Unity Fishbowl Talks

Unity Fishbowl Talks

Unity Fishbowl TalksUnity Fishbowl Talks is a colloquium series for Unity College faculty and invited outside speakers to discuss ideas on pedagogy and to present their scholarly work. These discussions and presentations address the need for a trans-disciplinary forum for teaching efforts at Unity College and also provide an interdisciplinary forum for discussions on research. It is at this intersection of teaching and research goals where speakers can make the most impact on Unity College students. 

Attendance is highly encouraged, with most Fishbowl events occurring during community time on the second Thursday at noon or the third Tuesday at 11:00 am. The events take place in PW 204 and unless otherwise noted, include free lunch and a coffee discussion in the Student Center immediately after each presentation.

Fishbowl is generously sponsored by the Teaching Discussion Group and the Office of the President.

Spring 2014 Schedule:

Ron Chandler Unity College SpeakerThursday, January 23
12:00 pm in PW 204
Ron Chandler, Unity College Adjunct Faculty

"I Am the Paradigm Shift": A Grounded Theory of Learners' Comprehension Experience of Sustainability Outcomes"

In recent years, researchers have identified outcomes characteristic to liberal arts programs, and have concluded that there is a lack of understanding of learners’ comprehension of these outcomes, thereby calling for substantive theory that can be used to guide research and development of more effective educational approaches. Chandler will speak about his theory of learners’ comprehension experience of these outcomes, suggesting that this theory should be used to improve existing as well as develop new approaches to education and communication.

Ron Chandler is a doctoral candidate at Walden University in Educational Psychology. He has worked in field of environmental science for over 30 years, and most recently has devoted his time to research and teaching in sustainability. Chandler is interested in development and improvement of approaches that cultivate holistic sustainability. Chandler co-founded and is President of Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephant, Inc., a nonprofit with the aim of working with indigenous groups, local and regional not-for-profit organizations, and other NGOs to design and implement sustainability plans toward improving conditions for elephants, rhinos, and tigers by improving conditions for the people that share their habitats.

Sharon Reishus Unity College SpeakerTuesday, February 18
11:00 am to 12:00 pm in PW 204
Sharon Reishus, Senior Director for IHS CERA North American Power Advisory Service

"Outlook for North American Energy" 

The energy sector in North America is undergoing fundamental changes, from newly discovered supplies of domestic, low-priced fossil fuel to innovations in technology. Coupled with an evolving policy landscape around conventional pollutants and carbon, the energy industry faces significant challenges in the decades ahead. Ms. Reishus will discuss some of the trends she sees that may reshape the energy industry in the future.

Sharon Reishus leads the development and delivery of research content for the IHS CERA North American Power Advisory Service. A national leader on energy issues, she served as chair of Maine Public Utilities Commission, and represented Maine at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Eastern Interconnection State Planning Council (EISPC), and New England State Committee on Electricity (NESCOE). She is the past president of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners (NECPUC).

Mick Womersley Fishbowl Talk Unity College

Thursday, February 27
12:00 pm in PW 204
Mick Womersley, Unity College Professor of Human Ecology

Measuring Maine’s Wind Energy: The State Wind Survey and the Future of Maine Renewable Energy"

Unity College faculty, staff and students were part of a statewide wind survey campaign from 2006 to 2013. A large database of anemometric data was created. This is the largest collection of wind data pertaining to Maine wind power resource that is currently available to the public and state officials. Systematically higher than expected wind shear was found, especially on wooded sites. The data show that Maine’s high hub height (80 meters or more above ground level) wind resource is systematically understated in wind maps, while the low hub height resource is systematically overstated. This has translated historically to over-optimism about, and overselling of, small-scale household turbines, while large-scale turbines (> 80 or 100 m) engender unrealistically low production expectations in the general public and officials during planning processes, and may be under-taxed as a partial result. The survey data are consistent with recent findings from other wooded areas of the United States and Europe, and with recent increases in the scale of turbine equipment employed by wind power development firms. We discuss the use of the new data in advanced wind mapping and related applications. We summarize broad implications for the community-based development of renewable energy and the cost-effective mitigation of climate pollution in Maine and New England.

Mick Womersley came to Unity College to help develop the sustainability programs in the year 2000. He teaches classes in climate change, sustainability, economics, and energy. His current research interests are in wind power assessment and mapping. Each summer he runs a field program in wind measurements to support this work, using students as crew members. He is also the faculty advisor to the Unity College Search and Rescue Team, Resource Officer for Maine Search and Rescue, and co-editor of the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Association's annual journal "On the Hill".

Ellen Batchelder at Unity College

Thursday, April 10
12:00 pm in PW 204
Ellen Batchelder, Unity College Assistant Professor of Cell Biology

"Nematodes: Cell Division, Worm Sperm, and Biodiversity"

My past work with the small soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has focused on the cytoskeleton, a series of filaments and tubes that support cell shape, division, and movement.  Since cancerous cells grow, divide, and move in an unregulated way, basic research on the cytoskeleton helps us understand the mechanisms of cancer and to develop new treatments. Cell Division: While the process of cell division is similar to the contraction of muscle, my graduate work showed that, in C. elegans embryos, the signals that control timing of muscle contraction are not the same signals that control the contraction of the cell during division. Cell movement: Nematode sperm cells crawl, rather than swim. Their relatively simple nature makes them ideal for understanding how the cytoskeleton pushes and pulls to move cells forward. Using a biophysical approach we showed that the tension of the cell membrane is an important controlling factor on the cytoskeleton and cell speed. In the future, I hope to use my background with this species and with these techniques as a springboard for projects involving nematodes more broadly, for example, in studies of nematode diversity or of plant-parasitic nematode interactions.

Ellen Batchelder joined Unity College inspired to be working with colleagues to use basic science to illuminate broader environmental issues, by using nematodes as a model to understand how nematode pathogens interact with plants. When teaching, she aims to develop in students an appreciation and familiarity with biology at the cellular level, not only because cells are inherently fascinating, but because such knowledge provides the foundation for understanding the biology of organisms and informs concepts as varied as biofuel production and the effects of toxins on animal and human health. 

Tim Waring Fishbowl Talk Unity College

Tuesday, April 15
11:00 am to 12:00 pm in PW 204
Earth Week Invited Speaker: Dr. Timothy Waring, University of Maine Sustainability Solutions Initiative

Earth Week at Unity College

Support for this fishbowl comes from the Earth Week planning committee/Student Activities of Unity College.

"Evolutionary Implications for Sustainability Science"

Sustainability science aims to improve our ability to achieve sustainable behaviors, institutions and societies, but lacks a general theory to facilitate transporting lessons learned between contexts.  I submit that an evolutionary theory of sustainability may be best equipped to serve the needs of sustainability science, for multiple reasons.  First, evolutionary theory is concerned with transitions and the temporal dynamics of change, second a theory on the evolution of human cooperation and culture is a useful starting point, third this evolutionary theory is highly interdisciplinary in nature.  I briefly characterize the sustainability challenge facing humanity, and present a handful of novel insights for sustainability science that emerge directly and uniquely from the evolutionary research on culture and cooperation.
Dr. Tim Waring grew up in rural Vermont with no running water.  He attended Haverford College where he aimed his Biology degree toward computational ecology.  He then worked as an environmental scientist on a simulation model of the Everglades designed to evaluate landscape restoration scenarios at the South Florida Water Management District.  His PhD in human ecology from UC Davis was devoted to the study of cooperative irrigation management in caste-based villages in rural Tamil Nadu, India. Dr. Waring is now assistant professor of social-ecological systems modeling at the University of Maine.  He has a joint appointment in the School of Economics and the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainable Solutions.  He teaches undergraduate sustainability science, ethics and action, and graduate courses on agent-based simulation modeling and evolutionary game theory.  Dr. Waring's research centers on the intersection between the evolution of culture and cooperation with sustainability research.  Currently Dr. Waring is studying the emergence of the local food movement in Maine. Dr. Waring was recently awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER Award for his work on evolution of social cooperation.
Lara Hanson
Tuesday, April 22
11:00 am to 12:00 pm in PW 204
2014 Women’s Environmental Award Winner

Lara Hansen Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientist for EcoAdapt

"I’ve got one word, 'Adaptation.'"
Determining your career path is not always what you think it will be. Lara will talk about how lifelong beliefs, personal interests, first hand experience, being open to new options and having a high tolerance for ambiguity can all lead you to realize the career you think you want may not be what you imagined, and learning that the career of your dreams may be something you didn’t even know existed. In fact, it may not even exist before you create it.

Lara Hansen thinks climate change is everybody's problem and she wishes someone would bother to do something about it. Her desire for action led her to co-create EcoAdapt with a team of similarly inclined folks in 2008. She serves this fine organization as Executive Director and Chief Scientist. She is co-author and editor of one of the earliest texts on the issue of natural system adaptation to climate change, Buying Time: A User's Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems, as well as co-author of one of the newest books on adaptation, Climate Savvy: Adapting Conservation and Resource Management to a Changing World. The team that created these books created an engaged stakeholder process (first known as Climate Camp; now known as Awareness to Action Workshops) to help resource managers create adaptation strategies applicable to their work. 

She serves on the unfairly maligned, vitally important Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and a United States Environmental Protection Agency Bronze Medalist. Prior to creating EcoAdapt, she was the chief climate change scientist for the World Wildlife Fund, creating their international Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, from 2001-2008, and a Research Ecologist with the Environmental Protection Agency from 1998-2001. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis in Ecology and her B.A. in Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. To balance her scientific life, she works to integrate nature and art in her daily life. Because she's an optimist she assumes we'll get our acts together on climate change--who would want the alternative. 

Steve Khal -Fishbowl Talk at Unity College

Thursday, April 24
12:00 pm to 12:30 pm in PW 204
Steve Kahl, Director of Sustainability, Unity College

Earth Week at Unity College

Support for this fishbowl comes from the Earth Week planning committee/Student Activities of Unity College. 

"The Inconvenient Impervious Truth: 
Stormwater Management Mistakes and Opportunities"

There are a myriad of proven environmental management strategies for stormwater that improve water quality, protect infrastructure, and provide for a sustainable future for water resources.  What society is missing are the incentives to get developments, designers, regulators (and campuses) to change their way of doing business.  This talk will present examples of Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater techniques and discuss new policies that will make LID the wave of the future for stormwater management.  
Steve Kahl is Director of Sustainability at Unity College.  He comes to Unity from James Sewall Company in Old Town where he was the Director of Environmental and Energy Strategies.  He was the founding director of the Center for the Environment and the Environmental Research Laboratory at Plymouth State University and the founding Director of the Senator George Mitchell Center for Environmental Research and the Sawyer Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Maine, and is a past employee of Maine DEP and Maine DMR.  He is President of the Maine Lakes Society, past President of the Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Association, and co-founder of Winnigateway.org -- the on-line Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Management Plan -- a project he co-founded while in NH.   He is an outspoken advocate for sustainable water resource management and renewable energy.  Steve has a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Maine.