MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Awards for Excellence at its regular board meeting April 8 in Green Bay. This is the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.

“This year’s award winners represent the outstanding commitment of academic staff across the UW System,” said Regent Janice Mueller, chair of the selection committee. “We are honored to recognize the many ways that they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help our students succeed and our Wisconsin communities become stronger.”

The 2016 recipients, including two individuals and one program, are:

  • Linnea Burk, Clinical Associate Professor, Director, Psychology Research and Training Clinic, UW-Madison. Burk began her service at UW-Madison in 2009 as a clinical assistant professor, while also assuming the position of director of the psychology clinic. Knowing that a well-functioning clinic is critical to the strength and national standing of a clinical psychology PhD program, Burk has worked to enhance the educational and outreach capacity of the clinic. She is at the forefront of new clinical projects that support students, campus researchers, and the community. She manages staff, provides clinical support for clients, trains graduate students from the Department of Psychology’s program and other campus professional programs, and maintains the physical, fiscal, educational, and legal infrastructure of this community-oriented mental health clinic. The clinic employs a sliding scale fee that places services within reach of community members, regardless of income level. Through supervised practicum opportunities, students trained by Burk provide free services to agencies, including Madison and Milwaukee hospitals, as well as community mental health centers that service low-income areas. Under her leadership, the fiscal health of the self-sustaining clinic is at an all-time high. Burk’s development of yearly continuing education workshops meets an important outreach service to psychologists in the community who need to obtain continuing education as part of their licensure requirements. These workshops also connect clinical students with area psychologists, fostering additional training and mentoring opportunities. Burk maintains an active role in student mentoring committees, national program accreditation, curriculum development, and research involvement.
  • Michael Martin, Senior Advisor/Administrative Specialist, College of Education and Professional Studies, UW-River Falls. Martin joined UW-River Falls in 1997 as an advisor in the College of Education and Graduate Studies. Over the years, his role and responsibilities have grown significantly. Martin is the official advisor to about 300 elementary education majors; the university’s teacher certification officer handling documentation for 500 educator licenses annually; and the reviewer for inquiries from currently licensed teachers who are interested in adding additional fields of licensing. He prepares Title II reports on the quality of teacher preparation and state requirements and assessments for initial credentials. He also serves as a recruiter for the school. Four years ago, he initiated a living-learning community called TEACH for incoming freshmen, which draws interest from about twice as many students as the program can accommodate. The retention rate of program participants is higher than those of peers. He developed a first-year seminar class for elementary education majors that he teaches. He has authored advising materials for students in the Educator Preparation Program, such as degree planning worksheets, handbooks, and licensing exam resources. He chairs the Admission to the Educator Preparation Program Committee and serves as a UW System Academic Staff Representative. He is active in both the Wisconsin Academic Advising Association and the National Academic Advising Association. Martin regularly works with faculty members to mentor, prepare, and support candidates to teaching positions in the K-12 system so that schools hire highly prepared teaching professionals.
  • David A. Cofrin Library, UW-Green Bay. Under the leadership of Director Paula Ganyard, the Cofrin Library serves as a central part of the academic and student life of UW-Green Bay. The library and its staff have created successful partnerships with other university departments, including Adult Degree, Student Life, FOCUS (the first-year experience program), Phuture Phoenix, and more. The results have been innovative and user-friendly services to better meet the needs of students. One example is an informal open house called “Bash in the Stacks” designed to connect students and the campus community with the wealth of resources available at the library. The event has become a campus tradition, attracting more than 700 students last fall. Using a marketing plan created by a marketing intern, the Cofrin Library adopted the tagline “Your Guide to Answers.” The marketing efforts have paid off with higher gate counts, increases in interlibrary loan usage, and an increase in reference interactions. In its quest to meet the teaching, research, and scholarship needs of faculty, the library hosts the bi-annual UW-Green Bay Author and Artist Event. The most recent event recognized more than 50 faculty and staff and featured 150 publications and art installations. The library also partners with the wider Green Bay community and serves as the regional host for the National History Day with more than 400 local high school students visiting each year. The library secured a generous donation to start the Robert L. Ganyard Library Endowment, which tripled in the first year and will allow the library to have available funds for future projects not funded by state dollars. In 2012, the Cofrin Library was selected as the Wisconsin Library of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association.

Other award committee members included Regent Mark Bradley, Regent Edmund Manydeeds, and Regent Mark Tyler.

The Regents Academic Staff Awards for Excellence will be officially presented at the Board of Regents meeting on April 8 at UW-Green Bay. The monetary value of the award is $5,000 for each recipient.

Media Contacts

Alex Hummel UW System (608) 262-4463
John Lucas UW-Madison (608) 262-8287
Beth Schommer UW-River Falls (715) 425-0662
Janet Bonkowski UW-Green Bay (920) 465-2527