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Faculty, Staff and Students Recognized with
Student Development and Diversity Awards

RELEASED: April 27, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — Faculty, staff and students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help students and colleagues reach their unique potential were honored April 18 during the Student Development and Diversity Awards reception. 2007 Student Development and Diversity Award Recipients are as follows:

  • Older Wiser Learner (OWL) Award: Rosemary Battalio, associate professor, special education. This award recognizes faculty members who help non-traditional students reach their full potential, employing classroom strategies that are varied and flexible, recognizing that older students lead busy, full lives. One nominating student, and education major, said Battalio was "understanding and compassionate, while consistently encouraging me to be innovative and effective in my teaching." She also said, "I feel that Dr. Battalio has played an important role in the success I have found as a student at UW-Eau Claire and in balancing this with my family life and my role as a single mother."
  • Battalio, along with Margaret Devine, associate professor of accounting and finance, also received a new award this year, the Services for Students with Disabilities Accessibility Recognition Award. Students with disabilities were invited to nominate a university employee who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring the educational environment is accessible for students with disabilities. Devine and Battalio were selected from the nominations as individuals who reached out to students with disabilities in unique, caring and creative ways.
  • Student Development and Diversity Staff Excellence Award: Mary Ryan-Miller, associate dean of student development (spring award); Cynthia Welch, University Services program associate (spring award); Patricia Quinn, McNair Program director (fall award). This award recognizes Development and Diversity staff members who display excellent teamwork skills and professionalism while contributing to the mission of Student Development and Diversity in extraordinary ways. Ryan-Miller was cited as being "conscientious and kind to students," "eager to advocate for students," "a major ally" to non-traditional students and "someone who has given many years of service and does a lot of behind-the-scenes work to support our students." Welch works with the Students with Disabilities office and the Student Support Program and was cited as someone "who does much to try to build the self-confidence and self-advocacy skills of the students." She has also been involved in many diversity initiatives at the university and was selected to provide diversity training workshops for other classified staff. Quinn received her award last fall for her many contributions to SDD, including the securing of external funding and grants.
  • Student Organization Award: Student Organization of Latinas. This award recognizes a student organization that has made significant contributions to campus life and contributed to the mission of Student Development and Diversity in extraordinary ways. A faculty member nominated the group, which was founded only two years ago by Latino students who wanted to "come together to form a family away from home." The faculty member said it has been a pleasure to watch them express themselves and grow as an organization and as individuals, while reaching out to others who want to learn more about and appreciate the Latino culture.
  • University Staff Excellence Award: Yvonne Plomedahl, academic associate, geography and anthropology. This award recognizes non-teaching staff members outside the Student Development and Diversity office who contribute to the mission of SDD in extraordinary ways and exhibit a student-centered approach to their work, an enthusiasm for life and learning in West Central Wisconsin, and an appreciation for diverse cultural perspectives. Plomedahl, who has lived in rural areas most of her life, was cited as someone who "understands the complexities of a student body that comes from high/low income and from rural/urban areas." She was also recognized for valuing and contributing to interdepartmental collaboration and assisting students and faculty conducting field experiences with other department participants "allowing everyone to appreciate the experience from a broader perspective."
  • Instructional Staff Excellence Award: Barbara Kernan, lecturer, women's studies. This recognizes the same characteristics as the University Staff Excellence Award, but draws from the faculty or instructional academic staff community. Kernan was cited by both faculty and students as having the ability to simultaneously nurture and challenge students to learn, "creating a balance of structure and flexibility." Described as "an excellent listener," as well as "very understanding and warm," she was recognized for applying "a unique form of pedagogy in which all students are equals."
  • Student Development and Diversity Student Assistant Award: junior Jenna Schnell, Oneida/Green Bay, student development and diversity. This award recognizes a student worker in SDD who shows appreciation for diversity and contributes to the mission of SDD while exhibiting enthusiasm for his or her work, excellent customer service skills, creativity and problem-solving ability. Schnell was cited for impressing the entire SDD staff with her "attention to detail, willingness to take on additional responsibilities, and her professionalism." The staff also said they appreciate her enthusiasm, friendliness and sense of humor when dealing with everyone who visits SDD.
  • Diversity Teacher /Scholar Award: Jill Prushiek, academic program director/COEHS Field Experience. This award recognizes students, faculty or staff members who engage in a multicultural approach to teaching and/or learning, pursue or encourage others to engage in scholarly activities related to diversity through innovative approaches, and effectively address controversial issues in the classroom while minimizing conflict by facilitating inter-group understanding. Prushiek was cited as someone "who effectively exhibits the criteria for these awards on a daily basis." Described as warm and welcoming, colleagues report hearing her advise a diverse range of students, sometimes by phone late into the evening. She was also recognized for her innovative efforts to increase options for student teachers, including an Anglo-American partnership with London that began in 2002, a Global Student Teaching partnership with University of Minnesota-Morris, and two urban field experiences she developed with Milwaukee and Houston, Texas.
  • Diversity Advocate Award: Emily Langer, Green Bay, MOSAIC president. This award recognizes students, faculty and staff members who promote diversity efforts at the university and in the community and advocate on behalf of individual minority students, faculty and staff at UW-Eau Claire. The recipients can be recognized for creating or supporting programming that celebrates the unique contributions of diverse groups, increasing the number of individuals from underrepresented populations, and/or helping to create a welcoming environment for all. Langer is president of Making Our School an Intercultural Community, and in this role, she was cited as being a crucial force in continuing several major MOSAIC programs, including The Vagina Monologues and the Tunnel of Oppression. Langer is also a resident assistant and was recognized for making the effort to get to know all her residents on a personal basis so they feel comfortable talking to her about any situation. As a social work major, Langer has also participated in several trips to work in a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C., and served as team leader for such a trip during the last Winterim break.

For more information about the Student Development and Diversity Awards, contact Kimberly Barrett, associate vice chancellor, Student Development and Diversity, at 715-836-5992 or barretka@uwec.edu.

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