Skip to main content
Important COVID-19 updates   READ MORE »

Faculty, staff recognized for service to students with disabilities

| Vicky Thomas

The Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office at UW-Eau Claire held its Faculty and Staff Recognition Reception Oct. 18 to honor staff members for their service to students with disabilities, and also celebrate UW-Eau Claire’s centennial. 

UW-Eau Claire student Nathan Altmann read the national proclamation of Disability Awareness Month.

Alan Rieck, music and theatre arts; Emily Elsner-Twesme, business communication; and Alan Benson, Andrew Suralski and Dianne Lund of the Center for Writing Excellence were recognized as university faculty and staff who demonstrate outstanding commitment to meeting students’ disability-related needs. Dr. Michael Carney, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, presented the awards.

UW-Eau Claire student Tyler Clausen nominated Rieck.

"Professor Rieck has been an instrumental part of my success here at UW-Eau Claire,” Clausen said. “He is a great mentor and friend to me. His thoughtfulness and strategic planning when I schedule my classes and draw connections in my music classes have helped me thrive in my craft. He is always willing to listen and is generous with his time. Dr. Rieck has also helped me better myself as a gentleman and for that I will always be grateful.”

Elsner-Twesme was nominated by a UW-Eau Claire student who wished to remain anonymous, saying that her thoughts were shared by many students.

“Emily has an awesome personality and is willing to help at all times,” Elsner-Twesme’s nominator said. “I wasn’t feeling well one day and wasn’t able to walk to class, and she was more than willing to help me catch up on what I missed. I had messed up on a quiz and studied for the wrong chapter and she was very accommodating in re-setting the quiz for me again. When it didn’t work the first time she was patient and helpful in getting it done. So far she has been wonderful in helping me and has the personality that pushes students to do better.”

The Center for Writing Excellence was recognized as a department that has been especially collaborative in sharing expertise with staff and students.

“I am delighted — but not surprised — to learn that Alan, Andrew and Dianne are being recognized by the Services for Students with Disabilities office; as you know, they do such great work with students,” said Erica Benson, the center’s supervisor.    

Vicky Thomas, director of Services for Students with Disabilities, was joined by SSD staff members Andy Strowig, Katie Bublitz, Tyra Wendt and Katelyn Canepa, as well as Cheryl Lochner-Wright of the Center for International Education, in recognizing SSD scholarship recipients. The event celebrated new and continuing scholarships offered by SSD: the Access to Opportunity Scholarship; the Barbara Brenner Tremble Scholarship; the Laurel and Mark Fleming Study Abroad Scholarship; the Robert Southard Memorial Scholarship; the Ronald Wray Strowig Learning, Cognitive, or Mental Health Disability Scholarship; and the Emma Louise Strowig Autism Scholarship. The SSD office is grateful to the many donors who have made these scholarships possible for students.

The event celebrated the many accomplishments of SSD staff and students over the years. Julia Diggins represented the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and offered closing comments.

Photo cutline: Faculty and staff honored Oct. 18 for their service to students with disabilities were (from left): Emily Elsner-Twesme, Andrew Suralski, Alan Benson, Alan Rieck and Dianne Lund.