Community kudos

Following are just some of the ways in which the faculty, staff and students of the University of Maine have worked tirelessly to make our university as accessible as possible during the coronavirus pandemic:

The Racial Justice Challenge was amazing. The materials and activities were fascinating and engaging and leading to further growth after the week ended. Kudos to Jen and her coworkers who gave us such a much needed late summer treat.

Kudos to the Bodwell Center for how well the team provides food assistance through Black Bear Exchange.

Kudos to Fogler Circulation for quickly mailing out requested books.

Kudos to Lauri Sidelko for all the up-to-date and very useful information she provides students.

I am SO IMPRESSED with Fogler Library!!! I wanted to order some books by mail. Amber Gray very competently answered all the questions I had about how to do so. I requested two books Tuesday morning. They were in my mailbox today (Thursday)!!!

Fogler is simply the best!!!

Students in CMJ 420: Health Communication did an awesome job caring for each other and for their communities. They truly embodied health citizenship in this very trying time! Two groups supported a local respiratory clinic in its transition to telehealth and helped get patients connected to vital services. One team created an original reproductive health card game (that can also be played virtually) that helps young people develop their health literacy and get connected to local resources. Finally — please spread the word on this one — a team created a resource and support site for students. Check it out. (~ shared by the CMJ 420 professor ~ I will truly miss you! Keep caring!)

UMaine Cooperative Extension is hosting a series of Garden Chats by Zoom. All of the topics are interesting and perfectly timed for the spring gardening season. I tuned in to hear Kate Garland give a terrific presentation on succession planting. The session was extremely well-organized and had more than 60 participants. Many on the coast who are unfamiliar with UMaine know all about our wonderful Extension program. Kudos to our Extension colleagues for sharing their expertise, while always remaining friendly and approachable. They are truly among our best ambassadors.

The CITL staff has been so great accommodating questions and providing support to the entire campus during this time.

IT has been amazing! Matt Shultz, in particular, was so helpful with questions I submitted through the live chat.

The Career Center team has been very responsive to inquiries and initiated some wonderful new collaborations across departments.

Recent kudos received by the College of Education and Human Development from graduates and some current M.Ed. students — all practicing teachers — who wrote to thank faculty for helping them acquire the skills to teach preK–12 students during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Thank you for checking in and for encouraging us to find times for ourselves throughout this stressful time. I am so thankful for everything you and other professors have taught me throughout this master’s program as I am finding that a lot of the resources and tools are coming in handy as we move forward in teaching remotely. I have been able to introduce a lot of resources to my teaching partner and staff team as well as finding new ways to connect as a team now that in-person meetings aren’t possible.
  • As my school completes the first week of distance learning, I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for everything I’ve learned so far in this program. So many of the things we’re putting into place are things I’ve tried while doing coursework here. I’m able to navigate things easily and offer support to others. I signed up for this work knowing it would be valuable. The impact of the current situation has made my UMaine experiences invaluable. Thank you so much.
  • I have been working as an unpaid tech integrator for the past 2 weeks. Along with a colleague, we have answered hundreds of questions, created a boatload of video tutorials, conducted dozens of 1:1 video conferences, and met daily with admin to report progress and to troubleshoot issues to support a highly successful transition to digital learning. I’m incredibly proud of our work and the immeasurable support we’ve provided our colleagues, administrators, students, and families. We went from a building where a handful of teachers were using any form of technology to 99% implementation. I’ve been putting in 10-12 hour days since we went to online learning on March 18. One thing I know is that as a result of my work in this program, I was able to support my entire school community to a smooth transition to online learning. We have been up and running since March 18 with a learning plan for every grade level and almost 700 connected and supported parents. The confidence I’ve gained in this program and through the process of supporting my community has been invaluable.
  • I thought it would be uplifting for you to know that I received a totally unrelated response to the blog project I am working on for your course. The current craziness is apparently causing all of us stress, and I got a chat message from a professor in Massachusetts who is using some of the Learner Inquiry project I posted. I wasn’t ready to go live with my original goal for the blog, but hey, what you are asking us to do is sending ripples — helpful ripples — out far beyond Maine. How cool is that? Lastly, thank you so much for your patience. I hate getting behind and try very hard to do my best work. All that is going on has put a big old wrinkle in my plans, but you have been so amazing. I appreciate it more than I can say.
  • UMaine has prepared me greatly for these uncharted waters. The lesson planning does not worry me at all — the technology, reaching individual needs, family communication, etc. UMaine prepared me for this! I feel confident that I know what to do and I can problem solve on my own. Are professors still asking students to “unpack the standards?” That framework is essential for me these days.

A shout-out goes to the Black Bear Exchange, UMaine’s campus food pantry. BBE staff gather and distribute much-needed, nutritious food, including contactless delivery to people who can’t make it to campus. One recipient noted: “I received a nice big box with lots of good food like apples, fresh veggies, tuna, cereals, granola and cereal bars and more. Adequate nutrition is even more important than ever in times like this because it builds up immunity. THANK YOU BLACK BEAR EXCHANGE!!!  YOU ARE ROCK STARS!!!”

Ann Maxim and her Academic Support Services staff authored an amazing PowerPoint presentation with all the information Athletics staff needed to assist student-athletes in successfully completing the term. The amount of understandable content and the delivery were remarkable. The 60-minute presentation left little doubt that it required countless hours of preparation by Ann and her staff.

The IT people at UMaine and UMM who are helping people make the switch from in person to virtual classes deserve a ton of credit and thanks.

In the Graduate Office and the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering:

  • Trish Perry, supported by Kathleen Harding-Heber and others, diligently and proactively communicated with and assisted Stodder residents.
  • Dr. Lucy Liaw, Liz Bergst and other partners at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Portland were among the first to react within GSBSE and set a strong precedent for cancelling travel, working remotely and sacrificing research work for the well-being of the dozen UMaine Ph.D. students at MMCRI.
  • Professor Robert Wheeler advocated for the need to provide guidance to GSBSE PIs early in the crisis in how a lab should react.
  • Scott Delcourt has been unwaveringly supporting students for decades and has continued through this crisis. Always ready with a plan and reassurance with actionable steps. Team members feel listened to and have a strong advocate.

Donna Coffin organized and is hosting an online meeting daily in which farmers and agricultural service providers “drop in” and discuss their needs and realities on their farms. The program also brings in experts from the Department of Labor and other agencies to help answer farmers’ questions.

Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning’s Terence Lee did great work in answering Zoom questions from faculty preparing to take coursework onine.

UMaine Extension’s extensive new outreach initiatives address the needs of diverse constituents statewide. In one of her press conferences, Gov. Mills cited the many positive responses to COVID-19, including the online farm products and pick-up directory.

Pre-service teacher interns are helping K-12 teachers and students with alternative instructional methods. They are assisting teachers using online platforms, connecting with students by email, conducting virtual classes, providing feedback and support to students, and more during this pandemic that forced schools to close during their internship experiences.

Residence Life and Auxiliary Services custodial staff turned over needed faculties as rapidly as possible. And Dining Services staff have worked tirelessly to accommodate residential students who received an exemption to live on campus.

Some UVAC student members have stayed in the area to assist local EMT efforts.

UMaine Police Department is in service 24/7 and serves as the home of the Emergency Operations Center for the University of Maine. Chief LaCroix and Lt. Norman are in complete collaboration with Geremy Chubbuck from FM and many other participants in emergency service delivery.

Dick Young has been an incredible asset to our campus and the University of Maine System. His depth of understanding of the current pandemic has helped guide many of decisions as the university communities cope to continue operations. His tireless dedication to campus and our students has reached all areas of the UMaine and UMM response — from health to risk management, from safety to housing services, from facilities to marketing and communications. Everyone has benefited from Dick’s knowledge and dedication.

Dining Services staff fully understand the need to feed our campus community and have been able to work a rotating schedule that minimizes their frequency to come to campus yet still meets the current dining needs of remaining residential students. We are very fortunate for their dedication and bravery.

UMM faculty organize weekend meals for the 25 students remaining in the residence hall.

Mailing Services has gone above and beyond to accommodate the increasingly varied needs on campus.

An off-campus shout-out from Ralph and Lisa Turner, posted on their farm website, leads with the following: “We want to thank the people at the University of Maine. Of that giant set of amazing people, the folks we most often interact with are those of Cooperative Extension. There are too many people to thank each one individually, but this group has really performed on behalf of Maine people under the leadership of Dr. Hannah Carter, Dean of UMAINE Cooperative Extension.”