recently ranked as one of the best clinical psychology programs nationwide in a journal article based on a University of North Texas study.
The program was identified as performing exceptionally well in the article “Hidden gems among clinical psychology training programs” describing a recently published study in the American Psychological Association (APA) journal Training and Education in Professional Psychology.
The purpose of the study was to use public data sources to identify programs that excel at graduate training in professional psychology as evidenced by two emerging professional benchmarks — internship matching rate and Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) pass rate.
UMaine’s program was ranked ninth out of 233 accredited clinical psychology doctoral programs in the category that combined both benchmarks.
The aim of the study was to identify programs that provide exceptional training by determining which programs are doing better than would be predicted based on the incoming characteristics of the students who are typically admitted. Those characteristics include the average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of the programs’ incoming students.
UMaine’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program prepares students for a doctorate in psychology and for careers that combine research and practice.
Since 1990, the clinical program has graduated 85 Ph.D. students. Twenty-one of those graduates now have careers in Maine and “have had clear impacts on the state’s mental health policies and direct care provision,” according to Douglas Nangle, a professor and director of the clinical training program at UMaine.
As just a few examples, program alumni have brought state-of-the art neuropsychological services to the Bangor area and innovative behavioral health consultation services for patients treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. They have also affected the way juveniles are treated in the state corrections system and helped bring evidence-based treatments to sexual offenders across the state.
The president-elect of the Maine Psychological Association is also a graduate of the program and has consulted on related issues for the legislature.
There are currently 22 students in the program.
The journal article was published Oct. 14, 2013 and was written by Jennifer L. Callahan, an associate professor and a director of clinical training at the University of North Texas; Camilo J. Ruggero, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas; and Mike C. Parent, a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Florida.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3777