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Using her education to improve the quality of education for others is the personal mission of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Carol Angell ’90 and ’95, of La Crosse.

From her days as a UW Oshkosh student to her current position as the chair of the Department of Educational Studies at UW-La Crosse, Angell has been using her degrees to make a difference in the field of special education.

The UW Oshkosh Alumni Association will recognize her passion for educating others, as well as her contributions to her community, with a 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

As an undergraduate at UW Oshkosh, Angell used her time in the classroom to become the best educator she could, and her hard work paid off. She graduated cum laude with degrees in special and elementary education.

After graduation, her expertise was noticed and she was hired by the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 6 as a special education teacher. Angell taught students from kindergarten through fifth-grade who had intellectual and specific learning disabilities.

While she was teaching, Angell was pursuing her master’s degree in special education from UW Oshkosh. During that time, the University had asked her to return to help post-bacheloriate teacher candidates earn their special education teaching certifications.

Angell earned her master’s degree, graduated summa cum laude and was accepted into the special education doctoral program at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

After completing her doctorate in 2000, she became an assistant professor of special education at UW-La Crosse. She received tenure in 2006, was promoted to associate professor in 2007 and full professor in 2013. She now serves as the chair of the Department of Educational Studies.

Angell has spent much of her time at UW-La Crosse implementing program development and teacher education.

“One of Dr. Angell’s greatest strengths is her ability to envision and lead program reform,” associate professor Joyce Shanks said. “She led the faculty in working to implement a new, updated initial certification program. When Dr. Angell took over the leadership of the program reform, she was able to mastermind a new curriculum, do the ‘leg work’ for getting the reform passed, see the curriculum voted on for approval and work on the implementation of the program.”

For the past 14 years, Angell also has taught a variety of special education and literacy classes at UW-La Crosse. She has published many professional journal articles, as well as two professional book manuscripts.

“I continue to present my research agenda annually at professional conference venues, including the Association of Teacher Educators, the Council for Exceptional Children, the International Reading Association and the National Reading Conference,” Angell said.

Angell is not only a leader in the educational studies department at UW-La Crosse, but also serves on the Faculty Senate and has been a member and chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee to assure that all programs are high-quality. She also has served on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the Institutional Review Board, which oversees university faculty research projects.

Off campus, Angell supports the local Special Olympics and is active in her local church, where she leads a women’s Bible study.

“Distinguished alumni of any university should be active in service to their community, which Dr. Angell exemplifies, but they should also be people whose life work personifies the value and importance of education in the community,” Shanks said. “Dr. Angell’s lifetime commitment does just that.”

Her time inside of the classroom and out is dedicated to improving education and molding top-notch educators. But Angell always remembers where she got her start and the instructors who helped make her into the exceptional professor and special education advocate that she is today.

“Anything is possible if you set reasonably high goals and surround yourself with people to support you in reaching your goals,” Angell said. “The faculty models I experienced have impacted how I conduct myself as a university professor. I want my students to have the same experience and feeling that I had as an undergraduate and graduate student.”

Angell and nine other award recipients will be recognized as part of Homecoming 2014 festivities at the Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, Oct.1 7.

For more information about the alumni awards dinner, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or email