MADISON, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards at its next meeting in Milwaukee on June 7. These awards recognize exceptional service to the university and are the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.
“This year’s award recipients reflect the high caliber of our academic staff across the UW System,” said Regent Janice Mueller, chair of the selection committee. “We are delighted to recognize their wide-ranging and significant accomplishments as they work to support student success and strengthen their institutions and communities.”
Award recipients are selected for superior performance resulting in significant contributions to the department and institution; use of positive personal interaction to manage work changes; and a consistently creative approach that improves productivity and work quality. Each recipient is awarded $5,000.
The 2019 recipients include two individuals and one program:
- Elaina Koltz, Financial Aid Advisor, Veteran Services, UW-Green Bay. Koltz is widely respected for her knowledge of complex student veteran education benefits and her dedication to helping students succeed. In 2002, she became UW-Green Bay’s school certifying official, the liaison between the university’s students and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As the financial aid advisor for Veteran Services, she assists the growing population of student veterans at UW-Green Bay. She has helped the university expand its programming, including forming and leading the Veterans Support Team, a campus-wide group that assists the more than 500 student veterans and dependents who use veteran education benefits. She helped implement a Veteran and Service Member Student Lounge where veterans can find resources and build relationships to support each other. The lounge is the site of a monthly Veteran Open House featuring community resources for veterans. As advisor for the university’s Vets 4 Vets Student Veteran Club, Koltz assists with programs in which the group is involved, such as the City Stadium Run for Veterans and the Northeast Wisconsin Veterans Treatment Court. She is president of the Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Battalion Bravo Company, which helps connect veterans with community resources. She is currently working to bring to UW-Green Bay the VetSuccess on Campus program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which would be the second such program in Wisconsin.
- Mark Klapatch, Sustainability and Custodial Supervisor, Sustainability/Facilities Management, UW-River Falls. Klapatch oversees a staff of 17 full-time employees and 60 to 70 part-time student employees. Among his responsibilities, he tracks sustainability initiatives; facilitates reports; presents in classes; mentors student volunteers and student organizations; works with all campus departments; and manages the campus’s waste minimization, recycling, and landfill diversion efforts. He serves as chair of the university’s Sustainability Working Group and works with the Sustainability Faculty Fellows Committee to support and improve sustainability within the curriculum, including the recently created Sustainable Justice Minor available to all students on campus. He also serves on the Faculty Senate as vice chair of the Academic Staff Council and on the Diversity and Inclusivity Committee. Together with another supervisor, Klapatch started a surplus program on campus, which annually diverts over 100,000 pounds of furniture and other materials from landfills and offers students and community members affordable items. He has facilitated the completion of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for the past three years. His leadership and ability to engage others is credited for the campus achieving a Gold Rating in 2018 after receiving a Silver STARS assessment in previous years. Klapatch has organized events such as the Office of Sustainability Open House, film showings, Food Waste Audits, WeBike River Falls Community Rides, and a Sustainability Fair.
- UW-Parkside Library, UW-Parkside. Currently directed by Anna Stadick, the UW-Parkside Library creates a welcoming and enriching environment to support academic excellence and student success. As campus persistence and graduation rates continue to improve to historic levels, the library has been an essential part of this success. In the last three years, visits to the library have increased 13 percent, average visits per student are up 15 percent, and study room reservations have grown 18 percent. The library recently opened the Guttormsen Family Literacy Lab to support teacher development programs and serve as a childhood literacy resource. Through observing best practices and focusing on demonstrated student needs, library staff have added individual study spaces, presentation spaces, modern and accessible furniture, and technology-equipped study rooms. The library has received two National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grants, allowing it to promote literacy for people of all ages. In 2015, the library received one gold award and two silver awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for its work on the first Big Read. In 2017-18, the library was recognized with the Wisconsin Library Association’s Library of the Year award. Fourteen librarians and library staff have authored conference presentations or contributed to scholarly publications over the past four years.
Other members of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards selection committee included Regent Robert Atwell, Regent Scott Beightol, and Regent Drew Petersen.
The University of Wisconsin System serves more than 170,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. More than 80 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.