Green Bay, Wis.— The UW System Board of Regents today (April 5, 2021) announced the recipients of its 29th annual Teaching Excellence Awards. UW-Green Bay received two of the three top honors, and awardees will be honored at the next Regents meeting, April 9 via videoconference, along with the 28th annual recipients.
Receiving the honor at UW-Green Bay will be Ekaterina Levintova (Political Science and Global Studies) and the Nutrition Sciences/Dietetics program and its members: Professors Deb Pearson and Leanne Zhu, Lecturer Sara Wagner and Program Internship Director Heather Masters.
Last year’s award ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19. The awards recognize outstanding teaching and are the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and instructional academic staff. Each recipient is awarded $7,500intended to recognize and reward an academic department or program that demonstrates an exceptional commitment to teaching and learning. It pays tribute to the impressive dedication of the department and the ability of its members to inspire enthusiasm in students for learning in general, and for making interdisciplinary connections in the classroom and beyond.
Each award recipient demonstrates a strong commitment to teaching and learning, uses effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning, and makes a significant impact on students’ intellectual development. More about the recipients:
Ekaterina (Katia) Levintova (Pronounced KAH-tia Lev-IN-toh-vah)
Professor of Political Science and Global Studies (Democracy and Justice Studies)
Prof. Levintova joined UW-Green Bay’s faculty in 2007 and teaches first-year seminars to upper-level political science courses. Her innovative, student-focused teaching blends discussion and lecture with simulations, such as asking students in upper- and lower-level courses to stage public opinion polls and a mock political campaign. Levintova co-edited a book, Gender in the Political Science Classroom, published by Indiana University Press in 2018. She is co-editor of Syllabus Journal, a peer-reviewed publication showcasing course syllabi, syllabi best practices, and assignment design. A recipient of several research grants, she is a former Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and has authored several articles and book chapters on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as well as the political sociology of post-communist transitions. She is faculty adviser for UW-Green Bay’s Model European Union student organization. In addition to her regular teaching duties, Levintova supervises independent research projects, directs honors projects, and supervises internships. She earned the UW-Green Bay Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019, the same year she earned an alumni achievement award from her Ph.D. institution.
“When I see Dr. Levintova, she is usually right in the mix of her students—meeting with them individually or talking to small groups working on activities. As demonstrated in the tagline of one of her publications, Global Citizens are Made, Not Born, Dr. Levintova centers her pedagogy around development—both intellectual and intercultural,” said Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Kate Burns in her nomination letter. “Katia takes risks and believes in students when no one else has, who were previously at the margins of our institution, and the results are apparent. She has transformed students’ lives by giving them the skills and confidence to pursue graduate programs, when they did not even believe that they would successfully complete a bachelor’s degree. Countless current and former students cite her as their mentor. Former students explain that her inspiration and support are the reasons for their career trajectory and love of learning. Dr. Levintova is a passionate advocate for her students.”
Nutritional Sciences/Dietetics Program, UW-Green Bay
The Nutrition Sciences/Dietetics program is an emphasis within the Human Biology major and currently enrolls 73 students. Three faculty members contribute to the teaching of this program—Professors Deb Pearson and Leanne Zhu and Lecturer Sara Wagner; with Program Internship Director Heather Masters. The instructors teach first-year seminars, general education courses, and courses for the nutrition science emphasis.
The program’s mission is to provide high-quality interdisciplinary courses and learning opportunities that focus on biological, physiological, and behavioral aspects of humans with an emphasis on the role that food and nutrition have in maintaining and improving health. The program received a competitive university grant in 2019, allowing its faculty to leverage best practices for online and hybrid instruction. For example, the program used a state-of-the-art Food & Nutrition lab in the Brown County’s STEM Innovation Center on campus to continue community outreach during the pandemic, offering virtual interactive Culinary Adventure healthy cooking demonstrations to local Girl Scout troops, and teaching virtual food and nutrition courses to socially distanced students. The program has an 85 percent placement rate of its students employed in food, nutrition, and dietetic-related professions within six months of graduation. Its students have a 98.3 percent pass rate on the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist exam. The program is launching a Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health in fall 2021.
Interim Provost Burns recommended the Nutrition Sciences/Dietetics Program to the Regents Teaching Excellence Award Committee.
“This small, but mighty program has been recognized across the campus, state, and country for their teaching efforts,” Burns said in her recommendation. “Their faculty have won several teaching awards, including the outstanding Dietetics Educator of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Pearson; 2017), and the Margene Wagstaff Fellowship for Innovation in Dietetics Education (Wagner; 2019). The program uses high-impact practices to engage students in deep learning, while simultaneously serving our communities, from 4K student to our campus-run farmer’s market,” Burns added.
The mission of the Nutrition/ Dietetics emphasis is to provide high quality interdisciplinary courses and learning opportunities that focus on the biological, physiological, and behavioral aspects of the human organism with an emphasis on the role that food and nutrition have in maintaining and improving health. This program integrates evidence-based scientific principles and critical thinking skills needed to prepare students for supervised practice leading to eligibility for the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist, graduate studies, and employment in food and nutrition-related fields.
Also receiving an award was Renee Redman, senior lecturer, Department of Biology, UW-La Crosse.