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Student Personnel Association distributes annual awards

April 23, 2008

The Student Personnel Association (SPA) honored seven staff members with Outstanding Achievement Awards. The honors were distributed during a luncheon held on April 16.

The chancellor’s office, the Norman Bassett Foundation, the Ineva Reilly Baldwin and Ira L. Baldwin Endowment for Student Services, the Offices of the Dean of Students and the SPA membership make the awards possible. Founded in 1956, the SPA’s goal is to create cross-campus connections among people who work with students to support, enhance and reinforce the learning mission of the university.

Awards were made in six categories, with a stipend of $1,000 for the Chancellor’s Award and $500 for the others. The honorees are:

Photo of BergJoanne Berg, registrar and vice provost for enrollment management, Chancellor’s Award.

Berg has provided leadership and support for many student service improvements during her six years as registrar, including the implementation of e-grading, electronic transcript ordering, enhancement of the online Timetable/class search, enrollment, imaging, student privacy rights and responsibility education, and a major office reorganization. She also oversaw the elimination of the printed fall/spring Timetables and a migration to integrated LAN services at the Division of Information Technology, which led to cost savings and a more efficient workplace.

In her vice provost role, Berg is involved in many cross-campus projects and has been influential, with the director of the Office of Student Financial Services, in partnering with the UW Foundation to begin a fundraising campaign for need-based scholarships.

“The hard work performed and excellent services provided by the Division of Enrollment Management often go unnoticed — and that is precisely because this division, under Joanne’s leadership, is so very good at what it does,” writes nominator Lori Berquam, dean of students. “Students, faculty and staff alike take for granted many of the functions of the division, yet these functions and associated improvements are essential to the smooth operation of the university.”

Photo of BergmanCal Bergman, assistant director of residence life for University Housing, Award for Excellence in Student Affairs.

One of Bergman’s most innovative initiatives at UW–Madison is the creation of the residential learning communities (RLCs), in which students connect their residential and academic experiences through social, cultural and educational activities in their residence halls. Students in RLCs also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty and staff; the communities are an important part of the Wisconsin Experience.

Bergman also started “Class Connections” in the residence halls, which helps connect students who are living in University Housing and taking the same courses.

“Always interested in process and quality improvement, he is not afraid to ask ‘Why not?’ or ‘Why can’t we?’” writes nominator Berquam. “Cal is truly devoted and committed to the student affairs profession and has demonstrated steadfast dedication to improving the living and learning environment for students during his tenure.”

Photo of CollinsLisa Collins, associate director of advising and career planning in the School of Business Career Center, Norman Bassett Award.

“It is not an overstatement to say that Lisa Collins is the reason why students in the Business Career Center receive virtually the best career advising possible to college students,” write Collins’ nominators, the School of Business’s Steve Schroeder, Jamie Marsh and Sarah Barber. “The foundation that Lisa has established and continually perfects is a leading model in the career services profession nationwide.”

In her position for the past 11 of her 16 years at the university, Collins works directly with students throughout their career development process. She led the creation of a career development course and coordinated the Celebration of Excellence program, which honors student academic achievement. She also developed Business Career Awareness Month, which has evolved into the Business Basics Seminar Series, attended by hundreds of students each semester. As leader of the student advising team in the Business Career Center, Collins also created the syllabus for a new career development course that will be offered this fall.

Photo of Czynszak-LyneMary Czynszak-Lyne, office administrator to the honors program in the College of Letters and Science and vice president of AFSCME WSEU Local 2412, Leadership in Social Justice Award.

With the university for 34 years and in her current position for five, Czynszak-Lyne has worked toward a positive campus climate throughout her career. In addition to her role as a union representative to classified employees, Czynszak-Lyne has served on campus boards and committees dedicated to social justice issues, such as the Diversity Oversight Committee, the vice provost for diversity and climate and the University Health Services director search-and-screen committees and the Equity and Diversity Resource Center advisory committee. She also is a member of the Leadership Institute and recently has actively participated in annual campus diversity forums.

“While many classified staff members are office-bound by their work, Mary has made her presence known on campus by pursuing leadership and activism opportunities that engage classified staff in student life,” says nominator Berquam.

Cathie Easter, bursar, Norman Bassett Award. As bursar, Easter assists students in reconciling tuition bills and settling their accounts. She also helps students with their individual issues, including working out payment plans for those who struggle to make ends meet. She’s worked closely with staff in the Student Advocacy and Judicial Affairs unit (who manage the Dean of Students Crisis Fund) on several cases, doing what she can to make sure students are able to continue their education at UW–Madison.

Easter also is serving on the Reaccreditation Steering Committee; the process will shape the university’s vision for years to come.

“While many people may not immediately think of the bursar as a student affairs professional, she has a direct impact on the lives of our students through assisting those in financial crisis, working with others who have lapsed on payments in order to keep them in school and providing input on campus projects such as the reaccreditation to make sure that her office has a voice at the table when thinking of how we work with students today and in the future,” writes nominator Lori Berquam, dean of students.

Photo of HollandMichelle Holland, student services coordinator in the cellular and molecular biology graduate program (CMB), Campus Impact Award.

Holland has been in her position for four years, coordinating students in the largest graduate program on campus. Nominator Bill Bement, chair of the program and professor of zoology, writes that before Holland took over, the program was resistant to change.

“Michelle started actively seeking ways to improve the program, at first in small ways that were entirely her responsibility and then, increasingly, at a level that involved the CMB faculty leadership,” he writes in Holland’s nomination letter.

Holland has worked to strengthen the mechanics of the program by ensuring smoother student progression, improve recruiting, and developed new leadership and educational opportunities for students. “By providing a sympathetic ear for current students, she was able to determine what they wanted out of a program beyond what CMB was already providing,” writes Bement. “It is hard to imagine anyone who has a greater impact for UW students than Michelle.”

Ruth Landes, university services associate I, Department of Educational Psychology, Frontline Award. For 29 years, Landes has been dedicated to UW–Madison students, according to her nominator, Ronald Serlin, chair of the Department of Educational Psychology. She began as coordinator of information and building activities at the Memorial Union, where she organized and assisted with campus tours, remained aware of all Union activities and assisted with any issues with Union operations,

In her current position, Landes is the main point of contact for anyone doing business with the department, managing face-to-face, telephone and electronic contact with people from all walks of life.

Landes also is responsible for registration issues for undergraduate, graduate and special students. She oversees student course evaluations, organizes department supplies and equipment, arranges special department functions and runs a training program for new teaching assistants each year.

“She is a spectacular ambassador, with a gift for making this overwhelming institution seem like a comfortable home,” writes Serlin.

Photo of WeierJane Weier, academic department specialist, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Frontline Award.

Since 1970, Weier has provided support for what is now the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, acting as the sole support person for all departmental activities. She manages the graduate admissions process, keeps track of undergraduate and graduate students through ISIS, organizes the course timetable, provides secretarial and administrative support to standing committees and coordinates all activities involved in a faculty search.

Weier also is the frontline person for the department, answering phone calls and e-mails. “She is receptionist, advice-giver, problem-solver and triage specialist,” writes nominator Linda Roberts, department chair. “She is the repository of knowledge about the history and changes in the department over an almost 40-year period, so she seems to be almost always the best person to ask about almost anything.”

Weier’s community involvement is significant as well, with her quilting work as a member of the Twilight Quilters Guild. She has organized “Project Linus,” in which guild members produce quilts for long-term hospitalized children and terminally ill children at UW Hospital, among other projects.

“In ever so many ways, Jane makes our work environment feel like a home,” writes Roberts.

Tags: staff awards