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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh faculty and staff were welcomed and recognized for their accomplishments and contributions at the annual Opening Day Convocation Sept. 5.

The recipients for awards awarded during the Opening Day Convocation are as follows:

Endowed Professorship
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.

Maureen Muldoon
Professor, Geology

Considered a national and international expert in the field of hydrogeology, Maureen Muldoon is well-respected for excellence in scholarship, creative accomplishments and teaching. She joined the geology faculty in 1998. Muldoon has an extensive record of scholarly contributions and publications, including peer-reviewed papers in professional journals, technical reports and conference proceedings, teaching materials, abstracts and proposals. Colleagues describe Muldoon as an energetic researcher. Her work on groundwater quality in glaciated terrain of Wisconsin is well-documented. Her assessment of well water in Kewaunee County showed contamination by bacteria or elevated nitrate in 26-28 percent of wells county-wide and the rate in areas with shallow soil rises to 50 percent. Since starting at UW Oshkosh, Muldoon has been principal investigator or co-investigator on 13 externally-funded projects that have secured more than $625,000 for her groundwater research. Muldoon is described as a bright scientist driven by a desire to understand how the world around her works and to share what she has learned with others. She is a caring individual with a strong sense of responsibility to make the world a better place. Muldoon regularly responds to geologic questions from industry, public agencies, environmental groups and citizens, as the results of her research have direct implications on the management of water resources in Wisconsin. She is considered an excellent ambassador for the University. Muldoon focuses on service and outreach to the public on scholarly geoscience issues and she was recognized by UW Oshkosh with a College of Letters and Science Community Engagement Award in 2012, following a Service Recognition Award in 2009.

Muldoon is recipient of the 2017 Edward Penson Endowed Professorship.

Muldoon earned a bachelor’s degree in earth and planetary sciences from Washington University, a master’s degree in hydrogeology/glacial geology and doctorate in geology from the UW-Madison.

Benjamin Artz
Associate Professor, Economics

Benjamin Artz is viewed as a leader in his department and is known for exceeding expectations in the areas of teaching, service and scholarship, and for using his exceptional research program to impact his classrooms. Artz is one of two faculty members in the department who teach project-based research methods classes. In his five years at UW Oshkosh, Artz has taught all of the department’s introductory courses as well as advanced courses. He is described as an invaluable instructor in the business department, and his willingness to help the department with a variety of courses has been crucial to the program. During his time at the University, Artz presented research and served as discussant at six regional economics conferences, including one that was awarded a competitive Showcase Symposium Presentation slot at the Academy of Management Meetings in 2015. He was a visiting professor of economics at the University of Warwick during spring 2016, and conducted research with colleagues while there. His research has been cited by national and international newspapers, magazines, and radio and television news broadcasts. In September 2016, Artz’s research was picked up by nearly 300 international media sources. A tier-1 research journal in economics, Labour Economics, reported that a paper by Artz had one of the top downloads in its history—even before appearing in print. A prolific author, Artz has had 18 peer-reviewed articles, with two more under review and nine papers in various stages of progress. His research is well-respected in the profession.

Artz is the recipient of the 2017 John E. Kerrigan Endowed Professorship Award.

Artz earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Wisconsin Lutheran College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from UW-Milwaukee.

Rosebush Professorship
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.

Bruce Atwell
Professor, Music

A highly accomplished musician, Bruce Atwell has served in the music department at UW Oshkosh since 1998. Over the past five years, his principal areas of teaching have been in music theory and applied horn. Atwell currently is principal horn for the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Fox Valley Symphony, Oshkosh Symphony and many other orchestras. He was acting fourth horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony and the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra. He has held positions with the Florida Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and University of Florida. A former student said Atwell’s vast experiences in the music industry “allow him to provide his students with a high level of insight that is beyond most any other educators, and further enable him to be a resource for all musicians of all levels.” He gives back to UW Oshkosh and surrounding community by sharing his dedication to the arts through many outlets. Atwell has published articles in the main journal for scholarly research in the area of horn. He founded and conducted the Oshkosh Horn Choir and hosts Horn Day on campus, drawing high school and middle school students for master classes and performances. Atwell also has hosted International Horn Society Regional Workshops, bringing top international players and more than 200 horn players to campus. He is chair of the Department of Music Personnel Committee and Promotion Committee, and serves on the board of directors for the Fox Valley Symphony.

Atwell earned a bachelor’s degree in music in horn performance from California State University-Northridge, a master’s degree in horn performance from UW-Milwaukee, and a doctorate in musical arts in horn performance from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

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.

John Beam
Professor, Mathematics

John Beam, who joined UW Oshkosh as an assistant professor in 2002, said he believes mathematics can be taught in a rigorous way, “without taking the joy out of it.” Beam knows when he is working with students that if he poses the right problems, his students can ask and answer most of the important questions on their own, gaining deep mathematical insights in the process. “What I love most about Dr. Beam’s teaching is his ability to help students make subtle distinctions about mathematical ideas while also highlighting big ideas related to math and teaching math,” said Jennifer Earles Szydlik, fellow mathematics professor. Beam’s favorite topics are the mathematics behind card tricks and how those tricks can be used to motivate the study of elementary counting problems; how a knowledge of calculus could improve a movie maker’s ability to film miniature models; and how humans first calculated the distance to the moon. His graduate research was in probability theory but his interests have expanded to include mathematics education and mathematics exposition. Beam received the 2014-2015 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Wisconsin Section of the Mathematical Association of America; and was named a 2002-2003 Project NExT-Wisconsin Fellow by the Mathematical Association of America. Beam has been published in peer-reviewed publications and led seminars and presentations on mathematics. At UW Oshkosh, he serves on departmental committees, chairs the graduate committee and serves as graduate coordinator for the department.

Beam earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from University of Texas at Austin, and master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from University of Miami, Coral Gables.

James Feldman
Professor, History and Environmental Studies

Few professors have done more to lead and promote UW Oshkosh sustainability efforts, but James Feldman prides himself most on his ability to build strong relationships with his students, to take risks with his teaching and to implement high-impact learning practices. Feldman joined UW Oshkosh in 2004 as an assistant professor of environmental studies and history. He was named associate professor in 2010 and in 2015 was named director of the Environmental Studies Program. Fellow professor and History Department Chair Stephen Kercher said Feldman’s work in the environmental studies program and his contributions to sustainability at UWO alone make him deserving of this award. Feldman is a founding member of the campus sustainability initiative. One of his goals is to find ways to help students connect the subjects he teaches to their everyday lives. He takes his role as a mentor to students very seriously and has worked with students on 14 independent study/directed reading/research projects and more than 20 internships. He is the author of A Storied Wilderness: Rewilding the Apostle Islands and the editor of Nuclear Reactions: Documenting American Encounters with Nuclear Energy, and many other articles and reviews. His teaching and research were featured in the first issue of Endeavors in 2012. “It is my opinion that there are very few individuals at UW Oshkosh who match Dr. Feldman’s commitment to teaching excellence, who have earned as much respect from students and teaching peers, who have made a bigger, positive impact on the direction of the university’s curriculum and, not least, who have demonstrated a greater and more abiding dedication to helping UW Oshkosh realize its potential contribution to the public good,” Kercher said of Feldman.

Feldman earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Amherst College, a master’s degree in history from Utah State University and a doctorate in American history from UW-Madison.

Sniffen Faculty Governance Service Award
The Barbara G. Sniffen Faculty Governance Service Award recognizes faculty members who have exceptional University service records.

M. Ryan Haley
Professor, Economics

M. Ryan Haley’s dedication to service has been exemplary since he joined UW Oshkosh in 2003. Haley is described as someone who will step in to help whenever a need arises. In particular, Haley has been integral in revamping of the salary equity process and the faculty development program at UW Oshkosh. He chairs the University Budget Development Committee, where he works on development and implementation of a new University budget model, and is currently serving as vice chair of the economics department. Among Haley’s most notable achievements at UW Oshkosh is a grant he was awarded from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Secondary Education for envisioning an e-textbook program to enhance the quality and affordability of higher education—the program has garnered the attention of national media and the UW System Board of Regents. Haley has served on a variety of committees and groups over the years, including the Chancellor’s Study Group on budget structures, as a member of the Strategic Financing/Budget Review Team, University Faculty Development Board and the University Budget Committee, and as adviser, chair and member to many other initiatives on campus. Haley also served as the midyear commencement ceremony faculty speaker in January.

Haley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, mathematics and applied statistics from the University of St. Thomas, a master’s degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in economics from the University of Iowa.

Outstanding Service Award
UW Oshkosh has many non-teaching 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.

Christine Gantner
Director, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Christine Gantner has dedicated herself to serving the UW Oshkosh campus for nearly two decades, especially through her efforts to engage the institution’s 90,000 alumni living and working across the globe. Early in her tenure, she made best practice strategic changes to revitalize the UWO Alumni Association by eliminating dues, restructuring the Alumni Board and implementing term limits for board members. She expanded the University’s alumni awards program and coordinated hundreds of local, regional, corporate and affinity group alumni events. She has traveled thousands of miles to meet and engage alumni and enjoyed nearly 40 commencement ceremonies. For the past decade, Gantner has partnered closely with colleagues across UWO to expand Homecoming’s signature Tent City event. Other key successes in recent years have included development and oversight of the Student Alumni Ambassador program, Titans X2 Alumni-Employee recognition, the Almost Alumni Lunch for graduating seniors, Thank a Donor Day and 18 geographic and affinity-based alumni chapters. These numbers, however, do not begin to articulate the impact she has had on the University through her lasting and true one-on-one relationships with individual alumni. To say that Gantner is a “people person,” is the definition of an understatement. She cares, listens and remembers. She connects alumni to their alma mater by honing in on their interests to volunteer their time, share their expertise with students and donate to UW Oshkosh efforts that are close to their hearts. Outside of UW Oshkosh, she has given back to her community by serving on the Lomira School District PTC, volunteering at Hope Lutheran Church of Fond du Lac and, most recently, taking a mission trip to El Salvador.

Gantner earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from UW-Milwaukee.

Jeanne Hiatt
Learning Lab Manager, College of Nursing

Jeanne Hiatt exemplifies the mission, vision and values of the College of Nursing (CON), providing outstanding service to students and faculty. She manages the daily operations of one of the busiest nursing laboratories in the state of Wisconsin. She assists students in the mastery of psychomotor skills necessary to engage in safe patient care. She inventories, organizes and maintains a diverse array of supplies and equipment needed to manage more than 500 students annually. Hiatt also is the college’s National Council Licensure (NCLEX) test preparation coordinator, serving as a testing resource for students and faculty. She administers assessments, including the final comprehensive predictor exam to graduating seniors. Hiatt’s efforts directly contribute to CON’s high NCLEX pass rate. She enjoys helping students achieve their dreams. She embraces teaching and developing students who come from diverse backgrounds. Working with first-generation college students, as well as students who come from families with long historical connections to nurses, keeps her connected to learner development. She is rewarded daily by watching students grow from novice caregivers in their beginning courses into confident and capable graduate nurses at the end of their program. Her extensive resumé of service involves committee and volunteer work at the CON and the University as well as community activities, such as ReTHINK: Addiction Run/Walk, the United Way school supply drive and the campus blood drive.

Hiatt earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Justine Stokes
Television services director, Titan TV; senior lecturer, Radio TV Film (RTF)

When Justine Stokes began working at UW Oshkosh in 2008, she was charged with overseeing the modernization of the television production facilities to keep pace with the digital, high-definition revolution. She secured funding and created a more welcoming, professional space for student collaboration with the latest equipment and resources. Stokes also serves as the liaison to the campus and community as related to production requests, community tours and other television production inquiries. In addition, she oversees UWO’s educational access cable channel, Titan TV and the associated student organization. She has made it her mission to give as much control of the station to the students as possible in accordance with the station’s tagline: “Student run. Student produced. Student television.” During her tenure, Titan TV has been awarded 78 state and national awards for its work. Stokes’ service extends beyond commencement to help students after they graduate. She takes great pleasure in working to build strong relationships with RTF alumni by working on the Pro Perspectives panel held annually during Homecoming, collaborating on the RTF 50th reunion in 2014 and establishing the Los Angeles Connection study away course in 2015.

Stokes earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast communication and theatre from Morningside College of Sioux City, Iowa, and a master’s degree in mass communication with a women’s studies certificate from Miami University of Oxford, Ohio.

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.

David Hietpas
Library Web Developer, Polk Library

For David Hietpas, being an employee at UW Oshkosh’s Polk Library means making an impact on campus, within the state of Wisconsin and globally. Hietpas began at Polk as a student intern and has since worked his way into a professional role where he is primarily responsible for making Polk’s web presence accessible to all. He has been compelled to stay at Polk for the atmosphere, relationships with his colleagues, and, most importantly, because he knows he is making an impact on students, faculty and staff. In the past six years, Hietpas has played a central part in many, if not all, of the library’s technological innovations and successes, routinely going above and beyond his position description to make changes quickly, efficiently and creatively. Hietpas also has collaborated on more than one occasion with the UW System, including serving on the Systemwide Discovery/Fulfillment Group, which is critical to ensuring users can find and order material from any of the UW System campus libraries. Hietpas also has served on various committees, including the Polk Library Murder Mystery Event Committee, Polk Library Mini Golf Event, Plone Symposium Committee and the UW System Library EzProxy Committee.

Hietpas earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UW Oshkosh.

Julia Hodgen
Dean’s Executive Assistant, College of Business

Julia Hodgen is described as capable, hard-working, positive and an unequivocal joy to work with. She is known for seeking solutions when problems arise, her high ethical standards and collaborating in a professional manner with everyone she comes in contact with. She has been with the College of Business Dean’s Office since 2008, and Hodgen said she appreciates working in an educational environment with opportunities for continuous growth. She is proud to come to work as a Titan X2. In her role, Hodgen has served as the constant during a time of leadership change for the College of Business, has partnered with human resources to learn new policies and procedures, and has stepped up to the plate to manage events and create an internal organizational system for the college. During her nine years at UW Oshkosh, Hodgen also has held roles in the Registrar’s Office and with the College of Nursing. In recent years, Hodgen has enjoyed her involvement with the University Staff Senate, the University Staff Senate Executive Committee, the Awards and Recognition Committee and the University Budget Development Committee.

Hodgen earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UW Oshkosh.

LGBTQ+ Ally Award
The UW Oshkosh LGBTQ+ Ally Award is dedicated to creating a stronger and more affirming campus environment for teaching, learning, serving and growing. The purpose of the award is to recognize a UW Oshkosh employee who is neither a member of nor an out member of the LGBTQ+ community for their excellence in leadership, advocacy, and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Missy Burgess
Assistant Director for Student Involvement, Reeve Memorial Union

Missy Burgess approaches every situation in her life as an ally—it’s something she lives and breathes every single day. In her role supervising staff who advise Greek Life, Reeve Union Board, the University Speaker Series and many other student-focused organizations and initiatives, Burgess frequently asks herself the question, “is this inclusive to all?” She believes strongly that every person on campus has the right to feel safe and welcome and frequently challenges those around her to consider diverse perspectives. Burgess has been a consistent and strong S.A.F.E. trainer since she joined the UW Oshkosh campus in 2013. She attends many LGBTQ+-related events and programs and supports programming on campus that advances the education and conversation around gender identity and sexual orientation. Burgess has been a strong voice in advocating for an all-gender restroom within the renovated spaces at Reeve Memorial Union and led the discussion on and implementation of a gender-neutral Homecoming Court in 2015. Burgess acknowledges herself as a “cis-gender, white, straight, female, academic staff member” and believes she must use those privileges by speaking up and influencing others to do the right thing.

Burgess earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, a master’s degree in student counseling and personnel services from Kansas State University and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota.

Queer Faculty/Staff Award
The UW Oshkosh Queer Faculty/Staff Award recognizes a queer staff or faculty member at UW Oshkosh for their excellence in advocacy, teaching, service, leadership and/or research on behalf of people of LGBTQ+ identities. The impact of such work includes, as well as exceeds, the critical role of validating the lives of queer students, faculty, staff and community members.

Amney Harper
Associate Professor, Professional Counseling

Amney Harper has committed herself to the issues of social justice, advocacy and education, with a special focus on LGBTQ+ issues. Harper said she firmly believes that scholarship and education are foundational for meaningful change toward LGBTQ equity and liberation. She infuses LGBTQ+ content into her courses and has presented and published widely on these issues, including co-authoring four chapters of a publication for the recently released book Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQIA+ People. Harper has been engaged in advocacy efforts on the UWO campus, the surrounding community and at the national level, seeking to improve services and climate. “Amney’s commitment and knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community is unparalleled,” said Thomas Wolf, assistant director of University Books & More, in support of Harper’s nomination. “She has served on every LGBTQ+ committee during her tenure on this campus.” Harper is a founding member of Trans Action Week and serves yearly on the planning committee. She is a S.A.F.E. trainer, T.S.A.F.E. trainer and a trainer for Train the Trainer, working with campus groups and companies related to trans/non-binary identities. She has been asked to conduct mental health transgender/non-binary training for the Wisconsin Resource Center. Harper works closely with students on UWO’s Rainbow Floor. She is a founder and chair of the Fox Valley Gender Health Team and is a member and former president of Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling. Harper served as the keynote speaker at the 2017 Ally March. Harper earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in community counseling from Ball State University.

She earned her doctorate in counselor education from Auburn University.

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.

Timber Smith
Coordinator, Veterans Resource Center

Timber Smith’s relationship with UW Oshkosh began in 1990 when he attended the Pre-College Program as a high school sophomore. He then began his college career at UW Oshkosh in 1992 and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Smith worked for six years as a UW Oshkosh admissions counselor, helping students, primarily African American students, begin their college journey. He recently transitioned to his new role as veterans resource coordinator, connecting student veterans with benefits and resources vital to their success. Smith has taken an active role in a diverse array of committees and events—from serving as master of ceremonies for the MLK Jr. Community Celebration, co-hosting Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and leading a unity activity during the Harvey Milk Commemorative Dinner, to serving as staff adviser for the Student Veterans Association and for Omega Delta Phi fraternity. “I give voice to many things that are the foundation and fabric of this institution by offering a unique point of view because of my own experiences and my membership in a variety of subpopulations,” Smith said. Much of his work on campus rests on collaborations and relationships that help ensure students receive the best support possible. Smith has been integral in helping the UWO Police Department understand students from different cultures, said Capt. Chris Tarmann, who recommended Smith for the award. “Anyone who knows Timber can see the value he places on students he brings to UWO. He treats them like family and he watches out for them.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in educational leadership from UW Oshkosh.