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Tera MalinskiTera Malinski, information technology programmer, has been named the recipient of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh STAR Award for April 2011. Lynn Freeman, director of advising, and Bryan Bain, associate director of advising, nominated her. Portions of the nomination letter follow:

“Tera created a new technological process that dramatically improved the efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness of academic advisors’ work with the University-wide probation/suspension process and tracking and communicating with all undergraduate students who use the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center (UARC), which is all of them at one point or another. So, in summary, her efforts over the past few months touch every undergraduate enrolled at UW Oshkosh.

“Frankly, there is no expectation that either Tera create the solutions that they have for any of these projects. All of her recent efforts are above and beyond her regular duties.

“Within the probation and suspension process, Tera created an electronic delivery and notification of students’ academic standing and a unified spreadsheet to track and gather information on all students in probation and suspension. Prior to the solutions she created, notification was a tedious, time consuming and inefficient manual process which was prone to error; and we were never able to track University-wide information in one location regarding probation and suspension. Her efforts on this project alone, fundamentally changed how this process operates, the resources needed and the accuracy of it.

“Tera also has been working to develop a PeopleSoft Bolt-On that enables the UARC, the University-wide advising center that every undergraduate student uses, to now track student use, purpose of visit, advisor traffic and more. With the reports that can be generated from this tool, we will, for the first time, be able to examine whether or not using the UARC has a positive effect on students’ GPA, retention, engagement, etc. In the past, we have attempted to collect this information through manual efforts but like the probation and suspension process, it was time consuming, prone to error and incomplete.

“Finally, a University supported email notification system that allows one email to be sent to multiple recipients in a timely manner through the development and use of Com Gen has enabled us to communicate more regularly, effectively, efficiently with large, targeted student groups, particularly students at risk of academic and social difficulty. Prior to this ability, and you’ll see a theme here, we had to do this on a case by case basis.

“Tera should also be recognized for her collaboration with advising and with the Registrar’s Office, Julie Wilkinson in particular, to make this happen. These projects have been collaborative and could not be accomplished without Tera’s great communication skills, understanding for and respect of advisors’ work with students and obvious technology skills.

“The UARC has more than 12,000 student visits a year, which does include emails or phone calls. Our work is on a massive scale. Tera’s problem solving and creation of technology enhancements greatly impact our work and give us more time to spend with students, rather than with email programs, spreadsheets and paper.”

Winners of the STAR Award receive a framed certificate, a reserved parking space for one month and a gift from University Books & More. The award for exceptional performance is presented each month to a member of the classified staff who has worked at least six months at UW Oshkosh.

The CSAC Awards & Recognition Committee submitted this announcement. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.

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