Convocation recognizes faculty and staff

August 28, 2018

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville held its annual all-campus convocation on Tuesday, Aug. 28 as Chancellor Dennis J. Shields shared his goals for the upcoming year and recognized new faculty and staff as well as the 2017-18 award winners.

Chancellor Shields gave a positive outlook of the university's position, pointing out an increased state pay plan that gave faculty and staff a raise for the first time in a decade; the successful Higher Learning Commission of the plan to add branch campuses in Baraboo Sauk County and Richland; the improved infrastructure with renovations to Williams Fieldhouse and Boebel Hall and the planned Sesquicentennial Hall construction; programming array deliberations to better match offerings with student and employers' needs; an increase to the base budget; and an increase of student retention rates.

"We are in a good place," he said. "To remain there, we must meet challenges and embrace opportunities. That is the work ahead of us in 2018-19."

The award winners at the 2018 all-campus convocation included Becky Savoy, Jaclyn Esqueda, Louis Nzegwu, Dong Isbister, Marcia Harr Bailey, Yan Wu, Muthu Venkateshwaran, Donna Gavin, Kristina Fields, Holly Attenborough, Michael Penn and Kameko Halfmann.

  • University Staff Award for Excellence
    Beck Savoy is the academic department associate for the Department of Social Science and the Department of History. She joined the university in 2012. Savoy processes purchase requisitions, tracks the supply budget, keeps supplies stocked, collects and submits class schedules, orders textbooks, coordinates office spaces and provides a variety of information to students, parents and university staff and the general public on department majors and minors for both departments.
  • Board of Regents Academic Staff Award for Excellence
    Jaclyn Esqueda is the program manager in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. She joined the university in 2013. Esqueda oversees CenterPOINT, serves as coordinator of the EMS Ambassadors program and manages programs that encourage students to pursue a degree in STEM.
  • Excellence in Advising International Students Award
    Louis Nzegwu is a professor of business administration. He began teaching at the university in 1991. Nzegwu is the founding director of the International Business Resource Center, and he has brought students to several countries through short-term, faculty-led study abroad trips.
  • Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award
    Dong Isbister is an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies. She began teaching at the university in 2013. Isbister works closely with students and colleagues inside and outside the classroom to help make positive changes and progress in varying capacities.
  • UW System Wisconsin Teaching Fellow Award
    Marcia Harr Bailey is an assistant professor of business and entreprenurship. She began teaching at the university in 2013. Harr Bailey plans to utilize this program by learning how to make her classes more engaging and how to give students the most valuable skills to take away for the future.
  • UW System Wisconsin Teaching Scholar Award
    Yan Wu is an associate professor of engineering physics. She joined the university in 2009. Wu will use this program to further her study of standard-based grading, which includes measuring student proficiency on well-defined objectives and updating students learning status after each lab.
  • UW System Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award
    Muthu Venkateshwaran is an assistant professor of crop physiology and molecular biology. He joined the university in 2013. Venkateshwaran has mentored over 40 undergraduate students on his ongoing research projects on understanding the molecular mechanisms of plant-microbe symbioses, plant defense signaling, integrated disease management and sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Carol Sue Butts Woman of the Year Award
    Donna Gavin is a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering. She started teaching at the university in 1997. Gavin has organized and advised a campus chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery – Women and a Girls Who Code club for young girls in the wider Platteville community.
  • Nimocks Family Faculty Appreciation Award
    Kristina Fields is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She began teaching at the university in 2008. Fields gets students involved in high impact practices by developing bicycle paths and Platteville Safe Routes to School for the wider community. She also has brought students to the Netherlands for 16 days.
  • Early Career Faculty Teaching Award
    Holly Attenborough is an assistant professor of mathematics. She joined the university in 2013. Attenborough has developed many materials and activities in her classroom to cultivate an active and positive learning environment that encourages student engagement.
  • Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
    Michael Penn is a professor of civil and environmental engineering. He has been teaching at the university since 1997. Penn strives to creatively incorporate relevant, real-life scenarios into his courses to better prepare his students for the workforce and their goals.
  • Teaching with Technology Award
    Kameko Halfmann is an assistant professor in psychology. She began teaching at the university in 2017. Halfmann includes a variety of social and digital media in her courses to implement technology. She knows that these skills are essential because future employers will want employees with skills or experience with a variety of media applications.

Written by: Dalton Miles, Student Writer, Communications, 608-342-1194,


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