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UW-Madison honors nine Academic Staff Award winners

May 10, 2007 By John Lucas

Nine UW–Madison professionals have been honored with 2007 Academic Staff Excellence Awards in recognition of their exemplary leadership, public service, research, teaching and overall excellence.

Winners will be recognized by the Academic Staff Assembly on Monday, May 14, and will attend a chancellor’s reception from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, in the Main Lounge of Memorial Union. Anyone may attend.

Awards were made in nine categories. Eight awards carry $2,500 stipends; the Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching carries a $5,000 stipend.

Sharon Pero, assistant registrar for Timetable and classroom scheduling in the Office of the Registrar, will be honored posthumously with the Martha Casey Award for Dedication to Excellence. She died suddenly at her home during the weekend of April 14-15. She was 58.

Before her death, Pero knew she would be honored and was proud, according to her nominator, registrar Joanne Berg.

“As an unsung hero, Shari Pero was an incredible behind-the-scenes, get-it-done kind of professional,” Berg says. “When Shari heard she won this award she knew they made the right choice.

“She sat up a little straighter, held her head a little higher and had a bit of a spring in her step,” Berg adds. “It was the kind of recognition she knew she deserved. And everyone around her agreed.”

The honorees are:

Photo of CarrJo Ann Carr, director of the Center for Instructional Materials and Computing (CIMC) and the Instructional Media Development Center (IMDC), Wisconsin Alumni Association Award for Excellence, Leadership, College, School or Larger University Community

Being responsible for two disparate units might overwhelm some, but Carr is known for her enthusiasm and energy, frequently e-mailing in the early hours of the morning.

“She is an inspiration to her staff and to the school [of Education], and we all feel genuinely lucky to work with her and for her,” write Anna Lewis, an academic librarian in the School of Education, and Barb Smith, a senior broadcast specialist in IMDC. “She has ignited passion and motivation in the staff of IMDC and CIMC, both individually and as a whole. With Jo Ann’s leadership and guidance, the future of these units promises to be very bright.”

Photo of DanielsHeather Daniels, assistant director of graduate studies in the Neuroscience Training Program, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service to the University

Daniels is known as a master administrator, managing a large and complex program with more than 50 graduate students and 80 faculty members from six schools and colleges and 22 departments.

Beyond her department work, she has been a force for promoting and improving the role of women in science and for issues of equity and diversity on campus. Her contributions to these areas are wide-ranging and almost too numerous to list.

“She is simply a wonderful person,” writes Tom Yin, a professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health. “She is tireless in her efforts to help the underprivileged and young achieve their goals. I can think of no one more deserving.”

Photo of MalkusEvelyn Malkus, administrative program specialist in the Antarctic Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Institute, Robert Heideman Award for Excellence in Public Service

Malkus manages education and outreach efforts related to the IceCube research project. The mystique and excitement of the project and its location have been a perfect fit with her own considerable skills in promoting science.

Previously, she worked as a co-director of the Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium and as adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“The key to Evelyn’s success is that she is genuinely interested in ideas that are at the core of the intellectual life of the university and our research,” writes professor Francis Halzen. “Her commitment to promoting the development and use of these ideas shapes her daily work.”

Photo of MarshallMary T. Marshall, director of business services in the Department of Surgery, Wisconsin Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Leadership, Individual Unit

Marshall has created an environment in which surgeons can devote time and attention to patient care, research and teaching.

An effective infrastructure has been created, largely through Marshall’s efforts, to help manage the needs of 97 faculty members and an annual budget of $76 million. The department size has roughly doubled during her tenure, and she has managed its growth exceptionally well.

“Her creative mind, outstanding work ethic and exceptional problem-solving skills have been impressive as she has navigated the Department of Surgery through the development and advancement of numerous clinical, research and education programs,” writes Layton Rikkers, chair of the Department of Surgery. “She represents the perfect blend of attributes that make an outstanding leader.”

Photo of McTavishFiona McTavish, researcher in the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies and deputy director of the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Critical Research Support

McTavish has had a major positive impact in both of her roles.

She is known as an extremely passionate advocate on behalf of women with breast cancer, putting a human face on research and inspiring researchers by linking them to the stories of real people.

“Whether she is examining data, helping to create a new grant proposal or leading the team, Fiona commits 100 percent,” writes David Gustafson, professor emeritus of industrial engineering. “She is a shining example of the best of this great university.”

Photo of PeroSharon Pero, assistant registrar for Timetable and classroom scheduling in the Office of the Registrar, Martha Casey Award for Dedication to Excellence

Pero was an “unsung hero” of the academic staff. She was primarily responsible for the complex tasks of managing the Timetable, classroom assignments, instructor course loads and instructional facilities utilization.

She helped guide the office through many technological changes, such as conversions from early data processing applications to the PeopleSoft system, the Web enrollment system and the new paperless Timetable.

“Shari’s contributions to the university over the past 35 years were numerous and broad-based and present a perfect fit for the criteria of this award,” writes Berg. “She was the consummate university professional who dedicated many years to service and making things work — and the campus has benefited beyond measure.”

Photo of ScottSuzanne Scott, faculty associate in the Department of Environment, Textiles and Design in the School of Human Ecology, Chancellor’s Hilldale Award for Excellence in Teaching

Scott has spent the past 20 years as a teacher and driving force behind studio courses in the area of interior design.

She is credited with developing the program’s curriculum, pursuing resources, maintaining facilities and securing accreditation. Her classes deal with interior design issues ranging from human factors and accessibility to sustainable design. She also has a commitment to service learning.

“Teaching with its many facets is what Suzanne Scott is about,” writes Professor Emerita Joy Dohr. “Interior design and design at universities and colleges is what she expertly knows. A strong commitment to her students, her institution and her field is her guiding value.”

Photo of SromovskyLawrence Sromovsky, senior scientist in the Space Science and Engineering Center, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Independent Investigator

Sromovsky is known and respected for his innovative studies of planetary atmospheres. His planetary science research during the past decade has given the world new perspectives on the planets Uranus and Neptune.

The images that he created from his observing runs on the Keck telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope have been recognized for their beauty and informational value. His research uses images to study the dynamics of storm systems and spectral signatures to determine cloud structure and atmospheric composition.

“He is a consummate scientist whose diverse skills have led to success in many endeavors and whose published work has significantly advanced the state of knowledge to the benefit of humankind,” writes Henry Revercomb, a senior scientist in the Space Science and Engineering Center.

Photo of TortoriceCharlene Tortorice, interim director of the Office of Testing and Evaluation Services and the UW System Center for Placement Testing, Ann Wallace Career Achievement Award

Tortorice’s career is full of accomplishments, dating back to 1977. She retires this summer.

Tortorice will be remembered for her advocacy on behalf of the academic staff, helping obtain governance rights, serving on the Academic Staff Assembly, chairing the Academic Staff Executive Committee and serving on dozens of committees.

“In the 30 years she has been on the campus, there is no single individual who has done more to further the cause of academic staff than Char Tortorice,” write Tim O’Connor, senior student services coordinator in the School of Education, and Jim Wollack, an associate scientist in the School of Education. “Her service and leadership have been a beacon for all academic staff.”

Tags: staff awards