UMFK professor awarded Trustee Professorship

FORT KENT, Maine – The University of Maine System Chancellor, Dannel Malloy, has appointed UMFK Professor of Counseling Shawn Graham, LCPC/CADC, to Trustee Professorship for the 2021-22 academic year.

“The influence of occupational experiences comes at a significantly higher cost to the mental health and wellbeing of first responders than it does to that of the general population,” said Graham. “This is particularly meaningful in light of the tendency to pathologize natural responses to traumatic experiences, and calls attention to the need to investigate protective factors and research-informed interventions. Being awarded the Trustee Professorship is truly an honor and serves as evidence of the University of Maine Systems commitment to improving the quality of life for people in Maine.” 

Trustee Professorships, approved by the UMS Board of Trustees, are devoted exclusively to honoring and supporting outstanding University of Maine System faculty already making noteworthy contributions to academic excellence on their campuses and within the System. The awards provide release time and support for faculty to undertake research and other scholarly/creative endeavors not feasible within their normal workload.  The program is designed to assist UMS institutions in recognizing, rewarding, and retaining exceptional scholars, and, in so doing, promoting excellence in teaching, scholarship, and research throughout the University of Maine System.

“To qualify for a Trustee Professorships, faculty must be eligible based on the UMS guidelines for the position and be nominated by UMFK through a campus-based approval process,” said UMFK President Dr. Deb Hedeen. “The research Professor Graham is conducting will not only contribute to the study of mental health but will also benefit the behavioral science program at UMFK.”

The research Graham will pursue during this Professorship will focus on understanding and describing the lived experience of peer support as it relates to stress and trauma on the job among rural first responders. Graham intends to increase his knowledge base on this topic to best educate future mental health professionals.

“Research-informed, data-driven approaches are at the very core of our profession, guiding our work as educators, scholars, and practitioners,” said Graham. “The well-documented cost of caring among first responders requires research-informed interventions that can serve to mitigate this cost.” 

“My research interests are directly related to my faculty role as assistant professor of counseling, working with students to prepare them to enter the behavioral health field,” said Graham. “Increasing my understanding of protective factors not only contributes to the field but will also strengthen my knowledge base in preparing students to enter the behavioral health field. Recognizing the increased challenges in living in our personal and professional lives as we navigate the global pandemic, opportunities to prepare students with the most current and relevant data serves to increase their effectiveness and function as a protective measure for emerging professionals.”

“We are particularly pleased that Professor Graham is awarded the Trustee Professorship for the 2021-22 academic year,” said Dean of Undergraduate Nursing and Behavioral Science Dr. Erin Soucy.

Conducting research is central to our scholarly pursuits as faculty members. Our students at UMFK also are the benefit of faculty research. Further, evidence-based practice is of great importance in healthcare fields such as behavioral science. Evidence-based practice allows those students and practitioners in the behavioral science field to provide the most effective, up to date treatment which leads to the best client outcomes.” 

For more information about the behavioral science program at UMFK, please go to or call 207-834-7500.

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