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 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 (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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Lucille Zeph, an associate professor of education and director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine, attended the White House’s observance of the 50th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.
The event was held Nov. 15 to offer those involved in the intellectual and developmental disability community an opportunity to review past accomplishments, examine current challenges and consider the future of disability policy, according to “The White House Blog.”
President Kennedy signed the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act into law in 1963.