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USM Names Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

Dr. Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh of Gorham has been named the University of Southern Maine’s associate provost for graduate studies and research, scholarship and creative activity.  

In that role, she serves as the university’s chief research officer and oversees graduate admissions and programs.  The position was established through the consolidation of senior-level responsibilities in graduate studies and research.  It was filled through a national search.

“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.  “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.” 

Langley-Turnbaugh joined USM in 1996 as a faculty member in environmental science. She has served as associate vice president for research, scholarship and creative activity since 2009, and during the last year also has served as interim dean of graduate studies.

A certified professional soil scientist, Langley-Turnbaugh worked with Portland officials and students to remove lead from urban soils through the use of phytoremediation. She researched a process that uses plants, in this case spinach, to absorb environmental toxins. She has worked with colleagues in various disciplines to develop ways to increase accessibility of science for all students and is the author of numerous scholarly publications, more than 20 of which were co-authored with students.  Langley-Turnbaugh has extensive experience with research funding agencies, having served as a proposal reviewer for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

“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. “And both can build USM’s reputation as a critically important resource for the people of the region and state.”

A native of Kittery, she holds a bachelor’s in forest engineering from the University of Maine, a master’s in soil science from the University of New Hampshire and a Ph.D. in forest soils from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.