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 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.
The Orono Comprehensive Plan Committee encourages members of the UMaine community to participate in a public workshop on the town’s comprehensive plan. The forum, 6–9 p.m., Nov. 12, Orono Municipal Building, will focus on policies and actions for housing, the economy and in-town land use. The committee seeks public input on such issues as zoning for more in-town housing for families; the need to preserve single-family neighborhoods; ways to encourage startups, food-related businesses, R&D and light manufacturing; and downtown improvements. Draft proposed policies are online.
The Wyeth Family Studio Art Center was dedicated Sept. 29 at the University of Maine honoring the legacy of the three generations of internationally recognized artists intrinsically linked to the state’s storied visual arts tradition.
“This is a remarkable gathering of people who love art and love the University of Maine,” said UMaine President Paul Ferguson, looking out over the audience of more than 275. “We want to use this day to reaffirm the central role of art and the appreciation of art in who we are as humans.”
“Our vision in the Blue Sky Project is to aspire to be the most student-centered and community-engaged of the American research universities,” Ferguson said. “This is a perfect example of what we want to be known for at the University of Maine — a place where students learn, grow and are inspired, and where the community comes together to understand our role and mission.”
Artist Jamie Wyeth, the son of Andrew Wyeth and grandson of N.C. Wyeth, was among the dignitaries attending the ceremony. In his remarks, he reflected on his first tour of UMaine’s art facilities in 2001, when he was on campus to receive an honorary degree, and the progress made since then to create a new center for art education named in his family’s honor, which he called “quite extraordinary.”
If just one student “walks into that (new) studio space — as I did over 40 years ago in my grandfather’s studio — and catches fire, it will all be worth everything,” Wyeth said of the long-awaited arts facility.
David Michaelis, the author of two national best sellers, including “N.C. Wyeth: A Biography,” spoke on “Father. Mother. Front Porch. Easel, the Wyeth House of Masters.”
“The endurance of the Wyeths as a family in art says something about who we’ve become and what we still value,” said Michaelis.
The dedication ceremony included tours of the new facility led by UMaine faculty and students. In one of the painting studios were works by students who had never before taken brush to canvas.
“We get a lot of students who are first-generation college students and going to be first-generation artists,” said UMaine artist and professor James Linehan. “That’s what I love about teaching — and about teaching in Maine. It’s our hope and desire that our new art facility will become a beacon for young artists from everywhere, but especially from small towns in Maine, that they can get a first-rate art education in first-rate studios right here in Maine at a public university open to everyone.”
The Wyeth Center is UMaine’s new studio art facility, located in the recently renovated Stewart new media/art complex on campus. The more than $10 million renovation of Stewart was made possible with funding from gifts; grants, primarily from the Maine Technology Institute; and state bonds.
The private donations included a $1 million naming gift in honor of the Wyeth family that was made possible through the efforts of Maine business leader Charles Cawley and Bank of America. Generous gifts also were received from Bangor Savings Bank and members of the UMaine Class of 1963.
UMaine’s Department of Art annually offers dynamic, interdisciplinary programs in a challenging, supportive environment for more than 130 art majors, more than 80 students minoring in art, and 300 nonmajors. UMaine offers a B.A. in art history, art education and studio art, and a B.F.A. in studio art. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
The Wyeth Family Studio Art Center is part of a three-phase capital campaign to support UMaine’s leadership in 21st-century visual arts education in the state and to recognize the longstanding, vibrant art communities across Maine.
The first phase of the UMaine capital construction campaign for the arts was completed in 2006 with the renovation of UMaine’s historic Lord Hall to house the art education and art history programs.
The Wyeth Center includes a Wyeth Painting Studio, as well as classrooms and studios for printmaking, photography and 3-D design. The Hartgen Drawing Studio is named in honor of the founder of the University of Maine Department of Art, artist Vincent Hartgen.
Also located in 43,600-square-foot building is the university’s new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center, home to the Department of New Media.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
This week, University of Maine President Paul Ferguson is attending the September meeting of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Steering Committee at Portland State University in Portland, Ore. ACUPCC focuses on presidential leadership in promoting sustainability on college and university campuses, and in communities and in society. The meeting of the 36-member steering committee will include sessions on the public and campus-based roles of presidents in addressing challenges faced by climate change and strategically addressing sustainability solutions. President Ferguson was selected to serve on the steering committee in 2012.
ACUPCC is a consortium of more than 670 colleges and universities committed to reducing carbon emissions and aggressively promoting energy efficiency. The steering committee is ACUPCC’s chief governing body, responsible for guidance, policy and direction. ACUPCC colleges and universities pledge to conduct annual inventories of all greenhouse gas emissions; implement immediate “tangible actions” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; develop a customized climate action plan to reach climate neutrality in operations; make sustainability a part of the educational experience for students; and to make periodic progress reports publicly available to facilitate and accelerate progress for fellow institutions and society. The University of Maine fully participates in the ACUPCC, producing its Climate Action Plan in 2010.
Additionally, the role of higher education in forwarding sustainability is the focus of a new thought leadership series featuring essays by President Ferguson and 10 other college and university presidents nationwide. “Elevating Sustainability Through Academic Leadership” is the 2013–14 edition of Presidential Perspectives, a higher education leadership series sponsored by ARAMARK. Now in its eighth year, ARAMARK’s Presidential Perspectives is a collection of essays by college and university presidents whose institutions are at the forefront of innovative practices.
President Ferguson’s contribution is entitled “A Sustainability State of Mind: Smart Growth for UMaine as A Green Campus with Blue Sky Thinking.” In addition to President Ferguson, other contributing thought leaders for this year’s Presidential Perspectives include presidents Michael Crow, Arizona State University; Mark Huddleston, University of New Hampshire; Wim Wiewel, Portland State University; Gloria Larson, Bentley University; Jonathan Gibralter, Frostburg State University; Harry Williams, Delaware State University; Theodora Kalikow, University of Southern Maine; and presidents emeriti David Shi, Furman University; Judith Ramaley, Winona State University; and David Hales, College of the Atlantic. Dr. Hales is the current president of Second Nature. Beginning this month, one chapter essay of Presidential Perspectives will be released each month.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Emera Astronomy Center at the University of Maine will be held April 29 at 2 p.m.
The $5.2 million astronomy center is made possible with a $1 million naming gift from Emera Inc., the parent company of Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service.
The Emera Astronomy Center will be the future home of the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium and Observatory. Construction will begin by mid-May. The 7,400-square-foot center, with adjacent 618-square-foot observatory, could be open as early as fall 2014.
WBRC has teamed with planetarium specialists Kasian on the design of the facility, and Nickerson & O’Day, a Maine-based construction firm, has been awarded the bid for construction.
The site is at the intersection of Rangeley and Long roads on campus, adjacent to the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden.
“This is truly an opportunity for the UMaine community and the state to celebrate Emera’s investment in the University of Maine, the study and appreciation of Maine’s night sky, and the spirit of philanthropy,” says UMaine President Paul Ferguson. “This facility, with its focus on education and outreach, will be a landmark in Maine, and it would not have happened without Emera’s generous gift.”
Expected to join President Ferguson for the groundbreaking ceremony will be Chris Huskilson, President and CEO, Emera Inc., and Gerry Chasse, President and COO, Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service.
“Emera is proud to invest in the communities where we live and work. We’re also working to make energy cleaner, so the center’s use of geothermal heat pumps is a great example of renewable energy use,” says Chris Huskilson.
The groundbreaking event also celebrates the investment and vision of an anonymous donor who first proposed the astronomy facility to enhance the viewing of the night sky, and who provided $3.2 million in funding to help make the project a reality.
The new Emera Astronomy Center will feature a planetarium dome 33 feet in diameter — the largest in the state — equipped with a state-of-the-art Definiti projection system. The new observatory’s 20-inch digital PlaneWave CDK20 telescope also will be the largest in Maine.
The center will include innovative exterior lighting designed to help preserve the dark-sky critical to enhanced stargazing.
The center will be heated with geothermal heat pumps – the first building at UMaine to benefit from this energy efficient electric technology.
The Emera Astronomy Center will enhance UMaine’s role in outreach to K–12 students and promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The planetarium and observatory will complement the many other efforts at UMaine to attract students to scientific disciplines by inspiring children — and all those who are children at heart — about the science of astronomy.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
President Paul Ferguson was mentioned in a WVII (Channel 7) report about the University of Maine being named a “top green school” for the fourth year in a row.
The University of Maine’s Paint, Plant and Polish Program, which began last year as a Presidential Initiative, continues to improve the UMaine campus as part of the Blue Sky Plan Pathway 5, chaired by UMaine alumnus John Rohman and co-chaired by Stewart Harvey, executive director of facilities and capital management services.
To improve campus infrastructure and appearance, UMaine President Paul Ferguson initially reallocated approximately $2.5 million. This funding was derived from energy cost-savings realized through improved utility and fuel contracts, increased campuswide efficiencies, as well as overall cost reductions on a one-time basis. Paint, Plant and Polish now will be sustained annually by approximately $320,000 from the newly endowed Hosmer Fund in the University of Maine Foundation.
This first year included more than a dozen campus buildings and academic areas identified as improvement and deferred maintenance priorities by the deans of UMaine’s colleges, including the Honors College, as well as staff of Facilities Management. More than $1.6 million is earmarked for classroom upgrades and improving accessibility, and approximately $800,000 will be directed for painting and minor maintenance to preserve the integrity of campus buildings, including UMaine’s “legacy assets.” Much of the work began last summer and employed numerous local Maine painting and construction companies, as well as elevator, furniture and equipment suppliers.
Paint, Plant and Polish is a four-pronged approach to infrastructure improvement, focusing on classroom upgrades, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades, energy-saving initiatives and painting projects. Many are aimed at addressing deferred maintenance that has resulted from decades of budget cuts. All will improve the quality of life for students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus, according to Janet Waldron, UMaine’s senior vice president for administration and finance.
“How the campus looks really matters,” Waldron says. “We have a beautiful campus with legacy buildings. The benefit of these investments is improved aesthetics, higher quality classrooms, more accessible facilities, and an enhanced impression of campus for visitors and prospective students.
“Proper stewardship of our infrastructure is important, but also because it makes financial sense. Maintenance costs quadruple if not timely executed,” Waldron says. “Facilities Management is pleased to partner in the initiatives of the Blue Sky Project to care for UMaine’s irreplaceable campus assets, such as Fogler Library.”
Among the buildings slated for improvements:
In addition to the projects associated with the Paint, Plant and Polish Program, several other capital projects are under way that will significantly enhance the UMaine campus, including a $5.2 million Astronomy Center in 2013. Other capital improvement projects:
Regular updates on projects in the Paint, Plant and Polish Program, as well as other major projects associated with Pathway 5 to promote our stewardship of place at UMaine can be found on the Blue Sky Implementation website.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Portland Press Herald reported on a $7.9 million donation received by the University of Maine from the estate of 1958 graduate Thomas Homser.