News & Events

UMPI welcomes new employees to campus

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is welcoming 9 new employees in the first part of the 2015-2016 academic year, including new professors and professional staffers.

The University has four new faculty members in its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and College of Professional Programs.

Dr. Lorne Gibson joins the College of Professional Programs as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of Planning Assessment. He comes to UMPI from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice. He previously served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from South Dakota State University, his Ed.D. in Education Administration and Adult and Higher Education and his Master’s degree in Sociology, both from the University of South Dakota, and his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Science from Dakota Wesleyan University.

Kim Jones joins the College of Professional Programs as an Assistant Professor of Business Administration. She previously served as the Marketing Coordinator and Healthy You Director for Cary Medical Center. Jones has served for several years as an American Management Association instructor and as a self-employed consultant, developing and facilitating workshops and seminars on topics from communication to customer service. She earned her Master’s degree in Business from Husson University and her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from UMPI. She has received additional professional training through the Disney Institute and the American Management Association.

Wendi Malenfant joins the College of Education as an Assistant Professor of Education. She most recently served as the Principal and Director of Special Projects at Easton Elementary School. Malenfant has nearly 20 years of experience teaching in grades ranging from K-7 in MSAD #1 schools and has a strong background in proficiency based teaching and learning. She earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine in Orono and her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UMPI.

Dr, Lakesh Sharma joins the College of Arts and Sciences as an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agriculture. Dr. Sharma’s position is unique in the University of Maine System as his duties will be split between teaching for UMPI and working as Assistant Extension Professor for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Presque Isle. He previously completed a Post-Doctoral fellowship at North Dakota State University. His research on crop yield, pruning practices, and growth behavior has appeared in several peer publications around the world. He earned his Ph.D. in Soil Science from North Dakota State University, his Master’s degree in Horticulture from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, India, and his Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Guru Nanek Dev University in Amritsar, India.

The University also is welcoming five new employees to its professional staff.

Crystal Funke joins the University as an Administrative Specialist in the President’s Office. She previously served as a computer teacher for grades K-5 for Sonshine Christian School in Nogales, Az, and has experience as an administration assistant to the high school principal and as an instructional technician. Funke earned an Associate’s degree in Applied Science and a Certificate in Computer Information Systems for Web Development both from Henry Ford Community College.

Janelle Gagnon joins the University as an Administrative Specialist for TRiO College Access Services. She previously worked as a staff accountant at The Aroostook Medical Center and has past experience as a health service assistant and bank teller. Gagnon earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration, from UMPI.

Roger Getz joins the University as the Director of Library Services. He comes to the University with several years of academic library experience in a variety of settings. While at Central Penn College, Getz’s leadership of its library led to the college’s recognition as the most efficient Pennsylvania small college library (IPEDS). Along with collection management and library administration, he has experience with information literacy instruction. He earned his Master’s degree in Library Science from Clarion University and his Bachelor’s degree in History from York College.

Beth Olsen joins the University as Coordinator of Campus Engagement. She previously served as a Graduate Assistant for the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development at New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury Campus. She earned her Master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and English from the University of Washington in Seattle and completed a study abroad experience at the University of Granada in Spain.

Deborah Roark joins the University as Executive Director of University Advancement. She comes to UMPI from the University of Dallas, where she served as Associate Vice President for Advancement. She previously served as the Associate Vice President for Sponsored Programs and External Relations at Texas Wesleyan University, the Director of Grants and Research at TWU, and the Director of Educational Partnerships at Weatherford College. Prior to her academic work, she had a career in banking. Dr. Roark earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas Wesleyan University, her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida, and her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Maine in Orono.

In addition to these new hires, several familiar faces have taken on new titles or accepted new positions.

Tracy Rockwell is now the Director of the Houlton Higher Education Center. She previously served as the Center’s Interim Director.

Mike Holmes has been named the Athletic Director. He continues to serve as the Men’s Basketball Coach, and joined the University last year to take on that position and the role of Assistant Athletic Director.

Doug Carter has been named Assistant Athletic Director. He continues to serve as the Women’s Basketball Coach, and joined the University in 2013 to take on that position and the role of Sports Information Director.

Mike Pankow has been named Sports Information Director. He also continues to serve as the Head Baseball Coach.

Lucas Bartlett has been named Athletic Trainer. He previously served as the Assistant Athletic Trainer.

Finally, the University is welcoming an individual who will be serving the campus in a System-wide role.

Benjamin Shaw serves as the Chief Business Officer for UMPI. In this role, he works closely with the University of Maine System CFO and with campus leaders as he oversees the campus budget and ensures that it aligns with strategic priorities. He also serves as principal advisor to the president and leadership team in meeting the fiscal needs of the institution and oversees the day-to-day operations of Facilities Management. He previously served as the Deputy Director for DFAS Limestone and is a Certified Management Accountant. He earned his Master’s degree in Business from Husson University and his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from UMPI.