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UW-Madison honors Academic Staff Excellence Award winners

April 22, 2010 By Stacy Forster

Nine University of Wisconsin–Madison professionals have been honored with the 2010 Academic Staff Excellence Awards in recognition of their achievements in leadership, public service, research, teaching and overall excellence.

Winners were recognized by the Academic Staff Assembly on Monday, April 12 and will attend a reception with Chancellor Biddy Martin later in the month.

This year, awards were given in all nine categories. The awards carry $2,500 stipends, except for the Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching, which carries a $5,000 stipend.

“I continue to be impressed by the contributions our talented academic staff make to learning, research and operations at UW–Madison,” Martin says. “I want to congratulate and thank these winners, as well as all academic staff members across campus, for their dedication and service to the university.”

This year’s winners are:



Linda Clipson

Associate Researcher, Department of Oncology, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Critical Research Support

In 32 years of biomedical research, Clipson has steadily developed her talents in a series of collaborative research endeavors with investigators ranging from undergraduate students to faculty colleagues. During that time, her contributions to research into the biology of cancer have included her strong technical skills as a scientist, an ability to anticipate problems and correct for them, and her sharp analysis of data.

“Linda Clipson illustrates an ability and commitment to evolve in pace with the dynamic changes in science and to connect between disciplines,” write William Dove, professor of Oncology and Medical Genetics, and James D. Shull, professor and chair of oncology and director of the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research.



Verónica Egon

Associate Faculty Associate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service to the University

Egon’s work reaches just about every Spanish language student on campus. As coordinator of two of the core Spanish courses, she has revised and updated courses and textbooks, and trained lecturers and teaching assistants. Beyond her administrative work, she has developed new courses to fit certain needs of Spanish majors. In addition, her courses in legal Spanish and advanced conversation improved the university’s ability to work in Madison’s Latino community, with many students working for area organizations.

Such service-learning experiences are a reflection of Egon’s work to advance the

Wisconsin Idea, writes Catherine Stafford, assistant professor of Spanish.

“She has laid important groundwork for students of Spanish to learn in both classroom and community contexts, not only facilitating the development of students’ language skills, but also providing the opportunity for them to put these skills to much-needed use within the Latino community,” Stafford writes.



Sandra Guthrie

Associate Director for Administration for the General Library System, Ann Wallace Career Achievement Award

Throughout a 34-year career at UW–Madison, Guthrie has been known for demonstrating the highest standards of leadership as an administrator, supervisor, manager and mentor. She has been a constant innovator and has carried with her a dedication to staff development, equity, diversity and expanded internship opportunities.

In addition to her work for the library system, Guthrie has made wide-ranging contributions to the campus community and governance committees, especially in her work to further the university’s commitment to diversity and equality.

“She has always gone above and beyond in making herself available to staff at all levels, developing services and personnel needed to keep the administrative offices of the library running efficiently, and in creating an environment that is welcoming, inclusive and transparent,” writes Lee Konrad, director of Memorial Library.



Catherine “Terry” Jobsis

Research Program Manager II, Department of Animal Sciences, Wisconsin Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Leadership, Individual Unit

When it comes to animal care, there is no detail too small for Jobsis. When she discovered a flooring material that would make cattle in pens more comfortable, she worked to get it installed. With this small change, she expanded the facility’s functionality while improving the comfort of animals used in teaching and research.

That’s just one example of Jobsis’ attention to detail during her work at UW–Madison coordinating the use of animals and facilities for animal science. She has taught a popular class on animal handling and earned respect from students for her high standards for animal care in agricultural and research settings.

“Her leadership in the Department of Animal Sciences…has improved our ability to use animals in research and teaching, our animal handling facilities, and has improved what and how we teach our students to face challenges and opportunities in the animal industries,” writes Joan Parrish, researcher in the Department of Animal Sciences.



Katherine Loving

Civic Engagement Coordinator for University Health Services, Robert Heideman Award for Excellence in Public Service and Outreach

Since coming to UW–Madison in 1999, Loving has been a leader in asking what it means for UW–Madison to be engaged in the community and effectively communicate with area nonprofits, as well as in teaching and mentoring students. She’s helped improve the technology offerings of local community groups and engaged fellow staff members in considering the future of the Wisconsin Idea.

Loving has helped develop TechShop, which pairs UW students with area groups to provide information technology assistance, and coordinates the Community Partnerships and Outreach Staff Network, which addresses internal barriers to community engagement and increases UW–Madison’s capacity to meet community needs.

“She has a long history working with some of the most important community organizations in Madison and a reputation that opens doors for others,” writes Randy Stoecker, professor in the community and environmental sociology department.



Robert Meyer

Senior Scientist and Research Professor in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Independent Investigator

Meyer has made the Value-Added Research Center into a worldwide hub on value-added analysis — which assesses changes in student achievement within a school over time — and has a strong track record of gaining funding for the center’s work. Because of the current national focus on developing education and accountability standards, Meyer’s contributions have never been more relevant.

One reason for his success is an ability to work across borders: bringing together academic departments and research centers; school districts and universities; faculty and staff; theory and practice. He has also brought the center’s expertise into practice through a partnership with the Milwaukee Public Schools.

“While many might argue that they are examples of the Wisconsin Idea, Meyer’s career has allowed the university to extend its reach beyond the campus through collaborative policy work,” write Adam Gamoran and Beth Graue of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.



Timothy Paustian

Faculty Associate, Department of Bacteriology, Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching

As part of a committee evaluating concerns about the high cost of textbooks, Paustian developed one solution for microbiology students: a 26-chapter, one-of-a-kind animated textbook called “Through The Microscope,” now used by colleges across the country.

Through efforts such as this, Paustian has shown his leadership in creating innovations in teaching. He’s also adapted course materials to offer distance learning opportunities, started a blog to give students experience discussing their research results, modernized labs and launched new courses.

“Dr. Paustian is a creative, dedicated educator who is an invaluable member of our teaching staff,” writes Richard L. Gourse, chair of the Department of Bacteriology. “He has had a large and direct impact by training hundreds of our graduates in the most modern methods of microbiology.”



Faramarz Vakili

Associate Director of Physical Plant for Facilities Planning and Management, Wisconsin Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Leadership, College, School or Larger University

In nearly 20 years at UW–Madison, Vakili has led the transformation of the Physical Plant from a paper-and-pencil operation to a modern, customer-focused facility services organization. He is also one of a few people on campus who can boast of helping save millions of dollars and having an impact on the environment.

As program director of We Conserve, an environmental stewardship initiative, Vakili has worked to limit the university’s energy consumption and environmental footprint. In the past four years alone, the effort has reduced water use by about 178 million gallons a year, reduced trash by 9 percent and saved the university about $10 million a year in utilities costs.

“His enthusiasm, creative thinking and passion for success are infective and create an energy absorbed by all of those working around him,” writes John Harrod Jr., director of Physical Plant.



Roland Weeden

Assistant Director in the Office of Student Financial Aid, Martha Casey Award for Dedication to Excellence

As the person in charge of overseeing all awarding of student aid, Weeden is one of the reasons thousands of students are able to attend classes every semester. He integrates more than $200 million in financial aid funds and keeps up to date with constantly changing financial aid eligibility criteria. He also developed a unique way to offer financial aid fairly without penalizing students who may apply for it late or who may need it the most.

Colleagues say he has a keen analytical ability that allows him to see issues and solutions from a variety of angles, and a creativity that keeps the office’s budget in the black.

“You will not see news quotes and flash from Rollie,” writes Susan Fischer, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid. “Behind those of us in front of the crowd is that strong silent type who is all about fairness, is all about access, is all about integrity in funding and programs … Current UW–Madison students, as well as future students, will long be the beneficiaries of his dedication and skill.”

Tags: staff awards