Trustee Professorship Awarded to Lois-Ann Kuntz

Professor Lois-Ann KuntzMACHIAS, ME – Dr. Lois-Ann Kuntz, associate professor of psychology in the Behavioral Sciences and Community Studies Program at the University of Maine at Machias, has been awarded the 2009-2010 Trustee Professorship from the University of Maine System.

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees established Trustee Professorships in 1998 to reward excellence among faculty members who have completed at least three years of service at one of the seven state campuses in the University of Maine System. Candidates are nominated by the individual campus to the chancellor’s office for final approval. The faculty projects must have broad and or significant institutional impact, contribute to the candidate’s field and to the public service mission of the university, and support the candidate’s personal and professional growth.

The research Dr. Kuntz will undertake supports the UMM MELMAC Educational Foundation grant that focuses on improving student retention. She will be comparing statistical models on factors that may predict student success. Dr. Kuntz will be working with Dr. Alan Meade, assistant professor of psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), on this research effort that includes a genetic algorithm as one of the predictive models.

“Genetic algorithms are commonly used in the areas of computer science and engineering, but may also be quite useful for applications like this in the behavioral and social sciences,” said Dr. Kuntz.

Dr. Kuntz is optimistic that particular factors will emerge as important predictors for graduation of UMM students which may be helpful to Student Success Coordinator, Matthew Holsapple, and UMM, in general, in making decisions regarding student academic support.

While at IIT, Dr. Kuntz will also bring her former graduate and professional training in sensory systems and human factors engineering to bear as a consultant for an engineering class. The students in the class are working to design a mechanism to assist swimmers who are blind use lap lanes in a pool. One of the supervisors for the class is Dr. Frank Lane, assistant professor of rehabilitation psychology at IIT and a part-time professor at UMM, who is an expert on rehabilitation engineering technology (RET) for persons with disabilities.

Dr. Kuntz will return to UMM for the spring 2010 semester and looks forward to discussing the results of her research endeavors with the campus community.

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