MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Awards for Excellence July 15 in Madison. This is the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.

The 2011 recipients, including two individuals and one program, are:

  • Joseph Abhold, Director of Counseling Center, UW-Oshkosh. Since joining the UW-Oshkosh staff in 1999, Abhold has played a significant role in campus-wide student success and retention activities, including the use of assessments to help identify high-risk students. In addition to the Counseling Center, Dr. Abhold oversees the University Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) program, Campus Violence Prevention and Advocacy Program, and is co-chair of the UW-Oshkosh Students-at-Risk Response Team. Abhold chaired a recent UW System-wide Mental Health Task Force that was responsible for modifying Regents’ mental health policies to better meet the needs of students. Last year, the Counseling Center provided 289 outreach and training programs for more than 9,200 people on campus. It also provided over 4,100 therapy hours. A colleague describes Abhold as “one of the most ardent advocates for students that I know.”
  • Alfonso Gutierrez, Director of the UW Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Lab and Director of Research and Education for the UW E-Business Consortium, UW-Madison. Over the past nine years, Gutierrez’ leadership and critical research support for several innovative multidisciplinary university-industry partnerships have placed the College of Engineering and the campus in the international spotlight and garnered recognition for UW-Madison as a preeminent center for thought leadership in the radio frequency identification field. Gutierrez helped establish the UW RFID lab, a state-of-the-art facility for research, development, and technology transfer of radio frequency identification. Putting the Wisconsin Idea into practice, the lab’s projects have impacted areas as diverse as blood transfusion to parking ramp access. As Director for Research and Education of the UW E-Business Consortium, which includes about 70 leading Wisconsin companies, Gutierrez helped to develop and implement offerings such as industry peer groups to foster collaborative learning among members and the sharing of best practices. He is also known for his dedicated mentoring of students.
  • The Dictionary of American Regional English project, UW-Madison. For more than 50 years, UW-Madison’s Department of English has worked on what The New York Times has described as “one of the glories of contemporary American scholarship.” The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) captures the unique words, pronunciations, and phrases from around the United States. DARE’s academic staff members, who comprise the dictionary’s editorial staff, have done the background research and written the text for more than 50,000 entries. While DARE was originally intended as a record of American English dialects for the use of linguists, librarians, teachers, writers, historians and journalists, it has also become an important resource for doctors, lawyers, police officers, natural scientists, actors, and others. The fifth and final volume of the dictionary will be published this year. The project’s editorial staff, currently led by Chief Editor Joan Houston Hall, is said to personify the University’s mission of promoting research, advancing learning, and amplifying the Wisconsin Idea.

“We are honored to recognize this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards,” said Regent John Drew, chair of the Regents’ award selection committee. “These winners are a tribute to the outstanding effort, creativity, and all-around dedication of UW System academic staff members who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty to help our students succeed and our Wisconsin communities become stronger.”

Each winner receives a $5,000 award for professional development to enhance their program or function. Academic staff members and programs from each of the 15 UW institutions were nominated for this year’s awards. In addition to Drew, award committee members included Regent Stan Davis, Regent Brent Smith, Regent José Vásquez, and Regent Betty Womack.

Media Contacts

Dennis Chaptman UW-Madison (608) 263-1986
David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464
Alex Hummel UW System (608) 262-4463