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Battiste to offer Distinguished Lecture on Indigenous Knowledge in Education

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s 2008-2009 Distinguished Lecturer Series kicks off the spring semester and the New Year with a presentation by an internationally renowned researcher on Native American language and culture and Indigenous education.

Dr. Marie Battiste, the Academic Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, will speak on “Animating Indigenous Knowledge in Education: From Resilience to Renaissance” on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. The public is invited to attend this free event. Battiste also will speak to several University classes and community groups, including the local Native American community, during her visit.

For more than 30 years, Battiste has researched Aboriginal culture and experience and how they are related to lifelong learning. Her studies have ranged from protection of Aboriginal knowledge, heritage and culture to Native American learning paradigms to university retention and access of Aboriginal graduate students.

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University kicks off College Goal Sunday

One week before the Super Bowl and all the festivities surrounding it, the University will host an annual party of its own for high school and college students – College Goal Sunday.

Staff members will be on hand Sunday, Jan. 25 beginning at 2 p.m. in Folsom 105 to assist students in completing and filing their FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] forms. This free event is open to the entire community. High school seniors and parents are especially encouraged to attend, along with currently enrolled college students needing assistance.

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Faculty Noon Seminar Series returns

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Faculty Noon Seminar Series returns for the Spring 2009 semester with presentations on the carbon economy, online teaching and teaching methods.

Seminars will be held on the last Wednesday of each month, from 12-1 p.m. in the Normal Hall Faculty Lounge. Presentations will be 20-30 minutes in length, followed by a discussion. The series kicks off with a presentation on Jan. 28 by President Don Zillman entitled “Beyond the Carbon Economy.”

On Feb. 25, several faculty members will offer a group presentation on “Everything You Wanted to Know about On-line Teaching but Were Afraid to Ask.” This session will be led by Drs. Mike Amey, Ray Rice, Alice Sheppard, and Jing Qi, and instructor Wendy Ross.

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UMPI to host Inauguration-watching event

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is inviting the campus and community to gather at Wieden Auditorium at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20 to celebrate an important tradition in American government – the Presidential Inauguration ceremony.

The University will show the ceremony on its large projection screen in Wieden Auditorium, giving students, faculty, staff, and community members an opportunity to gather together and observe this significant occasion.

“Once every four years we have the opportunity to come together as a political and social community to celebrate both change and continuity in our national leadership. We welcome the opportunity at the University of Maine at Presque Isle to invite people of all political persuasions to come and join us in watching President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration,” President Don Zillman said. “It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on change in our society and the energies of the political processes, and to consider the very substantial challenges that all of us face, but particularly our major elected leaders, in confronting the challenges that are ahead.”

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UMPI, Nellie Mae Education Foundation announce major Project Compass grant

Officials with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education announced in a Friday morning press conference that the University has been awarded a major grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation that will allow it to develop and improve culturally responsive retention strategies for its Native American students.

The award allows the University to receive up to $750,000 over the next four years to better serve its Native American student population as well as the region’s Native American community. With 65 Native American students, the University of Maine at Presque Isle has the highest percentage of such students of all the University of Maine System campuses. The University is one of four universities in New England chosen to participate in Project Compass, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s multi-year initiative aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented populations graduating with four-year degrees. Project Compass is administered by the foundation’s intermediary, the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.

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OAPI offers slate of spring events

With winter in full gear and warmer weather in the future, the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Outdoor Adventure Program International (OAPI) is offering a series of spring adventures for campus and community members to enjoy, including a winter mountain climb, cross country and alpine skiing, and rock climbing.

The first event of the season kicks off on Jan. 21 and again on Jan. 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 4, March 11 and March 18 when OAPI offers free rides to Big Rock Ski Area in Mars Hill. The mountain offers free Wednesday night lift tickets and OAPI provides the free transportation to the site. The shuttle departs from Gentile Hall at 4 p.m. and returns by 9:45 p.m. Organizers will cancel if driving conditions are unsafe. If you would like to attend, please be at Gentile Hall by 3:45 p.m.

For women who wish to “learn the ropes” of indoor climbing, OAPI will offer a series of climbing nights for women beginning Tuesday, Feb. 3 in Gentile Hall. No experience is required and instruction will be provided for the sessions which meet on the first Tuesday and third Wednesday of February, March and April from 6-9 p.m. This activity is free for UMPI students and Gentile Hall members; cost for non-members is the $7 day pass fee.

OAPI ventures out for its White Mountain Winter Ascent from Wednesday, Feb. 18 to Saturday, Feb. 21. Participants will be able to experience winter travel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on this four-day trip.

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Pelletier to teach course on Northern Writers

Acclaimed writer Cathie Pelletier is returning to her northern Maine roots with a new course that she will teach at the University of Maine at Presque Isle this spring on writers who explore northern life and living.

Pelletier will offer the course Northern Writers: A Sense of Place, which will focus on writers of New England and other northern climes as well as those whose works focus on this unique region and way of life. Open to campus and community members, this 10-week course that begins in February will explore the works of those who capture the essence of New England living and carving out a life “up north.”

Pelletier – who has written nine novels including several that examine life as lived in small Maine towns – will provide opportunities for her class to speak in person and by phone with some of the writers whose works they will be reading. While schedules still are being coordinated, Pelletier is hoping to connect her students with writers such as Suzanne Kingsbury (The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me), Howard Frank Mosher (A Stranger in the Kingdom), Ernest Hebert (author of the Darby series), Deborah Joy Corey, and Chris Bojahlian, whose book Midwives was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

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Guerrette named UMPI’s new softball coach

A familiar face will be stepping in to serve as the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s new softball coach. Tracy Guerrette, the Lady Owls’ basketball coach and sports information director for the University, will become the women’s softball coach effective immediately. The softball season begins Feb. 1.

Guerrette replaces Coach Mike Carlos, who coached the Owl women’s softball team the past several seasons. In her new coaching role, Guerrette will prepare the team for competitive play within the NAIA and oversee recruiting efforts.

“I know Tracy will work hard to make our Softball team competitive in the Sunrise Conference this spring,” said UMPI Athletic Director Bill Casavant.

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Hollywood cinematographer works with UMPI students on film project

The University of Maine at Presque Isle became a working movie set between Dec. 8 and 14 as students in Cathie Pelletier’s screenwriting class brought their script to life with the help of a Hollywood cinematographer and a cast and crew hailing from Fort Kent to Portland.

Students in the course Screenwriting and the Filmmaker’s Life, taught by award-winning writer Cathie Pelletier, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Zoran Popovic – the cinematographer for the 2008 film War, Inc., which stars John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff and Ben Kingsley. Popovic and Pelletier – who has written nine novels and had two of them turned into movies – had collaborated on a film project in the past, so when Pelletier asked Popovic this fall if he would be interested in coming to Maine and working as a director on a short film with her students, he agreed to make the trip.

Popovic’s visit and the movie project he and Pelletier oversaw helped students to get a first-hand understanding of what it takes to turn a screenplay into a movie. The students, as well as several volunteer crew members, local thespians and actors from both ends of the state, worked long days and many late nights to film all the scenes in their 20-minute-long short film, titled The Proposal.

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Scholarship established in Peter McConnell’s name

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Foundation has received a generous $10,000 gift for a scholarship in Peter G. McConnell’s name. The gift was given by McConnell’s family.

McConnell and his wife, Helen O’Seep McConnell, were friends of the University of Maine at Presque Isle for many years and Helen McConnell graduated from UMPI in 1950.

“We are so pleased to be able to continue the legacy Peter McConnell established during his many years of service to Aroostook County,” President Don Zillman said. “The Peter G. McConnell Memorial Scholarship will provide deserving County students with the kind of education that Peter firmly believed in – learning in order to better serve your community.”

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