MADISON – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents honored the seventh annual winners of its Regents’ Diversity Awards today in Madison. The awards were established by the Board to recognize and support individuals and programs in the UW System that foster access and success in university life for historically underrepresented populations.

Regent José Vásquez, chair of the selection committee, said the award recipients stood out because they not only clearly understand what needs to be done, but they do something about it. “Each of our award winners shows a genuine respect for human differences, a deep attentiveness to the learning process, and a keen responsiveness to students and their educational needs,” Vásquez said.

This year’s Diversity Awards winners are:

Dr. Erik R. Brodt

Dr. Erik R. Brodt

IndividualErik R. Brodt, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

In 2012, Brodt founded and currently leads the Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, which is a program to improve the recruitment, support, retention, and graduation rates of Native health professional students. It also promotes research, health education, and community partnerships with Native communities.

Brodt said that he is often told that his work is “noble.” “I stop and correct them every time,” Brodt said. “What I do is not noble. What it is is personal, it’s about family…What I do every day is try to alleviate those inequities experienced in my own family. The goal is to improve Native health and wellness.”

Dr. Victor M. Macias-Gonzalez

Dr. Victor M. Macias-Gonzalez

IndividualVictor M. Macías-González, Professor of History, UW-La Crosse. 

Macías-González, who is also affiliated with the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, founded and serves as the director of the Eagle Mentoring Program (EMP), a retention program for second-year historically underrepresented minority students.

“I like to make sure there are people in the community who can provide for those 4th graders who don’t know English, or the 10th graders who need to know about the college application process, or the mothers who want to help but don’t understand the difference between colleges and universities,” Macías-González said.

Program:  Research Apprenticeship Program, UW-Whitewater. 

Catherine Chan, accepting the award on behalf of the Research Apprenticeship Program at UW-Whitewater

Catherine Chan, accepting the award on behalf of the Research Apprenticeship Program at UW-Whitewater

Led by Catherine Chan, director of the Undergraduate Research Program, the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) engages mainly first- and second-year UW-Whitewater undergraduate students in the high-impact practice of undergraduate research, aiming to eliminate equity gaps between minority and majority students.

“We believe that RAP is successful because we’re able to target some of the key issues these students are facing every day. We, as a program, are able to help them find effective solutions,” Chan said. In addition to offering a diverse array of professional role models and an explicit pathway to academic and professional success, “we are able to foster a sense of belonging to the university, as well as their discipline of choice,” she said.

New engineering programs endorsed

After a presentation and discussion before the full Board, the Education Committee endorsed the continued planning for new engineering programs at four institutions: UW-Stevens Point for a B.S. in Chemical Engineering; UW-River Falls for a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering; UW-Eau Claire for a B.S. in Materials Science Engineering; and UW-Stout for a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Members of the UW-Whitewater Research Apprenticeship Program are pictured after receiving a Wisconsin Board of Regents Diversity Award during a Board of Regents meeting held in Varsity Hall inside Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 6, 2015. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Members of the UW-Whitewater Research Apprenticeship Program

“At this point, there are no new resources…so you’re going to have to figure out how to finance this,” said David Ward, senior vice president for academic and student affairs. Options include reallocation of campus resources and industry support, he said.

Ward also described the UW System’s approval process for new academic programs, as well as next steps to be completed by the institutions before requests for new engineering program authorizations are brought to the Education Committee for possible approval as early as April 2015.


Presidents’ Reports

Regent President Mike Falbo updated the Board on the ongoing search process for a successor to UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer, who is retiring in July. Falbo said the goal is to name a new chancellor by the end of May.

President Cross’ regular report to the Board included an inaugural faculty spotlight, designed to help the public better understand “what a faculty member does, what their workload includes, what their day looks like.”

A video showcased a week in the life of Dr. Cheryl Brandt, a professor from the College of Nursing and Health Science at UW-Eau Claire. Brandt’s long hours and dedication are representative of many nurse educators, said Dean Linda Young. “They are multi-faceted, multi-tasking individuals striving to stay at the top of their game in their nursing specialization as well as their role as nurse educators,” Young said.


In the Student Spotlight, two UW-Madison students were featured: seniors Kim Le and Natalie Bowman.

Natalie Bowman and Kim Le at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 6, 2015. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Natalie Bowman (left) and Kim Le, UW-Madison undergraduate students, speak to the Regents about how their experiences at UW-Madison are preparing them for life and careers after graduation. (Photos by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Le, who will graduate in May, has done research with the College of Engineering since her freshman year as a Psychology major. “In addition to the countless data crunching technical skills I have learned and research methods, participating in research has also helped me grow personally and changed the way I approach different issues,” Le said. The value of undergraduate research goes beyond developing knowledge and skills that are important in the workforce, but “it’s also about building character and learning to appreciate different people’s values and experiences.”

Bowman, a double major in Communication Sciences & Disorders and Spanish, has received a Hilldale research fellowship to support her research on literacy skills in bilingual children. “It is because of the support of this university that I will graduate armed with both the academic preparation and the professional skills to make a significant contribution to the growth of my field,” Bowman said.

In other action, the Board:

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for UW-Madison’s hosting of the February meeting;
  • Approved UW System’s request for seven All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects with an estimated total cost of $11.7 million at four campuses;
  • Approved a UW-Madison research agreement with Smithfield Foods, Inc.;
  • Approved an amendment to a UW-Madison Athletics contractual agreement for marketing and multi-media rights with Learfield;
  • Approved a UW-Milwaukee cooperative research agreement with NanoAffix, LLC, A.O. Smith, Badger Meter, Inc., and Baker Manufacturing;
  • Approved a UW-Milwaukee research agreement with Areva Mines and NAGRA;
  • Approved a UW-Milwaukee research agreement with CalciGenix, LLC;
  • Approved the application of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 within the UW System;
  • Approved proposed revisions to the UW-Superior Faculty Personnel Rules;
  • Approved a UW-Milwaukee charter contract with La Casa de Esperanza, Inc., to operate a charter school to be located in the City of Waukesha;
  • Approved the proposed renewal of the existing UWM charter school contract with Milwaukee Scholars Charter School, Inc., to operate the Milwaukee Scholars Charter School in the City of Milwaukee; and
  • Approved UW-Superior’s proposed changes to its mission statement.


The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will next meet on March 5, 2015, in Madison.

Photo credit: Bryce Richter / UW-Madison

View archived webcast of February 6, 2015, meeting | Read day 1 news summary