Patti Mitch has always been one who steps in, steps up, or steps forward when something needs doing – a trait she admits to having her whole life. But she deflects credit, expressing admiration toward others she sees who are “doing far more than what I do." Mitch, the IT support specialist for the UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County branch campus, is receiving this year’s UW-Platteville University Staff Award of Excellence, for what her nominators described as her remarkable positive attitude, thorough expertise in her position leading all IT support for the branch campus, and her “taking the hearts” of every student and staff member she helps support.
As the only IT staff on the Baraboo Sauk County campus, Mitch supports all instructional technology and all desktop computing and networking on the campus. Her colleagues in Baraboo particularly cited her work as the campus pivoted to online and virtual instruction during the pandemic as innovative, collaborative, patient and therefore absolutely essential to the success of the switch.
“She effectively anticipated our needs, offered training in groups and one-on-one sessions, and was able to troubleshoot the myriad of hiccups we experienced,” wrote Claire Reinke, the learning support coordinator for Tutoring Services at all three campuses, who is based in Baraboo. “Without a doubt, Patti Mitch has the best interests of students, staff, campus and the university in mind in everything she does.”
Mitch transferred from Platteville to Baraboo Sauk County in 2019, after 19 years working for ITS in various support capacities, in part to be nearer to her parents, who live in Stevens Point. She also thought “maybe this small campus is where I can best serve the university, the students and the community.” Previously she worked for the Wisconsin State Patrol, as an inspector and then as a trooper, and also as a 911 dispatcher for Grant County. That’s what got her into computers, she says, and she joined her alma mater, UW-Platteville in 2000.
In addition to her official work in IT, her nomination also cites the time she consistently lends to support the entire campus community – volunteering at athletic and cultural events on campus and mentoring student assistants and any student she encounters with life and “adulting” issues when they ask, which she says is all part of her instinct to participate and join in. She has coordinated food supports for food insecure students on campus and also worked as often as she could at the community COVID testing site the campus hosted over the winter.
“I am at my best when I am doing something for someone else,” Mitch said, adding that she never expected to be nominated. “It’s an honor to be supported by this campus and this institution this way, and I’m very grateful.”