STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today presented its 30th annual Teaching Excellence Awards. The awards recognize outstanding career achievements in teaching and are the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and instructional academic staff.
“This is a welcome reminder of what a treasure we have in our faculty and academic staff – those who bring that special dedication, creativity, and passion to their craft, and to whom we entrust the education and enlightenment of our citizens, helping students to achieve their fullest potential,” said Regent Cris Peterson, chair of the selection committee.
The 2022 recipients are:
Individual: Laura McCullough, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, UW-Stout
“When I tell people I’m a physics professor, I often get one of two reactions: ‘oh, I hated physics,’ or ‘you must be really smart,’” McCullough said. She said it’s her goal to address common misperceptions about physics, including that it’s hard, or not relevant, or not about them.
“I want to make sure every student leaves my classroom having fun, not feeling intimidated, and knowing that they can do this,” she said.
She said she also makes it a priority to keep the classroom as a place where it’s safe to make mistakes. “People learn by making mistakes … and then trying again. I want everyone to succeed,” she said.
Individual: Mimi Rappley Larson, Associate Professor, Social Work Program, Department of Human Behavior, Justice, and Diversity, UW-Superior
Larson told Regents her early days as a social worker taught her valuable lessons that she regularly brings into her classroom. Working closely with people who were often abused or traumatized and making poor decisions, “these people were always considered ‘problems’ or dismissed as not having much to offer,” she said.
“Big surprise, I was the one most blessed by working with them. They taught me humanity, strength, resilience, and willingness to survive in the harshest times.”
She said the most important lesson that found its way into her teaching is that true change and well-being come from having relationships with others.
She builds her classes around growing empathy, and she tries to ensure her students feel seen and heard, both inside and outside the classroom. “When I practice this, when I practice empathy, I begin to see students show up differently in the classroom,” she said.
Her greatest hope for her students is they “go forth into the world and build relationships with other people.”
Program: Communication Department, UW-Parkside
Accepting on behalf of the Communication Department, associate professor and department chair Adrienne Viramontes said the award honors the hard work of her colleagues and their dedication to students.
“Each of us specializes in a different area of communications … but what all of us share in common is the firm belief in experiential learning as part of transformative education,” Viramontes said. “When you take ‘self’ out of the classroom, everyone can learn.”
“Students majoring in communication reflect UW-Parkside’s overall student demographics, including a high percentage of students of color, Pell recipients, and first-generation students,” said Regent Corey Saffold, in presenting the award. “Career exploration courses help these students integrate career planning with their studies, and the results speak for themselves. The department’s retention and graduation rates outperform other majors at UW-Parkside.”
Regents approve transfer agreement with WTCS
The full Board approved a collaborative request for new liberal arts transfer programs for the Associate of Arts and Science at eight Wisconsin technical colleges: Blackhawk Technical College; Fox Valley Technical College; Lakeshore Technical College; Mid-State Technical College; Moraine Park Technical College; Northeast Wisconsin Technical College; Waukesha County Technical College; and Associate of Arts at Western Technical College.
The agreement provides flexible, multi-path options for Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) students to transfer to the UW System and other universities, especially under-represented, non-traditional, and under-resourced students.
Students will be guaranteed admission to a four-year institution as a transfer student and enter the UW with junior standing. This will save time toward earning the bachelor level degree, eliminating unnecessary duplication of classes and increased student debt.
Regents recognize departing UW-Platteville Chancellor
The Board of Regents presented UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields with a resolution of appreciation. Shields has accepted a new position as President of the Southern University System and Chancellor of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.
Shields has been one of the longest-serving chancellors in the UW System, having dedicated 12 years in service as the 14th chancellor of UW-Platteville.
“When I accepted the chancellor job at UW-Platteville, I sensed in the faculty, staff, and students that this was a culture that was committed to great teaching that would lead to great student outcomes – and that was confirmed over my time at Platteville,” he said. “I am grateful to have been part of that culture.”
Sharing some observations from over the years, Shields said he urged “all of us to think kindly of one another even when we may disagree.” He added, however, that it sometimes might be necessary to argue with those who don’t see higher education as a positive influence, and sometimes those arguments are worth having.
Shields also urged Regents and others to continue the work to make higher education and the aspiration for higher education more inclusive. “Don’t let the magnitude of the task keep us from even doing small things,” he said.
Regents honor late colleagues
The Regents recognized the service of friend and colleague Regent Emeritus Margaret Farrow, who passed away on March 8.
“She was a trailblazer as Wisconsin’s first female lieutenant governor – and she was really a great person,” said Regent President Edmund Manydeeds III, who got to know Farrow well in his first term on the Board.
Manydeeds said he frequently sat next to Farrow during his first seven-year term on the Board. “She was direct, she was really smart, and she had many ideas and thoughts. She always looked out for the students of the state of Wisconsin.”
Farrow served on the Board from June 2013 to December 2017.
Regent Vice President Karen Walsh also acknowledged the recent passing of John G. Bollinger, the second longest serving dean of the College of Engineering at UW-Madison.
Walsh noted that Bollinger came to Wisconsin to play trumpet in the marching band and wound up leading the engineering college through great changes, including bringing many more women into its faculty and student body. Bollinger served on the UW-Madison faculty from 1960 through 2000.
In other business, the Board of Regents:
- Presented a resolution of appreciation to UW-Stevens Point for hosting the April 2022 Board of Regents meeting.
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for a Doctor of Philosophy in Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS).
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for a Master of Science in Data Engineering, to be housed in the Department of Computer Sciences.
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for a Master of Science in Data Science, to be housed in the Statistics Department but jointly offered by the Statistics and Computer Sciences departments.
- Approved UW-Stout’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.
- Approved UW-Superior’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics.
- Approved a UW System contract extension with Oracle America for budgeting and planning software which is currently being used at System. With the original contract expiring, this new five-year agreement will allow for its continued use until the budgeting and planning function fully transitions to the new Enterprise Resource Planning system, Workday.
- Approved UW-Milwaukee’s newly negotiated five-year agreement with Verizon Wireless.
- Approved UW-Madison’s educational services agreement with edX, LLC, an online program management company.
- Approved UW-Madison’s master standard research agreement with AavantiBio, Inc.;
- Approved UW-Madison’s master clinical trial agreement with Takeda Development Center Americas, Inc., a global pharmaceuticals company.
- Approved UW-Madison’s standard research agreement with Beren Therapeutics, P.B.C.
- Approved UW-Madison’s master research agreement with Flywheel Exchange, LLC.
- Approved UW-Madison’s contractual agreement with Raytheon Technologies Corporation, a sub-awardee to a $3-million Department of Energy award to the university in 2020.
- Approved UW-La Crosse’s purchase from Heartland Business Systems of hardware necessary to replace and upgrade the university’s wireless network.
- Approved an amendment adding the UW-La Crosse Heartland project to the UW System Report on Strategic Plans for Major IT Projects, which was approved by the Board in February.
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to construct a 2019-21 Classroom Renovation/Instructional Technology Improvement Program project to renovate space in Agricultural Hall Room 125.
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to sell 123.77 acres of agricultural land in the city of Marshfield in accordance with the Option to Purchase executed between the Board of Regents and the City of Marshfield in 2002.
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to purchase approximately 70 acres of agricultural land located proximate to the Arlington Research Station (ARS) to be used for research by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to enter into a lease of approximately 23,000 square feet located at 610 N. Whitney Way, Madison, to be occupied by the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health within the School of Medicine and Public Health (DFMCH).
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to execute a 25-year ground lease for approximately 15 acres of land between the Board of Regents and Wisconsin Power and Light Company.
- Approved UW-Madison’s request to approve the conversion of fee simple ownership of property located in the 1200 block of University Avenue to a condominium containing two units; and accept the subsequent gift of the above-surface level ownership interest from the current owner. This is the proposed location of the new Computer, Data, and Information Science (CDIS) building.
- Approved UW Oshkosh’s request for authority to enter into a lease of approximately 12,405 square feet at 515 E. Parkway Avenue, Oshkosh, to be occupied by Head Start.
- Approved UW Oshkosh’s request for authority to purchase an approximately 2.65-acre parcel of land and a building located at 444 N. Sawyer Street, Oshkosh, to be used as storage and indoor practice space as well as office space for the newly formed UW Oshkosh Titan Thunder marching band.
- Approved UW-Platteville’s request for payment of $185,000 Program Revenue-Cash to the City of Platteville for a Special Assessment for a sanitary sewer replacement project adjacent to the Williams Field House.
- Approved UW-Eau Claire’s request for authority to demolish Thomas and Putnam Residence Halls to prepare the site for the new Science and Health Sciences Building.
- Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for authority to construct Sandburg Hall West Tower Renovation project.
- Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct nine All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects:
- At UW-Madison, structural repairs at Helen C. White Hall’s parking garage.
- Four projects at UW-Whitewater: Roofing replacements at Connor University Center, Moraine Bookstore, Fischer Hall, and Goodhue Hall; pavement, damaged curb, and gutter replacements as well as storm sewer inlet replacements/installations on Schwager Drive; and renovation of Goodhue Hall’s 3rd
- At UW-Green Bay, upgrades to North campus’ primary and secondary electrical service.
- At UW-La Crosse, renovation of Sanford Hall, including full fire suppression system, new fire alarm and smoke detection system, and renovation of showers and bathrooms.
- At UW-Milwaukee, renovation of 13,751 GSF in Norris Hall for the relocation of the UW-Milwaukee Police Department.
- At UW-Parkside, installation of a new 2.08-megawatt solar photovoltaic array on nine acres of undeveloped land on the east end of campus.
Photos by Tom Charlesworth, University Communications and Marketing, UW-Stevens Point
The next meeting of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will be June 9-10, 2022, at UW-Milwaukee.