Educators in Milwaukee, River Falls, and Eau Claire recognized for work to support student success

MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today honored this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards. These awards recognize exceptional service to the university and are the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.

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.

“The tireless work of these recipients – along with the work of academic staff systemwide – helps to strengthen and invigorate not only our UW universities, but the broader communities in which they serve,” said Regent John W. Miller, who chaired the selection committee.

The 2022 recipients include two individuals and one program:

  • Robin Jens, Assistant Dean of Student Services, College of Nursing, and Interim Student Service Director, Zilber School of Public Health, UW-Milwaukee

    Robin Jens. Photo Credit – Troye Fox, UWM

“We are blessed with great leaders in the College of Nursing. There’s no way we do our work in isolation, and we need great leaders who care about what we do, who care about staff, and challenge me when necessary,” said Jens, who has worked at UWM for more than 16 years.

In a concrete step to meeting growing healthcare needs, Jens recently facilitated developing the nursing program at UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha, helping to fill an opportunity gap for nursing programs in southcentral Wisconsin.

“There is something about UWM,” she added. “It’s the work ethic, and when challenges face us, we just dig in even deeper and get creative. But we are resource thin. I urge you to help us.  Education is the great equalizer and we should do whatever we can to support our educational institutions.”

  • Ann Lawton, Violence Prevention Coordinator, Lecturer in Art, and Art Therapist, Student Health and Counseling Services, UW-River Falls

    Ann Lawton. Photo Credit – Troye Fox, UWM

“The art part is the easy part of my work,” said Lawton, who has been at UW-River Falls since 2011. “Art helps me find meaning and understanding when reality is too much, or I’m feeling meaningless or without power.” Noting that students who are engaged in the arts tend to succeed academically and get involved, she added, “Support for arts and humanities is supporting students and communities.”

Acknowledging that she came from a family with advantages, she said she feels compelled to “advocate for those who do not have the same privileges.” She stresses that “Whatever gifts, skills, talents you possess, you serve others with tenacity and conviction.”

  • Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, UW-Eau Claire

    UW-Eau Claire’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Photo Credit – Troye Fox, UWM

“What we do is create connections on campus,” said Director Angie Stombaugh, also noting the value of system-wide connections through the UW System’s Office of Professional and Instructional Development.

“It’s important to invest in the teaching academy, to get to learn good teaching practices, especially for new instructors. Many have never had formal practice before,” said Stombaugh, adding that many of these newer instructors teach the critically important freshman-level courses.

Stombaugh acknowledged the challenges the past several years and the pandemic have presented. “People are burned out, disengaged, afraid and don’t know what to do,” she said. Under these conditions, support is even more valuable.

Outgoing Board President Manydeeds offers reflections

Regent President Edmund Manydeeds III, who is stepping down as board president at the end of his one-year term, said he is very proud of what has been achieved, particularly given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a very successful year for us, and it’s going to continue. We have to be able to talk to each other, openly and transparently, and tell each other when we’re wrong and we have to be able to listen to each other,” Manydeeds said. “The only way we can be successful is if we put all of our minds together to do something for the state.”

He pointed to forward progress over the last year in meeting with shared governance, involving more students in board meetings, ensuring chancellors get opportunities to speak, and making diversity, equity, and inclusion a stronger priority.

Manydeeds reiterated that there are few responsibilities as important to the Board as identifying strong, dynamic leaders to move the UW System forward. “I am confident we have done that in recent years,” he said.

Manydeeds, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Board’s first Native president, said he was given an extraordinary opportunity to engage with underrepresented populations throughout Wisconsin. He said that Tribal consultations will help fulfill the mission of the Wisconsin Idea and create new opportunities for universities.

“So many (tribe members) feel that higher education is not something in their future. We’ve got to change that,” Manydeeds said. .

Manydeeds, in his second seven-year term, will continue to serve on the Board of Regents.

Regents elect new leadership

Newly elected Regent President Karen Walsh (right) and Regent Vice President Amy Bogost pose for a photo together at the Board of Regents meeting held in the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Milwaukee on Friday, June 10, 2022. Photo Credit – Troye Fox, UWM

The Board of Regents unanimously elected Regent Vice President Karen Walsh to a one-year term as board president succeeding Manydeeds. The Regents also unanimously elected Regent Amy Blumenfeld Bogost as vice president.

“Since the system was established in 1971, only two women have led this board. I am number three,” Walsh said, noting she owes a debt of gratitude to predecessors Joyce Erdman (1980-82) and Regina Millner (2015-17). “I look forward to the day when something like this is not remarkable.”

With the election of Bogost as vice president, it is the first time in the history of system that the board has elected two women to its top leadership positions.

“Think about how extraordinary that is. I’m proud to be part of it,” Walsh said.

Regent Mike Jones, who nominated Walsh, said “she has brought people together with collaboration and collegiality at a time we needed it most.”

Walsh has served on the Board since May 2019, and is director of the BerbeeWalsh Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to human and animal health and welfare. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from UW-Madison, and over two decades served in a variety of public information and communications positions at the university.

Bogost thanked her colleagues “for having confidence in me for this incredible privilege. I pledge to continue to listen and learn and collaborate.”

Bogost is a practicing attorney in Madison, with a focus on representing victims of sensitive crimes and Federal Title IX.  She is also closely involved with the National Trial Tribal College, co-sponsored by and located at the UW Law School. She earned a law degree from Chicago Kent College of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Also elected to the Board were: Megan Wasley, Corporate Secretary of the Board; Christen Bock, Assistant Secretary; Sean Nelson, Trust Officer; and Charles Saunders, Assistant Trust Officer.

UW-Milwaukee presents annual Athletics Report

As part of regular Division I Athletics reports to the Board, UW-Milwaukee Athletic Director Amanda Braun provided an overview of academic, fiscal, and compliance matters in the UWM athletics program.

She noted that UWM sponsors 15 varsity sports, providing approximately 300 student-athletes with the opportunity to participate in college athletics.

During the 2021-22 season, UWM earned a total of 13 top-3 Horizon League team finishes. Student athletes also participated in over 2,400 hours of campus and community service

“It’s not just the basketball games we win but also the impact we can make in the community,” said men’s basketball coach Bart Lundy.

UWM’s student athletes also scored well academically, Braun said, with an average GPA of 3.46 for the past year. She also noted the current graduation rate for student athletes is 91%, well above the percentage for the general student population.

The Athletics program benefits the campus overall, Braun said, by boosting student enrollment, campus community and alumni engagement, brand loyalty and visibility, and fundraising and corporate support.

Farewell to Regent colleagues

Regent Emeritus Michael Grebe (second from right) poses with his Resolution of Appreciation along with regents Mike Jones, Edmund Manydeeds and Jay Rothman at the Board of Regents meeting held in the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Milwaukee on Friday, June 10, 2022. Photo Credit – Troye Fox, UWM

Regent Emeritus Corey Saffold (second from left) poses with his Resolution of Appreciation along with regents Kyle Weatherly, Edmund Manydeeds and Jay Rothman at the Board of Regents meeting held in the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Milwaukee on Friday, June 10, 2022. Photo Credit – Troye Fox, UWM

The Board recognized the service of two Regents, whose time on the Board is completed: Regent Michael Grebe and Regent Corey Saffold.

Regent Grebe said one very basic question is before all Regents: “What is in the best interest of the UW System?”

“Issues coming before this board can have serious consequences for many people,” said Grebe, who served on the Board from 2015 to 2022, including two years as Board vice president 2019 to 2021. “Taking on this role and entering this arena also means subjecting yourself to criticism. Sometimes it’s fair, sometimes not. But those of us who sit around the table share a purpose and obligation to treat each other well, with respect, and to be kind regardless if we have disagreements – but especially if we disagree. This board is healthier, and we are healthier, when we share a sense of passion.”

Grebe thanked former Governor Scott Walker for appointing him to serve on the Board, and reminded colleagues that communications between the university and elected officials should be an ongoing dialogue.

Regent Saffold, who served as a student representative from May 2020 to May 2022, told colleagues that access is an urgent issue and should remain a top priority. “We need to take a step back … and consider what can I do, what more can I do, to be creative about access, to support the chancellors as they think about ways to creatively bring access to their communities.”

“Education is the light that once turned on allows us to clearly see, to see the barriers in front of us … and help navigate life. That’s what education does,” said Safford, who graduated last month from UW-Whitewater with a degree in criminology. He previously graduated from the UW Odyssey project, a program he found to be life-changing.

In other business, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for UW Milwaukee’s hosting of the June 2022 meeting;
  • Approved the Board of Regents regular meeting schedule for 2023 and 2024;
  • Approved the total funding request of $13,951,136 in net and unallocated income for the upcoming fiscal year for submission to the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate. These funds support student scholarships, fellowships, academic programs, Vilas Research Professorships, and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee;
  • Approved UW-Eau Claire’s request for a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Communication;
  • Approved UW-Green Bay’s request for a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology;
  • Approved UW-Platteville’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering;
  • Approved UW-River Falls’ request for a Bachelor of Science in Finance, Bachelor of Science in Management, and Bachelor of Science in Marketing;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Health and Leadership Studies;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request to rename the Lubar School of Business to the Sheldon Lubar College of Business;
  • Approved a Liberal Arts Transfer Program for the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science with Southwest Technical College;
  • Approved a Liberal Arts Transfer Program for the Associate of Arts with Chippewa Valley Technical College;
  • Approved the 2022 Report on Faculty Promotions, Tenure Designations, and Other Changes in Status;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s newly negotiated agreement with AT&T, allowing for continued rooftop placement of its equipment at Bolton Hall;
  • Approved a $1.3 million service contract between UW System and Berry Dunn McNeil & Parker;
  • Approved an amendment to a service agreement between UW System and Huron Consulting to implement the Workday software for ATP;
  • Approved a contract between UW System and Qualtrics to provide an Enterprise Survey Tool that will replace a current product expiring this month;
  • Approved an addition to the strategic plan for major IT projects. The Enterprise Analytics Platform will establish a data analytics infrastructure that will enable participating universities to integrate HR data, financial data, student data, and other local datasets to significantly improve data-informed decision-making;
  • Approved a contract between UW-Madison and Foremost Farms;
  • Approved a five-year renewable master research agreement between UW-Madison and Kohler Company;
  • Approved an amendment to a current service agreement between UW-Madison and Valo Health that increases the project budget to $1.2 million;
  • Approved a five-year master service agreement between UW-Madison and The Emmes Company;
  • Approved a contract between UW-Madison and Oracle for its Exadata database system;
  • Approved an exception to Regent policy regarding unendowed gifts to the university, to allow for the partial expenditure of principal of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Discretionary Fund;
  • Approved the continuation of tuition for Illinois residents at a rate equivalent to the Midwest Student Exchange Program;
  • Approved revisions to RPD 13-1, governing contract approval, signature authority, and reporting;
  • Approved a request from UW-River Falls to construct the Science and Technology Innovation Center project;
  • Approved UW-River Falls’ request to sell a 0.86-acre parcel of land with improvements and a 0.68-acre unimproved parcel of land, both on River Hills Drive;
  • Approved UW Oshkosh’s request for authority to enter into a long-term ground lease and allow Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) to construct athletic fields to be used for public recreation;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to sell units 1-153 of the University of Wisconsin Parking Condominium to the University of Wisconsin Foundation;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct three All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects:
    • At UW-Eau Claire, Chancellor’s Hall HVAC system will be renovated
    • At UW-Madison, Sellery Hall’s exterior envelope will be repaired
    • At UW-Stout, multiple buildings will undergo energy efficiency renovations
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to design and construct the UW-Managed Elvehjem Building Envelope Reconstruction;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request to design and construct the UW-Managed WARF Building Floors 4, 5, and 7 Renovation project;
  • Approved UW Oshkosh’s request for authority to design and construct the Heating Plant Chiller & Cooling Tower Replacement project;
  • Approved UW-Green Bay’s request for authority for Brown County to construct a road on the UW-Green Bay campus to be owned and operated by the university;
  • Approved UW-Stevens Point’s request for authority to construct the back-up Data Center and demolition of Albertson Hall for the Albertson Hall Replacement project;
  • Approved the Fiscal Year 2023 Audit Plan.

The next meeting of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will be August 18-19, 2022, hosted by UW-Green Bay