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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 2010 semester with presentations on First Nations students, student-led teaching models, the challenges ahead for higher education, and the connection between capitalism and zombies.

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

The series kicked off with a presentation on Jan. 28 by Dr. JoAnne Putnam titled “Native American and First Nations: Cultural Context and Student Success.” According to Putnam, national data show that students from ethnic minorities are less likely to succeed academically and are overrepresented in special education in the nation’s schools. In Maine, the percent of Native Americans with special needs (28.5%) is about double the national average. Putnam explained the multifaceted reasons for this disproportionality, which include cultural and sociopolitical dimensions. She explored strategies for providing culturally responsive curriculum and instruction during her presentation.

On Feb. 11, Dr. Bonnie Wood will present “Serendipity: Student-Led Teaching Models.” Wood will discuss how she stumbled upon a teaching method that has become the foundation of her biology and genetics courses and has led her to deliver presentations on the subject at national conferences and to publish her book Lecture-Free Teaching: A Learning Partnership Between Science Educators and their Students, published in 2009 by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Press.

On March 11, Dr. Tomasz Herzog will deliver his presentation “University at the Crossroads: Hopes and Challenges for Higher Education.” Dr. Herzog’s talk will focus on the unprecedented changes affecting higher education due to the recent economic crisis. With the future of higher education at stake, Dr. Herzog will argue for a reexamination of the role of the University in its mission to remain a vital contributor to democracy and not fall prey to the forces of market-driven discourse.

On April 29, Dr. Ray Rice will present “Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Or Why Zombies are Radicals and Vampires are Neo-cons.” Part of a book length project, Dr. Rice’s presentation examines how two popular horror film genres embody conflicting ideological positions within contemporary American culture.

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.