UW-Green Bay recognizes excellence in the awarding of Founders Awards

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recognized some of its top faculty and staff members Wednesday, August 22, 2018, with 2018 Founders Awards for Excellence. The awards were presented before an audience of more than 450 in the Phoenix Room of the University Union, UW-Green Bay. 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 campus-wide committee from nominations submitted by faculty, staff and others. The award winners honored at the annual UW-Green Bay Fall Convocation were:

The recipient of this year’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Associate Prof. of Humanities Caroline Boswell, is dedicated to student success. A commitment to the cultivation of learning, engagement and equity is evident through Boswell’s continual reimagination and revision of courses to improve student outcomes and incorporate evidence-based pedagogy and timely topics. Students note course rigor, but also the clarity of expectations and that Boswell is always readily available to provide support and guidance. Her students routinely dive into topics, taking on the role of scholars as they explore learning materials together using hands-on discipline-based research techniques. Boswell is a regular participant in professional development opportunities that sharpen her craft — OPID (Office of Professional and Instructional Development), Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars, the Civic Engagement Institute, Faculty College, and retention and undergraduate research events. She often coordinates and leads campus initiatives and events such as the Equity Gap Fellows program, Becoming a Student Ready University, Teaching and Learning Community Fellows, numerous book clubs and the annual Instructional Development Institute.

This year’s recipient of the Academic Support Award for Excellence, Mary Valitchka, works as a student service coordinator for the Office of Graduate Studies in the Provost Office. Valitchka shows a strong commitment to students and is described as a true ambassador for UW-Green Bay — from recruitment to admissions to commencement. With 18 years of service to UW-Green Bay, her most significant impact has been in the Office of Graduate Studies. When Valitchka began her post with Graduate Studies the University admitted only about 30 new graduate students per semester into four programs. Today, graduate enrollment has increased five-fold with nine programs and counting, without an expansion of personnel. Valitchka’s nominators said that her positive attitude is infectious and her work ethic, tremendous. Always the first in the office in the morning and commonly the last to leave, she has been described as a complete enrollment service department onto herself.

The recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Professor of Human Development Illene Cupit, is a creative and productive scholar who has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, listed as first author on 52 of them. Cupit has presented to scholarly audiences across the U.S., as well as internationally. She has received numerous Research Council Grants in Aid of Research, two UW-Green Bay Research Scholar awards and a National Institute of Mental Health grant for over $90,000. Cupit is an expert in death, dying, and bereavement. Her recent book was described as the “staple publication for online grief research.” She often writes “practitioner-oriented articles that provide immediate guidance to those working on the frontlines of grief and bereavement practice.” In fact, her research led UW-Green Bay’s campus being the very first university to adopt an official student bereavement policy. She previously served as the President of the National Association for Death Education and Counseling and has chaired the Institutional Review Board for the past four years, demonstrating her commitment to research on campus. One of her crowing achievements is Camp Lloyd — a day camp for children who are grieving the death of a loved one, which has not only served as a sanctuary for hundreds of hurting kids through the years, but also a training ground for many UW-Green Bay undergraduates who will end of working in fields of psychology, human development and social work. One letter of support remarked on the recipient’s work as “approachable, meaningful, and useful” and another said that she “only engages in work that will make a difference.”

The team honored with the University Award for Excellence in Collaborative Achievement (Associate Prof. of Social Work, Francis Akakpo; Associate Prof. of Business Administration, Gaurav Bansal; Diversity Director, Office of MultiEthnic Student Affairs, Mai Lo Lee; Associate Prof. of Social Work, Jolanda Sallmann; and Associate Prof. of Business Administration, Mussie Teclezion) works with genuine commitment towards social justice and celebrating diversity. The event takes months of planning, with members from for-profit, not-for-profit and education organizations to create an event that unites and serves the entire Northeast Wisconsin community. Their work and commitment speak to the very heart of the UW-Green Bay mission. It is interdisciplinary, educational, multicultural and promotes engaged citizenship. Months of work and planning with various organizations and the K-12 area schools are required to choreograph this amazing event at NWTC which is now in its 24th year. Said one nominee, “Their vision is as critical in the U.S. today as it was in the past as we continue to face disparity, oppression and violence at all levels… Their efforts to bring together community members in a shared vision of peace is exemplary…”

The 2018 recipient of the Founder’s Award for University Staff Excellence is Monika Pynaker, UW-Green Bay’s manager of network services. Although her work has a “tremendous impact on the entire university,” most of the work is done behind the scenes, and sometimes the troubleshooting occurs during evenings, weekends and even holidays, so that the campus community is ensured that they can do their work with the most minimal inconvenience and maximum efficiency. In her 16 years with the University, Pynaker is credited with the development of a remote lab (for students), remote desktop (for faculty and staff) and serving as a project lead for the implementation of OneDrive and SharePoint. In addition, she has a longstanding history as an active member of shared governance, even before University Staff had an official role. She has served on the University Staff Committee, the University Planning and Innovation Committee, the Strategic Budgeting Committee and the Holiday Parade Float Committee.

The recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Community Outreach, Associate Prof. Christine Vandenhouten, improves lives through action. Her efforts to create a healthy community are said to be tireless, stellar and professional. She has served on a local school board, is involved with the Brown County United Way, Northeast Wisconsin Area Health Education Center, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Bellin Health. Her work profoundly impacts both the emotional and physical health of children and families throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Hers is a sincere desire to help the region’s most vulnerable community members. Vandenhouten received the prestigious Brown County United Way Community Impact Award in 2018 for “leadership and innovation to address priority human services needs on a community-wide scale.” She has been a faculty member in the Nursing program at UW-Green Bay since 1998. A nominator writes, “her record of community service is extensive, cumulative and sustained.

The University Award for Excellence in Institutional Development goes to Professor of Natural and Applied Science and Director of the Engineering Technology Program, Patricia Terry. Her work at UW-Green Bay spans the spectrum from department level to university-wide contributions. At a University which most recently has placed intense focus on the growth and expansion of engineering and engineering technology, Terry has worked tirelessly with technical college counterparts to reach articulation agreements and has done extensive training which has led to accreditation of the engineering technology program. At the same time that she was building the program, she was initiating a community-level advisory board that includes participation from more than 50 companies, many of which are now UW-Green Bay contributors and supporters of student internships. One nominator wrote, “there are few people on this campus who have contributed to the development of our university in as many and varied ways; whether it be in teaching, leadership through program and curricular development, service to shared governance, support of students or mentoring new faculty.”


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