The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has recognized its top faculty and staff members with 2015 Founders Awards for Excellence. The award winners, honored at the annual UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff Convocation Wednesday morning, Aug. 26, are:
Teaching — Associate Prof. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges
Scholarship — Prof. Matt Dornbush
Community Outreach — Prof. John Luczaj
Institutional Development — Associate Prof. Denise Bartell
Academic Support — Mike Kline
Classified Staff — Amanda Wildenberg
Collaborative Achievement — The Digital and Public Humanities Project
Posing in the photo, above, standing from left are Wilson-Doenges, Luczaj, Dornbush and Bartell. Seated are Wildenberg and faculty members representing the Digital Humanities Project, Associate Profs. Chuck Rybak and Caroline Boswell. Not pictured: Mike Kline.
The awards were presented before an audience of more than 400 in the Phoenix Room of the University Union. Made possible by private philanthropic support, the awards program has been an annual fixture at UW-Green Bay since 1975. Honorees are selected by a campuswide committee from among nominations submitted by faculty, staff and others.
Wilson-Doenges, the recipient of the Founder’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, is an associate professor of Human Development and a specialist in environmental psychology and best practices in neighborhood planning and urban design. The award citation credited her with effectively connecting with students, regardless of major, in courses both online and in-person, and bringing energy not only to her classroom but to her work with students on internships, independent studies, and honors projects. One nominator said her enthusiasm for her subject has the ability to make even the statistical concept of standard deviation “riveting.” Wilson-Doenges joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1995 after earning her Ph.D. from the University of California-Irvine.
Dornbush, recipient of the award for scholarship, was recognized for his work as a professor of biology with the Natural and Applied Sciences academic unit. He has made a priority of involving both graduate and undergraduate students in his research projects where possible, and has been successful in winning outside grants to support that research. His primary interests involve the role of native plant restorations in improving ecosystems, including the potential use of native tallgrass for bio-energy purposes, and the restoration of wild rice, bulrush and wild celery stands in the lower bay. Dornbush joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2005 after earning his doctoral degree in ecology at Iowa State University. He recently joined the academic affairs administrative team at UW-Green Bay as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Professional Development and Grants, and Director of Graduate Studies.
The award citation for Geoscience professor Luczaj, a member of the Natural and Applied Sciences faculty, called the Founders Award for Excellence in Community Outreach a perfect fit for a faculty member who is “an asset to UWGB as a researcher, instructor and community ambassador in the field of geology.” An authority on the geology and bedrock of Northeastern Wisconsin and related groundwater issues, Luczaj has provided guidance to technical groups on vital groundwater issues and advised varied stakeholders on aquifer protection strategies. In addition to working with UWGB students, he has connected with the community through geoscience presentations to family and K-12 groups as well as to UWGB Learning in Retirement audiences. He holds a Ph.D. in geology from Johns Hopkins and joined the Green Bay faculty in 2005.
Bartell, honored in the category of Institutional Development, was recognized for her efforts in ensuring the success of new and continuing students and the larger University. Bartell is an associate professor of psychology in the Human Development academic unit. In recent years she has assumed leadership in campuswide efforts to improve student retention and graduation rates, particularly for first-generation students and those who are from under-represented groups or who face special challenges. She is founder and program director for the Phoenix GPS Program, which has identified “high-impact” practices to help students thrive. (The practices include encouraging greater campus involvement, mentoring, effective study skills and active/engaged learning experiences for newcomers.) Bartell joined UW-Green Bay in 2002 after earning her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas.
Kline received the Founders Award for Excellence in Academic Support in recognition of his success in fostering, according to the award citation, “a department culture where academic success, not just completion, is an uncompromising priority.” Kline works in Phoenix Athletics administration as assistant AD of Compliance and Student Welfare. A 1988 graduate of UW-Green Bay, he landed the position of Phoenix cross-country coach while still a student-athlete in 1987. In 1999 he accepted additional duties as academics coordinator for all Phoenix teams. In the years since, the program has posted at least 31 consecutive semesters of cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or better, had a series of all-league and even all-America academic honorees, and had individual teams rank among the best in America in terms of academic performance. Nominators described Kline as “dedicated” “tireless” and “passionate” about encouraging academic and career success.
Wildenberg, recipient of the Founder’s Award for University Staff , is a university services associate in the Dean of Students Office. Nominators praised her customer-service orientation, good humor and cool under pressure in interacting with a clientele as varied and diverse as the University itself — students, parents, faculty, staff, senior administrators and others. She takes a lead role in coordinating a major, Universitywide program that serves almost a thousand new students and their families annually. The award citation also mentioned her technological skills, involvement in staff governance and efforts to “make UW-Green Bay a better place to work.” Wildenberg, who earned her bachelor’s at UW-Milwaukee, joined the UW-Green Bay staff in 2008.
The Digital and Public Humanities Project, led by Associate Profs. Chuck Rybak and Caroline Boswell of the Humanistic Studies faculty, earned the Founders Award in the category of Collaborative Achievement. The project, which began with creation of a “digital commons” at UW-Green Bay, relies on modern technology to greatly expand opportunity for sharing the humanities — ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, history and the visual and performing arts — rather than distract from, or diminish interest, as some might expect in what is often characterized as an age of shortened attention spans. One nominator wrote of Rybak and Boswell, “by bringing students into this field (they have) opened new doors that will lead not only to new employment opportunities, but new ways to engage in lifelong interdisciplinary learning.” The project is credited with helping students avail themselves of new digital technologies, advance their skill sets and also make the field more accessible to the public at large. Boswell, a historian, joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2008 after earning her Ph.D. at Brown University. Rybak, a professor of English and creative writing, is a widely published poet who received his Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati.