Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh, who is no stranger to USM, has recently been appointed as the associate provost for graduate studies and research, scholarship and creative activity.
Her role in this position entails overseeing research for the university as well as graduate admissions and programs, with a special emphasis on connections to and within the local community.
Langley-Turnbaugh, who has been with USM since 1996, began as a faculty member in environmental science. With a University of Maine bachelor’s degree in forest engineering, a University of New Hampshire master’s in soil science and a Ph.D. in forest soils from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she brings with her a keen eye for environmental issues and sustainability, though the scope of her position as provost will certainly reach further.
On the faculty side, she will be involved in connecting like-minded professors for research or related projects. On the graduate side, she will be overseeing programs of interest or relation to acquired degrees. Most importantly, she said her aim is in “trying to find a way to connect with the community,” essentially, and pushing to understand how those who come to university and use its resources give back to the Maine community at large.
“Robust graduate programs relevant to the needs of our students and their communities are absolutely critical,” said USM Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Stevenson in a university press release regarding the hiring of Langley-Turnbaugh.
“The same holds true for research, broadly defined, that allows our faculty to stay current in their fields and enrich the learning experiences of our students. Dr. Langley-Turnbaugh has the skills and experiences to promote and advance both.”
“USM’s research and our graduate programs share a special relationship in that both further strengthen competencies, expand perspectives and, ultimately, improve lives,” said Langley –Turnbaugh in the same press release.
Currently, Langley-Turnbaugh has been attending what she calls “listening tours” at all of the University campuses, in an attempt to gather information about aspirations and gain a general idea of the directions in which faculty and graduates alike may be leaning.
Having grown up in Kittery, Langley-Turnbaugh’s connection to the community of Maine and its unique attachment to the environment runs deep, and her understanding of both environmental sciences and the community at large is a welcome thread in the fabric of the University of Maine system.