Muskie School of Public Service

Muskie faculty secure competitive funds for interdisciplinary activities

Congratulations to Muskie School faculty Dr. Erika Ziller, Dr. Yvonne Jonk, Dr. Joseph McDonnell and Dr. Yuseung Kim for securing funds through the University of Maine System Transforms program to support interdisciplinary activities!

Dr. Ziller and Dr. Jonk of the Muskie School's Public Health program will work with their colleagues in Computer Science and Business Administration to develop a 3-credit online course in Health Care Data Analysis. The course development team with include the expertise of health policy, health care systems and health economists. It will also include expertise from business analytics, computer science and health data science. This initiative brings together faculty with shared research interests in using data to improve health care systems. The collaborators anticipate "that by developing a shared understanding of data resources and methods, (they) will also generate multiple areas of research inquiry that will yield competitive funded research proposals."

Dr. Joseph McDonnell in the Muskie School's Policy, Planning & Management program will work with his colleague at the University of Maine School of Law, Prof. Anthony Moffa, to plan a conference or series of forums to discuss the opportunities and obstacles in bringing Maine to carbon neutrality. "Maine will be addressing a number of significant policy issues as the state transitions from its dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy for electricity, heating and transportation. Maine is also considering transitioning from investor owned electric utilities to a publicly owned utility. These policy decisions are complicated involving many trade-offs between reliability, renewables, regulation and the rate or the price customers pay for energy. To complicate matters, these decisions are influenced by vested interests and ideological preferences. The public debate on these issues to date has shed more heat than light on the policy consequences and alternatives." Profs. McDonnell and Moffa's proposed conference will help elucidate some of these issues for the public and students.

Dr. Yuseung Kim in the Muskie School's Policy, Planning & Management program will collaborate with his colleague So Young Han, Director of Maker Innovation and Step-Up to STEM, on developing a tech-driven town design class and public planning workshop using 3D printing technology. "There is a growing re-appreciation of the physical aspects of community and town design. Traditionally, 3D physical models have been largely used in many universities urban/town design studio classes for presenting design ideas of the students. However, the construction of such models is time consuming and very expensive to students. 3D printing is the potential next step in town design education to enhance the physical enhancement of spatial perspective." Dr. Kim and his colleague will  incorporate such efforts into the classroom and in the future also bring it to public participation sessions in community planning projects.

We congratulate each of our faculty and look forward to seeing their projects come to fruition!