MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor two professors and one academic department/program for their outstanding career achievements in teaching, when they bestow the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and academic staff on June 10.
The 2011 recipients of the 19th annual Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:
- Craig Berg, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, UW-Milwaukee.
Dr. Berg, who joined the UWM faculty in 1989, says he “exists to teach and help create exemplary science teachers.” He is the developer and director of the rigorous and highly respected Milwaukee Area Collaborative Science Teacher Education Program (MACSTEP). In an effort to have a positive impact on the lives of urban children and improve their chances of being successful in post-secondary school, Berg has spent thousands of hours of professional development contact time with teachers in Milwaukee public schools and surrounding districts. A recipient of the 2007 Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers Excellence Awards, Berg has developed approximately 60 new courses for UWM’s Curriculum and Instruction department, and initiated a complete revamping of how the department assesses its own teaching. Berg regularly collaborates across campus with other departments, crafting and submitting teaching improvement grants. In reviews, students frequently cite Berg’s innovative and effective teaching style, as well as his infectious enthusiasm.
- Regan A.R. Gurung, the Ben J. & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology, UW-Green Bay. An award-winning professor of psychology, Dr. Gurung has been a member of the UWGB faculty for 11 years. His teaching philosophy revolves around having flexible pedagogy, developing quality student-teacher interactions, and being excited about both the craft and subject of teaching. Gurung is at the forefront of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) research on campus, and he co-directs the university’s Teaching Scholars program, which works with newer and tenured faculty in a year-long program to improve teaching. He has published extensively, including a major text, “Health Psychology: A Cultural Approach.” Gurung has also served on the UW System Office of Professional and Instructional Development Executive Committee, working to improve teaching across the System. He is also the 2011 president of the National Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Gurung is a past winner of both the UW-Green Bay Founders’ Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Excellence in Scholarship. In 2009, he was named the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In Gurung’s nomination materials, a colleague notes, “Students gush about how much they learn in his classes and how that learning changes their lives.”
- The Professional Program in Education, UW-Green Bay. Firmly grounded in the campus-wide commitment to “connecting learning to life,” the Professional Program in Education focuses on an interdisciplinary, problem-focused education and the interchange of ideas and strategies between the university and the community. The program, chaired by Dr. Timothy Kaufman, provides prospective teachers with an opportunity to work in a variety of educational settings throughout their program of study. These school-based experiences include work with various ethnic, cultural, and economic groups, and children with exceptional educational needs. In addition, the work with practicing teachers at the graduate level, especially those teaching “at risk” and disadvantaged children, have directly impacted the lives of countless students in K-12 settings throughout Northeast Wisconsin. These relationships have also resulted in a very high placement rate for initial educators – nearly 50% of student teachers last spring had secured full-time contracts by the fall. Among the department’s initiatives is the nationally recognized “Phuture Phoenix” mentoring program, which encourages at-risk youngsters to graduate from high school and pursue a college education. The Phuture Phoenix program has received numerous awards, including recognition as a Wisconsin Program of Distinction by the Department of Public Instruction.
Selecting the winners was a challenging but rewarding task, given the pool of exceptionally strong nominees, said Regent Betty Womack, chair of the selection committee.
“My fellow committee members and I were deeply inspired by the creative energy and passion for their craft that these gifted teachers share with their students, their colleagues, the campus community, and beyond,” Womack said. “We are thrilled with the depth and breadth of talent found at our campuses, as reflected in this year’s winners.”
Others on the selection committee were Regent Jeffrey Bartell, Regent John Drew, and Regent Ed Manydeeds.
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.
“These outstanding educators demonstrate extraordinary dedication and innovation in their teaching, and they serve as exemplary role models for their colleagues and students,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “Our students are fortunate to have faculty and staff of this caliber. I’m pleased that we are recognizing and honoring them with these Regents’ awards.”
The Regents Teaching Excellence Awards will be officially presented at the Board of Regents meeting on June 10 in Milwaukee. Each recipient will receive a $5,000 stipend to be used for professional development.