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Eight Recognized at UW-Eau Claire for Contributions to Student Development and Diversity

RELEASED: May 6, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — Eight awards were presented to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty, staff members and students at the 2005 Student Development and Diversity Awards recognition reception April 27.

The Student Development and Diversity recognition awards ceremony is an annual event that recognizes individuals who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help students and colleagues reach their unique potential.

"In honoring these individuals we include those who have contributed to the university's diversity efforts because dealing effectively with issues related to cultural differences is essential to helping our students and ourselves understand who we are, our relationships to others, and our place in the world," said Dr. Kimberly Barrett, associate vice chancellor, Student Development and Diversity.

Jeannie Harms, senior student services coordinator, received this year's Staff Excellence Award, which recognizes a staff member who works within the area of Student Development and Diversity. The recipient must exhibit an appreciation for the diverse interests and needs of members of the university community, as well as demonstrate excellent customer service. They must also contribute to achieving the mission of Student Development and Diversity and the university in extraordinary ways.

The Peer Diversity Educators, a Housing and Residence Life student-run organization of 24 members who are specifically trained in diversity classroom facilitation, won the Student Organization Award, given to a university-recognized student group that makes significant contributions to student life and shows an appreciation for diversity in their activities. PDE travels to classrooms on and off campus and presents interactive programs focusing on issues such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, intercultural communication, morality and human rights. Student coordinators are senior Rebecca Piotrowski, Stevens Point, and junior Sally Trnka, Duluth, Minn.

January Boten, a residence hall director and adviser to the student organization Making Our School an Intercultural Community, was the winner of the University Staff Excellence Award.

An Instructional Staff Excellence Award is also given to an individual who takes a student-centered approach to teaching which serves as a model for promoting the overall development of students. Sharon Westphal, a lecturer in the psychology department, received this year's award.

Senior Jessica Evers, Kaukauna, received the Student Assistant Award for the enthusiasm, leadership and creativity she exhibited as a student employee in Student Health Services.

Two awards were given that recognized those who have contributed in exceptional ways to helping the university achieve its diversity goals.

Dr. La Vonne Cornell-Swanson, assistant professor of social work, received the Diversity Teacher/Scholar Award for her dedication and enthusiasm for integrating diversity into her classroom activities and research. The tremendous body of diversity-related work she has engaged in illustrates that issues of diversity and authentic inclusion are important parts of all aspects of her life.

The second award in this category is the Diversity Advocate Award. Beth Hicks, director of Services for Students with Disabilities, received this award for her work at both the system and campus level on behalf of one of the university's largest minority student populations, students with disabilities.

The Older Wiser Learner Award recognizes an outstanding UW-Eau Claire faculty member who best exemplifies the art and science of teaching adult returning students. This year's award went to Dr. James Oberly, professor of history and the American Indian Studies program. Oberly was cited for his "excellent understanding of the special concerns and characteristics of the nontraditional student" and his willingness to help students find ways to overcome school/family conflicts.

For more information please contact Barrett at (715) 836-5992 or barretka@uwec.edu, or Jacqueline Bonneville at (715) 836-3487 or bonnevjk@uwec.edu.

-30-

KB/NW

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