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Physics and astronomy professor honored for work with nontraditional students

RELEASED: Oct. 29, 2009

Dr. Paul Thomas
Dr. Paul Thomas

EAU CLAIRE — A professor of physics and astronomy is the 2009 recipient of the OWL Award, which recognizes an outstanding University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty member who best exemplifies the art and science of teaching adult returning students.

Dr. Paul Thomas will receive the OWL Award for helping "older, wiser learners" reach their academic potential. He will be recognized during a Nontraditional Student Services awards reception at 3 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Arrowhead Room of Davies Center.

"The purpose of the OWL Award is to recognize faculty who genuinely value 'older, wiser learners' in their classrooms, understand that nontraditional students lead full lives, and employ a classroom strategy that is appropriately varied and flexible," said Bonnie Isaacson, nontraditional student adviser.

One student nominator credits Thomas as a "crucial resource in my continuing academic success." Another student said that Thomas "learned my individual situation and helped me develop a learning plan that fit my nontraditional life."

Thomas said he is honored to receive the award, especially since nontraditional students nominated him. UW-Eau Claire students are impressive, especially the nontraditional students who bring "extensive life experience and wisdom to the classes they are participate in," he said.

Thomas, who has been a UW-Eau Claire faculty member since 1989, was one of 13 faculty members nominated by nontraditional students for the award. Other nominees were: Dr. Cathy Rex, Dr. David Shih and Frederick Poss in English; Nuria Hoff and Dr. Eva Santos-Phillips in foreign languages; Dr. Gwen Applebaugh in mathematics; Dr. Rosemary Battalio in special education; Dr. Gloria Fennell in social work; Dr. Marc Goulet in the Dean of Students Office; Ray Hughes in management and marketing; Dr. Tamara Lindsey in curriculum and instruction; and Dr. Kristin Schaupp in philosophy and religious studies.

The Nontraditional Student Advisory Committee selected the award winner.

-30-

SN/JB/DW

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