University of Wisconsin Oshkosh faculty and staff were welcomed and recognized for their accomplishments and contributions at the annual Opening Day assembly Sept. 2.
The recipients for awards awarded during Opening Day are as follows:
The Viessmann Endowed Chair in Sustainable Technology is bestowed upon an individual who has displayed scholarly achievements within the field of engineering, sustainability or renewable energy and has demonstrated research experience in engineering, sustainability and renewable energy fields. Funded by Martin and Annette Viessmann, the award supports the visionary role of bringing the topic of renewable energy technologies to an international level.
Greg Kleinheinz has been deeply involved with environmental-
and sustainability-focused initiatives through experiences leading the Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC) as well as through his involvement with the trio of waste-to-energy biodigester projects on and off campus. He has more than 16 years of experience working on water and wastewater issues and is a Registered Sanitarian licensed in Wisconsin and Michigan. Kleinheinz has a background in microbiology, analytical chemistry and environmental engineering. On campus, Kleinheinz has established a research and outreach program that resulted in more than $8 million dollars of research funding for a variety of environmental and sustainability projects; the projects have involved more than 350 students and range from the development of biological systems for industrial air treatment and groundwater remediation, to the reengineering of public beaches for sustainable pollution mitigation, to environmental public health programs and services in rural and northern Wisconsin. Additionally, Kleinheinz has helped coordinate the development of the Engineering Technology degree programs in northeast Wisconsin. In his new position, Kleinheinz will play a visionary role in bringing the topic of renewable energy technologies to an international level.
Kleinheinz earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Northern Michigan University and a doctorate in environmental microbiology from Michigan Tech University.
Endowed professorships are awarded to faculty members who demonstrate outstanding research and engagement in community service. Funded by local sponsors, the awards support research projects and professional development for a four-year term.
Chad Cotti is known by his College of Business colleagues for his interest and involvement in research and for his passion teaching undergraduate students. Cotti has not only published 18 peer-reviewed journal articles since 2006, but also has numerous papers under review and has made more than 30 research presentations at conferences and to prestigious institutions. His research interests lie broadly within applied microeconomics, with specific interests within the fields of health economics and public policy. His work has appeared in several leading journals in economics, including the Review of Economics & Statistics, Social Science & Medicine, the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. His research has also been covered by many prominent media sources, such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post.
Cotti is the recipient of the 2014 Oshkosh Corporation Endowed Professorship.
Cotti earned a bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, a master’s degree in public policy and administration from the Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Policy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Dana Merriman is a vision scientist especially known for her work with ground squirrels. In 2008, Merriman was funded by the National Center for Research Resources to expand her breeding program; substantial renovations to the UW Oshkosh animal facility ensued, enabling its Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International accreditation. Since, Merriman has provided custom-dissected tissues and/or live animals to several institutions and universities. Merriman’s research typically involves an average of five undergraduate students per year. In 2013, Merriman co-organized “Hibernation 2.0,” which drew scientists from around the country and Canada. Merriman also regularly consults at animal facilities, conducting site visits when necessary. Merriman is respected in her field and is the previous recipient of the College of Letters and Science Excellence in Mentoring Award and Service Award, the Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award and a National Academic Advising Association Outstanding Faculty Award.
Merriman is the recipient of the 2014 Axle-Tech Endowed Professorship.
Merriman earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a doctorate in physiology and cell biology and public history from the University of California Santa Barbara.
The John McNaughton Rosebush Professorship recognizes UW Oshkosh faculty members for teaching, professional achievement and public service. Nominees are considered in a selection process by a panel representing all University governance groups.
High-quality teaching and frequent interaction with students are priorities for Brant Kedrowski. In 2009, Kedrowski was awarded the Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award. Kedrowski is a strong advocate for undergraduate research; he has mentored more than 50 undergraduate researchers and published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals with undergraduate co-authors. Outside of teaching, Kedrowski serves on a variety of departmental, college and University committees. He has also served as the faculty adviser to the Chemistry Club since 2005, and is active in student advising. Kedrowski’s scholarly activities are focused on organic chemistry and he can often be found collaborating on projects with other departments on campus. Beyond UW Oshkosh, Kedrowski works with local companies as a chemical consultant through the Business Success Center.
Kedrowski earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota–Minneapolis; he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California Berkeley
Timothy Paulsen has shown excellence in teaching, professional achievement and professional and public service since his arrival at UW Oshkosh in 1999. Paulsen’s accomplishments stem from his curiosity to better understand the Earth. His enthusiasm for the study of geology extends beyond the classroom and into the field of research where he continuously engages and motivates his students. An excellent indicator of professional excellence, Paulsen has published 43 refereed journal articles; he’s also highly regarded within the scientific community participating as a speaker at many conferences and collaborating with students and other universities. Paulsen’s research, which focuses on a variety of topics, has been recognized by national organizations such as the Geological Society of America. Beyond his role as professor, Paulsen is deeply involved in service within his field and on campus; he serves as the adviser for Sigma Gamma Epsilon and on a variety of committees and working groups. Paulsen was awarded the UW Oshkosh Edward Penson Distinguished Teaching Award in 2013, as well as endowed professorships in 2006 and 2012.
Paulsen earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a doctorate in geology from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award
Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award recipients are selected based on their teaching excellence, service, professional commitment and scholarly growth. A committee of faculty, students and staff determines who will receive the honor.
A veteran public radio producer and journalist, Randall Davidson has been responsible for overhauling the radio curriculum at UW Oshkosh and helping to elevate the radio-TV-film program. Through his unique role as Director of Radio Services at WRST, Davidson is in a constant state of teaching and mentoring students; his expert instruction has led to many student awards at the regional, national and even international levels, with WRST being honored at the national level from the College Media Association as the College Radio Station of the Year. Beyond the traditional classroom, Davidson extends his teaching into the WRST radio studios, which serve as a professional learning laboratory where students can apply concepts from the classroom. Additionally, as an instructor, Davidson values leveraging industry voices and opinions for the betterment of his students. Beyond UW Oshkosh, Davidson is professionally affiliated with the College Media Advisors/College Media Association, College Broadcasters Incorporated, the Broadcast Education Association and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
Davidson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Caryn Murphy believes the teacher-student relationship is central to productive examination of media in the classroom. In her classrooms, Murphy fosters a participatory atmosphere; she encourages a high-level of participation in order to get students to first acknowledge and then challenge their own assumptions. She is an active researcher, which informs her approach to teaching history and theory in her classrooms. Murphy has published many articles and book chapters, and frequently presents her work at conferences. On campus, Murphy serves on the Student Academic Committee, is involved with the Women’s Studies and African American Studies program committees and has served as a reviewer for the Oshkosh Scholar. Within the greater community, Murphy has researched and written articles on the ties between Oshkosh and Universal Studios for the Oshkosh Public Museum and the Oshkosh Northwestern and served as a weekly volunteer for Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.
Murphy earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and business administration from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and a master’s degree in radio, television and film from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in media and cultural studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Marguerite Penick-Parks’ participation in collaboration exemplifies her significant commitment to her students. She frequently seeks opportunities to move her teaching in new directions while also providing a vision and model for students. Penick-Parks shares her research widely— presenting at local, state and national venues—on the topics of multicultural literature, white privilege and social justice issues. Penick-Parks previously served as the associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services; three years ago she returned to the faculty to engage in teaching an entirely new set of undergraduate courses as well as graduate courses. Beyond the classroom, Penick-Parks participates in several professional organizations; most recently, she has been invited to serve on the National Coretta Scott King Grant Awards Committee and as an adviser to the National White Privilege Conference. Previously, Penick-Parks earned an Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success and a Certificate of Appreciation from the UW Oshkosh Gender Equity Council.
Penick-Parks earned a bachelor’s degree in speech/drama education from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in educational policy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a doctorate in curriculum and supervision from the University of Iowa.
Sniffen Faculty Governance Service Award
The Barbara G. Sniffen Faculty Governance Service Award recognizes faculty members who have exceptional University service records.
Denise Robson has earned a reputation for thoughtful and active participation in all aspects of faculty life, including a record of significant involvement in shared governance and other campus-improvement efforts. Robson served as member of the Faculty Senate since 2003; as the president, she developed a faculty ombudsperson position and helped navigate the turmoil created by state policies, including senate commendations to former Chancellor Richard Wells for his leadership within the UW System. Robson spent more than six years as part of the executive committee. Robson has a strong record of service, which includes involvement with: the Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), NEW ERA, Odyssey, Civility Task Force, General Education Reform and Affirmative Action; she also served as the faculty representative to the UW System. Additionally, Robson is involved with helping to develop the Economics CLEP exam and is the treasurer for a Philanthropic Educational Organization, which is tasked with assisting women in their educational pursuits.
Robson earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and a master’s degree and doctorate in economics from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Outstanding Service Award
UW Oshkosh has many nonteaching faculty and academic staff members whose contributions enhance the University’s overall academic environment and support our educational goals. The Outstanding Service Award recognizes excellence of service that touches each member of the University community.
As an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Shawn Monroe believes the key to a veteran’s successful re-integration following combat is higher education. This realization helped Monroe focus his efforts on serving the veteran population at UW Oshkosh; in 2011, Monroe was hired to establish the Veterans Resource Center (VRC). Within a year of opening, the VRC was recognized by national publications such as Military Times and GI Jobs as one of the nation’s leading veteran support programs; UW Oshkosh remains a state and national leader in supporting veterans. To facilitate the growth of veterans within the campus community, Monroe also serves on the Women’s Center’s Advisory Board, chairs the UW Oshkosh Veterans Advisory Committee and collaborated with faculty to create veteran-themed University Studies Program courses. Monroe has also worked with the History Department in its presenting of the Iraq War in Retrospect symposium and with the Journalism Department on the War Through Their Eyes projects. Additionally, Monroe worked with the UW Oshkosh Foundation and Alumni Office to facilitate a flag dedication at the new Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. Within the greater community, Monroe is a board member for the Military Veterans Museum and frequently participates in events to support veterans.
Monroe earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and international studies and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
For more than three decades, Becky Payne has served the UW Oshkosh Foundation with an immense amount of integrity and respect. As the assets of the Foundation have dramatically grown, so has Payne’s involvement in both the day-to-day operations as well as with the entire Advancement Division, donors and friends of the Foundation. Throughout the years, Payne has worked closely with the Foundation board and staff as a strong partner in a variety of unique and innovative efforts to advance service to the region. She has been involved with many projects that have physically changed the UW Oshkosh campus, including the Oshkosh Sports Complex renovation, fundraising for the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center, logistics related to the purchase and renovation of the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and was a key person involved with the strategy, finances and planning of special events as it relates to the biodigesters on and off campus. Previously, Payne was named the 2007 Advancer of the Year for stellar service to the UW Oshkosh Advancement Division. Payne recently completed nine years on the UW Oshkosh Credit Union board; she also served on the Finance Committee. Payne is a member of the Classified Staff Grant Program Fundraising Committee and coordinates the Classified Staff Annual Spring Fling Raffle to raise funds for the Classified Staff Endowment Fund. Payne was also a member of the board of directors for the Omro High School Scholarship Education Foundation.
Payne earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
As a self-proclaimed “lifer” in the field of education, MaryBeth Petesch takes pride in her profession and in the part she can play in an education student’s academic life. Annually, and among many other duties, Petesch facilitates, coordinates and administers about 400 education school placements; she is the College’s communication link with district administrators and teachers from more than 50 local school districts. Petesch serves as the University liaison for Department of Public Instruction K-12 internships, on the State Executive Board for that program, on the board for the Oshkosh branch of the American Association of University Women. On campus, Petesch is currently serving a second term on the Senate of Academic Staff; she is also a representative to the University Staff Council and is a member of the Gender Equity Council. Petesch was involved in bringing various AAUW national programs, including Elect Her! and $tart $mart, to campus in collaboration with the Women’s Center. Petesch also spearheaded efforts to send the first UW Oshkosh participant to the AAUW National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Washington D.C. in summer 2014.
Petesch earned a bachelor’s degree in science education and resource management from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Outstanding Performance Award
The University’s Outstanding Performance Award recognizes exemplary members of the University staff whose activities, accomplishments and service are most deserving of acknowledgement.
Malissa Bonlender is described as the pulse of her office. She takes an immense amount of pride in her position and is always willing to go the extra mile and take on new responsibilities. In her role for the last five years, Bonlender is dedicated to helping students and continuously acting and serving as a mentor; she enjoys being the person people come to in the College when they need assistance. She is highly versatile and has managed almost every classified search within the College. Throughout her career on campus, Bonlender has been involved in many University activities including Classified Staff Development and Appreciation Day, Bye Gosh Fest and the Homecoming parade; she’s also served on committees such as the Reeve Union Grand Opening Committee, Parking Appeals Committee and the CSDAD Committee. Within the community, she’s been involved as a Cub Scout Den Leader and Pack Treasurer, Relay for Life Team Leader and as a board member for the North Fondy Fest planning committee.
Kim Freier can be described as loyal to both her department and the entire University. She is proud to be involved with helping students attain their dream of earning a degree from a distinguished university. Freier works tirelessly to help everyone in her division; her work is accurate and timely and she treats every penny she manages as if it were her own. Even in a complicated role, Freier is pleasant to be around and always willing to answer questions. During her 15 years of service on campus, Freier has been involved with many search and screen committees; she’s also a member of the Environmental Health and Safety Committee and the Safety Team Committee. In the past, she served as a Classified Staff Advisory Council member, treasurer, planning and finance committee member, on the Tobacco Free Campus Committee and on many other committees.
Traci Luft is known for her productivity and work ethic and is undaunted by the volume of work that comes across her desk. She is described as “the glue that keeps IT together.” Luft is known as a person with excellent time-management skills and as one who takes initiative and goes the extra mile. Luft cares profusely about students and tracks more than 100 student-employees; she has also been responsible for training LTEs many times. Luft expertly navigates through various state contracts to ensure her department follows the correct procedures. Luft has a passion for creative solutions and always brings a positive attitude and kindness with her to work. She is passionate about her role at UW Oshkosh and believes with every interaction she has the opportunity to provide a memorable experience for those she’s working for and with. On campus, Luft is currently involved with the Information Technology LEAN Purchasing Initiative; she previously served on the University Staff Development and Appreciation Day Registration Committee and is a past STAR Award recipient. Luft is a proud and dedicated member of the Wisconsin chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America.
Luft earned an associate degree in arts and science from the University of Wisconsin–Fond du Lac.
Andy Schumacher has played a vital role in the success of Gruenhagen Conference Center at UW Oshkosh. Through his role, Schumacher serves as the voice, face and ambassador within the conference service operation. During the annual EAA AirVenture, which brings thousands of guests to campus, Schumacher is at the center of the organizational effort; he builds and maintains a relationship with EAA visitors from all over the world and is on a first name basis with many of the guests who stay at Gruenhagen year after year. Schumacher is known for his strong work ethic and high standards in providing customer service. Beyond providing service to Gruenhagen guests, Schumacher is also responsible for the recruitment, selection and ongoing training and supervision of 12 student staff members. Schumacher believes that teaching does not only occur in the classroom at UW Oshkosh; he aims to pass his strong work ethic onto each and every student he works with. Additionally, Schumacher has served on search and screen committees and is an Oshkosh Hotel Management Group member.
Schumacher earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin
Inclusive Excellence Award
The purpose of the Inclusive Excellence Award is to emphasize the critical role that inclusivity plays on this campus. This award recognizes faculty or staff members who promote equity, inclusion and diversity on campus.
Elisabeth Billings’ passion for her work ultimately results each year in thousands of students receiving financial assistance to attend UW Oshkosh. Billings has worked in the financial aid office for more than 25 years. Daily, Billings works to ensure under-served and other diverse students have access to and are retained by the University. In administering more than eight grants, two loans and two scholarships, she successfully partners with numerous offices on campus as well as with federal, state and local agencies to select incoming or current students to receive grants and scholarships. Through her deep understanding of regulations, Billings maximizes the financial aid provided to students; she uses her knowledge and expertise to make the University experience more affordable for so many, which ultimately creates greater equity for diverse students on campus and provides important necessary support to help students be successful. Annually, Billings assists a wide range of students in continuing their educational journey; her tireless efforts benefit first-generation college students, students of color, low-socioeconomic status, students with disabilities, students who were formerly incarcerated and students with significant academic challenges. She also counsels students and their parents on strategies for affording a college education. Colleagues laud her inclusiveness in decision-making, demonstrated dependability and hardworking professionalism.
Billings earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.