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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Letters and Science awarded teaching awards in four categories during Opening Day festivities on Sept. 6 at Reeve Union.

College of Letters and Science Dean John Koker presented the awards, which are awarded to people from all offices and departments from the University’s’ four colleges.

The Diversity Leadership Awards were created by members of an action group within the College of Letters and Science Diversity Committee and are awarded to those doing work across the University to recruit and retain diverse faculty, staff and students who educate students about diverse people and advocate to ensure an environment of safety, equity and respect for diverse people.

The recipients are as follows:

Irma Burgos. Reflecting on more than two decades of Irma’s service at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh reveals unconditional commitment and dedication to the university and to advancing the mission of the university in areas of student services, academic excellence, scholarship, diversity and inclusion. She chairs the Diversity Council, provides leadership and vision for the Center for Academic Support and Diversity, initiates new retention programs, engages in grant writing and manages the budget of the department. Irma’s dedication to the University’s mission and to the quality of education at UW Oshkosh coupled with her language and cross-cultural skills has made a profound difference in transforming the lives of many multicultural and disadvantaged students, and has significantly enhanced the educational experience of all UW Oshkosh students.

Liz Cannon. Liz Cannon teaches high quality courses while administering the Social Justice Program and the LGBTQ Resource Center. Even without all her administrative leadership, the list of courses that Liz has developed and taught would qualify her for this award for it is in the curriculum that we most clearly convey to students the importance of learning about persons who differ from the so-called “norm.”  Liz also teaches about the conditions and attitudes that contribute to the exclusion of persons because of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. Another way of saying this is that Liz Cannon prepares students at UW Oshkosh for life and work in the 21st century.

Flora Stapel. In her role as an admissions counselor, Flora Stapel routinely works late on campus and on weekends supporting student organizations and activities out of her strong commitment to making UW Oshkosh a welcoming and supportive environment for students from diverse backgrounds. She has created or assisted in several large multi-cultural events including Multi-cultural Preview Day, Multi-cultural Recognition Dinner, Native Pride and the Pow wow. She is a mentor to our multicultural student leaders and she constantly raises the bar for them, challenging them to become active members in their own education and greater community.

The Community Engagement Award honors faculty and staff who embody the “Wisconsin Idea” by being extensively involved in collaborative community relationships. The award recognizes extraordinary public service on behalf of UW Oshkosh to local communities involving assistance, research and outreach to businesses, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations.

The recipient is as follows:

Carmen Heider. Since joining the Department of Communication 11 years ago, Carmen Heider has earned a reputation for teaching courses with an array of community-based learning. In addition, she has developed a study abroad experience in Tanzania, providing an invaluable opportunity for our students to discover firsthand how villages address issues of poverty, disease and lack of education. Closer to home, Carmen has also devised and taught a course under the auspices of the nationally acclaimed “Inside Out” prison exchange program, pioneered at Temple University. Through Carmen’s efforts, students from UW Oshkosh have attended class with student inmates at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution.  The experience has been described by students from both institutions as transformative.

The Global Education Award recognizes faculty and academic staff members who demonstrate extraordinary innovation and leadership in supporting global learning among our students.

The recipients are:

Eric Kuennen. Offering a focus on mathematics education in other cultures, Eric Kuennen has designed, organized and led extraordinary study abroad trips to Peru and China. These study experiences have provided UW Oshkosh students and future mathematics teachers with a powerful means for viewing our culture and educational norms in contrast with those of other cultures.  Participating students have attested to gaining new perspectives on how poverty, politics and culture provide a context for education. Through Eric’s efforts, they have gained an enlightened view of the global issues and challenges facing both students and teachers.

Druscilla Scribner. Druscilla Scribner’s political science colleague, David Siemers, describes her as “a dedicated global educator who brings the world beyond U.S. borders alive for our students in very vivid ways.”  He adds that she has redesigned the global curriculum in the Department of Political Science to make it a great strength of the department.  Focusing her pedagogy on global economic development, she demonstrates to students that people of other nations are equally interested in having a decent standard of living as are the people of the Fox Valley and the United States.  Her assignments are innovative and require students to engage in problem solving and useful research.  Inventing a non-governmental organization designed to address some issue or problem is one such assignment.  And several of Dru’s students have secured internships and jobs as a direct result of her innovative instruction.

The Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes faculty and academic staff members who demonstrate exceptional leadership and innovation in advising and mentoring students by inspiring innovative research, providing students with unique opportunities to increase the potential of successful transition to a career, offering outstanding support for student professional development or seeking to increase the retention rate of students.

The recipient is as follows:

Dana Vaughan. In her time on our campus, Dana Vaughan, professor of biology, has gained a long-standing and fine reputation for her dedication to advising and teaching pre-professional students. That her nomination for this award comes from a group of former students speaks volumes for her excellence in mentoring. Those endorsing her nomination include medical, veterinary, dental, chiropractic and PhD students and a practicing physician. They attest to her compassionate and skillful mentoring as a crucial to their success and personal development.  In their words, “they are honored to have been her students and mentees and to have grown into her colleagues and friends. Her mentoring spirit has become a part of us.”

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Barbara Beuscher, Direct of Development, College of Letters and Science,  submitted this announcement. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.