UW-Platteville award winners honored at convocation

August 29, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Platteville faculty and staff members who were selected for university awards for the 2012-13 academic year were honored at the annual convocation on Aug. 29 in the Williams Fieldhouse.

Distance Learning Center - UW System Regents Academic Staff Award for Excellence

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Distance Learning Center is one of three recipients of the UW System Board of Regents Academic Staff Awards for Excellence. “As we celebrate 35 years of providing rigorous programs, flexible completion schedules and service to non-traditional students, I commend the staff of the DLC for its hard work and dedication,” said Dennis J. Shields, chancellor of UW-Platteville. “Their efforts allow students the opportunity to pursue and attain career opportunities that ultimately strengthen our local, regional, state, national and global economy.”

Led by Dawn Drake, executive director, and Dan Avenarius, director, the UW-Platteville DLC – more commonly known as UW-Platteville Online – focuses on creating degree programs and services at the graduate and undergraduate level to meet the needs of non-traditional, place-bound students – typically working adults with families. Students can apply for admission, apply for financial aid, register and pay for classes, order textbooks, access library resources, receive grades, and much more, all online.

Interest in the Distance Learning Center’s offerings has boomed. In 2000-01, it logged 185 course registrations; in 2011-12, there were 2,900. UW-Platteville’s “one-stop-shop” approach to online programs is considered a model for distance education programs nationally.

UW-Platteville, a pioneer in distance education for 35 years, provides eight degrees entirely online: master’s degrees in organizational change leadership, project management, criminal justice, engineering, distance education leadership and integrated supply chain management, and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and criminal justice. More than 1,200 students have graduated from UW-Platteville Distance Education programs. The Distance Learning Center has served students from all 72 counties in Wisconsin, all 50 states, and 42 countries.

Dr. Elizabeth Gates – Outstanding Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Gates, chair of the psychology department, said the award is a bonus. “It is sort of like receiving an award for eating chocolate,” she said. “I really love academic advising.”

Gates’ first job after graduate school at the University of Iowa 13 years ago was at UW-Platteville. She teaches clinical psychology classes such as General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Human Sexuality and Techniques of Counseling.

During her first year, Gates advised five freshmen students. That number has grown to approximately 50 students; a majority of them transfer students. The number of transfer students into the psychology department has increased over the years. Gates works almost exclusively with those students, which can be complicated at times. “It takes a lot of advocacy to work with transfer students because, sometimes, not all of their classes transfer in,” she said.

The department has also seen an increase in non-traditional students involved with the substance abuse counseling emphasis. Occasionally, Gates will hear from graduates about their path following graduation. “I have only heard positive things about UW-Platteville from students who have left,” she said. “They appreciate how supportive and close-knit the department is.”

Dr. Matthew Roberts – Faculty Award for Excellence

By continually evaluating his teaching methods and his students’ learning styles, Dr. Matthew Roberts, a civil engineering professor, has developed a reputation as one of University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s top educators. “Matt is an extremely talented teacher and stands out in a department of talented teachers (the department won the 2007 Regents Teaching Excellence Award),” said Dr. Philip Parker, an environmental engineering professor who nominated Roberts for the award. “He has received ‘outstanding’ ratings, which are very well deserved. Matt is an exemplar in terms of continuously improving his teaching, and this improvement occurs intentionally and intelligently. His improvements are based on his extensive reading of engineering education literature and findings from engineering education conferences.”

As an assistant professor, Roberts began teaching civil engineering courses at UW-Platteville in 2002. He has served as faculty advisor to UW-Platteville’s chapters of Chi Epsilon for several years and to the American Society of Civil Engineers steel bridge team for the last 10 years. “Initially what I liked best about teaching was that it’s a career where I was taking what I knew and imparting it to the students,” he said. “Lately, I’m enjoying the mentoring role, helping prepare our students for their career as engineers. Mentoring is a big part of what we do.” Roberts is taking a leave from teaching to serve as a special assistant to Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Robert Cramer. He began his new position July 1.

William Haskins – Academic Staff Award for Excellence

 “I’ve worked at UW-Platteville for 12 years,” said Bill Haskins, coordinator of the Master of Science in project management program in the Distance Learning Center. “My favorite aspect of advising students from a distance is meeting and getting to know the broad range of people who are drawn to project management.”

“Bill is an excellent program coordinator and advocate for the project management program,” said Dr. Scott Wright, assistant professor for project management. “His tireless dedication in all aspects of the MS program for project management has resulted in the creation of the Distant Learning Center’s ‘flagship program.’ Without the success of the program, it’s quite unlikely that the other fledgling programs or new degrees would have even been considered worthwhile endeavors.”

Haskins has served as the coordinator of the MS project management program for nine years and has grown the degree-seeking student head count in the MSPM program from around 100 to nearly 600 as of the fall 2012 semester. He provides academic advising to more than 200 students and is charged with managing the program curriculum.

Dr. Melissa Gormley – Wisconsin Teaching Fellow

Dr. Melissa Gormley, associate professor of history and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, is researching how visual culture can be used to increase student understanding and engagement for her Wisconsin Teaching Fellows project. Visual culture is an academic field of study that includes cultural studies, theory, philosophy and anthropology and focuses on aspects of culture that rely on visual images.

Gormley, who specializes in modern Latin American history, is focusing her learning topic on using film as a teaching method to address the violence Latin American women have suffered under military dictatorships. She plans to show students “Death and the Maiden,” a film based on the play by Ariel Dorfman that explores the consequences of torture under military dictatorships, in her course Women and Gender in Latin American History in the spring. Early in the spring semester, Gormley will assign students two ungraded, reflective writing assignments. One of the assignments will be given before students have viewed the film and one will be given after the students have viewed the film. She will analyze their understanding of the material pre- and post-film to see how their understanding and perceptions changed. “In January, I will have a way to assess whether using film was an effective tool in teaching Latin American history,” Gormley stated. “My analysis of students’ understanding of the subject matter before and after they have seen the film will help me identify the specific skills and topics I need to teach in that course. My analysis will help me identify the broader topics I need to address as well.”

She added that the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows program has given her an opportunity to focus even more on her student-centered teaching approach. “As a professor, it is critical that I constantly ask myself what will work best to hook students into being fully engaged in the learning experience,” she said. “How do I present course content in a way that promotes the highest level of student understanding and engagement? By connecting colleagues across the UW System, the Fellows program has given all of us many ideas as well as a set of tools that we can use to accomplish this.”

Dr. B.J. Reed – Wisconsin Teaching Scholar

Professor of media studies Dr. B.J. Reed said, “My job is to help the faculty in teaching academic staff how to not only teach well, but also how to improve learning in their classes.”

The 2013 Wisconsin Teaching Scholar also works in the Teaching and Learning Center on campus, providing professional development for faculty and academic staff through workshops, online programs and webinars focusing on how to develop a syllabus, effective student learning outcomes and useful assessment instruments. “In the Teaching and Learning Center here at UW-Platteville, we have very little data that establishes why we as faculty and academic staff do what we do,” said Reed. “My project is simply focused on our syllabi. This could establish our training content in the center. I will look at syllabi from across the various disciplines on our campus to see what is on the syllabus and what we are attempting to do in our classrooms.”

Linda Mulroy-Bowden and Dr. Melissa Gormley – Women of the Year

Dr. Melissa Gormley, associate professor of history and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and Linda Mulroy-Bowden, director of Residence Life, have been named UW-Platteville Women of the Year. The award recognizes them for their leadership, active support of women and service to UW-Platteville.

“I feel very honored to be awarded, because I think there are a lot of women on this campus who do amazing things,” said Gormley. “As a member of this council, who sat on this committee the previous year, I know first hand that the process of selecting one woman is difficult because we have these incredible applicants.”

Gormley has been teaching history at UW-Platteville since the fall of 2008.

“I think this award is a great opportunity for women across this campus,” said Mulroy-Bowden. “I am honored to have been chosen as one of UW-Platteville’s Women of the Year. It means a lot to me to be recognized for supporting women.”

Mulroy-Bowden has been working at UW-Platteville since 1990. “I started out as an assistant director in student housing, responsible for student conduct and issues education, that is where my interest in women’s issues came about,” she said.

Dr. Amanda Trewin – UW System Alliant Energy Underkofler Award for Teaching Excellence

The award is presented annually to one professor from each UW System campus that is located within the Alliant Energy service area who displays an outstanding commitment to student success.

“I am honored and I feel really lucky to receive this award,” said Trewin, who began her career at UW-Platteville in 2001 as an assistant professor of biology. “I really enjoy working with students, especially seeing that ‘aha’ moment. I like when curiosity pays off for a student and getting to participate in that process.”

In addition to teaching courses at UW-Platteville, Trewin values working with children of all ages to help foster their interest in science and math fields.

She serves as a committee member and mentor for UW-Platteville’s Pioneering Your Future program, which encourages girls in sixth to eighth grade to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“The goal of this program is to get them excited about math and science and increase the probability that they will continue taking those classes in high school,” said Trewin. “Otherwise, I think they can end up closing those doors way too early.”

Trewin has also taught several College for Kids courses and works with a local childcare center, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts to incorporate science activities. 

Trewin earned her Bachelor of Science from UW-Platteville and her Master of Science and Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from UW-Milwaukee.

Dr. Yuanyuan Hu – Woman of Color Award

Dr. Yuanyuan Hu, associate professor, specializing in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages has been selected for the Outstanding Woman of Color award. “I am honored to receive this award,” said Hu. “It means a great deal to be recognized in this way.”

Hu has been directing the undergraduate TESOL program since fall 2007 and coordinating the Master of Science in education/English education (China) program since January 2011. She has also been a steering committee member for English as a second language in the Platteville Area Literacy Council since fall 2010. She is currently responsible for developing the curriculum for the English language program that aims to serve prospective international students at UW-Platteville.

Hu’s research areas include TESOL, language education policy, world Englishes, bilingual education and second language writing. Under her guidance, Hu’s TESOL students have been providing volunteer English services to speakers of other languages at UW-Platteville as well as in school districts and communities in Southwest Wisconsin, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa. “As the speaker of an unusual form of the Wu dialect in China, who is also part of the Han majority, and wound up specializing in TESOL in a country where English is the ‘power language,’ she knows the issues connected to language and power and speaks to them from a variety of national and international perspectives,” said Dr. Teresa Burns, chairperson of the UW-Platteville Humanities Department and Dr. Kory Wein, associate dean in the UW-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education, in their joint letter of recommendation for Hu. “The teachers that Dr. Hu has trained will be impacting and improving the lives of students in K-12 schools, and the majority of the students they will serve, should they teach in Wisconsin public schools, are students of color, especially Latino and Asian-American students.”

Hu, a native of the People’s Republic of China, said, “I hope we will continue our efforts to make our campus and community a better place for everyone.”

Tyler Ensrude – LTE Award for Excellence

Tyler Ensrude, campus photographer, earned the second LTE Award for Excellence. “It is a great honor and I know there are many deserving candidates in the same position as me,” he said. “I feel very lucky to have been nominated.”

Ensrude, a native of Dodgeville, Wis., is a UW-Platteville alumnus, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications technology management with an emphasis in photography and graphic design in spring 2001. Following graduation, Ensrude completed an education abroad experience in Nagasaki, Japan. He later moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he worked for eight years teaching English to adult learners. He also worked in a photo studio in Tokyo. Ensrude returned to the United States in 2010 with his wife and then 4-month-old son. He was hired at UW-Platteville shortly after his return.

Ensrude’s favorite time of year on campus is during the fall. “It’s much cooler. We have students around, everyone is active, and the campus is at its most beautiful point,” he said.

Becky Troy - Classified Staff Award for Excellence

Becky Troy, academic department associate in the department of media studies, was selected for the Classified Staff Award for Excellence. “It is an honor,” said Troy, who began her career at UW-Platteville in 1984 in the office of the registrar.

In 1987 she joined the department of communication, which is now the department of media studies. She has been involved in various university committees, including the 2013-18 strategic plan steering committee and the accountability committee; she is also the BILSA representative for the data governance committee, as well as a member of the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Pilot Team.

Troy said the opportunity to interact with students is one of the things she likes most about her position. “I enjoy working with people – both faculty and students,” she said. “Each year I get to meet a new group of students and get to know them better. A lot of people on campus don’t get the chance to know students in their positions.”

Formatted by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, wackersd@uwplatt.edu

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