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UW-Green Bay faculty and staff standouts honored with 2014 Founders Awards

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The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has recognized its top faculty and staff members with 2014 Founders Association Awards for Excellence. The award winners, honored at the annual UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff Convocation Wednesday morning, Aug. 27, are:

Teaching — Associate Prof. Sylvia “Mimi” Kubsch
Scholarship — Associate Prof. Amy Wolf
Community Outreach — Prof. Illene Cupit
Institutional Development — Senior Lecturer Don McCartney
Academic Support — Mark Olkowski
Classified Staff — Cheryl Pieper
Collaborative Achievement — Cuernavaca (Mexico) Partnership Team

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller, incoming Founders Association President Anita Resch and awards committee chairperson Lidia Nonn presented the awards before an audience of more than 500 in the Phoenix Room of the University Union. The Founders Association, a community-based philanthropic organization, began its support of the awards program in 1975, and the presentations have been part of the fall-semester kickoff event ever since.

Kubsch, the recipient of the Founder’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, is an associate professor of Nursing who has taught a variety of courses since joining the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1980, when she helped develop the program’s initial curriculum. She has led her students in exploring topics related to nursing research, advanced health assessments, theoretical foundations of nursing, and complementary therapies. The awards citation noted “she is well known for meaningful, engaging interactions with students, whether in ‘face-to-face’ or ‘virtual’ classrooms,” and that she helps them navigate their multiple, complex roles as care providers, researchers, advocates, learners and teachers.

Kubsch won praise for emphasizing quality teaching and adopting best practices regardless of delivery method. UW-Green Bay’s degree-completion program allows registered nurses with two- or three-year diplomas to obtain additional education and their bachelor’s degrees. From its start three decades ago with on-campus offerings, the Professional Program in Nursing has expanded via online delivery to attract significant statewide and national enrollment. Nursing is now one of UW-Green Bay’s half dozen largest majors, with about 100 graduates per year. Kubsch holds a Ph.D. from UW-Milwaukee, a master’s from UCLA and a bachelor’s in nursing from Cal State-Long Beach.

Wolf, recipient of the award for scholarship, or research, is a biologist and associate professor of Natural and Applied Sciences. Her studies of plant-animal interactions, of native bee populations, and of forest dynamics in Northern Wisconsin are highly regarded. Her work has earned grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Smithsonian, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. The awards citation said Wolf stands out “for obtaining numerous grants, for the quality and quantity of her collaborative research, and for involving both undergraduate and graduate students in nearly all of her projects.”

A member of the UW-Green Bay faculty since 2005, Wolf earned tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2009. She holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, and received both her bachelor’s in Biology and master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from UW-Green Bay.

Cupit, recipient of the Founders’ Award for Community Outreach, was honored for being “a dedicated educator whose research interests, passion for learning and caring nature have built bridges to the community.” In particular, the award singled out her tireless efforts in establishing and developing Camp Lloyd, the week-long summer camp at UW-Green Bay for children who have suffered the death of a family member.

Cupit is a professor in the Human Development academic area who has taught courses in Psychology and Women’s Studies and specialized in cognitive development, infancy and early childhood, and death, dying and grieving. She organized the first Camp Lloyd in 2006 and named it for a family member who had to deal with the death of his father at a very young age. She envisioned the experience as a typical, fun summer camp, but one that provides a place for participating children to discover that there are other kids like them, and to learn that grieving is natural. The UW-Green Bay students who staff the camp — undergrads and advanced students completing field work in counseling or therapy — gain professional-level experience. Cupit, who holds a Ph.D. from Temple University, joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1984.

In McCartney, the selection committee presented the Award for Excellence in Institutional Development to a longtime faculty member in business and marketing who “in terms of his commitment to UW-Green Bay,” the citation read, “bleeds green and white.”

The awards committee praised McCartney’s dedication to serving students — teaching at least 12,000 since joining the University in 1983, and his efforts as an academic adviser and counselor for students, and friend and colleague to graduates. “(He) always makes time to assist students, or to embrace yet another project.” Over the years he has volunteered his time and expertise to numerous institutional and community marketing campaigns and committees, feasibility studies and economic impact assessments. Colleagues note his work has contributed to the continuing growth of the marketing track and the larger Business Administration major, and he was a key figure in the launch of school’s Master’s of Management program. McCartney is a senior lecturer of marketing and the assistant chairperson of the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business. He holds degrees from Indiana University and UW-Oshkosh. The 2014 award for McCartney is his second; he earned recognition in the category of Community Outreach in 2002.

Olkowski holds the title of judicial affairs coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students. In presenting the Award for Excellence in Academic Support, the committee described him as “an unsung hero on campus… a troubleshooter with a positive attitude… a cool-and-collected problem solver.”

Olkowski typically serves as the University’s point person in resolving issues with students who are struggling academically or personally. His caseload can involve those who are causing disruptions, experiencing legal jeopardy, or struggling with serious illness, personal problems or even homelessness. While disciplinary sanctions or even expulsion are possible, the citation notes, Olkowski often succeeds in bringing the student and institution together on a corrective course of action that is in the best interests of all involved. Olkowski joined the Dean of Students staff in 2001. He earned his bachelor’s at UW-Stevens Point and his master’s from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Pieper, recipient of the Founders Association Classified Staff Award for Excellence, is a financial specialist in the Office of the Controller. She earned praise for her diligence, expertise and patience in serving employees across campus in her current role as the institution’s travel-expense specialist. “She helps make sure institutional dollars are expended in the most effective fashion to obtain the best possible service,” the citation said, “yet she does so with common sense and a personal touch that make the ‘red tape’ seem a little less restrictive.” Pieper joined the University staff in 1988 and worked for the Phoenix Bookstore, the Bursar’s Office and Purchasing before moving to the Controller’s Office in 2009.

The Cuernavaca Partnership was recognized in the category of Collaborative Achievement for embodying both the global and the interdisciplinary, across-departments aspects of a UW-Green Bay education.

The University’s relationship with educators, officials and citizens of Cuernavaca, Mexico gained traction with efforts by Profs. Steven Kimball and Aurora Cortes to have some of their UW-Green Bay Education students fulfill their student-teaching requirements at the Discovery School of Cuernavaca. The students tutor elementary school children in English, and live with local families during the course of their stay.

Their success encouraged other academic units at UW-Green Bay — Business Administration, Nursing and Social Work among them — to explore similar placements. “Students from across campus are learning the value of “cultural competence,” the citation read. “Our students live, work and study in Cuernavaca as they train to become Green Bay’s future teachers, nurses, business professionals and social workers. They learn how another culture balances school and family time… how business negotiations are conducted… how local hospitals and shelters are run… how individuals and society deal with poverty and basic services.”

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