At UW-Green Bay Fall Convocation, August 25, 2021, a number of faculty and staff were honored with Founders Awards—the highest honor presented by their peers. Additionally, College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dean John Katers presented Professor and Chair of the Richard School of Engineering, Patricia Terry, with the first Wisconsin Public Service Professorship in Engineering.
Receiving Founders Awards:
- Amy Ibuaka, University Staff Award for Excellence
- Kate Farley, Academic Support for Excellence
- Kevin Kain, Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship
- Brian Merkel, Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching
- Joy Ruzek, University Award for Excellence in Community Outreach
- Lisa Poupart University Award for Excellence in Institutional Development
- Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning, University Award for Excellence in Collaborative Achievement
The following were citations read for each individual:
The recipient of the Academic Support Award for Excellence is known for being creative, thoughtful, and positive when it comes to solving both small problems and large. Her nominators noted that she “excels at collaboration,” regularly working with faculty and staff from many different departments throughout the university, and wrote that “if you surveyed courses with the most creative digital assignments on our campus, you would see her name associated with many of them.” Since being hired as a recent UW-Green Bay graduate, she has pushed forward many great new initiatives, including Phoenix Studios (the UW-Green Bay Podcast Network), the adoption of ePortfolios, “Domain of One’s Own,” the Virtual Psychology Museum, UW-Green Bay’s 2017-2018 “Becoming a Student-Ready University” initiative, and our current Open Educational Resource strategic initiative. This year’s recipient of the Academic Support Award for Excellence is Kate Farley.
The letter of nomination for our recipient of the University Staff Award for Excellence began by saying, it “was a fortuitous day for everyone in the college” when this nominee joined the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Colleagues enthusiastically described her work ethic, patience, thoughtfulness, and ability to communicate. She holds a great amount of institutional knowledge and is the go-to person for questions on a wide range of topics. She has a great ability to anticipate issues that might arise, and find solutions for them. Her nominators noted that these qualities were especially valuable as CSET integrated many new faculty members from Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan, established the Resch School of Engineering, and opened the STEM Innovation Center. They believe that her effort shows she is incredibly deserving of this award. This year’s recipient of the University Staff Award for Excellence is Amy Ibuaka.
The recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship has gained national and international recognition as a top scholar in his field of study. He has written over 20 articles and book chapters in his two-decade career, which his nominator wanted to point out, are “not just brief 2 or 3 page notes on a topic, but rather are 30, 40, or 50-page sustained, in-depth explorations of their subject that advance original arguments amply supported by primary documents, and that thoroughly review and engage with existing scholarship.” He has shown his passion for his field by doing this while holding the position of lecturer with a 27-credit teaching load. He has recently edited a two-volume series on Early Modern Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and is beginning a multi-year $1.45 million dollar grant project with an international research team, funded by the European Research Council, where he will conduct “archival research on the religious reforms and on the conception of ‘New Jerusalem’ in seventeenth-century Russia,” a subject that you may recognize is not always easy to study from Green Bay, Wisconsin. This year’s recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship is Kevin Kain.
The recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching is recognized for his outstanding teaching all the way from high school students in summer programs at UW-Green Bay, through general education courses, upper level courses in the major, as an internship and undergraduate research supervisor, right through to graduate-level courses. Students have especially noted his enthusiasm for the topics he is teaching, and his ability to draw students into what can be challenging material. Students also greatly appreciate his mentorship abilities, as one alumnus stated, “[This professor] has proven that mentoring students does not end at the completion of the class or upon graduation, as he continues to actively work with students to help them succeed in their careers.” In fact, I can say that this person has also taught me—and many of the people in this room or watching online today—with his COVID-19: Why It Matters to You video series. This year’s recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching is Brian Merkel.
The recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Community Outreach has led countless projects that expand the educational reach of our university across our 16-county footprint, and beyond. Her nominators noted her commitment to education for all, and her ability to build partnerships and collaborate. Her leadership has resulted in the launch of many new initiatives, and as one letter of support stated, “her humility in doing so sets an example to everyone of what community collaboration truly means.” She has led the development of the Wisconsin Caregiver Academy for professionals in the assisted living industry, the Rising Phoenix Early College High School program, now expanded from one site to three, the GEAR UP program for low-income, 6-12th-grade students across the state, the expansion of the Lifelong Learning Institute model to Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Marinette, the recently-launched Institute for Women’s Leadership, and many more. This year’s recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Community Outreach is Joy Ruzek.
The nominators wrote that the recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Institutional Development “would be the first to acknowledge that she did not accomplish these things on her own and has always shared credit with peers.” They were clear, however, that she deserves the recognition of this award because, “none of these things would have taken place without her skillful, tireless, and culturally grounded leadership.” They continue, “her leadership has provided a safe space for us, as faculty, to flourish. Her support for us and our work has gone beyond encouragement and into empowerment, allowing us to co-create and extend this space to our students.” She has shown a great ability to collaborate and navigate complex planning processes both inside the world of higher education and working with the wider community. Her leadership led to the development of UW-Green Bay’s very first doctoral degree, the Ed.D in First Nations Education. This year’s recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Institutional Development is Lisa Poupart.
The recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Collaborative Achievement is a team that shows collaborative excellence both amongst the team, and while working with numerous departments across campus. They are a key part of advancing our university’s mission of “deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, social justice, civic engagement, and educational opportunity at all levels.” They have been described as helpful, approachable, patient, cheerful, efficient, calming, and “a powerhouse of talent and creative effort,” Quotes from numerous members of the campus community included in their nomination materials included the phrase, “lucky to have [them].” They produce numerous workshops, discussion groups and online resources, and the annual Instructional Development Institute. When the university moved to remote learning in March 2020, they went into what one person called “super-hero mode,” supporting the enormous task of pivoting an entire university to online instruction in the space of one week, yet without leaving behind the core principles of sound curricular design. This year’s recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Collaborative Achievement is the Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning.