UW-Green Bay honors faculty, staff standouts with 2013 Founders Awards

UW-Green Bay 2013 Founders Awards recipientsThe University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has recognized its top faculty and staff members with 2013 Founders Association Awards for Excellence. The award winners, honored at the annual UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff Convocation Wednesday morning, Aug. 28, are:

Teaching — Associate Prof. Stefan Hall

Scholarship — Prof. Michael Draney
Community Outreach — Associate Prof. Cristina Ortiz
Institutional Development — Associate Prof. Scott Ashmann

Academic Support — Elaina Koltz

Classified Staff — Jim Fonder

Collaborative Achievement — Environmental Management and Business Institute

Posing in the photo, above, from left, are: Scott Ashmann, Jim Fonder, John Katers (representing EMBI), Cristina Ortiz, Stefan Hall, Elaina Koltz, and Michael Draney.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden, Founders Association President Rob Cera and awards committee chairperson Caroline Boswell, an assistant professor of Humanistic Studies, presented the awards before an audience of about 500 at the annual fall Convocation event, held at the University Union. The Founders Association, a philanthropic organization, began the awards program in 1975.

Hall, the recipient of the Founder’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, is an associate professor of Humanistic Studies who teaches courses in ancient and medieval studies. His award citation praised his ability to inspire student enthusiasm for a subject he himself notes can seem “alien and a bit stuffy.” His students and colleagues say he stresses the relationship between characters to engage his students in thought-provoking discussions, and he is able to make older, foreign styles of literature intensely relevant to current-day students regardless of their major. Knowledgeable in Old Norse and Latin, he has made himself available to lead independent-study courses for advanced students desiring instruction in those languages. In his spare time, Hall has mastered jazz guitar – a skill he shares with students as an adjunct music instructor.

Hall holds a bachelor’s in English from Austin Peay State University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in English from St. Louis University. He joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2002.

Draney, recipient of the award for scholarship, or research, is a professor of Natural and Applied Sciences and one of the nation’s foremost experts in the study of arachnids. Known affectionately as UW-Green Bay’s “Spider Man,” Draney has published widely, earned multiple research grants and frequently consulted for professional and community organizations, including Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. He is generally regarded as the “go-to” authority on one of the most diverse spider families, the sheet-web spiders (linyphiidae). He co-authored the first identification key to the 150 or more genera of linyphiid spiders in North America. In 2012 he hosted the annual American Arachnological Society at UW-Green Bay. His award citation praised his commitment to interdisciplinary study and to involving students in high-level research.

A member of the UW-Green Bay faculty since 1999, Draney teaches Biology and Environmental Science courses and is a member of the graduate faculty of the Environmental Science and Policy program. Since 2007, he has conducted spider research in Panama and Costa Rica, and has led field biology travel courses there. He received his bachelor’s in biology from New Mexico State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Georgia.

Ortiz, recipient of the Founders’ Award for Community Outreach, was honored for “the countless outreach programs and learning experiences she has created … for our campus, the surrounding area and beyond … for entrepreneurs, public schools, and cultural organizations in Northeast Wisconsin.” Ortiz is founder and director of the successful community-oriented Spanish in the Professions program at UW-Green Bay, and she helped develop the Spanish Immersion Camp for high school students. She frequently leads public discussions of literature, film, and Spanish or Latina culture at education and cultural events across the region. Her award citation also mentioned her efforts to build partnerships and connect campus and community to people and institutions in Guatemala, Spain, Mexico and, most recently, Chile.

Ortiz is an associate professor of Spanish in the Humanistic Studies academic unit. She joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1993. She completed her undergraduate studies in her native Spain and came to the United States in 1987 to further her education with master’s and doctoral degrees in Latin American and Spanish Literature from the University of Cincinnati.

The citation honoring Ashmann for excellence in institutional development noted his commitment to his department, the University, the community and his profession. He earned compliments for his leadership contributions to his unit, the Professional Program in Education, including integral curricular changes that have enhanced UW-Green Bay’s well-regarded teacher preparation program. To advance the importance of his research and expertise in the area of science education, he has promoted initiatives including the Einstein Project, continuing education for K-12 science teachers, and the environmentally driven kindergarten to be located at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

An associate professor of Education, Ashmann joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2003. He earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in curriculum, teaching and educational policy with an emphasis in science education. His bachelor’s degree is from UW-Green Bay, where he majored in Chemistry and Education with a minor in Science and Environmental Change.

Koltz, who received the award for academic support, is a student financial aid adviser and veterans benefit coordinator for the University. She certifies benefits for more than 400 veteran students and their dependents — UW-Green Bay is near the top among state universities in its percentage of military veterans — and provides ongoing advice and guidance over the course of their college careers. The citation noted that Koltz is regarded as a key resource by students, her peers, and federal and state veterans officials. G.I. Jobs Magazine places UW-Green Bay among the most veteran-friendly campuses in the nation. Beyond working with veterans, Koltz also assists other students and has helped with financial aid workshops and presentations to prospective students and their families.

Koltz joined the UW-Green Bay Financial Aid Office in February 1999. She had previously served five years in the U.S. Army as a military administrative assistant to the commander in chief of the U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army. She earned her bachelor’s in Psychology and Human Development at UW-Green Bay.

The honoree in the category of Classified Staff Support, Fonder, oversees custodial care of what is likely the institution’s busiest building, the University Union, with thousands of visitors per day. Colleagues describe Fonder as a motivated, detail-oriented individual who works well with students, staff and faculty. He also wins praise for his commitment to sustainability and cost-effective service. He researched energy-efficient blow dryers to cut down on paper usage, and pushed for new, more efficient soap dispensers and tissue holders.

Fonder, custodial supervisor for the Union, also assists in general maintenance and repair projects throughout the facility. He joined the UW-Green Bay staff a decade ago after working previously in the office furniture and supply business.

The Environmental Management and Business Institute earned the 2013 Founders Award for Excellence in Collaborative Achievement for embodying the University’s ongoing commitment to its environmental roots. Commonly referred to as EMBI, the program connects campus and community by encouraging thoughtful analysis of environmental problems and solutions that are practical and cost-effective. The program advises businesses and agencies on improving their sustainable practices, which creates opportunities for students to gain insight into business issues while simultaneously exploring best practices in environmental policy. EMBI hosts a major annual conference, “Green Innovations,” held each April during Earth Week.

Faculty and staff members from across campus contribute to the Institute’s success, led by individuals from key academic units including Natural and Applied Sciences, Public and Environmental Affairs, and Business Administration.