MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor two professors and one academic program for their outstanding achievements in teaching, when they bestow the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and academic staff on June 10.
“These outstanding educators set a high benchmark for innovative approaches to helping students achieve their full potential,” said Regent Janice Mueller, chair of the selection committee. “They are an inspiring example of how excellent teachers within the UW System transform lives.”
The 2016 recipients of the 24th annual Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:
- William N. Mode, Professor, Department of Geology, UW‑Oshkosh. Mode has been a faculty member in the Department of Geology at UW-Oshkosh for 35 years and department chair since 1999. Under his leadership, the department has established a strong rapport with students and alumni. He dedicates time and energy to maintaining an open door policy to advise and mentor students. Mode employs a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, hands-on learning experiences, and group lab work. He involves students in research projects and field activities, planning field trips to other states and involving students in his own research, including a 12-year geologic mapping of the Fox River lowland. Emphasizing research, writing and mathematics in his classes, he fine tunes the skills his students will need as graduate students and geologists. He has supervised more than 50 research students through independent studies, which – while not afforded teaching credit – is an especially formative type of teaching for the students. His field research in the Arctic is widely respected. Mode spends a considerable amount of time training and inspiring science educators to lead the next generation of students. He was instrumental in developing the UW-Oshkosh Early Alert system to help students who are in jeopardy of failing. For 10 years, he has encouraged incoming first-generation students as part of the campus orientation program. He frequently speaks to K-12 schools and community groups.
- Susan Huss-Lederman, Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures, UW‑Whitewater. Huss-Lederman, a UW-Whitewater faculty member since 1995, has primary teaching responsibilities in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She designs assignments to extract strong writing from a wide variety of incoming students, devoting hours outside of classes to work with her students face-to-face. Her student evaluations and peer reviews have high scores, with many students crediting her for their successes. Under Huss-Lederman’s administration of a multiyear, $6-million grant (Project SWEETT, Southeastern Wisconsin Excellence in Education through Teacher Training), UW-Whitewater has become a regional leader in addressing the needs of second language learners in the K-12 system. Huss-Lederman has created an interdisciplinary minor in bilingual education, developed an intensive English Institute for international students, and directed 20 master’s projects in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She has mentored several undergraduate research projects, including two that were selected for international conference presentations. She serves on many committees for the university and does extensive outreach work in the community, including volunteering in free regional workshops that offer ESL classes to adults and developing and leading a graduate-level curriculum training for ESL instructors in area school districts.
- Department of Counselor Education, UW-Whitewater. The UW-Whitewater Counselor Education program is recognized as a leader in the Upper Midwest in preparing counselors to serve in school and community settings. Established in 1967, this is the sole graduate-only department at UW-Whitewater. It is estimated that the program has prepared more than 1,370 professionally trained counselors, with the vast majority working within the state of Wisconsin. Housed in the College of Education and Professional Studies and led by department chair Brenda R. O’Beirne, the department is staffed by seven faculty members, a doctoral teaching intern, a lab manager, and a half-time academic department associate. The program achieved a perfect score (meeting all 300 standards) during a recent site visit by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The program recently implemented a state-of-the-art system for scheduling, recording, reviewing, and documenting counseling sessions in its on-campus counseling lab. The counseling lab allows the program to give back to the campus and community while also providing students with opportunities for real-world clinical experiences. A key component of the program is the extensive application of knowledge and skills through both a semester-long practicum and year-long internship. Students in this program learn by volunteering through counseling groups in the community, working with students in the Beloit School Districts, and participating in service learning opportunities in Guatemala.
Others on the selection committee were Regent Margaret Farrow, Regent Michael M. Grebe, and Regent James Langnes.
Award recipients are selected for their strong commitment to teaching and learning; use of effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning; and significant impact on students’ intellectual development.
The Regents Teaching Excellence Awards will be officially presented at the Board of Regents meeting on June 10 at UW-Milwaukee. The monetary value of the award is $5,000 for each recipient.