The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh celebrated its successes and looked to the years ahead, along with honoring the hard work and dedication of 25 staff members during Opening Day ceremonies Sept. 3 on the Oshkosh campus.
Faculty, staff and administrators from the Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Fox Cities campuses attended the program at the Culver Family Welcome Center. College and divisional meetings followed.
Each year the winners of several prestigious awards are recognized at the morning ceremony that kicks off the new academic year. Opening Day also featured addresses by Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and Provost John Koker, along with the premiere of a video marking the progress UWO has made in creating one university with three campuses.
Leavitt, delivering his fifth opening day address, told those gathered that he hoped they, like him, feel a “sense of optimism and potential” as the University moves forward as one that embraces three campuses uniquely poised to serve the needs of this region.
“I believe the next decade will be an unprecedented time of change for higher education,” he said, noting there is no better laboratory than a university to lead the change needed to meet the needs of a changing student body.
Koker praised the success of programs such as the Titan Advantage Program (TAP), which provides educational opportunities to high school students. The program saw growth in enrollment and the number of students electing to pursue higher education at UW Oshkosh.
He asked all staff to help develop ways to meet the challenges facing higher education and to position the University for growth and success.
In closing, Koker promoted the University’s upcoming sesquicentennial celebration, set for 2021. UWO is planning a year of programs and events to celebrate its 150th year.
Award winners recognized at Tuesday’s program include:
John McNaughton Rosebush Professorship
These awards were established during the term of Chancellor Edward M. Penson and they reflect the past service of John McNaughton Rosebush, who worked for the UW Oshkosh Foundation in the 1970s.
These professorships are granted for excellence in teaching, professional achievement and public service. Two winners were honored Tuesday.
- Douglas Heil (radio/TV/film), Oshkosh campus, has previously received the Distinguished Teaching Award, the TRISS Endowed Professorship, and the UW System Regents Excellence in Teaching Award. He has authored two books, writes a bi-monthly column for Stereo World magazine, and produced an independent feature film that has won 35 international awards. He remains committed to helping students create projects that resonate.
- Edward Martin (music), Oshkosh campus, is an award-winning composer whose music can be heard on multiple published albums and has been performed worldwide at numerous festivals, conferences and concert tours. Since joining the faculty in 2007, he has drawn on his extensive experience in the field to create meaningful opportunities for his music theory and composition students, several of whom have received regional and national recognition for their work.
Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Awards
The Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes demonstrations of teaching excellence by faculty and instructional academic staff. It is named after Chancellor Penson who served from 1978 to 1989. Three individuals were honored.
- Suzanne Fondrie (teaching and learning), Oshkosh campus, first entered a classroom to teach in 1987 and has devoted her academic career to developing expert K-12 teachers who recognize how the educational community can work for social justice. She uses humor, compassion, and reflection to bridge generation and knowledge gaps.
- Phan Hong (psychology), Oshkosh campus, is one of the preeminent researchers in mindfulness and its treatment for children and adults with severe psychopathology. Through her teaching and guidance, her students gain invaluable first-hand experience in the application of strict experimental methods in applied clinical settings and have co-authored a number of well-respected, peer-reviewed articles with her.
- Paula McNiel’s (nursing), Oshkosh campus, contributions both inside and outside the classroom make her a shining example of the qualities sought in the Edward M. Pension Distinguished Teaching award. McNiel is an active leader in the field of public health and active in community engagement initiatives related to health promotion and aging. McNiel integrates her professional work experiences into the classroom creating opportunities for student engagement related to leadership, grant development and scholarship. McNiel’s students speak highly of her dedication and commitment to learning.
Barbara G. Sniffen Faculty Governance Service Award
Named after an active faculty advocate and member of our history department, the Barbara G. Sniffen Faculty Governance Service Award commemorates exceptional service by a member of this University’s faculty. One individual was honored.
- Renee Gralewicz (religious studies and anthropology), Fox Cities campus, Brothertown and Mohican, has been working for UW System for the past 22 years as an active participant in the UW Colleges Department of Anthropology and Sociology as well as various UW Colleges and System committees. She worked with numerous peoples and agencies to establish the UW Colleges American Indian Studies Program. She continues to work with indigenous peoples and agencies ensuring Native American perspectives are brought to the classroom.
Outstanding Service Awards
The University’s Outstanding Service Award recognizes the exceptional contributions of non-teaching faculty and academic staff, emphasizing excellence in providing student and professional support services. Three staff members were recognized.
- Carey Behnke (University Marketing and Communications), Oshkosh campus, is charged with the strategic marketing management of the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Services. With over 15 years experience working in development and marketing, she brings a wide variety of skills to her position–marketing, feature and news writing, website design and project management. She is passionate about her work and dedicated to providing effective, creative and innovative solutions to her client’s projects.
- MaryAnn Monteith (College of Nursing), Oshkosh campus, models lifelong service through her military and nursing careers, and everyday life. She demonstrates a passion for nursing and developing leaders, as evidenced by students’ success. Teaching in the College of Nursing gives back to the profession she loves, assisting students to master content so they succeed and excel in the profession of nursing and in life.
- Abby Sylvia (Residence Life), Oshkosh campus, has demonstrated students are the reason she comes to work each day for more than 15 years. Her ability to actively integrate students into all aspects of her work, such as the recent full renovation of Fletcher Hall, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of UWO students.
Outstanding Performance Awards
The University also recognizes the contributions of university staff, limited-term employees and project appointment employees through the Outstanding Performance Award. The award recognizes excellence in providing service to the University community and emphasizes its importance to the academic environment and overall reputation of the University as a whole. Four staff members were recognized.
- Renee Anderson (Assistant Chancellor’s Office), Fond du Lac campus, joined UW-Fond du Lac in 2010, working as the Dean’s Office executive assistant until she began her regional position in 2016 in the Northeast Regional Dean’s Office. She currently works from the UW-Oshkosh Fond du Lac Campus in the Office of the Assistant Chancellor for Access Campuses. Anderson was a returning adult student and graduate both of UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Oshkosh, and is now a grateful Titan X 2 alumni-employee.
- April Dutscheck (Shared Governance Office), Oshkosh campus, plays a key role in the coordination of shared governance for all faculty and staff over three campuses. Her upbeat, friendly attitude and helpful nature have made her a respected part of the Titan family for the past 11 years. She is a great example of how to take on the continuous challenges of task managing several projects, committees and last minute requests, and doing it all with a smile.
- Constance Schuster (Graduate Studies Office), Oshkosh campus, has embodied the spirit of the University since joining the staff in 1988. Having worked on campus in different capacities, she has used her past experience and knowledge to contribute to bettering the overall campus experience. She feels none of the successes on our campus are done alone and are instead a collaboration of many people working together.
- Deanna VanderWielen (COB undergraduate program), Oshkosh campus, brings her passion for students to the UW Oshkosh campus each day. Through her work as a community adviser during her undergraduate studies, to now advising Alpha Lambda Delta and supporting the professional development programs in the College of Business, she makes it her mission to ensure that students are proud to call UW Oshkosh their home.
LGBTQ+ Ally Award
The UW Oshkosh LGBTQ+ Ally Award is dedicated to creating a stronger and more affirming campus environment for teaching, learning, serving and growing. The purpose of the award is to recognize a UW Oshkosh employee who is neither a member of nor an out member of the LGBTQ+ community for their excellence in leadership, advocacy and support for the LGBTQ+ community. One individual was recognized.
- Paisley Harris (history/gender and women’s studies), Fond du Lac campus, has worked for justice and equality for LGBTQ+ individuals on her campus and in her community for many years. On the Fond du Lac campus, she has created a course on late 20th century movements for equality, which includes the LGBTQ rights movement; she infuses LGBTQ+ experiences and movements into all her courses; and she mentors LGBTQ+ students and advises the LGBTQ student group, the Pride Alliance. In the Fond du Lac community, she has been in the forefront of advocating for LGBTQ+ inclusion through a variety of efforts since she moved there 17 years ago.
Queer Faculty/Staff Award
The UW Oshkosh Queer Faculty/Staff Award recognizes a queer staff or faculty member at UW Oshkosh for their excellence in advocacy, teaching, service, leadership and/or research on behalf of people of LGBTQ+ identities. The award was presented to one individual.
- Eliza Farrow (Women’s Center), Oshkosh campus, has been the program assistant for the UW Oshkosh Women’s Center since 2014. In 2017, Farrow led the Women’s Center’s efforts to launch Level Up! A Feminist Gaming Initiative, which continues to grow and regularly attracts queer students, many of whom identify as gaymers (with a y). In addition to providing a safer space through gaming, Farrow also is a Tier 1 SAFE Trainer, serves on the LGBTQ+ Resource Center Advisory Board, designed the new Ally March logo, and serves on panels about queer and non-binary staff experiences.
Inclusive Excellence Award
The Inclusive Excellence Award emphasizes the critical role that inclusivity plays on this campus. The award recognizes individuals who have made a difference in the campus community in such areas as: creating a climate that values diversity, promotes safety, equity and respect, and inspires change and promotes dialogues on diversity. Two winners were honored.
- Jennifer Considine (communication studies), Oshkosh campus, works to foster inclusion, encourage brave conversations and promote interfaith dialogue and engagement in her teaching, research and service. She is founding chair of the Interfaith Dialogue and Education Alliance and serves as a member of the Inclusive Excellence Council.
- Thomas Xiong (admissions), Oshkosh campus, is well respected in his work with students and families and strongly believes that every student has the ability to succeed on a college campus. Since starting at UW Oshkosh, he has worked tirelessly to help make college more accessible for all students and to bring about a more inclusive campus environment.
Edward M. Penson Faculty Awards
Named to honor former Chancellor Penson, these awards help recognize faculty members who have made significant contributions that might otherwise go unrecognized. Eight faculty members were recognized.
- Benjamin Artz (Sponsored Programs and Faculty Development), Oshkosh campus, is a renowned scholar in the fields of industrial relations and labor economics. Artz’s work has been cited in over 300 local and international media outlets and recently earned a nomination for the international Kanter Award for Excellence in work-family research. Although passionate about his research, Artz prizes most his teaching and engagement with students.
- Catherine Bryan’s (global languages and cultures), Oshkosh campus, research and teaching in the areas of Latin American culture and migrant issues have achieved a local, national and international scope. Articles and translations, as well as the community partnerships developed through her Quest III course, have connected Oshkosh to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Spain and beyond. At the same time, she has dedicated herself to the CAP Program, working to connect UW Oshkosh to the broader Wisconsin community, to help high schools begin to experience the challenges and rewards of higher education, and, in collaboration with Strategic Enrollment Planning, to remind students around the state that UWO is the very best place to bring their CAPP credits.
- Melissa Bublitz (College of Business), Oshkosh campus, uses every research, teaching and service assignment to enhance the reputation of UW Oshkosh. She produces high-quality research that advances well-being and views each student interaction as an opportunity to prepare young professionals to make an impact in their career.
- John Cross (geography), Oshkosh campus, has made many contributions to this University in the areas of teaching, service, administration and scholarship during his four decades on campus. He has taught two of the largest enrollment courses in geography, and within his weather and climate class he assures his students that climate change is real, not “fake news.” His scholarship has focused upon human responses to weather and climate hazards, Wisconsin’s changing dairy industry, and the rapid expansion of Amish settlement into Wisconsin. Two years ago his Ethnic Landscapes of America was published by Springer, and he is currently writing Geography of Wisconsin for the University of Wisconsin Press.
- Gregory Kleinheinz (Environmental Research Innovation Center), Oshkosh campus, has been a leader in developing and growing a number of new initiatives and programs since he arrived on campus in 1999. He is a recognized national leader in implementing sustainable environmental solutions for air and water treatment, while using these projects for student hands-on learning. During his time at UW Oshkosh he has received over $12 million in funding for his work and employed over 500 student interns for both on- and off-campus projects.
- Charles Lindsey (professional counseling), Oshkosh campus, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Counselor Educator. Over the past 14 years, Lindsey has helped the UWO professional counseling department to be recognized as a leading counselor preparation program at the national level. Lindsey continues to develop collaborative efforts with community partners that directly connect counseling students with endeavors that promote and support mental health and wellness needs in the Fox Valley.
- Catherine Schmitt (College of Nursing), Oshkosh campus, as a combat veteran, serves as a guardian on local Honor Flights and is routinely invited to be a speaker at Veteran’s Day events where she represents the University and veterans in a positive manner. Schmitt also initiated the recognition of student veterans at the College of Nursing Celebration Ceremony by presenting student veterans with their military honor cords.
- Christine Tipps (human kinetics and health education), Oshkosh campus, is a pedagogist within the academic area of human kinetics and Health education. Through her extensive knowledge in her discipline, she has created a model program across the state for preparing teachers with multiple teaching licenses. Her extensive knowledge of the college and university is appreciated and valued by her colleagues and she is viewed as a faculty mentor and confidant to many, which has stemmed through her collaborations with colleagues across departments.