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CUGR Research Fellows Announced

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

Provost Jeff Hecker Focuses on Goals for Faculty and Student Success

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

Several UMaine Faculty Co-Author Journal Article on Community Engagement

The Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry recently published an article co-authored by several University of Maine faculty members who were part of a Community Engaged Research Teaching and Service (CERTS) learning circle. In “Moving Beyond the Single Discipline: Building a Scholarship of Engagement that Permeates Higher Education,” the co-authors, led by Linda Silka, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and a professor in the School of Economics, and Robert Glover, an Honors preceptor of political science, use the example of the Sustainability Solutions Initiative to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with engaged scholarship that is designed to address community problems, according to co-author Amy Blackstone, an associate professor of sociology. Other co-authors include Laura Lindenfeld and Claire Sullivan, associate professors in the Department of Communication and Journalism; Karen Hutchins, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism; Catherine Elliott, an associate extension professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension; and Melissa Ladenheim, an adjunct assistant professor in Honors.

BDN Reports on Bronson’s Healthcare Lecture

The Bangor Daily News covered a speech that Dr. David Bronson delivered  titled “Healthcare Reform and the Bumpy Road to Universal Access” at Buchanan Alumni House.

Bronson, a 1969 graduate of UMaine and president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals, was on campus Nov. 20 to deliver the University of Maine 2013 Distinguished Honors Graduate. He said the less-than-successful launch of the Affordable Care Act and website doesn’t lessen the law’s importance to the future of U.S. healthcare.

Many of the 51 million uninsured Americans are poor, Bronson said, adding that an estimated 21 million to 31 million Americans will sign up for insurance with the Affordable Care Act. Bronson said it’s embarrassing that the U.S. spends nearly 18 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare but is ranked 27th (among countries) in healthcare quality by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

UMaine Graduate, Physician to Discuss Healthcare Reform

Dr. David Bronson, University of Maine graduate and president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospital, will deliver the 2013 Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture titled “Healthcare Reform and the Bumpy Road to Universal Access” on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Buchanan Alumni House on campus.

Bronson, who also practices internal medicine on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, graduated in 1969 from UMaine. A reception in his honor begins at 3:30 p.m. in Andrews Leadership Hall, and his lecture starts at 4 p.m. in the McIntire Room.

In 2002, the Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture series was established to show appreciation to UMaine Honors graduates and to recognize their accomplishments, vision and connection with UMaine.

François Amar, dean of the Honors College, said the UMaine community is excited to welcome back the distinguished alumnus. Bronson’s leadership in creating systems for patient-centered medical care make him uniquely qualified to speak on current trends in healthcare reform, Amar said.

Bronson has received numerous honors and teaching awards and for more than 20 years Cleveland magazine cited him as a “Best Doctor.” In 2011, the immediate past president of the American College of Physicians was honored as a “Living Legend” and “Cleveland Father of the Year” by the Center for Families and Children. Bronson also serves on the board of the Cleveland Play House, America’s oldest regional professional theater.

He is married to Kathleen Franco, who is board-certified in psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and is associate dean of admissions and student affairs at Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. They have six children.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact the Honors College at 207.581.3263 or honors@maine.edu.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Winners Announced in Study Abroad Photo Contest

The University of Maine Office of International Programs announced winners of the Study Abroad Photo Contest. The contest is open to UMaine students who have studied abroad or are currently abroad and is usually offered every semester.

The contest started about eight years ago and for the past few years has been run on the UMaine Study Abroad Facebook page where anyone can view the photos and vote for their favorite image by “liking” it.

This year’s winners are:

The Office of International Programs awarded the winners with University Bookstore gift cards.

The winning photos can be seen online.

UMaine Honors College Wins Awards at National Conference

Fifteen University of Maine Honors College students and 11 members of the Honors College faculty and staff attended the 2013 National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference Nov. 6–9 in New Orleans.

The UMaine delegation participated in several presentations and panels on various topics including issues affecting honors curriculum development, community engagement and psychology research.

The Honors College was highlighted twice during the awards ceremony. Minerva, the UMaine Honors College’s annual publication, was awarded second place in the print category, marking the fifth consecutive cycle in which it was awarded either first or second place.

Christine Gilbert, a senior in the Honors College, won the 2013 NCHC Top Student of the Year award in the four-year school category. An international affairs major with a German minor, Gilbert was cited for her strong academics, commitment to NCHC, dedication to service, and engagement with the Honors community.

BDN Publishes Op-Ed by Glover

The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece by Robert Glover, a University of Maine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors preceptor of political science. The article is titled “Redemption song: Why progress on immigration reform could restore America’s faith in Congress.”

UMaine to Take Part in Bangor Book Festival, Maine Edge Reports

The Maine Edge reported members of the University of Maine community are scheduled to participate in the Bangor Book Festival Oct. 4–5. On Saturday morning at the Bangor Public Library, Jordan LaBouff, UMaine Honors preceptor of psychology, will lead a discussion of “The Sparrow,” and Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center and faculty associate in anthropology at UMaine, will present “Pages of Local History” with historian Wayne Reilly.

Charlie’s Terrace to Officially Open Sept. 12

The public is invited to the opening of an outdoor classroom and gathering space for University of Maine Honors College students, faculty and staff in remembrance of former Honors Dean Charlie Slavin, who passed away in July 2012.

The grand opening of Charlie’s Terrace will take place rain or shine 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 next to Colvin Hall on the University of Maine campus.

The terrace, located in between Colvin and Estabrook halls, celebrates the vision and contributions of Slavin to the Honors College and UMaine. The space also includes personalized engraved bricks in memoriam of Slavin.

UMaine President Paul Ferguson, Honors Dean Francois Amar, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeffrey Hecker, mathematics professor Bob Franzosa and Slavin family members are expected to speak during the ceremony.

For more information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.3263 or email honors@maine.edu.

To support Charlie’s Terrace, gifts can be made and bricks can be personalized through the University of Maine Foundation’s website or by calling 800.982.8503.


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The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
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