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2018 Faculty/Staff Awards

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April 24, 2018

Faculty and staff were recently recognized for their exceptional work and years of service.

An award ceremony was held on April 18, and the following people were honored.


Julie Etterson

Julie Etterson

The Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Research honors faculty for their excellence in research, for their ongoing record of scholarly contributions to their field, and for their dedication to student research in education. This year’s recipient is Julie Etterson, professor, Biology, Swenson College of Science and Engineering.


Helen Mongan-Rallis

Helen Mongan-Rallis

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes faculty who have made contributions to the teaching mission of UMD that are of extraordinary quality and reflect UMD’s emphasis on high quality undergraduate and graduate education. This award honors faculty for innovative pedagogy, development of creative and critical thinking, student mentoring, commitment to liberal education, and leadership and impact within a department. This year’s recipient is Helen Mongan-Rallis, associate professor, Education, College of Education and Human Service Professions.

Emily Gaarder

Emily Gaarder

The Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Public Service is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated extraordinary and sustained commitment to public service and community engagement. This award recognizes faculty who have demonstrated an integration of community engagement in their teaching; shown leadership in advancing students’ civic learning; fostered community partnerships; or made contributions to positive change on issues of public concern. This year’s recipient is Emily Gaarder, associate professor, Anthropology, Sociology, Criminology, College of Liberal Arts.


Jennifer Webb

Jennifer Webb

The Albert Tezla Teacher/Scholar Award is given to a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Fine Arts who has an exceptional and effective teaching style that emphasizes the worth of research in a learned discipline and the maturing impact scholarly activity has on the development of human attitudes and values. This year’s recipient is Jennifer Webb, associate professor, Art & Design, School of Fine Arts.

The Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education is a system-wide award honors a select group of exceptional faculty who exemplify the University's commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. UMD had two recipients this year: Mitra Emad, associate professor, Anthropology, Sociology & Criminology, College of Liberal Arts, and Geoffrey G. Bell, associate professor, Management Studies, Labovitz School of Business and Economics.

The following faculty received the 2018 Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award. This award is given each year to one faculty member in each collegiate unit who has demonstrated outstanding service to their students.

Marat Bakpayev, assistant professor, Marketing, Labovitz School of Business and Economics
Aaron Boyson, associate professor, Communication, College of Liberal Arts
Mary Christiansen, assistant professor, Civil Engineering, Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Dana Collins, associate professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders, College of Education and Human Service Professions
David Edmund, assistant professor, Music, School of Fine Arts

Liu ZhuangyiThe Outstanding Graduate Faculty Advisor Award honors a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate advising. This year’s recipient is Zhuangyi Liu, professor, Math, Swenson College of Science and Engineering.

The Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising recognizes high-quality academic advising and the important contribution advising makes to students and to the educational mission of the University. This is a system-wide award. This year’s recipient is Tracey Bolen from the Labovitz School of Business and Economics.

The Outstanding Staff Awards recognize employees who have consistently performed their ongoing responsibilities in a superior manner and who have significantly enhanced departmental, collegiate, or campus goals and objectives. Each of these recipients reflect one or more of the core values from the strategic plan. This year, there are four individual Outstanding Staff Award winners. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Sean Huls, UMD Police. Chief Huls’ nomination addressed the many ways that he makes it a priority for his officers to be visible and interacting with students in positive ways. Chief Huls partnered with the School of Pharmacy to obtain grant funding for UMD officers to carry a medication used to treat opioid overdose, which may someday save the life of a UMD student. Chief Huls’ nominator also writes that he worked with the Duluth Police Department, advocating and implementing a Medical Amnesty protocol for incapacitated students, years before the protocol became law, ensuring the university was placing value on student safety and health over punitive measures.

Kristen Lesemann, LSBE. Kristin’s nominators wrote that she shows sincere dedication to students, staff and faculty and that she embodies the principle of integrity in all of her work.  This year, Kristen organized and implemented a system to improve the annual Meet the Firms event and during a department restructure in LSBE, completed her increased workload with graceful determination, contagious positivity, and a desire to educate herself to make sure things are done correctly. They stated that Kristen shows dedication to improving the department and UMD, and that her propensity for creative innovation demonstrates true excellence.

John P. Sawyer, Facilities Management.  John’s nominator wrote that they had a difficult time choosing which core value he exemplifies best, and that in the end, the most admirable trait about John is that he doesn’t try to incorporate the core values… each value is integral to John’s performance. They highlighted how John supports learning by leading undergraduate tours of the heating plant, and how his dependability is shown in his response to technical malfunctions and his extensive record keeping for air permits. They wrote that John is valued for his knowledge of the campus, dedication to excellence, ability to produce successful projects, and respect among students, staff, faculty, and the general public.

Russell Wikblad, Facilities Management. Russ’s nominator commented on his generosity of spirit and wrote that Russ shares his wealth of institutional knowledge to discover ways to make the best use of the spaces in their department.  Russ has created an inclusive environment and focuses on the long-term durability and maintenance of the department’s spaces, considering the impacts of recycling versus disposal and the economics of the situation to achieve balances that are considerate of sustainability. His nominator states that Russ has proven himself to be an integral part of their unit and a valued colleague, without whom they could not meet their goals of promoting student success and enriching the educational experience.

The Outstanding Team Award recognizes work groups who have implemented a special project during the year in supporting the mission of the campus/unit and who have significantly enhanced departmental, collegiate, or campus goals and objectives. This year’s winning team is the Web Management Team, formerly the Drupal Migration Team. Its members are: Charlene Aaseng and Hannah Lieberman (University Marketing and Public Relations) and Brennan AtchisonMandie JohnsonAndy Manteuffel, and Aaron Richner (Information Technology Systems and Services).

This team’s nomination states that managing the UMD website is not an easy task, due to varying ideas, ownership, and style, but that through feedback meetings, analytics, user testing, and constant discovery, this group ensures a good user experience. They hold weekly meetings open to anyone on campus and are considerate of how UMD represents diversity and accessibility across the UMD website. Their nominator provided internet links to show how far the UMD website has come in the last five years. They wrote that this project has taken years and has been difficult, territorial, and frustrating at times. This team, comprised of both ITSS and Marketing employees, gets a lot of feedback, and they always act with excellence in mind, listen, learn, and leave meetings with a decision they can all support.                                                                                                                                                                     

The following individuals were recognized for their years of service:

Celebrating 25 years of service:
Patrick Adams
Alison Aune                  
Richard Davis
Susan Godden                
Cynthia Hagley              
Christopher Haidos
Jerry Henneck
Carrie Hinks         
Rachel Inselman   
Linda Klint
Lori Lucia                     
Bud McClure
Linda Meek
Jane Reed
Linda Rochford              
Elaine Ruzycki               
Rajiv Vaidyanathan        
Laura Young

Celebrating 30 years of service:
Mary Allen
Richard Axler       
Timothy Bates
Sherry Dunaisky            
Dale Homich                 
Jill Jenson
Lucinda Johnson
Tami Lawlor        
Howard Mooers             
Janet Pribyl                   
Paul Sharp
Rick Smith
Steven Trogdon
Janny Walker
Susana Pelayo Woodward

Celebrating 35 years of service:
Mark Harvey
Susan Janssen                 
Georgia Keeney             
Jim Knapp                     
Mark Nierengarten         
David Paulson
Connie Rosandich
Greg Sather                  

Celebrating 40 years of service:
Ellen Hanson
James Peterson
Debbie Wing

Celebrating 45 years of service:
Colleen Dennie              
Joseph Gallian                
Frank Guldbrandsen       
David Marklund

Celebrating 50 years of service:
Gail Kehoe