Four UMM Faculty Provided Tenure

University of Maine at Machias President Sue Huseman has announced that the University of Maine System unanimously granted tenure to four UMM faculty members at their meeting earlier this week.

Those approved are Dr. Uriah Anderson, Dr. Heather Ball, Dr. Karen Beeftink, and Dr. Tora Johnson. Beeftink and Anderson were also awarded promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. Ball and Johnson already hold that distinction.

“My sincere congratulations to all four of these colleagues on being awarded this well-deserved honor and on achieving this important academic milestone,” Huseman said.

A professor with academic tenure has an appointment that lasts until retirement age, except for dismissal with just cause.

Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Psychology with a PhD in social psychology from Arizona State University. His standard 4:4 teaching load includes both distance and face-to-face courses in the Psychology and Community Studies program, as well as a regular advising load of 20 to 30 students, most of whom are in the distance track. He has a well-deserved reputation for teaching effectiveness and innovation and regularly earns top ratings in his student evaluations. Anderson has also be extensively involved in campus committee work and serves as UMM faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. He has also been a successful grant writer or co-author, and has funded a variety of campus educational activities through those efforts.

Ball is Associate Professor of Special Education with a Doctorate of Education from the University of Maine in Educational Leadership. She teaches both introductory and advanced courses, often teaching overloads due to the high demand for her specialty. Despite an advising load of 50 students, she practices an intensive advising approach that requires individualized mentoring of her students who often recognize her commitment and express a high degree of satisfaction in their course evaluations. She is well connected at the state level and has been instrumental in developing a curriculum to better address the state’s need for special education teachers. She has been an effective advocate for both students with special needs, and on behalf of educators who can meet those needs. She serves as coordinator for the Education program and supervises student teaching placements. Ball began in a grant-funded fixed-length position that allowed her to develop close relationships with Washington County’s Native American communities. Her work in this context fueled her research into teacher preparation for teaching cultural diversity in secondary schools.

Beeftink is Assistant Professor of Environmental Tourism and Recreation Management with a PhD in Leisure Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. She teaches a variety of courses in the Environmental and Recreation Tourism Management program as well as contributes courses to the general education Environmental Liberal Arts curriculum. Her students are often engaged in the field, often on the first day of class. She leads travel courses to Costa Rica and Patagonia to enrich students’ experiences beyond what the Downeast region can offer. She also provides cooperative educational experiences and leadership practicums, and brings students with her to national conferences in the parks and recreation profession. She routinely mentors 40-50 students. Students respond favorably to her approaches and award her with high course evaluations and a great deal of corresponding enthusiasm. She also provides impressive service commitments to a variety of faculty search, evaluation, and standing committees, and serves as advisor to three student groups.

Johnson is Associate Professor of Geographic Information Systems with a doctorate in Forest Resources from the University of Maine. She teaches multiple courses in geospatial technologies, the Environmental Liberal Arts seminars, and environmental studies. She also runs the GIS lab, which offers services to the community while training students on real world issues. The models, maps, and scenario planning results provide UMM students with authentic experience in GIS applications and in community engagement. Service learning is a key component of many of her courses and student feedback indicates she is quite successful in fostering their connections with local communities through a variety of service activities.

Johnson works with the Washington County Council of Governments was recently awarded the Maine Campus Compact Donald Harward Faculty Award for her excellence in service learning. She has led or participated in nearly ten million dollars of grant-funded applied research activities. She also has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Geospatial Technology Center for Excellence.