UW-Green Bay announces Founders Association Awards for Excellence

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay today (Wednesday, Aug. 26) announced the recipients of the 2009 Founders Association Awards for Excellence.

2009 Founders Association Awards recipients

The awards for excellence and their recipients are (photo above, from left):
Teaching — Prof. Derek Jeffreys; Scholarship — Prof. Kim Nielsen; Community Outreach — Prof. Andrew Kersten; Institutional Development — Prof. Brian Sutton; Academic Support — Mike Schmitt; Classified Staff — Carol Brabant; and Collaborative Achievement — the award-winning theatre production The Balkan Women. Representing the collaboration, above, are Prof. Kaoime Malloy, Corey Pinchart, Prof. Laura Riddle (with plaque), guest director Carmen Roman and Prof. Jeff Entwistle.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas Harden, Founders Association Vice President Scott Wochos and awards committee chairman Prof. Michael Hencheck presented the awards before an audience of approximately 500 at the annual UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff Convocation at the University Union. The Founders Association, a philanthropic organization, began the awards program in 1975.

Jeffreys, recipient of the teaching award, is an associate professor of Humanistic Studies who teaches courses in philosophy and religious studies. Fellow faculty members — and students, as well — express admiration that each of his courses requires several substantive analytical papers; while in the classroom, he engages the students directly, encouraging them to wrestle with important issues and ideas on a personal level. The citation noted that students consistently describe his courses using phrases such as “the most important I have taken during my undergraduate career,” or “the most though-provoking experience I have encountered.” Jeffreys, the author of a recent, critically acclaimed book on the ethics of torture, and a previous book on Pope John Paul II and his philosophy of human dignity, joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 2000.

Nielsen, a historian and professor with the Social Change and Development academic unit, is also a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty. Her Founders Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship recognizes her prolific output as a respected scholar and award-winning author. The citation noted that reviewers of her books have described her scholarship as “stunning,” “fascinating and beautifully crafted” and filled with “extensive research and sophisticated analysis.” She has gained attention for her books examining the lives of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan Macy, and topics related to women, feminism and activism. Nielsen has been a faculty member at UW-Green Bay since 1999.

Kersten, a historian and professor with the Social Change and Development academic unit, is a three-time Founders Award recipient, having earned recognition for outstanding teaching in 2007 and excellence in scholarship in 2008. This year’s recognition for community outreach reflects, among other things, his own participation and that of his students in developing exhibits and educational programs for both the National Railroad Museum and the Neville Museum. He has also collaborated widely with local historians and educators on continuing-education programs and the enhancement of K-12 learning including the Northeastern Wisconsin Teaching American History Program. Kersten has been a member of the UW-Green Bay faculty since 1997.

The recipient of the Founders Award for institutional development, Sutton, is recognized for his service across a wide array of University initiatives and campus governance groups. He is an associate professor of Humanistic Studies who has guided the growth of the English-composition program and its Writing Center, serving thousands of students. He has served as chairman of the University’s General Education Council and also its Committee on Awards and Recognition, as a member of additional committees and working groups, and as an elected representative to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Senate. This fall he begins a one-year term as chairman of the Senate’s executive arm, the University Committee, and the concurrent role as speaker of the Senate. Sutton began his faculty career at UW-Green Bay in 1992.

Schmitt is a senior media specialist for the University, working in the Office of Telecommunications/Engineering and Media Services. Colleagues praise him for the way his technical and audio-visual expertise contributes to student learning. The citation said “he has a willingness to go above and beyond what is required to meet the needs of any student, faculty or staff member.” His contributions range from daily work assisting with instructional technology in the classroom, to running sound and video for all major University events, to instructing student workers, interns and classes in video and audio production. Schmitt joined UW-Green Bay in 1990.

Brabant, this year’s recipient of the classified staff award for excellence, is an academic department associate in the Education unit. The citation praised her excellence and professionalism in providing office support to the faculty, staff and students of one of the most heavily enrolled academic units on campus. Colleagues who nominated Brabant for the award mentioned her “infectious positive attitude” and her effectiveness as a front-line ambassador for the program. She began her UW-Green Bay career in 1982, and worked two decades in the Registrar’s Office before transferring to Education in 2002.

The award for collaborative achievement honors The Balkan Women. In keeping with the 2008-09 campus common theme, “Waging War, Waging Peace,” the UW-Green Bay Theatre program selected the Jules Tasca’s play, The Balkan Women, as one of its productions for last year’s mainstage season. In addition to the UW-Green Bay collaborators including members of the theatre, music, and psychology disciplines, the production enlisted the expertise of a nationally known guest director, Carmen Roman; a guest fight choreographer; the playwright, Jules Tasca, himself; and a Wisconsin resident, Ann Swenson, whose family escaped the Balkan region as civil war and ethnic cleansing overtook the former Yugoslavia. In fall 2008, the combined contributions of all involved led to one of the most emotionally powerful and successful on-campus runs for a University production, and an invited performance at the regional American College Theater Festival.

Recipients of the Founders Association Awards for Excellence are chosen by a committee of UW-Green Bay faculty and staff from responses to a call for nominations.

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