FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                               CONTACT:       Rita Sullivan, UMS External Affairs

October 25, 2004                                                                                                           207-973-3245 or






Second Annual System-wide Diversity Conference to be held October 28-29

at the Northern Outdoors Lodge in The Forks


THE FORKS – The University of Maine System and the UMS Diversity Committee will hold the second annual System-wide Diversity Conference on Thursday and Friday, October 28-29, in cooperation with the Northern Outdoors Lodge in The Forks, Maine. The purpose of the conference is to explore how issues of diversity and interdisciplinarity can be further integrated into the mission and teaching of Maine’s public universities.


“Over the past decade, faculty members and departments within the University of Maine System have made great strides in incorporating gender, ethnicity, race, and other issues of diversity into curricula,” said Theodora J. Kalikow, University of Maine at Farmington president and chair of the UMS Diversity Committee. “Now we need to take the effort a step further to ensure that these issues are implemented more fully into academic disciplines across the University System.”


The two-day conference will involve a series of panel discussions. Panelists include members of the UMS faculty and staff, representatives of Maine’s Native American populations and immigrant communities, and archaeologists and sociologists who can provide expertise on issues of diversity. The goal of the conference is to lay a foundation that will enable participants to engage discussions and promote awareness in their own campus communities.


The first day of the conference will focus on the Quebec-Maine borderlands, which serve as the backdrop for the conference and are an often neglected area in regional studies. The second day’s agenda will focus on ways that educators within the higher education community can develop more inclusive curricula.


Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the State’s largest educational institution, with more than 34,000 students enrolled.  It features seven universities – some with multiple campuses – located across the State, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites. 


EDITOR’S NOTE:  The conference agenda follows.




Diversity & Interdisciplinarity

A Conference for Faculty of the University of Maine System


Northern Outdoors Lodge

The Forks, Maine

(schedule subject to change)




10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.                  

Orientation to the Appalachian Highlands (Main Lodge)

An exploration of the region in which the conference is being held. As a case study, it will help uncover some of the hidden diversity in Maine and reveal how such a region can be understood only through interdisciplinary and cross-cultural studies.


Moderator/Geographer: Joe Wood (USM); Biocultural Diversity: David Harris (USM-LA); The Appalachian Milieu: Karen Kimball (UMM); Appalachian Landscape: Cathleen McAnneny (UMF); Native-American Heritage: Mike Sockalexis, Legislative Representative, Penobscot Nation; and Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Historic Preservation Officer.


* * *

12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.                     

Field Trip & Picnic Lunch (West side of Kennebec River, via raft; in the event of inclement weather, an alternate event will have been arranged)


A visit to the traditional Kennebec Abenaki territory and the abandoned village of Bowtown, one of the lost communities of the Appalachian Highlands. The goal is to foster an appreciation of how easily the culture and history of a “peripheral” region are lost and how necessary interdisciplinary studies are for their recovery.


Appalachian Frontiers: George Pratt, Old Canada Road Historical Society; David Putnam, Archeology (UMPI); Barry Rodrigue, Geography / Archeology (USM-LA); Mike Sockalexis, Legislative Representative, Penobscot Nation and Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Historic Preservation Officer.


* * *

3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.                        

Norridgewock: Diversity of Interpretations (Main Lodge)

The presenters, each of whom has a connection to the Norridgewock and the massacre of 1724, will explore aspects of these events and their connections to today.


Moderator: Jennifer Reid, Religion (UMF); Pamela Crane, Norridgewock Archeologist; Gérard Forgue, President, Norridgewock Historical Society; Mike Sockalexis, Legislative Representative, Penobscot Nation; and Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Historic Preservation Officer. Readings from Bob Chute’s trilingual poem, Thirteen Moons -- in French, Passamaquoddy, and English.


* * *

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.                        

Roundtable: Maine’s Ethnic Family (Main Lodge)

Members of Maine’s communities will be matched with UMS academics. Each pair will have previously dialogued and will present issues of diversity that they have encountered from the classroom and the community. The dialogues will help create a new pedagogy of diversity instruction for Maine.


Moderator: Diane Wood (USM); Ismail Ahmed, Somalia, Lewiston; Gail Dana, Passamaquoddy Tribe; Hsin-Yi Lu (USM-LA), Taiwan; Otrude Moyo, (USM) Zimbabwe; Lisa Ornstein (UMFK), Franco-American; Mike Sockalexis, Penobscot Nation; Marwin Spiller (UM), African American; and Andre Tźko, Togo, Lewiston.



8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.                        

Maine Diversity Action Plan Discussions [Main Lodge (UM) & Coyote Den (USM)]

Concurrent presentations by faculty teams from USM and UM on their experiences in developing sustainable diversity across the curriculum. 


USM:  USM participants (TBA) will candidly discuss the challenges they have faced in embedding diversity issues in the General Education Program.

UM:  Moderator: Ann Schonberger (Women in the Curriculum and  Women’s Studies / Mathematics); Kim Huisman (Sociology); Eric Peterson (Communication); and Maureen Smith (Native American Studies / History).


* * *

9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.                     

Campus Teams

Participants will break into campus teams to discuss what needs to be done to spread diversity across the curriculum and what is needed to make that happen. Recommendations will result in a plan that can be expanded at the next conference.


* * *

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 

Models for Resource Sharing    (Main Lodge)

This session will feature a model for System-wide collaboration as demonstrated by the Maine Franco-American Studies Alliance (MFASA) and the Native Education Act.


MFASA: Sylvie Charron (UMF); Lisa Ornstein (UMFK); Susan Pinette (UM); and Barry Rodrigue (USM-LA).


Native Education Act:  Barry Dana, Penobscot Nation; Gail Dana, UM / Passamaquoddy Tribe; Mike Sockalexis, Penobscot Nation; and Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Tribe.