Photo of Award recipients Karen Mittelstadt, Lake Superior Research Institute represented by Director Matthew TenEyck, and Jaclyn Esqueda, shown with (from far left) Regent President John Robert Behling, Regent Janice Mueller, Regent Drew Petersen, Regent Bryan Steil, and UW System President Ray Cross.

Award recipients Karen Mittelstadt, Lake Superior Research Institute represented by Director Matthew TenEyck, and Jaclyn Esqueda, shown with (from far left) Regent President John Robert Behling, Regent Janice Mueller, Regent Drew Petersen, Regent Bryan Steil, and UW System President Ray Cross.

MADISON – The UW System Board of Regents today honored two individuals and one program as this year’s recipients of its Academic Staff Excellence Awards, the System’s highest recognition for members of its academic staff.

“This year’s award recipients represent the stellar quality of our academic staff across the UW System. We are delighted to recognize their innovation, creativity, and dedication as they support student success and strengthen communities,” said Regent Janice Mueller, chair of the selection committee. Other Regents on the committee included Robert Atwell, Drew Petersen, and Bryan Steil.

This year’s winners included:

  • Karen E. Mittelstadt, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Nursing, UW-Madison.Mittelstadt thanked the Board, President Cross, and UW-Madison leadership for not only recognizing her work but also the work of academic staff members throughout the university. “Academic staff members can get the job done,” she said. Middelstadt provided critical leadership and support during recent landmark events for the School of Nursing, including the reaccreditation process for the Doctor of Nursing Practice; the creation of the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, to launch in May; and the faculty’s redesign of the undergraduate curriculum.
  • Jaclyn Esqueda, Programs Manager, Engineering, Mathematics and Science Student Success Programs, UW-Platteville.“I applied for my current position specifically because of UW-Platteville’s mission and influence in the region as an access institution and because of my department’s unique position within that institution,” said Esqueda, who has worked for more than five years within the Student Success Programs area of UW-Platteville’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. “I am so lucky to be able to work around such student-centered people.”

Noting her family’s many close ties to UW System institutions, she hailed the value of her own education at UW-Stevens Point. “I encountered and understood different perspectives, found my voice as a leader and found out what it really meant to be a learner for life,” she said.

  • Lake Superior Research Institute, UW-Superior.Matthew TenEyck, current LSRI Director, told Regents, “It takes staff that have passion for natural resources while trying to improve the lives and the livelihood of the people of northwestern Wisconsin and the environs.” He noted that LSRI staff are highly dedicated to training future generations of skilled scientists and leaders. “What may be even more critical, LSRI staff are very skilled at inspiring young minds,” he said. “You often see transformations in young people as they discover they have untapped gifts. LSRI staff help students build a strong sense of purpose which in turn leads to students giving their lives for making a difference in the world.”

Regent President’s Report

In his report to the Board, Regent President John Robert Behling provided a brief update on recent outreach activity, including his meeting with several legislators at an annual regional legislative luncheon sponsored by UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, and UW-Stout. He noted that President Cross has also been busy building stronger connections with businesses and communities across the state, meeting with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Outagamie and Winnebago County boards, federal policymakers in Washington, D.C., and others. Looking ahead, Behling noted that more than 20,000 students are expected to earn University of Wisconsin degrees at commencement ceremonies next month.

System President’s Report

President Cross presented a brief overview of recent state legislative activity, pointing out that several bills the UW System had worked on through the just-completed session had moved forward. He said legislation updating the thresholds for when certain building or maintenance projects go before the building commission has passed both houses and is expected to help save time and money on a number of critical projects throughout the System. Another bill just signed into law creates a pilot program to provide funding to help high school teachers secure additional college credits to meet new Higher Learning Commission standards for teaching dual enrollment courses.

On the federal front, he noted that Congress has passed an omnibus spending package which includes, among other things, welcome support for student aid, scientific research, and higher education overall. Funding increased for the National Institutes of Health – the largest source of research funds for UW-Madison and other UW System institutions – as well as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As part of his report on News from Around the UW System, Cross told Regents a recent Oshkosh Northwestern news story highlighted that for the first time in UW-Oshkosh’s history, all of its deans are currently women.

Photo of Regent President John Robert Behling, Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, Yongha (Eric) Hwang, and UW System President Ray Cross

(from left) Regent President John Robert Behling, Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, Yongha (Eric) Hwang, and UW System President Ray Cross

Yongha (Eric) Hwang, a student at UW-Barron County and a native of Seoul, Republic of Korea, was featured in the Student Spotlight.

He told Regents that he came to UW-Barron County because he shares the ideals of the Wisconsin Idea. “I also wanted to start my college life with the care and attention of faculty, instructors, and the college community,” said Hwang, who is majoring in industrial engineering and political science. He hopes to transfer to UW-Madison to continue his studies.

Hwang shared with Regents how he is actively getting involved in solving problems, including an internship last summer with the South Korean delegation to the United Nations and last September being nominated as the youngest presidential advisor on unification policy by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Closer to home, he currently serves as a student governance representative on the UW System’s Steering Committee for the restructuring project. His goals for the future are big: he hopes one day to run for the presidency of the Republic of Korea “to help the democratization of North Korea and unify the two national peacefully. I strongly believe that these two supreme tasks would be solved by my passion, efforts and interests.”

 UW-Green Bay Div. I Athletics Report

As part of its annual Division I NCAA report to the Board, UW-Green Bay athletic director Charles Guthrie told Regents, “Athletics is the kitchen of the university. There’s a lot cooking in there.”

He reported that the Phoenix had some significant athletic successes in 2016-17, including its women’s basketball team winning its 19th consecutive league title, Horizon League tournament champions, and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the 17th time. The men’s soccer team captured the 2017 Horizon League championship and finished as runner-up in the Horizon League tournament.

He added that UWGB student athletes have now posted 35 consecutive semesters with a GPA above 3.0.  About 79% of student athletes have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Guthrie also told Regents that it was a record-breaking fundraising year for the Phoenix Fund, with $1.2 million raised. He anticipates that the fund is on track to repeat this year.

In other business, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved the election of Jess Lathrop as Executive Director and Corporate Secretary of the Board of Regents;
  • Expressed condolences at the passing of three former colleagues: UW-Stout Chancellor Emeritus Chuck Sorensen; UW-Whitewater Chancellor Emeritus John (Jack) W. Miller; and Bryan Peters, a longtime member of UW System Administration;
  • Approved the collaborative online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration, from UW-La Crosse, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Stout, with support from UW-Extension;
  • Approved the Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting Studies from UW-Milwaukee;
  • Approved the Bachelor of Science in Software Technology from UW-Oshkosh;
  • Approved the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Early Child Care and Education from UW-Whitewater;
  • Approved the Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from UW-Whitewater;
  • Approved the Online Master of Science in Finance from UW-Whitewater;
  • Approved the UW-Parkside Faculty Policies and Procedures relating to Faculty Layoff and Termination;
  • Approved the request from UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee to the Vilas Trust Fund for funding for fiscal year 2018-19 to support student scholarships, student fellowships, academic programs, Vilas Research Professorships, and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee in Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Music, Arts and Humanities;
  • Approved a new UW Trust Funds Investment Policy Statement which reflects changes to the structure, management, and oversight responsibilities resulting from the shift of investment management responsibilities to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for an exception to Board policy that requires non-endowed gifts in excess of $1 million to become Board-designated endowments. UW-Madison seeks to allow expenditure of the full amount of the bequest from the Estate of Barbara A. Tooman to support of a major building addition to the School of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to increase the budget of the Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to increase the budget of the Chemistry Building Addition and Renovation project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to increase the budget of the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Center for Dairy Research Addition project;
  • Approved UW-Superior’s request for authority to pay a municipal assessment to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the City of Superior for street and utility improvements on US Highway 2/Belknap Street;
  • Approved UW System’s request, on behalf of UW-River Falls, for authority to increase the project budget of the UW-River Falls Dairy Plant Remodel project;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct 10 All Agency Maintenance and Repair Projects. The projects include utility repair and renovations at UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, and UW-Platteville and a programmatic renovation at UW-River Falls as well as heating plant fuel reliability upgrades at UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-Stout, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior; and
  • Approved the appointment of Dr. Amy Kind to fill an unexpired term on the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program effective immediately through October 31, 2018.

The next meeting of the UW System Board of Regents will be June 7-8, 2018, hosted by UW-Milwaukee.