Convocation 2014 - InnovationInnovation


Friday, September 19 
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. 
on the Campus Green 
(Jewett Auditorium if weather is inclement)

Convocation Webcast -
Part 1
Part 2

Every spring, a Colloquium Committee of UMA faculty selects an academic theme for the next school year.

Convocation formally launches the Innovation theme for the year.  In the months to come, UMA will present other events focusing on the academic theme. The theme will also be woven into course curricula across the many academic disciplines.

For more information on our Academic Theme, or more information about Convocation for Students, Faculty, Staff, New and Former Rising Scholars, and Guests please check the appropriate tab(s) below.



President Glenn Cummings



Provost Joe Szakas


Terry Colby
Professor of Nursing

Sarah Hentges
Assistant Professor of American Studies



James Cook
Assistant Professor of Social Sciences

Robert Rainey
Assistant Professor of Photography

Michael Martin
Student, RN to BSN program

Kim Carter
Student, English program

Peter Schilling
Associate Vice President in 
Global Technology Services
New York University

Academic Theme

2014-2015 Academic Theme: INNOVATION

The Annual Academic Theme: An Introduction

Since its inception in 1994, the University of Maine at Augusta theme has brought our communities together for numerous activities and programs. Beginning in 2006, an annual colloquium of faculty members has chosen the theme and a corresponding reading to share with other faculty, students, staff, and the larger community. We feature discussions in and outside of our classes and organize events in order to promote larger conversations about the theme. These events have provided a platform for multiple voices to be heard on such significant topics as health and social justice, economic values, and communicating in the 21st century.

The UMA Colloquium is pleased to announce that the 2014/2015 academic theme will be innovation. The book will be Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success.



 noun \ˌi-nə-ˈvā-shən\

  •          a new idea, device, or method
  •          the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods[1]


The UMA Faculty Colloquium chose the theme of innovation to coincide with the celebration of our university’s 50th anniversary. “Innovation” means to find a better way to do something, and this quest has guided UMA’s path throughout its 50-year history. From its inception, when UMA was first created in order to serve the students of central Maine, the university has sought to teach better, learn better, and serve its communities more effectively.  UMA’s innovations include the development of distance education, first through interactive television and later through other technologies, such as compressed video, web-based coursework, and combinations thereof; the mission to help transfer students and community college students complete bachelor degrees through 2+2 and other programs; the creation of new and singular undergraduate degrees in fields like architecture; and the development of curricula such as linked, interdisciplinary and integrated coursework.

In education, innovators are “idea blenders,” seeking ideas from outside their usual domains; they courageously try new ideas and aren’t afraid of failure; they are passionately curious; and they believe in their communities and harness their strengths, sometimes in unexpected ways.[2] Innovative ideas have helped UMA grow into a vital member of the University of Maine System and to share its discoveries with others. This year the Colloquium looks forward to discussing the university’s past, present, and future through the lens of the new, the fresh, the innovative.


Questions for consideration:

  • What does “success” mean? How do we define and use the terms “innovation,” “invention,” “creativity”?
  • What does it take to cultivate and create more opportunities?
  • How might students and institutions like UMA take advantage of underutilized opportunities?
  • What is the UMA story and how is it related to innovation?


Thanks to all faculty participants this year: Chelsea Ray, James Cook, Lorien Lake-Corral, Ellen Taylor, Lynne King, Eric Stark, Carey Clark, Lester French, Rob Kellerman, Pete Milligan, Rosie Curtis, Peter Precourt, and Vin Livoti.



Lisa Botshon
Professor of English
Colloquium Chair



Outliers image

 Outliers: The Story of Success

There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.



[1]Merriam Webster online.

[2]Thanks to Courtney O’Connell’s “Five Habits of Innovative Educators” from the Huffington Post for these ideas.


  • As a major academic event, there is an expectation faculty will attend. It is also especially important that faculty RSVP, because reserved seating for faculty is based on RSVPs.
  • Fill out the RSVP form here.
  • As part of Convocation, faculty are also expected to participate in the Processional and Recessional in full academic regalia. If you require cap and gown, please contact Jerry Gartoff in the Bookstore as soon as possible at 621-3067.
  • Please especially remember that if you nominated a Rising Scholar you have already expressed your commitment to attend Convocation. Please make sure you attend, because Rising Scholars will be joining you during the Processional. A complete list of this year’s Rising Scholars is available here.
  • Faculty robing will take place in the Klahr Center. Faculty should report to the Klahr Center by 2:15 PM.
  • Faculty members – and especially those teaching a class on Friday afternoon -- are encouraged to bring their students to what promises to be a thought-provoking conversation that cuts across all academic disciplines. If you do plan to bring a class or some of your students, please relay the rough number of students who will be attending to 


  • Because Convocation is designed to be a university community event, Augusta staff are expected to attend Convocation. Staff in Bangor and at University College Centers are encouraged to attend or to view via live web stream. The convocation webcast will be available here:
  • The only exception for Augusta staff attendance at Convocation is in offices that directly service students. In those cases, the offices should operate at absolute minimal staffing. This means if only one person is necessary to staff an office on a Friday afternoon, then only one person should be in that office during Convocation. Supervisors will be responsible for working with their staff to make sure minimal staffing needs only are met, to decide who if anyone needs to cover the office, to make sure all other employees understand there is an expectation that they attend Convocation, and to make sure that employees RSVP here.
  • Staff will not be asked to participate in the Processional and Recessional, but may do so if they wish as long as they wear cap and gown. Staff who nominated a Rising Scholar are encouraged to march.
  • If we need to move Convocation indoors, we will alert everyone the day before the event.
  • If you have any questions, contact Bob Stein at 621-3447 or at
  • Again, click here to RSVP.


  • Students are encouraged to attend Convocation whether or not they are Rising Scholars.
  • Students may sit in any unreserved seating section.
  • If a student has been nominated as a Rising Scholar or is a Returning Rising Scholar from a previous year there are special seating arrangements and instructions.


New Rising Scholars

Congratulations!  If you have received special notification by mail, then you are a new Rising Scholar

As a Rising Scholar, UMA President Cummings and Provost Szakas look forward to recognizing you during UMA’s September 19th Convocation.  If you have not yet sent in your RSVP to attend Convocation, we encourage you to click here to do so immediately.

We plan to honor Rising Scholars in a couple of ways during Convocation, including having all new Rising Scholars participate in the Processional that begins the ceremony. During the Processional, each Rising Scholar will march into the ceremony alongside a faculty member. Rising Scholars will then sit together in a special section adjacent to the faculty section.

All Rising Scholars attending Convocation, therefore, must assemble with faculty in the Klahr Center (home of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine) by 2:00 PM.  Specific instructions on how the Processional will work will be explained there.

If you have family, friends or guests attending Convocation, - and we hope you do – please do not bring them to the Klahr Center. They should take seats in the audience section and await the 3:00 start.

Some other things to note:

  • During Convocation, Rising Scholars will also be individually recognized by Provost Szakas, will participate in the Recessional, and receive a special certificate signed by President Cummings.
  • In the case of rain, Convocation will be moved indoors to Jewett Auditorium. Should this happen, we will alert you to any changes the day before, including a different room to assemble in prior to the event.
  • As a Rising Scholar, you are encouraged to wear either business dress or business casual attire at Convocation.  While there is no formal dress code, jeans and t-shirts are discouraged. 
  • Finally, I hope you and your guests will attend the President’s Reception that immediately follows Convocation.

If you have any questions, please contact Bob Stein at

Again, our congratulations!

Returning Rising Scholars

If you were selected as a Rising Scholar last year or the year before, you are a Returning Rising Scholar. As a returning Rising Scholar, we look forward to your attending this year’s September 19th Convocation as a special guest of the university.

If you have not yet sent in your RSVP to attend Convocation, we encourage you to click here to do so immediately.

Returning Rising Scholars will be seated in a special reserved section. While only newly nominated Rising Scholars will participate in the Processional (as you likely did previously), Provost Szakas intends to recognize returning Rising Scholars as a group during the Convocation program.

When you arrive at Convocation, please be sure to tell an usher you are a returning Rising Scholar. They will escort you to the Rising Scholar reserved seating section.

If you have family, friends or guests attending Convocation, - and we hope you do – they will be seated in an adjacent seating area.

Some other things to note:

  • In the case of rain, Convocation will be moved indoors to Jewett Auditorium.
  • As a Rising Scholar, you are encouraged to wear either business dress or business casual attire at Convocation.  While there is no formal dress code, jeans and t-shirts are discouraged.
  • Finally, I hope you and your guests will attend the President’s Reception that immediately follows Convocation.

If you have any questions, please contact Bob Stein at 


Note: New Rising Scholars will receive a notification of their selection by mail.


Guests may sit in any unreserved seating section.

Guests of Rising Scholars should not escort their rising Scholar to the robing room. Rather, they should head directly to the Campus Green and sit in any unreserved seating section.