Portland School: Aug. 2

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ChIME appoints new dean of students 

The Rev. Catharine “Katie” Payson has been named dean of students at Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. A 2016 graduate of ChIME with degrees from Dartmouth College and the Boston College School of Social Work, Payson has worked as a psychotherapist for the past 10 years and previously held management positions in multiple nonprofit and community settings.

“The time is ripe for organizations like ChIME to inspire community healing and grow our capacity for respecting differences,” said Payson. “Our great opportunity at this time is to see what it means to be human, to be in a relationship with one another.”

Payson is a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, where she helps lead the weekly Celtic alternative worship service. She also hails from a family of ministers and social justice activists.

The nonprofit Chaplaincy Institute of Maine was founded in 2002 with a mission to educate and ordain interfaith leaders.

Former MECA teacher is outstanding in his field

Maine College of Art and The National Marine Educators Association announced that Doug Vollmer, former assistant professor of Academic Studies at MECA, is the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Teacher Award. The award was presented on June 27, at NMEA’s national conference in Charleston, South Carolina. The Outstanding Teacher Award is given to a classroom educator for effective and innovative classroom teaching at any level. Vollmer was recognized for decades of dedication and passion for teaching coastal science. He was a teacher for 60 years until he retired in 2016; the last 40 years of his career he inspired and educated MECA students.

As a science professor at an arts college, Vollmer challenged his students not only to think and reason like a scientist, but also to use the visual world as a canvas for interpreting science through the use of art. Every year, Vollmer took students on field trips to nearby shores, salt marshes, and dunes as part of his Natural History of Coastal Ecosystems class.

As his former colleague Bob Jenkins, said, “He empowered students to create art, as a universal language, to convey concepts that cross into real-life political and scientific arenas. Students who first entered his class fearful of ‘science’ came away with confidence, knowing that artistic expression can be a powerful tool to reflect important science issues facing society today.”

Multilingual & Multicultural Center awarded grant

The Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual & Multicultural Center has received a $7,500 grant from the People of Color Fund grant program of the Maine Community Foundation. The grant money will go to support Parent University, a new program focusing on connecting parents with their child’s school, school system, and community organizations.

The mission of the Multilingual & Multicultural Center is empowering learners to make a difference by ensuring proficiency in English and other world languages and deepening students’ appreciation and understanding of their own cultural identity, as well as the cultural identity of others. 

The goal of the Maine Community Foundation’s People of Color Fund grant program is to achieve greater equity by investing in the development of existing, new, and emerging leadership; supporting organizations that serve communities of color; and assisting communities and individuals of color to affect systemic change.

Doug Vollmer, former assistant professor in Academic Studies at Maine College of Art, is the national recipient of the 2017 NMEA Outstanding Teacher Award.