UMF celebrates third annual Water Bear Confabulum alternative arts festival, Oct. 28

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 17, 2017)—The UMF Art Gallery is holding its third annual Water Bear Confabulum, an alternative arts festival to celebrate diverse artistic and community voices. This year’s festival will take place from 1-6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, in the art alleys in downtown Farmington and on an art trail in nearby Bonney Woods and Flint Woods.

Art work by Maggie Libby, Beth Wittenberg and other artists will begin to appear the week before the event to create collaborative and interactive artworks in the alleys.

Water Bear in Flint Woods.

Water Bear in Flint Woods.

This year, with the generous sponsorship of the Onion Foundation and ArtsFarmington, the exhibit  extends into the Bonney and Flint Woods adjacent to downtown including artworks by guest artists Sarah Bouchard, Michel Droge, Bethany Engstrom,Rick Osterhaut, Jan Piribeck, James Provenzano, Jesse Potts and Susan Smith.

A 5K Trail Run will be held beginning at 1 p.m., at the Old North Church at the corner of High and Court streets. With a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $10 for children, this event will benefit local high school students coming to the University of Maine at Farmington who are interested in the arts and the environment.

The annual trick-or-treat trail in the alleys will be held from 1-6 p.m.

The Water Bear (or tardigrade) is a unique and enduring animal living unseen among us, adapting to new environments, even to the extreme landscape of outer space. A confabulum combines the meanings of confabulation: first, to simply engage in conversation, and second, the psychological meaning–the brain’s compulsion to generate fictions to fill absences in memory.

This extraordinary event invites the re-imagining of everyday places in the town and its environs in surprising ways through art and performance. By subverting traditional functions and expectations of known places through the arts, and by artistically invading overlooked and unconventional spaces, artmakers bring fresh attention to the fabric of the town and to the local conversation with global ideas.

If you would like to help build and install navigational charts on Saturday, Oct. 21 for the event please contact Sarah at or 207-778-1062. For more information on this event, visit the UMF Art Gallery website at

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo Caption: Water Bear in Flint Woods.

Sweatt-Winter Center on the UMF campus awarded new NAEYC accreditation

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 16, 2017)—The Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center on the UMF campus is proud to announce it has been awarded a new, five-year term of national accreditation by the National Association for Education of Young Children.

NAEYC Accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality-improvement in high-quality early learning environments.

The Sweatt-Winter Center met 100 percent of the criteria in each of 10 program standards and was commended by the NAEYC for its outstanding efforts in maintaining and renewing its accreditation and for its dedication and commitment to continuous quality improvement.  The center fully-met the required elements within the standard criteria and scored highly on the random elements. Less than 10% of early childhood centers nationally attain NAEYC accreditation.

“We are so proud of this national accreditation and what it says about the quality of our programs,” said Julie Farmer, director of the Sweatt-Winter Center. “High-quality early education and childcare have huge benefits for children, their families and the entire community.”

Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center

Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center

The Sweatt-Winter program has provided full-time care and education to children in Franklin County and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years. The curriculum is based on the interests of the children, and is carried out through the use of age appropriate activities. It offers a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for children ages 3-8. A preschool program for ages 3-5 and a before-and-after school program for ages 5-8 are available.

The Sweatt-Winter program is located in University of Maine at Farmington’s Ricker Addition. In addition to its value as a top quality child care program, Sweatt-Winter also serves as lab school for UMF education majors where best teaching practices are taught and demonstrated by onsite UMF faculty instructors.

Hours of operation are from 7 a.m.–5:15 p.m. The program currently has openings in its before and after-school child care program. For more information please contact  Julie Farmer, director of UMF’s children’s programs at 207-778-7480.

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a nearly 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that helps prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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For more information, please contact Julie Farmer, director of the Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center at 207-778-7480, or

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo Caption:  Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Education Center

UMF faculty member awarded College of Charleston’s prestigious Hines Prize for 2017

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 12, 2017)— Michael Schoeppner, UMF assistant professor of history, has been awarded the 2017 Hines Prize by the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowlands and Atlantic World program. The Hines Prize is awarded to the best new scholarly publication by a first-time author relating to any aspect of the Carolina Lowcountry and/or the Atlantic World.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with this wonderful award,” said Schoeppner.  “I am familiar with some of the recent Hines-Prize winners, and I’m thrilled to have my research mentioned alongside theirs.”

Michael Schoeppner

Michael Schoeppner

Schoeppner’s manuscript, “Regulating Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebel-lum America”, is notable as it is the first to examine the role of the Negro Seaman Acts in the Atlantic World. It highlights the pivotal role that African-Americans, especially maritime workers, played in the development of federal citizenship rights.

Though this right is not spelled out in the Constitution, free black sailors claimed their American citizenship made them immune to state laws limiting their movement. In the 20th century, the Supreme Court declared this a fundamental right of citizenship.

Schoeppner’s book will be published by Cambridge University Press—the world’s oldest publishing house that published its first book in 1584.

The prize, endowed by former College of Charleston Dean Samuel Hines, is awarded every other year for the best first manuscript on a topic relating to the Carolina Lowcountry and/or Atlantic World.

At UMF since 2013, Schoeppner teaches courses in legal history, the history of race and the interactions of the U.S. with the outside world. He recently received a grant from the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation to continue his work on borders and race in American history.

Schoeppner has won fellowships and awards from the American Society for Legal History, the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School and was invited to the Atlantic History Seminar at Harvard. He has published in a number of venues, including the Journal of American History and Law & History Review.

He received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Florida.

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Media Contact: Michael Schoeppner, UMF assistant professor of history, at or 207-778-7456

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo

Photo Caption: Michael Schoeppner

UMF Public Classroom talk explores what motivates a student to be successful, Oct. 24

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 11, 2017)—What motivates a student to be successful? The University of Maine at Farmington Public Classroom Series will explore this question with “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,” a presentation by Rhonda Jamison, UMF assistant professor of psychology.

Rhonda Jamison

Rhonda Jamison

This talk takes place at 6:30 p.m., with refreshments at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the UMF Emery Community Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.

Jamison’s talk explores the importance of relationships and how they can be a motivational force in a person’s life.  More specifically, she focuses on the importance of warm, supportive relationships that can help motivate students to be behaviorally and emotionally engaged in the classroom.

She also shares her most recent research findings regarding mandatory office hours as they relate to student engagement. The ultimate goal of the talk is to shed light on the idea that supportive, caring relationships might be better developed with individual students outside of normal classroom interactions.

Jamison’s research concerns student motivation, engagement and achievement. She is especially interested in the relationships and environments that are associated with positive learning outcomes. In her most recent research, she has examined this through the lens of peer relations and teacher-student relations. In her classroom, she focuses on creating an active, social, learner-centered environment where students can engage with the material and construct their own knowledge.

At UMF, Jamison teaches child and adolescent development and research methods for psychology majors.

Originally from Florida, Jamison received her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining UMF in 2014.

The UMF Public Classroom Series is sponsored by the UMF Office of the President.

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Media contact: Rhonda Jamison, UMF assistant professor of psychology, at or 207-778-7885


EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo Caption: Rhonda Jamison

Western megafires researched by UMF professor to help predict future outbreaks

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 10, 2017)—Tens of thousands of fires have burned more than 8 million acres in the western U.S. this summer and the fires are still burning. Just in the last week, fast-moving wildfires have swept across parts of northern California, destroying buildings and killing people.

According to Drew Barton, University of Maine at Farmington professor of biology, wildfires are a natural part of the landscape in many parts of the U.S., but climate change and years of fire suppression have greatly escalated their frequency, size and intensity.

Barton and his collaborator, Helen Poulos of Wesleyan University, have received a continuing grant of nearly $30,000 from the National Park Service and the Western National Parks Association to examine 30 years of changes in the forests in Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains and how these fires are changing the nature of the forests.

In spite of the abundant rain and snow the Western U.S. received last winter, this summer’s record-breaking heat left many areas in the West tinder-dry and vulnerable to wildfires.

“In some parts of the West, seasonal surface fires historically burned frequently but at low intensity,” said Barton. “Today’s warmer and drier conditions, in addition to a build-up of fuel that can burn, leads to bigger, hotter fires that burn into the crown of the forest, killing many trees and changing the nature of the forest. In other parts of the West, large crown fires were the norm in the distant past, but climate change has ramped up the heat and the size and intensity of wildfires.”

Barton and Poulos’ research is examining these megafires and providing land managers with critical information. First, they’re looking at how these fires are changing the nature of the forest—large pine forested areas are being lost and replaced by scrubby oaks.

In addition, they are developing a model and map of the remaining live trees and dead wood in the Chiricahua National Monument so land managers can predict where the next fire is likely to occur and how large, intense and dangerous it is likely to be.

Aftermath of the Horseshoe Two megafire in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona

Aftermath of the Horseshoe Two megafire in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona

“These massive fires affect us all, more and more, with the loss of life, homes, air quality and an important natural ecosystem,” said Barton. “We hope to improve our understanding of when and where these wildfires will occur, which will inform policy for sustainable forest management.”

A long-time faculty member at UMF, Barton teaches biology with an emphasis on forest ecology, conservation and environmental science. He has worked on fire ecology for many years, including in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona and on the dynamics of Jack Pine on Great Wass Island and Pitch Pine on Phippsburg peninsula, both in Maine.

His scholarly interests include the study of the ecology of forest communities, the dynamics of these communities and the role of both natural disturbance and human-caused disturbance. His research often involves Farmington students, who work as research assistants and collaborators.

His 2012 work “The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods,” in collaboration with Alan S. White and Charles V. Cogbill, was awarded the John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed nonfiction.

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Media Contact: Drew Barton, University of Maine at Farmington professor of biology, at or 207-778-7397

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Photo Caption:  Aftermath of the Horseshoe Two megafire in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona

UMF Visiting Writer Series spotlights Mark Jude Poirier, screenwriter and American author, Oct. 19

FARMINGTON, ME  (October 5, 2017)—The University of Maine at Farmington Visiting Writers Series proudly presents Mark Jude Poirier, screenwriter and American novelist and short story author, as the next reader in the popular program. Brought to campus by the UMF Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, Poirier will read from his work at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in The Landing in the UMF Olsen Student Center.

Mark Jude Poirier

Mark Jude Poirier

The reading is free and open to the public, to be followed by a meet and greet with the author.

The films Poirier has written—“Smart People,” Goats,” and “Hateship Loveship”—have played at Sundance, Toronto, The American Film Festival in Deauville, Nantucket, Chesapeake, MoMA and in theaters all over the world.

His novels and stories have been recognized as New York Times Notable Books of the Year, Barnes and Noble Discover Picks, and have won him a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from The James Michener Society and The Maytag Foundation.

He began his screenwriting career with a Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship from Paramount Pictures. He lives in New York City but serves as a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer on English at Harvard, where he teaches creative writing.

More Information on the UMF Creative Writing Program

As the only Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the state of Maine and one of only three in all of New England, the UMF program invites students to work with faculty, who are practicing writers, in workshop-style classes to discover and develop their writing strengths in the genres of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Small classes, an emphasis on individual conferencing, and the development of a writing portfolio allow students to see themselves as artists and refine their writing under the guidance of accomplished and published faculty mentors. Students can pursue internships to gain real-world writing and publishing experience by working on campus with The Beloit Poetry Journal, a distinguished poetry publication since 1950; or Alice James Books, an award-winning poetry publishing house.

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Media Contact: Jeffrey Thomson, UMF professor of creative writing, at 207-778-7454, or

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo Caption:  Mark Jude Poirier

UMF Financial Literacy program expands to entire UMaine System


UMF archesThe University of Maine System plans to invest $1.2 million to expand the University of Maine at Farmington’s successful Peer-to-Peer Financial Literacy Program across Maine’s seven public universities, according to a Mainebiz article. Started in 2013, the UMF pilot program trained students to help their peers have a better understanding of their finances and how to make good choices that would affect them now and in the future. The planned five-year expansion will train students throughout the system as “peer financial educators” who will initially deliver financial literacy programming and resources to their college peers. When fully implemented, the program will grow to include further outreach efforts to middle and high school and community college students to instill Maine students with the habits and awareness needed to make informed decisions about their personal finances and avoid excessive debt.

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Daily Bulldog
Bangor Daily News


U.S. News ranks UMF “Best College” for 20th year

UMF Merrill Hall

UMF Merrill Hall

For the 20th year, the University of Maine Farmington has once again been recognized as a “Best College” by U.S. News & World Report, according to the Daily Bulldog.The 2018 national rankings, recognizes UMF among the top 10 colleges in four separate categories within its classification of Regional Colleges in the North—ranking it No. 4 in Top Public Schools, No. 6 in Best Value Schools, No. 8 overall and No. 3 in Best College for Veterans. “We are so proud of this continued recognition of UMF’s long history of excellence and commitment to student success,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president. “A college education is an important investment for today’s families, and UMF’s unique combination of quality academics and affordability set in the spectacular Maine mountains offers a tremendous value.”

Daily Bulldog

Vibrant UMF arts initiative brings emerging artists to campus

Shoshannah White

Shoshannah White

UMF kicks off the 2017-18 school year with a vibrant new arts initiative that brings the creative works of emerging artists to the UMF campus, as reported by the Morning Sentinel. The new “Art on Campus” program exhibits the work of two artists per semester in the University’s Mantor Library. This semester’s featured artists are Shoshannah White and Parisa Ghaderi. Their work will be on exhibit through Dec. 31. “We are delighted to have this opportunity to bring rising artists and their creative works to our campus and community,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president.

Morning Sentinel
Sun Journal
Daily Bulldog

UMF President Foster welcomes new members to University Board of Visitors

FARMINGTON, ME  (September 27, 2017)—University of Maine at Farmington President Kathryn A. Foster is pleased to welcome four new individuals to the UMF Board of Visitors. Sven Bartholomew, Todd Chamberlain, Marjorie Murray Medd and Paul Spizzuoco were selected to serve a three-year term to the UMF board by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.

They will join Lisa Laflin-chair, Peter Addicott, Wendy Ault, Erika Burns ’16, Edmund Cervone, Scott Connors ’90, Becky Davis-Allen, Matthew Gilbert ’95, Valerie Huebner, David Levesque Esq. ‘88, Chris McKee ’92, Betty-Jane Meader ’68, Mark Shibles, Julia Sleeper, Cathryn Wimett and Eileen Kreutz currently serving on the University board.

“We are honored to welcome these talented and accomplished individuals to our Board of Visitors,” said Foster. “Our board is a wonderful assemblage of business and community members from within and beyond Maine who believe in UMF and its mission to provide public access to a top quality education.”

UMF Board of Visitors

Front Row (left to right): Becky Davis-Allen, Valerie Huebner, President Kathryn A. Foster, Lisa Laflin-chair, Haley Jaramillo, Marge Medd, David Levesque, Eileen Kreutz, Mark Shibles, Paul Spizzuoco, Betty-Jane Meader. Back Row: Cathy Wimett, Todd Chamberlain, Chris McKee, Scott Conners, Erika Burns, Sven Bartholomew, Matt Gilbert and Ed Cervone. Absent: Wendy Ault, Julia Sleeper, Peter Addicott.

Bartholomew, a 2002 UMF graduate, is senior vice president and payroll sales manager with Bangor Savings Bank. He served as President of the UMF Alumni Council from 2011-2014 and in several capacities for the University of Maine System, including the search committee for the UMF president and the University of Maine Incubation Center Mentor program. In 2013 he was honored with the Florence Archibald Alumni Service award from UMF.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Eastern Maine Development Corporation.

Chamberlain, a 2003 graduate of UMF, is currently the senior IT recruiter for Pro Search, Inc., where he has worked since 2006. Since 2012, he has been co-founder and chair of Beaver Alums Supporting Student Athletes—a booster and fundraising organization of UMF alumni. Since 2013, Chamberlain has worked with UMS Corporate Partners, which develops and supports partnerships between the business sector and the University of Southern Maine. Additionally, he serves on the USM Foundation Board of Directors.

An active advocate for education at all levels, Medd was longtime chair of the Oxford Hills School Board and spent 10 years on the Maine Board of Education. She served the University of Maine System as a trustee from 2006-2016, including as chair of numerous presidential search committees and as chair of the Human Resources and Labor Relations Committee. She is currently in her second term on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network Board of Directors and was recently honored for her work with Jobs for Maine Graduates. In addition to serving many other organizations, she is a lay member of the Overseers of the Bar.

Spizzuoco graduated in 1989 from UMF. After five years teaching United States History and Government in Maine high schools, he worked for almost five years at MBNA America attaining the title of senior personal banking officer. In 1999, he joined UBS Financial Services in Rockland as a licensed financial advisor and life insurance agent. He earned the designation of certified financial planner in 2005.

The University of Maine at Farmington Board of Visitors is an advisory body of community and regional leaders and champions who provide strategic counsel to the University and help identify and implement university and regional partnerships.

The Board advises the President on a wide range of issues regarding the University’s role and mission and its relationship to the people of Maine. It also serves as public advocates for UMF, assisting the University by promoting understanding by and support from the System Board of Trustees; the state legislature; state agencies; businesses, school systems, and social services providers; the media and the general public.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Image can be found at:
Photo Credit: UMF photo

Photo Caption: Front Row (left to right): Becky Davis-Allen, Valerie Huebner, President Kathryn A. Foster, Lisa Laflin-chair, Haley Jaramillo, Marge Medd, David Levesque, Eileen Kreutz, Mark Shibles, Paul Spizzuoco, Betty-Jane Meader. Back Row: Cathy Wimett, Todd Chamberlain, Chris McKee, Scott Conners, Erika Burns, Sven Bartholomew, Matt Gilbert and Ed Cervone.  Absent: Wendy Ault, Julia Sleeper, Peter Addicott.