UWM Honors faculty,staff

UWM 2012 Fall AwardsUWM honored 26 members of its faculty and staff at this year’s annual Fall Awards Ceremony, Oct. 23. Here are profiles of the recipients, who come from a wide range of academic and administrative departments.

ERNEST SPAIGHTS PLAZA HONOREES

Laurie K. Glass
Professor Emerita
College of Nursing
Service to UWM: 1975-2005

Laurie Glass’ 30-year career at UWM reflects her commitment to the university’s success. This commitment was both internal – as a valued researcher, teacher and active participant in governance – and external, as she represented and brought credit to UWM before national and international audiences.

During significant campus transitions, she was involved in university leadership positions that brought to the forefront her ability to balance insight with common sense and consensus building, providing stability and wisdom to the campus. While serving on the University Committee, she proved to be a savvy leader, trusted adviser to the chancellor and outstanding faculty representative.

Glass significantly contributed to the College of Nursing and nursing’s future by coordinating the innovative Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Degree Program, an affiliation with UW-Parkside to expand bachelor’s degree education to nurses across the state. As founder and continuing director of the UWM Center for Nursing History, she has developed the center into one of the state’s largest collections of documents and artifacts representing nursing.

Glass’ national and international service was designed to educate nurses everywhere and improve the condition of their clients through an enhanced knowledge of the forces that have shaped the nursing profession.

Ian M. HarrisIan M. Harris
Professor Emeritus
School of Education

Through his personal and professional commitment to universal peace and justice issues, Ian Harris is widely recognized for his academic research and leadership in the area of peace studies.

This commitment led to the establishment of UWM’s nationally and internationally recognized Peace Studies Program and the creation of the Friends of Peace Studies, which raises funds to support peace research and provide scholarships to students enrolled in the certificate program.

Through Harris’ leadership in the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies, he was instrumental in creating a unique opportunity for nontraditional students – especially central-city students of color – to earn a college education at UWM. Over the years, the program has served as an entry point for hundreds of students who might never have considered college. Harris ensured the program would have the academic rigor of a university education by helping design the curriculum.

In addition to his contributions to the university, Harris has served on community committees, task forces and associations throughout Milwaukee. Harris also has been a major contributor to communities and nations using nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution and community development.

Markos J. MamalakisMarkos J. Mamalakis
Professor Emeritus
College of Letters & Science

In 40 years at UWM, Markos Mamalakis passionately taught economics to nearly two generations of undergraduate and graduate students. Former students recall Mamalakis as an inspirational teacher whose enthusiasm and clarity guided his seminars and introduced challenges confronting the world economy, particularly in developing countries.

Mamalakis emphasized the importance of empirical research that explores reality as well as theory. His research analyzed the economic challenges facing nations, often in Latin America, and inspired the Latin American Research Review to twice dedicate entire issues to discussing his theory of sectoral clashes and coalitions. His theory of collective services markets has brought forward new questions about how government can use its power to promote economic well-being morally.

Mamalakis’ research, which includes the creation of mesoeconomics as a complement to macroeconomics and microeconomics, has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Woodrow Wilson Center, Tinker Foundation and several other organizations.

Mamalakis served as committee chair for 155 master’s degree students and 17 doctoral students, many of whom now have distinguished careers around the world in universities, national governments and the World Bank. Through the success of these students, Mamalakis has contributed to the worldwide recognition of UWM.

Robert J. TrotalliRobert J. Trotalli
Assistant Dean of Students
Division of Student Affairs

The commitment Robert Trotalli has shown to UWM can be seen at the organizational and individual levels.

His initiatives were the foundations of many integral parts of campus life today. The Union Theatre Film Program, Distinguished Lecture Series, Union Art Gallery Exhibition Series, and Studio Arts and Crafts Center program all can be traced to Trotalli. In the 1970s, Trotalli increased campus awareness of the difficulties experienced by students with disabilities, and through his leadership, UWM has a far-reaching and widely respected Student Accessibility Center.

During his time in the Dean of Students Office, his efforts helped shape student life and engagement. He helped formulate the students’ role in shared governance at UWM. For students experiencing troubling times, Trotalli became a trusted guide and mentor, helping them remain at UWM and complete their degrees. He cared deeply about students and was always approachable.

At times he went above and beyond, giving students rides to destinations or loaning them money. After students left UWM, Trotalli was the one invited to weddings and christenings – a testimony to the way he was revered.

K. VairavanK. Vairavan
Professor Emeritus
College of Engineering and Applied Science

K. Vairavan is among the most influential contributors to the development of the College of Engineering & Applied Science. He founded or co-founded bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in computer science and the doctoral program in medical informatics, a collaborative program involving five UWM academic units and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

During his 15 years as the co-chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the computer science program grew in size and stature, bringing national recognition to UWM for its academic programs and faculty research. He also created and guided the Computer Science Industrial Advisory Council, engaging UWM with information technology executives from top Wisconsin companies. He again helped forge such relationships as a founding member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Computer Society.

Vairavan has left a mark in fundamental and applied research spanning many areas in computer science and electrical engineering. His internationally recognized research has attracted numerous graduate students and support from many sources, including the National Science Foundation.

Among Vairavan’s most significant contributions has been his willingness to mentor many young faculty members and graduate students, setting an example with a high spirit of collaboration and collegiality.

UWM FACULTY DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

Ron CislerRon Cisler
Professor

Whether it’s his work in alcohol treatment research or population health disparities, Ron Cisler’s ultimate focus is on improving the health of individuals and communities.

“Cisler’s dynamic and enthusiastic ‘can-do’ attitude is infectious to all who work with him and plays a significant role in establishing fruitful partnerships, garnering support and making things happen,” says Chukuka Enwemeka, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Evidence of Cisler’s community impact includes letters of support for this award from City of Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan K. Baker, and Deborah Banks, executive director of the Social Development Commission. Cisler is known internationally for his innovations in assessing recovery outcomes of alcoholism clinical trials.

Cisler teaches graduate courses in health outcomes assessment and research at UWM and is a professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. In 2001, Cisler led a collaboration of UWM, UWSMPH and Aurora Health Care to launch the Center for Urban Population Health. Over the past 11 years, the CUPH has partnered with more than 300 community, academic and government organizations to address issues from reducing youth violence to improving maternal and child health.

UWM FACULTY DISTINGUISHED UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING AWARDS

Robert BeckRobert Beck
Associate Professor

Students and colleagues who nominated Robert Beck for the distinguished undergraduate teaching award repeatedly cited his ability to blend the latest technology with a dedicated personal approach. Beck, the chief information officer of the College of Letters and Science, teaches courses in international law and global studies.

“To this day, International Law and Conflict Management is still one of the most challenging and academically meaningful courses I have taken,” writes former student Bianca Pearson, who will be graduating as a special agent from the FBI Academy in January.

She recalls how Beck brought international experts into the classroom, either in person or via teleconferencing, to discuss issues with students. “Dr. Beck’s use of technology put me as close to being in the event as possible.”

Greg Heinen, now a student at the University of Virginia School of Law, writes, “Dr. Beck had a teaching style that combined the traditional with the revolutionary.”

Beck not only uses technology well – he also writes, researches and teaches about it. Marcus Ethridge, former Political Science Department chair, writes, “No instructor in my acquaintance has devoted as much time and energy to the teaching enterprise as Bob has.”

Kristen MurphyKristen Murphy
Assistant Professor

Kristen Murphy has a passion for teaching introductory chemistry to large lectures. Since 2002, she has taught more than 5,000 students. She also has done research and written papers that “are putting UWM on the map for chemical education research,” according to Peter Geissinger, chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. “She teaches us how to teach.”

Murphy also reaches out to the community. She organized a Women in Science Day for local Girl Scouts, featuring ice cream made on the spot with liquid nitrogen.

Student McKenna Koeppl says Murphy worked with her tirelessly, offering advice and responding to questions. According to Koeppl, “Because of her teaching methods and the way she taught me to study for exams, I excelled in my Chemistry 104 class as well as many of my other classes.”

Colleague Anja Blecking writes, “She aims to make the students understand the concepts of chemistry, not just make them memorize it. She works tirelessly to meet the students’ needs without compromising the quality of the courses she teaches.”

UWM FACULTY DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY SERVICE AWARDS

Mary K. MadsenMary K. Madsen
Professor

Mary Madsen has served “tirelessly on numerous program-level, department, College of Health Sciences, and university committees and governing entities, including search committees, divisional committees, faculty senate, steering committees and many others,” says one nominator.

What has set Madsen apart in her 38 years at UWM, according to one of her nominators, is that her service rises from her “love of serving her university, her profession, and her colleagues. Madsen does not serve because it is her duty or because she is the most capable (which she most often is) but because it is part of her very nature.”

In the College of Health Sciences, Madsen is known for wearing several caps at once – she has served as department chair, curriculum developer, student organization faculty adviser, internship program director, dissertation supervisor and more. Despite this workload, she has furthered UWM’s mission through volunteer involvement with community groups and advisory boards.

By serving on state and national boards and committees in her area of expertise, Madsen has developed a local, regional, state and national reputation that has enhanced the stature of the College of Health Sciences and UWM.

GRADUATE SCHOOL/UWM FOUNDATION RESEARCH AWARDS

Christine LarsonChristine Larson
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

Why is a smile perceived as happy, while a scowl is considered threatening? Christine Larson’s work on emotion has demonstrated that understanding the effects of visual signals of threat and happiness can be reduced to fundamental properties, such as their geometry.

Using two important techniques to explore the emotion-brain connection – neuro-imaging and psycho-physiology – Larson has discovered that certain shapes influence neural circuits in the brain that are involved in emotional processing.

With more than $1 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, Larson also probes the regulation of emotions, with a focus on clarifying its role in depression and anxiety disorders.

“Chris sets herself apart from psychologists who do neuro-imaging and psycho-physiology by being one of the few scientists in the world who does both,” according to one nominator.

Her work has been recognized by various publications and with several awards, including the K-award from NIH, given specifically to promising scientists wishing to acquire training in new areas of their disciplines. This will allow Larson to add molecular genetic techniques to her neurobiological investigations of emotional regulation.

Amanda Seligman

Amanda Seligman
Associate Professor

Between Amanda Seligman’s numerous articles and well-reviewed book, Block-by-Block, colleagues say she is reshaping what scholars thought they knew about post-war urbanization. Eagerly anticipated is her book on community organizing in Chicago – of unique interest in political and pop-cultural contexts, in addition to its historical relevance. As America pondered similarities between the Great Depression and the 2008 financial collapse, Seligman designed and taught a 2009 class on the question, attracting 80+ undergraduates and curious “drop-in” students in her fellow history faculty.

A richly detailed narrative style has earned her praise as a rising star in urban history and mirrors her exhaustive, engaging research approach. From neighborhood block parties to university laboratories, she strives for complete, balanced, accurate story-telling. As a humanities professor writing the book Is Graduate School Really for You?, Seligman devoted additional time to researching and reporting on the experience of graduate students in laboratory sciences.

She continues to keep her research close to home as lead organizer and editor of the upcoming Encyclopedia of Milwaukee. For this collaboration between UWM and Marquette, Seligman helped secure RGI funding and negotiated key production contracts. She simultaneously contributed to other encyclopedias, directed the Urban Studies program and taught entry-level through doctoral students of history. It’s working, say colleagues, who note that Seligman has attracted “legions of graduate students” to UWM.

Xiaohua PengXiaohua Peng
Assistant Professor

Xiaohua Peng has developed a novel platform for anticancer drugs that can specifically kill cancer cells while reducing the potential for toxicity to normal cells. The work could lead to cancer treatments with far fewer harsh side effects.

“Her independent research has shown creativity, courage to try new ideas and the ability to integrate novel concepts across scientific disciplines,” says one nominator.

A founding faculty member of UWM’s Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery, Peng’s research has attracted international attention. Her work was featured in a news report published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, London. She has presented her work at National Institutes of Health workshops and at the Gordon Research Conference, considered the premier global scientific conference for leading investigators in the field.

Peng’s goal is to connect basic science discovery to improved patient care. Her work at UWM has led to two patent applications, a key step in the transfer of technology from the lab to use in oncology practice.

In May, she received the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Shaw Scientist Award, which, in addition to providing $200,000 in support of her work, recognizes the importance, impact and potential of her contributions to cancer research.

Na Jin SeoNa Jin Seo
Assistant Professor

Na Jin Seo has produced biomechanical models that explain the need and potential for new hand-strength and function assessment tools in medical clinics. Currently, clinics measure hand strength and function with grip and pinch gauges that do not capture the subtle effects of neurological impairment nor take friction into account.

“She is one of the most productive investigators in the field of hand biomechanics and rehabilitation,” says one nominator.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research awarded Seo the Distinguished Fellowship Award for her research to develop innovative assistive devices for people with disabilities. Her research on how strokes affect hand functioning has appeared in both journals and non-journal publications, including Science Daily and Rehab Management magazine.

Seo has been exceptional in mentoring students in research, procuring extramural training fellowships for them from organizations such as the American Society of Biomechanics and the American Heart Association. Her graduate students took first, second and third places at this year’s Larry Hause Student Poster Competition held at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Under her mentorship, 12 undergraduates have produced national and international conference publications.

Seo also participates in local stroke support groups, encouraging stroke survivors to become involved in community events and university research.

UWM RESEARCH FOUNDATION SENIOR FACULTY AWARDS

Kathleen DolanKathleen Dolan
Professor

UWM political scientist Kathleen Dolan is a leading scholar on the impact of gender on American politics. She has made important contributions to our understanding of voting behavior and public opinion, gaining a national and international reputation in the process.

Dolan currently is funded by the National Science Foundation to examine the impact of voter stereotypes on support for female candidates in gubernatorial and congressional races. She has nearly completed her second book, Does Gender Matter in Elections? The book explores whether voters employ gender stereotypes when evaluating women candidates and discusses the role of candidates’ campaign decisions and the media’s reporting decisions.

Dolan’s work often elicits strong reactions from journalists, commentators and members of the general public, but UWM colleague Marcus Ethridge says she “addresses them through rigorous empirical analysis, using sound statistical skills to shed light on the ways gender stereotyping affects public opinion and on the different choices men and women make in the voting booth. [Dolan’s] work has corrected false presumptions and clarified important insights.”

Her work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics and other top journals. Colleagues praise Dolan for her involvement in professional associations, service on committees and boards, and editorships.

Martha CarlinMartha Carlin
Professor

Much of what is known about everyday life in medieval England is a result of the tireless work of UWM history professor Martha Carlin, whom one nominator calls “the most knowledgeable scholar in the English-speaking world on the subject of how medieval urban householders fed and clothed themselves.”

Her focus on social, economic and urban history has produced highly regarded books. In Medieval Southwark (1996), she traced the urban development of London’s first suburb from the year 50 to 1550. In London and Southwark Inventories 1316-1650 (1997), she cataloged from obscure legal documents more than 1,900 surviving inventories that shed light on the personal property of medieval and early modern debtors.

In all, Carlin has seven published or forthcoming books to her credit, as well as 26 articles, 16 book reviews, and more than 50 conference presentations and lectures. Her efforts were recognized with her 1996 election as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London.

Carlin’s exhaustive research in European libraries and archives has been funded in part by 11 travel awards from the graduate school since 1995. Other UWM awards include a 1991 Graduate School Research Committee Award and a 1998 Graduate School/UWM Foundation Research Award.

Hugo LopezHugo Lopez
Professor

Hugo Lopez is widely known in the academic and research community for his work in developing advanced engineering materials.

He has been at the forefront in the development of cobalt alloys with important applications in improving biomedical devices such as hip implants. His advances developing aluminum alloys and nodular irons have helped solve engineering challenges in the manufacture of engine blocks, heads and crankshafts for General Motors and Chrysler.

Lopez has published more than 200 articles and conference papers, which have been cited more than 600 times in scientific literature.

Tien-Chien Jen, mechanical engineering professor and former UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science interim dean, calls Lopez “a recognized leader in the development of cobalt-based alloys with enhanced properties for applications in the biomedical field.”

Last year Lopez was named a level-three member of the prestigious Mexican National System of Research Scientists. This year he was awarded the 2012 British Foundry Medal and Prize. Also, he is the founding editor-in-chief of the open-access journal Metals, established in 2011.

Lopez has been primary or co-investigator on 20 grants, contracts and research awards, as well as founder and organizer of a 2011 international welding symposium and organizer of the World Casting Congress earlier this year.

UWM ACADEMIC STAFF OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AND SERVICE AWARDS

Tricia ChirilloTricia Chirillo
Clinical Associate Professor

Tricia Chirillo has contributed to UWM through clinic administration, student supervision, teaching, research and service for 21 years.

As evidence of Chirillo’s “initiative, innovation and dedication,” colleagues point to the evolution of audiological clinical practice and service at UWM from a small operation in the basement of Enderis Hall to today’s Community Audiology Services, serving hundreds of clients from the Metro Milwaukee area. CAS also provides a state-of-the-art learning lab for graduate students. As a collaboration between UWM and the private, nonprofit Center for Communication, Hearing and Deafness, CAS is a prime example of a university/community partnership.

Chirillo also serves as coordinator of CAS (the former UWM Hearing Evaluation Center), which provides hearing evaluations and fittings for hearing aids and assistive listening devices to the university, local community, UWM Children’s Center and other childcare programs.

Chirillo has provided support to UWM’s Student Accessibility Center and UWM employees who are at risk for incurring hearing loss. She also provided free hearing screenings, assisted by students, to organizations as diverse as the Washington Park Senior Center and the International Learning Center.

Ann DietrichAnn Dietrich
Clinical Assistant Professor

Charged in 2006 with developing clinical agreements for student placements for UWM’s new Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Ann Dietrich’s task was “monumental.” As Program Director and Associate Professor Kathryn Zalewski says, “Our program’s reputation, the reputation of UWM and the reputation of the students in the community are a direct result of her tireless work and the value she places on quality over quantity.”

The program’s results speak to Dietrich’s success. The DPT program enjoys a 100% first-time pass rate on the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy Licensing examination.

An innovator inside and outside the classroom, she has established a clinical agreement with a facility in Italy through the UWM Center for International Education. Realizing that students needed to learn how to manage care under different reimbursement conditions, Dietrich is developing contacts in countries with centralized/government-sponsored health care.

One of Dietrich’s students says she “serves as a great role model, consistently demonstrating qualities such as altruism, compassion and excellence.” Another nominator called Dietrich’s contribution to the work of program, department, college and university committees “exceptional,” also pointing out her active role in professional organizations.

Jean CreightonJean Creighton
Director

Jean Creighton has transformed the Manfred Olson Planetarium into a vital resource for the campus and community. In the five years since she became director, attendance has nearly doubled, reaching more than 11,000 visitors in 2011.

Distinguished Professor of Physics Abbas Ourmazd, who nominated Creighton, says her enthusiasm and expertise make astronomy accessible and exciting. “Dr. Creighton’s ability to communicate complex concepts in simple terms is outstanding. Her main service to our community is that she helps a broad range of people get excited about astronomy.”

Creighton has collaborated with other campus departments, public schools, businesses and community groups to develop innovative programs on astronomy and bring people to the planetarium. The programs often capitalize on current astronomical and cultural events with imaginative titles like “Starry Potter” and “May the Forth Be With You.”

Robin Mello, head of UWM’s Theatre Studies program, worked with Creighton on storytelling and narrative performances that combined arts and astronomy. “Her interest in infusing arts-oriented approaches in science programming is one of her many stellar (no pun intended) qualities,” Mello writes.

Physics Professor Patrick Brady adds, “Her efforts have moved the Manfred Olson Planetarium from an under-utilized campus resource to a hub of activity.”

Jennifer GruenewaldJennifer Gruenewald
Director

Jennifer Gruenewald joined the Center for International Educational post-9/11, as complex regulations and security concerns hampered international recruitment efforts at universities nationwide.

Undaunted and dedicated, she focused on targeted recruitment plans, staff professional development, international studnet outreach and new admissions programs for students with strong academic potential who need additional English-language support.

International enrollment has climbed by more than 60 percent since Gruenewald’s 2003 arrival, including an increase of 38 to 130 sponsored students in three years.

Considered a “thoughtful and insightful immigration expert and manager of people,” Gruenewald also is known for prodigious involvement in professional organizations and her university service.

Her internationalization efforts are simultaneously big-picture and microscopically detailed. As UWM’s primary official with Homeland Security, she is ultimately responsible for all UWM immigration services – including the documentation needs of all students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars. As a member of the UWS Council on International Education, Gruenewald collaborates with colleagues around the state to promote Wisconsin as a destination for higher education.

UWM ACADEMIC STAFF OUTSTANDING TEACHING AWARD

Anja BleckingAnja Blecking
Lecturer

Anja Blecking works hard to understand how students learn and applies that knowledge in her classroom. This is particularly important in two of her regular courses, Preparatory Chemistry and Basic Chemistry for Teachers, says Assistant Professor Kristen Murphy, who nominated Blecking.

Many of the students in her basic courses have little background in the sciences, says Associate Professor Joseph Aldstadt. “The extensive symbolism as well as mathematical foundations are quite intimidating to them.” Blecking has focused on finding ways to reach the “chemistry-phobic” students in these classes.

Working with the School of Education, she has collaborated in research and efforts to refine and improve teacher preparation for science teaching, particularly in Milwaukee Public Schools. She developed a new education course, Pedagogy Labs in Chemistry, which frames classroom instruction in the context of how someone would teach the subject. Blecking also makes good use of technology, employing tools such as personal response systems and online homework websites.

Says Murphy, “She has done all this with great thought and concern about what these students need to know to be effective teachers and more knowledgeable in science.”

JOANNE LAZIRKO AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

Rachel BaumRachel Baum
Senior Lecturer

Rachel Baum teaches fully online and technology-enhanced face-to-face courses. Her course sites are described as “examples of organization and clarity.” She creatively uses an array of innovative technologies – including social media, Second Life, mobile learning, digital storytelling and games – to support her course learning objectives.

Says Tanya Joosten, interim director of the Learning Technology Center and chair of the Lazirko Award Committee, “Dr. Baum not only takes an innovative approach to using technology to enhance her teaching, but she does so in a way that empowers her students to be creative individuals who collaborate with their peers inside the classroom and with the community outside the classroom.”

Joosten continues, “She inspires her students to become more compassionate and responsible people. She is passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference in student learning and improving the students’ experiences, which is evident in her course evaluations.”

Baum is a recipient of the UWM Online and Blended Teaching Certification and a member of the Online Program Council and Online and Blended Teaching Users Group.

Baum also uses innovative techniques – small groups, panel presentations, special projects and student-led discussions – to facilitate student involvement in her face-to-face classes.

UWM CLASSIFIED STAFF OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARDS

Michael DarnellMichael Darnell
Academic Department Specialist

Michael Darnell is described as performing his “work in an extraordinary manner, using a substantial degree of discretion in exercising independent decision-making, always demonstrating sound judgment and creative problem-solving.”

Rick Lovell, associate professor of criminal justice and chair of the department, continues, “I can count on Mike in every instance, and so can all of us. In the 26 years I have been at UWM … we have never had anyone as motivated, as reliable, as congenial, as proficient, as much an integral part of our work group.”

In addition to his regular duties of maintaining budgetary records, providing information to students, inputting the class schedule, administrating course action requests and ad-hoc instructor appointments, processing leave reports and pay contacts, and supervising student help, Darnell has taken on even more responsibilities. He volunteered to assist faculty members with grant proposals, and he planned, organized and conducted the 2012 annual Criminal Justice Career Day, which hundreds of students attended.

According to Lovell, representatives from some of the 40 federal, state and local agencies who participated in the event described it as the best arranged and conducted Career Day in their experience.

Kathy Doering-KilkennyKathy Doering-Kilkenny
Academic Department Manager

Kathy Doering-Kilkenny has been in the English Department since 2009. Because the department is running on 75 percent of its staff allotment, much of the administrative burden has fallen on her shoulders.

She is in charge of a nearly $5 million budget, a 170-person payroll, and room and instructor assignments for almost 400 sections. She also is Curtin Hall’s building chair. Doering-Kilkenny manages these tasks with an encouraging attitude that contributes to the positive morale of the department.

Doering-Kilkenny has found countless ways to save the department money by reevaluating its resources. Instead of buying new chairs for the department, she found a way to use surplus chairs from other departments, saving $5,000. When she began working in the English Department, all staff and faculty printed documents using laser printers in their offices. To save costs, she had faculty and staff redirect their documents to one set of printers – which print double-sided – in the department office, reducing expenses for hardware and ink.

In a time when budgets are tight, Doering-Kilkenny has saved the university thousands of dollars by implementing simple ideas that lower costs without sacrificing performance.

Christopher HillChristopher Hill
University Services Program Associate

Christopher Hill has been working in the Dean of Students office since 2010. Shortly after he was hired, Hill began showing extreme initiative, taking on more responsibilities than initially assigned.

He joined the Division of Student Affairs Professional Development Team, where he attends meetings to help coordinate professional development events. This past June, Hill volunteered to attend a three-day national conference in Madison on how to best use the Maxient database. This database helps the university identify distressed students and provide assistance before they fall through the cracks. UWM hopes it will eventually boost retention rates. Hill has also taken it upon himself to improve databases used in the office to simplify and improve processes regarding student conduct.

Hill has excellent customer service skills, making him a valuable asset in the Office of the Dean. He ensures the faculty and staff adhere to deadlines, manages large amounts of confidential hearing documents while maintaining students’ privacy, and is seamlessly able to coordinate the schedules of all attendees for misconduct hearings. Along with these responsibilities, he is always willing to take on more duties to help the office perform at its best.

Brian SwitalaBrian Switala
Sergeant, UWM Polic Department

Brian Switala, who has been with UWM since 2000, has invested a considerable amount of his own time in developing the police bicycle program at UWM, according to Chief Mike Marzion, who nominated him.

Because of Switala’s expertise, other police departments have requested his assistance in developing their own bicycle patrol programs. Additionally, he served on the Bicycle Advisory Task Force, an effort to make UWM a more bike-friendly campus.

Switala also has demonstrated an ability to handle crises. During the major flood of 2010, he organized officers and coordinated campus resources to systematically check buildings for damage and for occupants who might be in danger. He used that experience to create a campus building checklist that the dispatch center still uses.

He researched and developed a training program for new hires in the police department that focuses on a community-based problem solving approach. He is also lead instructor and coordinator of the department’s CPR program, which has trained more than 1,000 students, staff, faculty and others on campus.

Says Switala, “I am honored to share the recognition with the women and men who work for UWMPD, coupled with the support of my superiors, who make UWM a better place to live, learn and work.”