MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents will honor winners of the 2008 Academic Staff Awards for Excellence on August 22 in Madison. This is the highest recognition bestowed on members of the UW System’s academic staff.

Recipients of this year’s individual awards are Kathleen Kelly Shanovich, a pediatric nurse practitioner at UW Hospital/Medical School, and Jane M. Spencer, executive director of the UW-La Crosse Alumni Association. The UW-Extension Cooperative Extension Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP), which includes a 150-member staff, will receive the Regents’ program award. This is the first year that programs also have been recognized.

“These winners all embody the hard work, dedication, and ‘out of the box’ thinking of our talented UW System academic staff,” said committee chair Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler. “The Board is pleased to honor a group that helps to strengthen and invigorate not only our UW institutions, but the communities which they serve.”

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 Connolly-Keesler, award committee members included Regents John Drew, Kevin Opgenorth, Brent Smith, José Vásquez, and Betty Womack.

Kelly Shanovich joined the UW Hospital’s pediatric allergy and asthma program in 2002 after working as a nurse practitioner for the Madison Metropolitan School District. She formed the Dane County Asthma Coalition, a program aimed at improving asthma education, prevention, and treatment. Kelly Shanovich also assisted in the development of an emergency department asthma treatment program, an initiative that is being adopted by all four emergency departments in Dane County.

“Kathleen is a talented, creative, and energetic nurse practitioner,” said Dr. James E. Gern, professor of pediatrics. “She has worked to enrich the lives of underserved children with asthma, and to promote optimal care of childhood asthma in Madison and throughout the state.”

Kelly Shanovich received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UW-Milwaukee and her master’s degree in nursing from UW-Madison.

Spencer, a UW-La Crosse graduate, became executive director of that school’s Alumni Association in 1998. She has since worked to quadruple association membership and also has overseen the creation of programs including the Alumni Travel Program and the Alumni Ambassador Program. Spencer has served on several campus committees including the Multicultural Recruitment Committee and the Affirmative Action & Diversity Council.

“Janie Spencer has been integral in the growth and development of the Alumni Association over the past ten years,” said State Representative Jennifer Shilling. “She has worked tirelessly to advance and support both the Alumni Association and the university.”

Spencer earned both her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her master’s degree in professional development from UW-La Crosse.

UW-Extension’s Cooperative Extension Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP) provides nutrition education to low-income individuals and families throughout the life cycle: pregnant women, infants, children, youth and adults (including seniors). The program is made possible through partnerships with federal, state and county governments, as well as with more than 750 local agencies. In 2006-07, the program’s community-based education initiatives reached more than 300,000 people eligible for food stamps.

“The Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program and our academic colleagues who teach in the community make a difference in the lives of families from every racial and ethnic group in Wisconsin,” said Associate Dean/Associate Director of Cooperative Extension Yvonne Roulhac Horton. “Through this program, limited resource families and individuals receive hope and education to help themselves in their time of need in urban, suburban and rural Wisconsin.”

The award recipients will be honored at the Board of Regents meeting on Friday, August 22, in room 1820, Van Hise Hall, on the UW-Madison campus.

Media Contact

David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464