By Andrew Devine President
UMF will implement a new general education system beginning with the incoming class of 2022.
In March, the process to reform the structure of General Education requirements (Gen-Eds) was approved by the Faculty Senate and university administration. The new system will retain course requirements similar to the current Gen-Ed course load with the addition of a new element known as Pathways.
Luann Yetter, Assistant Professor of English and former Chair of the General Education Committee in the Faculty Senate, spoke on her experience in the process of reform. “The main thing that’s changing is that there’s going to be this thing called Pathways,” Yetter explained. “The idea is you take pretty much all the same Gen-Ed classes, but you’re encouraged to see connections between them, and that’s what we feel like has been lacking.”
Incoming students will need to fulfill very similar requirements as students do now, with the addition of the Pathway that they choose. Pathways are overlapping concepts that are covered by several courses and the student will write on in a larger project. Some examples of the Pathway’s available include Sustainability, Peace, Conflict, and Conflict-Resolution, and other big-picture concepts.
The process to reform Gen-Eds traces back to the New England Association of School and Colleges assessment of UMF in 2012. In the assessment, UMF was recommended to revise their curriculum for General Education.
Anne Marie Wolf, Associate Professor of History and Director of Director of General Education, lead the effort to pass through the changes. “All of these [Pathways] are designed to be ‘big-picture’ questions, meaningful questions, and to encourage and invite people to think broadly about them in conjunction with questions, sources, and methods raised in other disciplines.”
Wolf continued, “I hope students find that exciting and attractive. I think one of the bigger changes they’ll have is the opportunity to be thinking about big-picture questions like that, and to think of their education as something that enables to to do that and not just ‘checking off boxes.’”
Chris O’Brien, Professor of History and Chair of the Division of Social Science and Business, voiced his support for this reform and why past efforts were not as successful. “I remember hating Gen-Eds… I remember going through that thinking ‘why do I have to take this.’”
O’Brien elaborated, “There is actually a fundamental agreement what a well-rounded human being that comes out of college ought to have. We haven’t really changed our minds on things that people need. The purpose of the reform has to be clear. One of the things that can change is the path through those things.”
O’Brien concluded with, “What this reform did that others didn’t is it came up with a thing that made sense: the pathways. Whatever you’re interested in, whether it’s sustainability or Rock music, pick some courses that fit together, write a paper at the end that makes that Gen-Ed more than just a taste for things, that there’s some continuity between those classes. That reform should make it clear why we want people to do this. That’s why this one was successful.”
By Willy Doehring Contributing Writer
UMF’s own student-run radio station, 91.5 WUMF, is looking towards the future, taking steps to improve the experience of listeners as well as improving the club for its many student members.
The presence of WUMF as a station and a club can be felt throughout UMF. The station provides a constant musical backdrop for students passing through the Olsen student center. Students host shows dedicated to everything from chart-topping hits to local music as well as a variety of genres.
Richard Southard, a senior and current Station Manager of WUMF, said with a smile, “It’s really a statement on the diverse interests of the students on campus.”
The club is one of the biggest on campus. “On average, I’d say we have around 20-30 shows on the schedule each semester,” said Southard. “A lot of shows have more than one student hosting, so I’d say we usually have about 30-40 members.”
Recently WUMF has faced a few difficulties. “There’s been some sudden changes that have caused some hiccups,” Southard said. “Multiple station managers before me suddenly needed to step down and leave.” Southard also cited issues with outdated equipment and promotions for the station were continually pushed back.
To make matters worse, WUMF’s annual spring concert event normally held in late March was cancelled due to a lack of participating bands. “It looked pretty optimistic, but then some of the scheduled bands dropped and others never even responded,” Southard said. “Pretty disappointing, seeing as this was the first time the event has been dropped.”
Nate Red, a junior and WUMFs current music director, said “This semester has been rocky for the club as a whole. Good news is there’s still a lot of dedicated DJs who love what they do.”
Red is one of the students spearheading WUMF’s preparation for next semester, which the club plans to use as a time to re-focus and improve the station for both DJs and listeners.
One improvement came in the form of brand-new equipment for the station earlier this semester, from new microphones for the DJs to new sound systems. Southard hopes that the new gear will make shows better for DJ’s and listeners alike.
“Better equipment means better sound quality overall for listeners,” Southard said. “It also gives more incentive for students to do their own shows. The new microphones sound a lot smoother, which encourages DJs to share their voices as well as their music.”
The new equipment is just the first step. With club leadership looking towards the future, WUMF members will have a much easier time focusing of the growth of their club. Red mentioned “getting the club newsletter back up and running in order to promote shows and music to a wider audience” is on the agenda. The station will be keeping a constant stream of new music on the radio as well in the fall semester.
Both Red and Southard agreed that next year would be a building year for WUMF, and are looking forward to see how the club grows. “I’m really excited to see the club get some more life, because it’s definitely changing for the better,” Red said.
You can tune in to 91.5 WUMF on FM radio, or stream the station by searching for “Listen Live WUMF.”
By Nicole Pilote Contributing Writer
Weekly practices beginning at the end of January paid off for the forty-four UMF dancers who took part in BAM’s spring showcase. During the week of their shows, BAM put on four performances held for the student body and their parents. The dance numbers included upbeat hip-hop, tap, and contemporary routines.
A beautiful dance, “Body Love” choreographed by freshman Abigayle Weston, left the room quiet with only the sniffles of the crowd before the round of applause. Weston found the song a few months back, decided which dancers would work best with the choreography, and “everything went from there with ease,” she said.
BAM 2018. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Brooks)
“The “Body Love” routine was elegantly put, with motions that matched to the vocals on the song,” said Eliza Halbig, a UMF student in the audience. “It focuses on how girls see themselves in society today, and that they can be strong and beautiful the way they are.”
Junior transfer student, Jamie St. Pierre, has been dancing for only two semesters. BAM was St. Pierre’s first experience with dance. “As a transfer student coming into UMF, I didn’t have many friends because I didn’t know anyone,” St. Pierre said. “When I joined BAM I got to know so many great people, and have made my closest friends through the program.” St. Pierre looks forward to continuing dance next semester and aspires to be apart of the clubs eboard.
Olivia White, a Sophomore at UMF, started her journey with BAM this spring. “I went to their fall performance and just took a chance. It’s been two years since I’ve danced in front of an audience, it was pretty nerve wracking,” said White.
Meagan Ring has been with the group for 4 semesters, and has been president of the group for 2 of them. Ring has been dancing since she was three years old and continued to dance throughout her college career. Remarking that the shows will be her last with the group, Ring said, “BAM has provided me with an opportunity to meet many new friends. I will miss the wonderful people I have met as well of one of my favorite parts of the club, recital weekends.”
Disco Mashup was the last big group performance of the night. Co-choreographed by Ring and Junior Vanessa Shaeffer, the duo put together classic disco moves to hit 70’s songs, while everyone added their own twists. The atmosphere on the dance floor gave you the urge to join the party. The eleven graduating seniors came together in centerstage dressed in colors of the rainbow ending the night as they took their last bows of the dancing season.
By Dale J Rappaneau Jr. Contributing Writer
After six years of hosting the curated monthly reading series known as Word Portland, UMF alums Danielle LeBlanc and Emily Jane Young are retiring as curators and seeking to pass ownership of the reading series to a new two-person team.
“It has been a gradual coming to terms that it’s time to move aside and let other voices have some space curating this series,” said LeBlanc in an email interview.
The Portland-based reading series has been held on the first Monday of every month since its inception in 2012, always beginning at 9 p.m., and has continuously featured a curated selection of award-winning local and regional writers reading their work before a live audience at LFK, a bar and restaurant on Portland’s Congress Street. Anyone could email their work to Word Portland, then LeBlanc and Young make the final decision as to which three writers would be invited to read at the event.
“Emily and I started this six years ago, and at that point, a 9 p.m. event on a school night was totally our speed,” wrote LeBlanc. “But now, with the lives we’ve built around Word Portland, it’s a lot harder to support the schedule, no matter how much we love the event, which is a whole lot.”
Rather than close the doors on the entire reading series, the duo are accepting applications for a new two-person team to take on the roles of event hosts and curators. “Being both cis, white women, we have learned a lot about how we might unintentionally be taking up some artistic space that could be owed to other voices,” wrote LeBlanc. “We’ve made mistakes here too, and we are hoping that new eyes could help make this space an inspiring one for many years to come.”
At the time of writing, LeBlanc and Young are still in search for candidates to take over the event. Their ideal candidate would have the following qualities: “A special interest, if not a background, in creative writing. Passionate about local arts and events. The time and energy to put into said passion. Patience and compassion when communicating with potential readers.”
They also claim to provide “extra points” for candidates “already connected with any of Portland’s wealth of artistic communities.”
LeBlanc and Young met while attending UMF as Creative Writing majors, and they credit their experience in the school’s creative writing program as foundational for their artistic careers. “The workshop model I think is still one of the best teaching strategies for any kind of writing,” wrote LeBlanc. “I made such close friends through my BFA classes, including Emily, and we were treated like artists and equals. It was very empowering at a young age, and I think that gave us the confidence to think that our artistic ambitions were meaningful.”
Individuals interested in applying for the position(s) of curators for Word Portland can send their applications to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to wordportland.weebly.com for more information.
By Richard Southard Contributing Writer
Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice will be holding their annual Hospice 5K and Remembrance Walk on May 5. The event is fundraising to support low-cost hospice care for people of all ages in Maine communities, and will be one of two annual events put on by the organization.
Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice is a non-profit organization that has been putting on this event for several years, and has been raising funds for over fifty years. The last hospice 5K helped to raise more than $1.3 million dollars in free patient care.
Katie Kassidy, a member of the planning board for the event, is trying to set an even higher mark for this years race. “We need help to make that number even larger this year,” Kassidy said in an email interview, “so that all patients are cared for, including end-of-life care at the Hospice house.” Currently, the event has raised more than thirty-five thousand dollars.
To Kassidy, the 5K is a significant service to the community. “The importance of Hospice Care in our community is huge,” Kassidy said. “Caring for the patient and families during the final months of life can make the experience more pleasant in whatever area you may need support.” For terminally or chronically ill patients, hospice care helps provide pain and symptom management, medical care, counseling for patients and families, and more.
While hospice care can be expensive, the event is aimed at helping mitigate those costs for future patients. “The event helps to provide top of the line care at minimal to no costs for families who need it,” Kassidy said.
For teams that register, each fundraising milestone gives an example for the care they are providing. For example, if someone raised $250 dollars, that money will provide supportive patient therapy, and raising $1000 provides a full day of care for an uninsured patient.
Kassidy has experienced hospice care first hand and is devoted to helping the cause. “Personally, the Hospice House provided end of life care for my great-grandfather and most recently, my nana,” Kassidy said. “Not only did she receive the best care my entire family could imagine, they cared for all of us as though we were patients as well, whether we needed an extra blanket to sleep on the couch or warm hugs.”
The event this year will be taking place at the district court parking lot. Registration will open at 7:30 a.m., and the race will begin at 9 a.m.