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Faculty Noon Seminar Series returns

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The University of Maine at Presque Isle's Faculty Noon Seminar Series returns for the Fall 2010 semester with presentations on climate change in Central Asia, promoting student creativity, terror management theory, and even a discussion that involves a candidate in the upcoming Maine gubernatorial election.

Seminars will be held on Thursdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Normal Hall Faculty Lounge, unless otherwise noted. Presentations will be 20-30 minutes in length with a discussion period to follow. Those attending are welcome to bring their lunches and join in the discussion.

The series will kick off with a presentation on Sept. 30 by Dave Putnam and Dr. Chunzeng Wang titled "Climate Change Research in Central Asia: Discovering New Lost Treasures of the Silk Road." Wang and Putnam's presentation will be about their recent trip to the Tarmin Basin of Northwestern China. They will discuss the data they were able to collect during their trip and talk about the difficulties they experienced there while attempting to collect data on climate change. This presentation will be held in Folsom Hall, room 105.

On Oct. 28, Dr. Raymond Rice will present "How Paul LePage Serves as a Symptom of Maine's Hunger: Or, Why LePage would Rather be a Vampire than a Zombie." Using analogies from popular horror fiction trends, Rice will discuss how Maine gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage's popularity connects to a vision of state and federal government as held by an increasingly large percentage of the voting populace. At odds in this vision are the vampires presented in the "Twilight" series – which put forth a fantasy of the re-establishment of some "lost" social unity – and the walking dead found in recent pop-culture films and novels – which question the nostalgic motivations of such cultural fantasies.

On Nov. 18, Dr. Kimberly Sebold and Shirley Rush will deliver their presentation "Promoting Student Creativity: Using Qualitative Methods to Measure Student Knowledge of Course Content." Sebold and Rush will discuss the challenge of effectively teaching students with different learning styles, and measuring competency in diverse assignments. During their presentation, they will share some of their students' projects that demonstrate creativity and mastery of course concepts.

Coming in 2011, on Jan. 27, Dr. Michael Sonntag will present "Death makes Liberals more Liberal and Conservatives more Conservative: Another Empirical Validation of Terror Management Theory." Sonntag will discuss research that he and his collaborator, Jon Bassett at Lander University in South Carolina, have completed suggesting that when people are reminded of their own mortality they believe more strongly in their own political beliefs. This research provides support for a theory Sonntag has done research on, known as Terror Management Theory, which suggests that peoples' cultural beliefs provide a buffer against their fear of death.

The purpose of the Faculty Noon Seminar Series is to foster awareness of research and teaching activities taking place on campus and to provide a forum for dissemination between faculty members. The series also offers the opportunity to network and encourage transdisciplinary scholarly activity. As a campus wide forum, students, faculty and administrative staff are invited to present their work during the seminar series.

For more information about the Faculty Noon Seminar Series, contact Lynn Eldershaw at 768-9749.