MCS Library Scholarship Awarded to Fitzpatrick

The Margaret Chase Smith Library Scholarship for 2017-18 has been awarded to UMaine senior Delaney Fitzpatrick. Delaney is majoring in History with a minor in Anthropology and Professional Writing. She is writing her history capstone project on Margaret Chase Smith and will be visiting the MCS Library in Skowhegan for research of primary sources including Senator Smith’s personal and public papers that are available there. In examining Sen. Smith’s papers, Delaney plans to examine how Senator Smith challenged the tactics of her Senate colleague, Joseph McCarthy, while still firmly opposing the Soviet Union and Communist party activities in the United States.

Delaney says she chose Margaret Chase Smith’s political life as her topic because, “She was an inspirational political figure, an inspirational Maine figure and an inspirational woman. She is an honor to study.” Delaney is working with her advisor, Dr. Nathan Godfried, in the Department of History. She expects to finish her research by December, 2017.

This scholarship is funded by the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation and supports up to two UMaine students to engage in research using the archival or museum collections of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan.

Rep. Kenneth Fredette will visit UMaine Nov. 16

On Thursday, November 16, the Policy Center welcomes Rep. Kenneth Fredette as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. Representative Fredette is serving his third term as the House Republican Leader representing House District 100, which includes Newport, Corinna, Plymouth, Etna and Dixmont. He has served on the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and the Joint Standing Committee on Elections.

Rep. Fredette earned a Master’s in Public Policy and Management with a concentration in Government Finance from USM’s Edmund Muskie School for Public Service, and a Juris
Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law. He also earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Rep. Fredette is a member of the Maine Air National Guard and has served for twelve years as a Judge Advocate General (JAG). Currently an attorney in private practice, he has also taught at Eastern and Southern Maine Community Colleges.

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows are prominent Maine individuals with past or current careers as policy makers in the state. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings these individuals to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty about research and public policy, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. Rep. Fredette’s visit is sponsored by the Policy Center and the Office of Innovation and Economic Development.

A reception with Rep. Fredette will be held from 4:00 – 5:30 in the University Club of Fogler Library and is open to the public.

Senate President Michael Thibodeau visits as Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow

On Thursday, Nov. 2, the Policy Center and the Office of Innovation and Economic Development sponsored Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau as a 2017 Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow.

The Maine Campus reported on his visit:

Maine Senate President speaks in Orono

On Thursday, Nov. 2, the University of Maine hosted Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau as the 2017 Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. The program is sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, a research and public service center at UMaine.

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows are, according to the Margaret Chase Smith Center’s website, “individuals with past or current careers as policy makers in Maine — people of distinguished status and extensive experience.” Fellows are brought to campus and spend a day meeting with undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty members, giving lectures and discussing research and public policy.

Sen. Thibodeau began his day on campus with President Susan Hunter, who hopes every year that the chosen Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow will leave a positive impact on the school.

“People on campus get a chance to talk about what they do to someone with fresh eyes,” Hunter said.

The aspect of the university that piqued Thibodeau’s interest the most was the engineering department, specifically its recent work on biodegradable cups.

“The University is very proud of its program,” Thibodeau said.

UMaine has plans in the works to expand the engineering department, but funding is partially up in the air. The Senate is currently debating how much state funding the expansion should receive.

At his guest lecture, Thibodeau spoke with political science students about the function of the Maine state government. He served for four years in the Maine House of Representatives, beginning in 2006, and is now nearing eight years in the Senate after being elected President in 2014.

“He’s been a very fair President,” Senator Jim Dill, Old Town, said.

A reception for the day was held in the University Club in Fogler Library Thursday evening, where Thibodeau, Dill, Amy Blackstone from the Sociology department and the Margaret Chase Smith Center and President Hunter attended along with others.

“He’s very willing to talk and listen to both sides.” Dill said.

Thibodeau and Dill discussed the importance of working across the aisle, as Thibodeau is a Republican and Dill is a Democrat.

“It isn’t about whether or not we agree on the issue. Folks have strong opinions but you have to try to understand,” Dill said.

“Each and every member of the Senate loves our state,” Thibodeau said. “And sometimes it’s the debate that brings out the best in us.”

Also present at the reception was Mary Cathcart, who has been with the Margaret Chase Smith Center since 2004 and started the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows program in 2006.

“Every time we have visitors to campus, I learn something new about what students are doing on campus, and what they’re doing benefits us and benefits Maine,” Cathcart said, before presenting Thibodeau with a plaque and a Margaret Chase Smith bobblehead.

“I am honored and privileged to see all the hard work that’s going on at Maine’s premiere University,” Thibodeau concluded, commending UMaine for its dedication to the next generation of Mainers and commitment to keeping young people in the state. “We need people to stay here and be Mainers for the rest of their lives.”

by Hailey Bryant of the Maine Campus


Rubin appointed to national transportation panel

Policy Center director Jonathan Rubin was appointed as a panel member to the NCHRP 25-56, “Methods for State Departments of Transportation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Transportation Sector.”

This research will identify specific efforts and strategies to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are within state DOT control and provide methods for estimating and monitoring benefits and costs of these efforts. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) conducts research in problem areas that affect highway planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance in the United States. NCHRP is part of the Transportation Research Board which is part of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Seven UMS students are Maine Policy Scholars for 2017-18

The Maine Policy Scholars Program welcomes seven undergraduates representing each of the seven UMS campuses for the academic-year scholarship program. One student at each campus has been chosen to conduct research on a topic of public policy importance to the state of Maine.

This year’s scholars are Allison Bernier (UMF), Corey Claflin (UMaine), Sam Atwood (UMA),  Alex Gillis (UMFK), Erik Squire (USM), Liz Whittaker (UMM), and Valentina Annunziata (UMPI). Their chosen research areas cover an array of topics: art education standards in Maine public high schools; food insecurity among college students; factors in life expectancy for mentally ill people; regeneration species for forest clearcutting; barriers to Maine students’ achievement rates in literacy; recycling in rural Maine; and inmate’s access to mental health services within Maine’s prisons and jails.

Scholarships are awarded annually to one student from each of the seven UMS campuses to work with a faculty advisor and a community mentor to tackle a real-life policy issue facing Maine. Topics may range from local to statewide in significance and are expected to be well-defined, subject to research, and of current concern to Maine or a segment of its people. The scholars conduct extensive research from literature, data analysis, and interviews – or all three. In the spring, each student produces a final report as a memo to the governor or appropriate policymaker that outlines the problem, data available, and recommended policy solutions.

Historically, one of Maine’s most important political characteristics is the openness of its public policy process. Legislators, the governor, and local and state agency leaders are accessible and interested in practical solutions to real-life problems. The Maine Policy Scholars program gives UMS students an opportunity to experience that process and make meaningful contributions to Maine’s future.

The program was conceived by the late Peter Cox to engage students from the University of Maine System in the public policy process. The program is funded by the Maine Community Foundation and administered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Michael Thibodeau

On Thursday, Nov. 2nd, the Policy Center welcomes Michael Thibodeau, President of the Maine State Senate, as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. Thibodeau has served in both the House and the Senate and currently represents Senate District 11 which includes all of Waldo County. Thibodeau has served on the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee, the Labor Committee, and the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. He is also a small business owner.

Thibodeau has called upon his fellow state senators to work together over the next two years to address Maine’s biggest challenges including a biennial budget, tax policy, energy costs and improving the state’s business climate. Senate President Thibodeau said Maine will be a “better place to live, work and make a living if we work together.”

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows are prominent Maine individuals with past or current careers as policy makers in the state. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings these individuals to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty about research and public policy, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students.

A reception which is open to the public will be held from 4:00 – 5:30 in the University Club of Fogler Library.

Rubin presents at Economic Development Conference

Policy Center Director Jonathan Rubin participated in a panel on “Growth Factors of the Regional Economy” at the Eastern Maine Development Corporation’s conference  on October 16th entitled Transformation of a Region: A Technology Driven Innovative Experience. The conference was a look at the successes of the region over the past four years in recovering from manufacturing and retail closures and job losses. Rubin presented some of the success stories from the University of Maine in research and technology development. Other panelists were Jim Damicis, Camoin & Associates; Jon Dorrer, Consultant; and Chuck Lawton, Consultant. The panel was guided by Darren Fishell of the Bangor Daily News. Rubin’s presentation showcased the opportunities offered by UMaine’s research and its impact on economic development of the region.

Talk – The Politics of a Sustainable Coast

Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions


The Politics of a Sustainable Coast: Money, Science, Democracy, and Climate in Southeastern Louisiana

Monday, October 16 at 3pm, 107 Norman Smith Hall

Speaker: Michael A. Haedicke, Associate Professor, Drake

Given its low elevation and high rate of subsidence, coastal Louisiana is particularly vulnerable to the projected effects of climate change. This presentation will examine Louisiana’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, an ambitious effort to increase the region’s resilience in the face of change through large-scale restoration of coastal wetlands. Drawing from my research with local stakeholders, I will discuss the origins of Louisiana’s approach and the current status of restoration efforts. The talk will also explore how social inequalities in Louisiana have impacted the Plan’s character and it will put these observations into dialogue with writing about the potential of climate change to enhance or curtail democratic participation in environmental governance.
Michael A. Haedicke is an associate professor of sociology in the Department for the Study of Culture and Society at Drake University. His research concerns the frequently contentious politics of environmental sustainability. He has published articles in sociology and environmental studies journals, as well as a recent book, Organizing Organic (Stanford University Press, 2016), which considers the relationship between market development and social activism in the United States organic foods industry. His current research examines environmental management in coastal Louisiana, with a particular focus on the state’s efforts to adapt to climate-induced vulnerabilities.

Meet this year’s Public Affairs Scholars

Two UMaine undergraduates have been chosen to receive this year’s Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship. Each student will carry out a year-long research project with relevance to public policy in the state of Maine. The project culminates in a presentation at the UMaine Student Research Symposium, where each will display their findings to the public. This year’s scholars are seniors Katie Manzo and Julianna Ferguson.

Katie Manzo is a Computer Science major and has focused her research on making it easier for communities to tackle climate change. Katie believes that a community “being able to start new alternative energy projects, on a large scale, and being able to get more projects connected to each other, and to the public, is imperative to saving our planet.” Katie plans to expand an online database on energy projects into an interactive platform for the public to reference in planning their own projects. To make it more interactive she plans to incorporate social media into the website’s platform. Groups thinking of starting a particular project will be able to see where else it has been done, how it was funded, with how much capacity, and find contact information so they can learn from others’ experiences. She will be working with Dr. Sharon Klein of the School of Economics and Dr. Silvia Nittel of the School of Computing and Information Science. Katie is enthusiastic about being “able to aid people in starting their own alternative energy projects. This will allow me to apply many of the skills I have learned in my courses to an impactful project.”

Julianna Ferguson is a Sociology Major concentrating in Crime, Law, and Justice with Spanish, Legal Studies, and Political Science minors. Her research analyzes data regarding the impact of mental illness and substance abuse on violence, and she plans to use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health survey to do so. Working with her advisor Dr. Steven Barkan, Julianna is “particularly interested in public policy related to gun control, immigration, and preventing juvenile delinquency.” One reason her focus is on juveniles is because violent behavior generally begins in late childhood through early adolescence and there is a “lack of research regarding the effects of mental illness and substance abuse on violence among adolescents.” Her research will help indicate the extent of the impact of mental illness and substance abuse on violence, giving policy makers a better understanding of why some forms of violence are committed by people who fall into this subgroup, and thus where to allocate resources.

This scholarship was established in recognition of Senator Margaret Chase Smith’s many years of dedicated public service to the citizens of Maine and to the nation from 1940 to 1973. Senator Smith’s abiding belief was that real progress will be attained only through the education of Maine’s young voters. The scholarship program is administered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, and applications are taken in the spring for the following academic year.


Trostel presents to New England Board of Higher Education

Professor Philip Trostel gave a presentation to the Legislative Advisory Committee of the New England Board of Higher Education last week in a session entitled “Advocating for Higher Education as a Public Good.” The meeting on September 14 focused on the topic of the documenting the public benefits of higher education. The committee notes that the “benefits of a well-educated population extend beyond lifetime earnings into the domains of employment rates, tax receipts, mortality rates, incidence of poverty, health insurance claims and outcomes, contributions to the community, retirement security, philanthropic activity, crime rates, voting, and personal satisfaction.” Trostel’s research has focused on documenting  many of these benefits. The session explored how state policymakers can use data and communication tools to be strong advocates for higher education.