Regents recognize 2011 winners of Teaching Excellence Awards (June 10, 2011)

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June 10, 2011

University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
June Meeting
Day Two News Summary

June 2011 Day 2

Regents recognize 2011 winners of Teaching Excellence Awards

MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday honored two professors and one academic program for their outstanding career achievements in teaching, as they bestowed the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and academic staff.

The 2011 recipients of the Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:

  • Craig Berg, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, UW-Milwaukee;
  • Regan A.R. Gurung, the Ben J. & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology, UW-Green Bay; and
  • The Professional Program in Education, UW-Green Bay.

Regent Betty Womack, who chaired the selection committee, said that this recognition 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 the citizens of the future.”

Dr. Regan Gurung

Regent Bartel with
UW-Green Bay's
Dr. Regan Gurung

Regent Jeff Bartell introduced the first award recipient, Dr. Regan Gurung, a professor of psychology at UW-Green Bay. Dr. Gurung’s self-described goal as a teacher is to “make students realize that they can do better than what they think is their best,” Bartell said. In 2009, Gurung was named the Wisconsin Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Bartell noted that Gurung has built a reputation not just as an outstanding teacher, but as an outstanding scholar, and he is nationally known for his research and publications on teaching and pedagogy.

“I am proud to be a teacher, and I am very proud to be a part of the UW System,” said Garung. “We’re here for the students. We’re here because we believe that education improves life. I believe that, and that gives me energy.”

Gurung recognized those in the room for the work they do to support teaching, saying,“I am very buoyed by what the Office of Professional and Instructional Development, OPID, does. I salute what they do for faculty to make sure we keep educating, and I thank all of you for the work you do. That helps me know that I can focus on the classroom, and that’s what gives me strength.”

Dr. Craig Berg

Dr. Craig Berg

Regent John Drew introduced Dr. Craig Berg, who has been on the faculty in the School of Education at UW-Milwaukee for more than 20 years, where he has focused on building a top-notch science teacher preparation program.  Drew also noted that Berg has been an “ardent advocate for improving the lives of urban children and increasing their chances for success,” and has personally invested thousands of hours into fulfilling that mission in the Milwaukee area.

“Although you know we’re expected at this university to be highly productive in terms of scholarship, writing grants, publications, and service, teaching is still the central core of what I want to do, and what I’m expected to do,” Berg said. “It’s the most important part of me being a faculty member at UW-Milwaukee.”

Finally, professor and department chair Timothy Kaufman accepted the program Teaching Excellence Award on behalf of the UW-Green Bay Professional Program in Education.

UW-Green Bay winners

Regent Manydeeds with
UW-Green Bay
Professional Program in Education members

“This is a program that is firmly grounded in UW-Green Bay’s campus-wide commitment to connecting learning to life,” said Regent Edmund Manydeeds, in presenting the award.  He noted that students in the program are provided with rich and varied opportunities to put the theories of education into practice, working with children and families from different ethnic, cultural, and economic groups, as well as children with exceptional educational needs.  One of the department’s most recognized initiatives is the “Phuture Phoenix” mentoring program, which encourages at-risk youngsters to pursue a college education.

Kaufman said, ““This is truly a group effort. Our vision and commitment is to produce the teachers of tomorrow, really the greatest profession in the world. Professionals that are not only well prepared, but highly desired by schools and districts. Practitioners who are comfortable and nimble in diverse settings and who are able to adapt and successfully serve the needs of young learners, especially those who are at risk or underserved.”

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Regent President Charles Pruitt stresses importance of working together

Outgoing Regent President Charles Pruitt described the Governor’s budget as “not what we were hoping for,” and characterized recent debate as similar to a family argument.  “After we’ve cooled down, we return to the dinner table with the realization that we care about the same things, with renewed commitment and the resolve to move on together. “

“What brought us together as a university family is the Wisconsin Idea and a deep and abiding commitment to faculty, staff and students,” said Pruitt. He pointed to “the need to spend time making our case in a strong and united way.”

Pruitt pointed to gains since the UW System was created. “These happened because our predecessors understood what is really important. I would hope it could be said that in this challenging time the Board has an ‘eye on the prize.’ Teaching awards remind us what this enterprise is all about. We at the university do not try to teach the students what to think or how to think, but how to navigate during uncertain and complicated times. We need to give students the ability to problem solve and learn.”

Pruitt concluded by thanking colleagues on the Board as well as Chancellors and others in the System.  He termed them “stars of the show,” and said he was in “awe of what you do to manage your campuses, especially in these times.” He added that it has been an honor to serve on the Board of Regents. “We hope we’ve done our best, that our best was good enough.”

President Reilly termed Pruitt an incredible leader, noting the UW System could not have had a more stalwart person at the helm, “helping us work through our ‘family dispute’ to come out to a good place.”

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System President’s Report

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly updated the Board on his President’s Advisory Committee, which he created in April. The committee is charged with addressing issues related to the 2011-13 biennial budget, including the proposal to reduce UW System Administration’s operating budget by 25 percent, and the provision of new administrative and management flexibilities to the Board of Regents.

“We are at a pivotal point in the evolution of the UW System,” Reilly said. “These changes, when taken individually or in combination, are significant. They require careful and strategic consideration if we are to reshape UW System Administration in a manner that preserves what is necessary and effective, sheds what is best done elsewhere or not at all, and considers the opportunities to better serve our core stakeholders – the Board of Regents, the UW System institutions, and all the people of Wisconsin.”

Reilly informed the Board that President Pruitt has agreed to chair the committee. Other members of the Committee will include Regent Jeff Bartell, Regent Judy Crain, Regent Brent Smith, Chancellor Debbie Ford of UW-Parkside, Chancellor Tom Harden of UW-Green Bay, and Chancellor Rick Wells of UW-Oshkosh, among others.

He told Regents that he is requesting the committee to advise him on potential changes in the structure, function, and support of System Administration, including operations currently assigned to both System Administration and Systemwide accounts. These considerations should be made within the context of the UWSA mission statement, the proposed 25% reduction in base funding, and the new management flexibilities under consideration, he said.

Reilly plans to use the committee’s recommendations to shape his own considerations and will engage Regents in further discussion of these issues before the end of the summer.

As part of his report, Reilly also updated the Board on recent visits that he and President Pruitt had with members of the Wisconsin's Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.

Reilly spoke to “the inordinate impact that cuts to financial aid and scientific findings would have on our students and research.” He called for Wisconsin Legislators to support Pell Grants, since the suggested cuts would result in fewer students with financial need being able to pursue higher education. “With the present economic situation, these cuts could not come at a worse time,” said Reilly.  

Reilly pledged to continue to work with other sectors of Wisconsin education on legislation that would increase regulations. He did cite a favorable ruling from Veterans Affairs regarding the federal Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and Wisconsin G.I. Bill, indicating vets can use their Federal benefits before tapping their Wisconsin benefits. (All of the legislators in the Wisconsin delegation supported this.)

Reilly mentioned a leadership development workshop for department chairs that was held earlier in the week and sponsored by the UW System. “These are truly unsung leaders for their campuses,” said Reilly. He thanked the partners who organized the workshop and the chairs for their participation. “The Chancellors felt strongly that this was needed and worthwhile. This effort speaks to the benefit of working together on challenges and opportunities.”

Reilly also took a moment to clarify the role of Chancellors in dealing with the issue of in-state tuition for Wisconsin students who are undocumented. News reports after yesterday’s meeting indicated that Chancellors would have the flexibility to offer significant tuition breaks to certain students, even if the provisions in the proposed state budget eliminate the practice of allowing them in-state tuition.

Reilly noted that “It is our intent to comply fully with the letter and the spirit of this law, if it is passed.” Chancellors and university/college financial aid departments could provide supplemental financial aid to such students, just as they would for any other student in need of financial aid, but he noted that financial aid would not be “earmarked” for any group.

Read President Reilly’s full statement to the Board

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New Board leadership is elected

Regent Michael J. Spector was elected the new President of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Spector, who had served as Board Vice President for the last two years, was elected by a unanimous vote of the Board. He succeeds Charles Pruitt in the position.

Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau, who nominated Spector for the position, said Spector combined a “mastery of facts, fairness and an inclusive and respectful leadership style.”

Regents Spector and Smith

Newly elected Board President Michael Spector
and Vice President
Brent Smith

Spector has been on the Board of Regents since 2005. He worked for 36 years with Quarles & Brady, Milwaukee, where he served as chair and managing partner before his retirement in 2002. Spector previously served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and as chair of former Governor Jim Doyle’s Task Force on Educational Excellence. He is currently a Boden Visiting Professor of Law at Marquette Law School, a Director of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation, and the Executive Director of the United States Law Firm Group. He is also a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the UW Pathways to Excellence Board of Visitors. Spector earned his bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison, his law degree from Harvard University Law School, and attended the London School of Economics.

The Regents also elected Brent P. Smith of La Crosse as Board Vice President in a 12-5 vote. Michael Falbo of Hartland was also nominated for the position of Vice President.

Smith is an attorney with Johns & Flaherty in La Crosse. He has served on the State Public Defender Board and the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission for Federal Judges.

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In other business, the Board:

    Aaron Wingad
    Jessica Schwalenberg

    Outgoing student Regents Aaron Wingad and Jessica Schwalenberg

  • Approved resolutions of appreciation for Student Regent Aaron Wingad, whose two-year term is expiring, and Student Regent Emerita Jessica Schwalenberg;
  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for UW-Milwaukee;
  • Approved seven new academic programs:  the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership and Communication at UW-Eau Claire; Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business at UW-Eau Claire; the collaborative Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies at UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater; the Collaborative Online Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management at UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior; the Online Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership at UW-Platteville; the Online Master of Science in Integrated Supply Chain Management at UW-Platteville; and the Online Master of Science in Distance Education Leadership at UW-Platteville;
  • Approved the 2011-12 proffer from the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate in support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships and special programs in arts and humanities, social sciences, and music at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee;
  • Approved the removal from the Regent Policy Documents (RPDs) of 14-1, addressing “Nondiscrimination in Oratorical Contests;”
  • Accepted the annual Report on Promotions and Tenure Designations;
  • Approved a resolution delegating authority to appoint and set the salary of several very specific titles from the UW System President to the respective Chancellors overseeing these areas. The resolution also similarly delegates authority to approve named professorships and extensions of non-medical leaves of absence beyond five years;
  • Approved a clinical trial agreement between the UW-Madison and Pharmacyclics, Inc.;
  • Approved the annual budget of $5.2M for HRS implementation plan in FY2012.
  • Approved UW Colleges’ request for authority to release a 0.764 acre parcel of land from the UW-Barron County lease back to its owner, Barron County, so the parcel can be sold;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to seek a waiver of s. 16.855, Wis. Stats., to allow selection through a Request for Proposal process of a construction manager-at-risk for the Badger Performance Center project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority, contingent upon enumeration, to seek a waiver to allow single prime bidding for the University Ridge All Seasons Golf Practice Facility project and to construct the project at an estimated cost of $2,800,000 Gift Funds;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request for authority to construct the Carlson Hall Renovation project at an estimated cost of $17M General Fund Supported Borrowing, contingent upon enumeration of the project in the 2011-13 Capital Budget;
  • Approved a request by the staff of UW System for seven All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects at six UW System institutions totaling $6.6M;
  • Approved the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree;
  • Approved the revised UW System Policy on Transfer; and
  • Approved UW Colleges’ revised mission.

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Kathy Quirk and Beth Stafford contributed to this report.

Photo credit: UW-Milwaukee photographer, Alan Magayne-Roshak


The UW System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting July 14-15, 2011, in Madison


Related: Read June 9 (day 1) news summary