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 Universities of Wisconsin’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.

“This year’s award recipients reflect the impressive range of initiatives conducted by our academic staff across the Universities of Wisconsin,” said Regent Jim Kreuser, chair of the selection committee. “Our honorees create vital education programs and opportunities that foster student success and support community partnerships.”

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 $7,500.

The 2024 recipients include two individuals and one program:

  • Photo of Lynda Bader, UW-MadisonLynda Bader, Director, Clinical Trials Strategic Initiatives, UW Clinical Trials Institute, UW-Madison.
    Bader has enhanced the clinical trials landscape at UW-Madison, initiating strategic improvements that have catalyzed growth and increased performance in this critical area of research. Recognizing the need for standardized cost structures, Bader orchestrated a collaborative effort involving multiple departments and disciplines to establish a universally applicable fee structure template for industry-sponsored clinical trials. This initiative facilitated efficient budgeting, leading to increased revenue from industry-sponsored research—an accomplishment that has gained attention and inquiries from other academic institutions seeking her guidance.
  • Photo of Jenna GraffJenna Graff, International Programs Manager, UW Oshkosh.
    Graff has served as UW Oshkosh’s Director of the Office of International Education since its inception in 2003. During her tenure, she has facilitated study abroad trips for over 6,000 students, led by more than 100 UW Oshkosh professors and instructional academic staff to 50 countries on all continents except Antarctica. Students have studied tropical ecosystems in Belize, engaged in clinical nursing practices in India and Peru, and partnered with community organizations in Nicaragua to study human rights and social justice. In addition to developing faculty-led study abroad programs, Graff has supervised recruitment, admission, orientation, and retention of international students.
  • Children’s Center, UW-Whitewater.
    The Children’s Center’s mission is to transform lives by providing a learner-centered, collaborative early care and educational environment that embodies best practice for young children, their families, educators, and pre-service teachers through a Reggio-Emilia inspired practice, a student-centered educational philosophy and pedagogy focused on preschool and primary education. The Children’s Center, currently led by Director Chelsea Newman, provides over 6,000 placement hours annually for students completing fieldwork and student teaching in the Early Childhood Program. The program has built and strengthened partnerships across campus since its opening in 1974. A longstanding partnership with the Communication Sciences and Disorders program involves graduate students providing services that include screening, prevention, assessment, and treatment for speech, literacy, and language needs. This collaboration not only benefits the children at the center but also offers vital clinical experiences for speech-language pathology graduate students.
Photo of the staff of the UW-Whitewater Children’s Center outside their offices and classrooms on May 13, 2024. Children’s Center director and lead teacher Chelsea Newman is fourth from right. (UW-Whitewater/Craig Schreiner)

The staff of the UW-Whitewater Children’s Center outside their offices and classrooms on May 13, 2024. Children’s Center director and lead teacher Chelsea Newman is fourth from right. (UW-Whitewater/Craig Schreiner)

Other members of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards selection committee included Regent Robert Atwell, Regent Haben Goitom, and Regent Mark Tyler.

The committee also recognizes the important contributions of this year’s other nominees:

Individual nominees included Dr. Connie Schroeder, UW-Milwaukee; Liz Schaal, UW-Platteville; Mark Huttemier, UW-River Falls; Dr. Tobias Barske, UW-Stevens Point; Britta Miller, UW-Stout; and Kristine Zaballos, UW-Whitewater.

Program nominees included UW-Madison’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program; UW-Milwaukee’s Office of Assessment and Institutional Research; UW-River Falls’ Campus Recreation Department; UW-Stevens Point’s STEAM Point Days Program; and UW-Stout’s Instructional Resources Service Department.

Photo credits and downloads:

Download high-resolution photo of Lynda Bader, UW-Madison (Photo credit: SMPH Media Solutions)

Download high-resolution photo of Jenna Graff, UW Oshkosh (Photo credit: UW Oshkosh)

Download high-resolution photo of Children’s Center, UW-Whitewater (Photo credit: UW-Whitewater/Craig Schreiner)


The Universities of Wisconsin serve more than 162,500 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, these 13 public universities are 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. Nearly 90 percent of in-state Universities of Wisconsin graduates stay in the state five years after earning a degree. The universities provide a 23:1 return on state investment. The Universities of Wisconsin also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy. Learn more at

Media Contacts

Mark Pitsch Universities of Wisconsin (608) 265-3419
Kelly Tyrrell UW-Madison (608) 262-9772
Alex Hummel UW Oshkosh
Jeff Angileri UW-Whitewater (262) 472-1195