MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Awards for Excellence June 7 in Milwaukee. This is the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.

The 2012 recipients, including two individuals and one program, are:

  • Denise Ehlen, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, UW-Whitewater.Since joining the university in 1992 as a member of the support staff in New Student Programs, Ehlen progressively moved up through the ranks to her current position. With her leadership over the last decade, the amount of extramural funding acquired by UW-Whitewater has grown from an average of $1.5 million annually to more than $6 million annually. Ehlen also has been responsible for a number of key institutional initiatives related to outreach and economic development. Last December, she led UW-Whitewater’s efforts to get a $6-million federal grant to fund an initiative that unites economic development and small business development centers within the university with more than 30 regional organizations and institutions. Because of her efforts, students have had unique opportunities to become actively involved in research and business. A colleague has called Ehlen’s efforts and contributions “pivotal in transforming the campus.”
  • Donna Weber, Director of Human Resources, UW-Eau Claire. A member of the UW System for 32 years, Weber became the HR Director at UW-Eau Claire in 2001. Her in-depth knowledge of legislative and program changes in recent years, along with her ability to communicate clearly about complicated issues, have made her a trusted resource for employees at UW-Eau Claire. Former Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich called her “a trusted, calm force.” Weber has also been involved in the formation of UW-Eau Claire’s Classified Staff Council, which significantly raised the profile of classified staff on campus. The UW System has benefited from Weber’s experience and expertise also, through her involvement in the Talent Acquisition Management Team, the University Personnel System Steering Committee, and the implementation of the new Human Resource System. Weber is well known on campus for her commitment and compassion, and for keeping the “human” in human resources.
  • The UW-Platteville Writing Center. Under the leadership of Evelyn Martens, Director of Writing and Tutoring Resources, and Coordinator Russ Brickey, the UW-Platteville Writing Center helps students become more confident, effective writers, a skill highly sought by 21st-century employers. In 2010, more than 1,400 students took part in sessions offered by the Writing Center — almost four times more than in 2003, when Martens first joined the Center. Along with offering one-on-one writing sessions for students, the Center also assists faculty in developing or revising courses across the curriculum to include more writing. It has broadened campus outreach efforts to underrepresented or underserved populations, and offers presentations to faculty and students on subjects like effective library research or avoiding plagiarism. The Writing Center staff and tutors also help produce “Stylus: An Anthology of Freshman Writing,” a unique publication that highlights students’ writing from the required composition classes.

“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. “By regularly going the extra mile to help students succeed and to make our Wisconsin communities stronger, they are a tribute to the high caliber and commitment of our academic staff systemwide.”

Winners receive a $5,000 award for professional development to enhance their program or function. Academic staff members and programs from each of the UW institutions were nominated for this year’s awards. In addition to Drew, award committee members included Regent Brent Smith and Regent Mark Tyler.

Media Contacts

Sara Kuhl UW-Whitewater (262) 472-1194
Paul Erickson UW-Platteville (608) 342-1194
Michael Rindo UW-Eau Claire 715-836-4742
David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464