Some two dozen faculty and staff members were recognized at the 2019 Fall Awards Ceremony Oct. 16 in the Wisconsin Room at the Student Union. Here are the honorees:
UWM Faculty Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award
Deepak Basyal, assistant professor, College of General Studies, STEM
Deepak Basyal has taught at Washington County since 2015. He earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in mathematics from New Mexico State University. He also earned a master’s in mathematics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal and a bachelor’s from Birendra Multiple Campus in Nepal.
Jeffrey Meverden, one of Basyal’s students, nominated him for the award. Meverden had been home-schooled through 12th grade, so he approached his university experience with some concern, fearing he would lose the flexible learning he had become accustomed to.
“A harrowing journey through many levels of mathematics courses lay between me and my dream of becoming a computer scientist,” Meverden wrote. “Dr. Deepak Basyal is solely responsible for laying all my worries to rest and performing the miracle of turning my weakest subject into my most passionate pursuit.”
In addition to working with him in the classroom, Meverden added, Basyal quickly responded to emails and spent time after class discussing lectures and answering questions. “Dr. Basyal engages one-on-one with all his students and shepherds them to a better understanding.”
Maria Gillespie, associate professor, Department of Dance
Maria Gillespie started teaching at UWM in 2012 as an assistant professor of dance before being named an associate professor last year. Gillespie’s invaluable contributions started soon after her arrival, said department chair Simone Ferro, who witnessed a “continuous unfolding of sophisticated perspectives and fearless explorations of new possibilities” befitting UWM’s reputation for research and Peck’s full accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Dance. Ferro nominated Gillespie for the award.
Gillespie has taught a wide range of dance-related courses and redesigned the curriculum upon request for a hands-on, lecture/lab class. In her popular local and regional performances of Hyperlocal MKE, Gillespie partners with Wisconsin-based artists and provides professional exposure for her SURF students. Students participating in her research have won first prizes at recent UWM Undergraduate Research Symposiums.
Gillespie, Ferro said, “will continue developing her creative and teaching practices and further push the boundaries of teaching dance at UWM to a higher level of recognition in the field.”
Gwynne Kennedy, associate professor, Department of English
Gwynne Kennedy, an associate professor of English who also recently served as chair of women’s and gender studies, has acquired a formidable reputation as a teacher, with student evaluations that are “nothing short of stellar,” says nominator Sukanya Banerjee, associate professor of English.
The value of Kennedy’s courses lies not just in the fact that they introduce students to literature from a historical period that might make it challenging to read, but also in the critical skills that her teaching imparts. As one of the students from the course on John Milton wrote: “I learned to exercise patience in reading a text that is complex and dense.”
Kennedy is also dedicated to developing student writing skills, even in large classes of 25 to 30 students. Clearly, her students are developing essential skills that will serve them in other classes and in life outside the classroom.
In her courses on female writers, Kennedy enhances the diversity of the curriculum. It is a testimony to her pedagogical skill that students come away feeling informed, but also heard. As one student commented, “I had the opportunity for a safe space to discuss things I’m serious about and passionate about.”
Aims McGuinness, associate professor, Department of History
Aims McGuinness regularly takes his students outside the classroom to teach history, part of a philosophy of seeing the history of Milwaukee in a global context. He also wants students to understand global history through the American Geographical Society Library, one of the most important resources housed at UWM.
McGuinness, an associate professor since 2007 at UWM following six years as an assistant professor, was nominated by History Department colleagues Christine Evans and Thomas Haigh.
His classes have included site visits to Turner Hall, which served as a textbook of sorts to teach the global history of revolutions. A current course on road trips in the 1950s encompasses everything from the history of Milwaukee burger joints to industrial design. McGuinness is also described as a dedicated mentor of undergraduate student research, particularly the McNair Scholars Program.
“Professor McGuinness’ undergraduate courses break the boundaries of the classroom walls and engage students in exploration and collaboration,” Evans and Haigh wrote.
UWM Faculty Distinguished University Service Award
Michael Brondino, associate professor, Department of Social Work
The list documenting Michael Brondino’s record of service to UWM took up nearly a full page in the nomination letter submitted by Stan Stojkovic, dean of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare.
Brondino, an associate professor of social work who has been with the university since 2003, has served on the University Committee. He worked closely on the committee with mechanical engineering professor John Reisel, who highlighted Brondino’s work as UC representative to the Academic Planning and Budget Committee during challenging budget times. Brondino also served on the search committee for a College of Nursing dean.
Among the roughly two dozen other service roles for Brondino are tenures on dean search committees for the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate School, and two stints on the Graduate Course and Curriculum Committee.
“I found Dr. Brondino one of the most helpful committee members and felt that I could rely on him to handle difficult service roles for UWM,” Reisel said in a letter of support.
Office of Research/UWM Foundation Research Award
Philip Chang, associate professor, Department of Physics
When Philip Chang arrived at UWM in 2011, he was already a highly respected researcher in the astrophysics of compact objects, which include white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes.
Physics Professor Prasenjit Guptasarma credits Chang for “deepen(ing) our understanding of the most extreme astrophysical objects in the Universe.”
Chang has developed a unique set of numerical tools to model these systems and interpret the massive amounts of information acquired by observers.
Guptasarma cites an ambitious project Chang initiated with numerical relativity collaborators to develop a unified approach to modeling objects with strong gravitational fields and complicated microphysics. “There is a real need for a tool that does exactly this,” Guptasarma notes, in the wake of the first observation of the merger of two neutron stars through gravitational and electromagnetic waves in 2017.
While at UWM, Chang has been funded continuously by the National Science Foundation and NASA, including an NSF Faculty Early Career Development award in 2013. During that time, he has published 33 refereed papers and attracted more than $1.1 million in external funding.
Amy E. Kalkbrenner, associate professor, Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health
Amy Kalkbrenner is an environmental epidemiologist who studies how exposure to environmental pollutants in pregnancy or the first years of life may harm development, such as leading to a neurodevelopmental disorder like autism.
Her projects address the thousands of air pollutants — volatile organic compounds such as benzene, metals such as lead and mercury, and particles — from sources such as traffic and power plants. Kalkbrenner works to improve the research methods in such studies by examining autism together with problems such as ADHD and cognitive abilities and by uncovering short windows of development that may be periods of increased risk to toxicant exposures. Ultimately, she positions her work to inform the policies and control technologies to support optimal health of body and mind.
Joseph Braun, associate professor at the Brown University School of Public Health, is a frequent collaborator with Kalkbrenner and a UWM alum. “She was well-known for questioning key assumptions held in our field and always thought carefully and deliberately about the problems we were addressing,” he recalls. “She was never one to shy away from a problem because it was difficult to address.”
Nancy Rolock, associate professor, Department of Social Work
Nancy Rolock, a UWM faculty member from 2013 to the summer of 2019, is widely considered the leading scholar in the adoption and guardianship of foster children. She has played a leadership role early in her academic career in the development of a rigorous body of research evidence on the measurement of guardianship, adoption, kinship and foster care, with a focus on the determinants of child well-being.
Rolock is a former student of and frequent collaborator with Mark Testa, now a distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina. He writes, “Her work exemplifies a new breed of social work researcher who is able to apply rigorous research methods to the solution of practical social work concerns and problems.”
Her upcoming book, “Introduction to Child Welfare: Building a Culturally Responsive, Multisystemic, Evidence-Based Approach,” co-edited with leading child welfare scholars, illuminates the definition of child welfare services and explores structural issues that assist or impede the success of youth in the child welfare system.
Since 2009, Rolock has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling more than $28.5 million.
Office of Research/UWM Foundation Senior Faculty Research Award
Jolien Creighton, professor, Department of Physics
Jolien Creighton wrote the software that helped the LIGO Scientific Collaboration make sense of the huge amount of gravitational wave data produced by the merging of two black holes in 2015 and the neutron-star collisions of 2017 and 2019. This and other work has established him as a leader in developing and applying data analysis methodologies. Recognition for his LIGO work includes a share of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and a 2017 appointment as a fellow of the American Physical Society. He is also co-chair of the LIGO Compact Binary Coalescence working group.
Alan Jay Weinstein, who leads the LIGO Astrophysics and Data Analysis Group at the California Institute of Technology, cites Creighton’s “impressively large, broad, deep, and important set of contributions to gravitational wave science,” adding, “I consider him to be one of the most influential and highly respected researchers in our field.”
He has attracted more than $4 million in funding from the National Science Foundation as principal investigator and more than $8 million as co-investigator.
Lingqian (Ivy) Hu, professor, Department of Urban Planning
Lingqian (Ivy) Hu’s broad research expertise — transportation planning and policy, land use, urban economics and others — stems from her professional as well as academic experience. Before coming to UWM in 2010, she was an urban planner at the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design and a regional planner for the Southern California Association of Governments.
Hu is particularly interested in the interrelationship between transportation and land use, and the spatial, social and environmental effects of transportation planning. Through her research, she works to promote sustainable and prosperous communities, reduce emissions and vehicle miles traveled, and enhance environmental justice and public health.
Hu gained tenure in 2015 and was a full professor just three years later. She also is the department chair. Nancy Frank, interim dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, recalls, “In that short time, Professor Hu had established herself both nationally and internationally as a leading scholar in the field of regional location dynamics and transportation.”
Qing Shen, professor of urban design and planning at the University of Washington, considers Hu “among the most prolific urban planning researchers of her generation.”
Gregory Jay, professor, Department of English
When discussing literary scholar Gregory Jay, who is also the English Department chair, colleagues are as awestruck by the broad scope of his scholarship as with its quality. Throughout a career of more than 30 years, Jay’s explorations have included 19th century and postwar American fiction, T.S. Eliot’s high modernism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, textual scholarship and reception theory.
He is perhaps best known as a critical race theorist, particularly his examination of “whiteness,” which he defines as “above all else, a legal fiction determining the distribution of wealth, power, human rights, and citizenship among bodies denominated by this fiction.”
Jay has worked to engage the general public as well as academics in promoting the cultural importance of literary writing. One example is his 2018 book, “White Writers, Race Matters: Fictions of Racial Liberalism from Stowe to Stockett.” Described by University of California-Berkeley Professor Mitchell Breitwieser as “erudite, nuanced, accessible, and passionate,” the book combines biography, historical analysis, close reading and literary theory to consider works including “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” as well as Hollywood adaptations of such works.
UWM Research in the Humanities Award
Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece, assistant professor, Department of English
Between the 1920s and 1960s, U.S. movie theaters evolved from massive, ornate palaces to intimate, streamlined venues that encouraged immersive movie watching. In her 2018 book, “The Optical Vacuum: Spectatorship and Modernized American Theater Architecture,” Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece follows this transformation through the work of its champion, New York architect Benjamin Schlanger, whose theory of neutralized theaters informed his minimalist, modern designs.
In its close examination of Schlanger’s work and of changing patterns of spectatorship, “The Optical Vacuum” reveals that the essence of film viewing lies not only in the text, but in the spaces where movies are shown. She explores topics often ignored in film and media studies, such as seat construction and placement, wall decoration, sight lines, lighting, curtains and screen position.
Caetlin Benson-Allott, distinguished associate professor of English at Georgetown University, writes, “I purchased ‘The Optical Vacuum’ as soon as it was published, and have found it to be one of the most rigorously researched and theoretically significant histories of cinema design that I have had the pleasure of reading.”
UWM Academic Staff Outstanding Performance & Service Award
Douglas C. Stafford, director, Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery
Since his hire as director of the Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery (MIDD) in 2010, Douglas Stafford has helped connect companies to UWM research, supported UWM faculty startups, and set in motion plans for drug discovery facilities that will benefit the Department of Chemistry for years to come.
When the state committed funds to establish a center of applied and analytical chemistry at UWM in 2013, Stafford secured matching funds to include a state-of-the-art spectroscopy lab in the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex that has attracted many business partners.
With grant-writing skills that one nominator called “phenomenal,” Stafford has helped obtain federal funding for a wide variety of MIDD-member projects, addressing diseases such as asthma, neuropathic pain and cancer.
Says Brian Thompson, president of the UWM Research Foundation: “Doug has been successful in helping other researchers achieve their fullest potential with his skills in building partnerships, providing advice and support on intellectual property protection, and supporting key negotiation discussions – all informed by his knowledge of industry.”
Victoria Pryor, student services program manager II, Black Student Cultural Center
Victoria Pryor coordinates a wide array of programs, workshops, events and conferences for African American students. She also works closely with the Career Planning and Resource Center to coordinate the Diversity Career Fair. Pryor, who has been with UWM for more than 30 years, earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from UWM and a master’s in management from Cardinal Stritch University.
Gabriela Dorantes and Rebecca Arcos-Piedra, advisors for the Roberto Hernandez Center, praised her work in their nomination letter. “As a seasoned professional here at UWM, Victoria has been an incredible resource to our professional development as mentor collaborator and a sincere colleague who cares about success and the success of the multicultural students of color we serve within our units.”
Chia Vang, associate vice chancellor and professor of history, noted Pryor’s work in connecting students of color with opportunities in the business community. “She has worked tirelessly for students. I am convinced without her guidance and leadership, the relationships with these (business) partners and student experiences would suffer.”
Alejandra Lopez, senior academic advisor and coordinator of retention initiatives, Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business
Alejandra Lopez has helped improve first-year student retention in the Lubar School of Business, leading a collaborative effort to identify issues, research best practices and suggest initiatives for advising and the classroom. “Alejandra has played a vital role in integrating retention initiatives and creating connections with our first year students,” Michael Freimark, management lecturer, said in his nomination letter. The result was a significant improvement in retention. She worked closely with Freimark in organizing a Business Administration 100 course that incorporated mandatory advising and service learning. She trained teaching assistants how to serve as mentors to first-year students and co-developed the UWM Exploring Majors Fair. She serves as the Lubar liaison to the Business Panthers Living Learning Community and has taken a leadership role with the Multicultural Mentoring Program.
“In the seven years I have known Alejandra, I have been consistently impressed with her leadership abilities, engagement with the campus community, passion for higher education and commitment to student success at UWM,” said Anthony Ross, Rockwell Automation Endowed Chair.
UWM Academic Staff Outstanding Teaching Award
kathryn e. martin-meurer, senior lecturer, Department of Art & Design
A lecturer in sculpture at the Peck School of the Arts for a dozen years, kathryn martin-meurer is lauded by colleagues for her creative teaching style, connection with students and commitment to the school, campus and the wider Milwaukee community.
Martin-meurer, who is also the outreach coordinator for Art & Design, was nominated by Kim Cosier, director of community engagement for the Peck School of the Arts. She highlighted martin-meurer’s enthusiasm both inside and outside the classroom. As an example, Cosier noted how martin-meurer inspires students who might first encounter her at UWM as 3D coordinator for the first-year program.
“Students not only want to learn from her, they want to be like her, which is especially great as the field is in need of strong women role models in sculpture,” Cosier said.
Dean Scott Emmons said that martin-meurer raises the profile of students through visible projects that serve as inspiration to the community, including a recent work exhibited at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She builds on relationships with students that she established early on as a recruiter.
Added Cosier: “Her influence has staying power – as evidenced by the number of students who name her as an important part of their education in exit interviews.”
Michael Freimark, lecturer, Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business
Michael Freimark is one of the first college instructors that Lubar freshmen encounter. And, despite the flood of undergraduates that Freimark teaches each semester, his courses have a transformational effect, helping students match their interests with the right business major.
Not only does he guide them in their studies, he also teaches them important life skills, serves as a mentor and is a major player in retaining them through graduation.
As a new instructor, he helped redesign the introductory Business 100 course in 2013. “At a time when most new faculty are getting their ‘sea legs,’ Dr. Freimark jumped right into the planning and redesigning process,” recounts one of his nominators. Since then, Lubar students who take the course in their first semester have higher first-term GPAs compared with those who do not.
He also enhances students’ sense of social responsibility by embedding opportunities for service learning into one of his courses. The sheer numbers of student volunteers that has generated earned him the 2015 UWM Service Learning Instructor of the Year Award.
Marika Kovacs-Houlihan, clinical associate professor, Department of Teaching & Learning
Marika Kovacs-Houlihan, who started at UWM as an adjunct professor in 2005, has deep roots in the deaf community and brings her expertise in American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf culture to her students. A UWM graduate with a master’s degree in administrative leadership, she also has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an associate degree in accounting from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
“Marika is professional, articulate and passionate about her work,” wrote Pamela Sue Conine, coordinator of the Interpreter Training Program and clinical associate professor. “Marika’s knowledge of deaf history and culture, superior teaching skills, extensive experience in the Deaf community and reliability are great assets to the Department of Teaching and Learning.”
She has developed a service learning component to the ASL curriculum so students can engage in service alongside native users.
In addition to her work at UWM, she provides community workshops to educate members of the deaf community about their native language of ASL, Conine added.
UWM University Staff Outstanding Service Award
Alisha Andrews, custodian, Department of Facility Services
Alisha Andrews went beyond her job description as a custodian at Enderis Hall when a student approached her in June 2018 asking for help finding a wallet. The student had mistakenly thrown it in the garbage.
The old bags were sitting outside in a dumpster. Despite rain falling that day, Andrews rummaged through the refuse to look for the wallet. She said in a story on UWM Report that she reached into the dumpster on her own and that the student did not ask her to help.
At one point, Andrews went back inside the building to fashion a makeshift raincoat out of a garbage bag. She found the wallet after searching through several bags, to the relief of a grateful student.
Custodial supervisor Debbie Frank-Downer happened to see the good deed by Andrews, who otherwise did not plan on sharing the story with her boss.
Andrews, a mother of three young children, is working while putting herself through school with the goal of becoming a surgical technician.
“She works very hard here at UWM,” said Frank-Downer, who nominated Andrews. “She has a great attitude and is always willing to go the extra mile.”
Kirsten Archambeau, accounts receivable supervisor, Business & Financial Services/Bursar’s Office
In the absence of a bursar, Kirsten Archambeau was acting in that capacity in addition to her regular position as an accounts receivable manager in the Bursar’s Office. This required her to take part in projects that fell outside her normal duties. Archambeau also provided support for the Cashier’s Office and Student Financials IT.
Archambeau “always went over and beyond to support UWM’s student population to assist them in obtaining success,” Controller Ted Wiebel said in his letter nominating Archambeau for the University Staff Outstanding Service Award.
Her strong leadership skills empowered staff and created a positive environment supporting students and families, Wiebel said. A close working relationship with enrollment and the Center for International Education highlight a willingness to collaborate.
Archambeau served on the search committee for a new chief enrollment officer. She was also praised by administrators for “contributions to a recent student incident that was professional, led to a successful resolution and benefitted the students involved,” Wiebel said.
Police Chief Joseph LeMire said Archambeau should be commended for “her attention to the best interests of students and UWM as a whole.”
Archambeau passed away on Aug. 31. Her husband, Robert, accepted the award on her behalf.
Maribeth Sacho, university services program associate, School of Continuing Education
Maribeth Sacho works for the School of Continuing Education’s largest program area – the Project Management and Business Analysis programs. She is responsible for many of the details for each course and session – scheduling rooms, helping prepare course materials, maintaining files and records, and communicating with the registration and conference services departments. When a key member of the department was out for six months, Sacho jumped in and helped with duties far beyond what would normally be expected, wrote Anne O’Meara, co-director of business and technology programs, in her nomination letter.
Instructors praise her work. “Maribeth is always there,” said Joe Goss, one of a number of instructors who commented in the nomination letter. “The materials are perfectly assembled and reflect my guidance. The classroom has the technology and materials I need to teach effectively. If I have a concern, Maribeth resolves the issue immediately and with an unstoppable positive attitude.”
Her attention to detail and positive attitude are critical to the school, O’Meara wrote. “Maribeth helps make the school successful by ensuring quality programs, helping retain participants and helping participants succeed.”
Glenda Watkins, custodian, Department of Facility Services
Glenda Watkins not only performs her normal duties with extreme attention to detail and efficiency, she has taken on the cleaning of a second building after a full-time co-worker left and was not replaced. And she has incorporated the new responsibilities with no decrease in cleanliness.
Her dependability and work ethic make life easier for staff and students, says one of her nominators. One a daily basis, Watkins recognizes that something needs attention and acts on her own accord. She goes the extra mile, cleaning up after department celebrations, and has worked overtime to clean carpets throughout Garland and Pearse halls.
Last winter was a cold one with lots of snow. Yet Watkins kept all entryways to the buildings clean, dry and safe to walk on. Though entry maintenance is only 5% of the job, there were definitely times when that one task occupied half of her workday.
Watkins has also played an important role in the department’s adherence to recycling and completed additional classroom safety training.
Joanne Lazirko Award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology
Christopher D. Cantwell, assistant professor, Department of History
Studying history is more than just studying the past for Chris Cantwell. As an assistant professor at UWM since 2017, Cantwell says that his challenge is to get students to see that history is also about accounting for how change happens, conducting research and appreciating different times and cultures.
He is delivering that message by using mediums familiar to today’s digital-savvy students. Cantwell applied for the Joanne Lazirko Award for Innovative Use of Learning Technologies based on two classes in which he incorporated new or digital media.
In the Podcasting the Past: Audio Histories of Wisconsin class, students produce radio pieces to learn about the diversity of Wisconsin’s history. In the Research Methods in Local History course, students built a map-based digital exhibit on Milwaukee’s religious communities.
“None of my previous courses had focused on audio materials or involved technology in the way that Dr. Cantwell’s did,” said Kristopher Strebe, who took the podcasting class as a senior last fall. “He offered us new perspectives – ones that challenged and spurred me to develop my skills as a historian.”
Ernest Spaights Plaza Honorees
Lawrence Baldassaro, professor emeritus, Department of French, Italian and Comparative Literature, 1972-2008
Lawrence Baldassaro served and strengthened UWM in his many roles, including teaching Italian as a member of the Department of French, Italian and Comparative Literature. He served as director of the Honors College from 1995 to 2008 and has been a dedicated researcher, baseball scholar and ambassador for UWM in the community.
As an expert on Dante, he not only introduced material to his students but inspired them to study Italian. He remains in contact with many of them today.
He is remembered by students and colleagues as passionate about research and teaching. As one said: “Larry is one of those ideal professors who is also a superb teacher.” One of his students wrote of his ability to balance academic rigor and humor in the classroom: “While delving into ancient Italian art and poetry, Larry might don a Picasso-inspired tie or make a comparison between Machiavelli and baseball.”
As director of the Honors College, he worked to foster excellence by providing students with an exceptional curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking and communication skills while complementing their major. He secured a grant from the Bradley Foundation to help expand the Honors Program into the Honors College in 2005 and build its enrollment. He worked to recruit promising students and increase the program’s staff. The Honors College now enrolls approximately 700 students, with majors from all of UWM’s schools and colleges.
Baldassaro has written a number of books about baseball, including “Baseball Italian Style,” “Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball” and “Ted Williams: Reflections on a Splendid Life.” He is also a contributing writer for the Milwaukee Brewers’ Gameday magazine.
He continues to be an advocate for the importance of the Italian language in our culture. He serves on the education committee of WisItalia, an institution that promotes education related to the Italian language and culture in Wisconsin.
In retirement, he remains a tireless advocate for the university, bringing guests into the classroom and sharing his baseball research at alumni and community events. He donates annually to a fund in his name created by an anonymous donor to provide scholarships for Honors College students.
Sally P. Lundeen, professor emerita, College of Nursing, 1985-2016
During her years at UWM, Sally Lundeen made significant, enduring and institution-wide contributions to the growth, development and mission of the university.
When she joined the UWM faculty, one of her goals was to use her background in community mental health to improve health care delivery to the underserved population of Milwaukee. The model of care she developed, which embedded care into the communities where individuals “work, play and pray,” became known as the “Lundeen Model.” Two of the community nursing centers she helped establish continue to serve the community and provide education and service opportunities for students.
Lundeen became interim dean in 1999, then dean in 2001, a position she held until her retirement in 2016. As a senior dean on campus, she mentored new deans and built collaborations with other deans. She also built collaborations with numerous community partners such as the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, the House of Peace, Aurora Health Care and the Jewish Home, among others.
Her collaboration with nursing leaders from around the state led to the creation of the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, a powerful data center responsible for nursing workforce data used by state legislators today.
Under her leadership, the College of Nursing started one of the first online nursing doctoral programs in the country. In addition, the college was the first in the UW System to add a practice-focused doctorate in nursing practice. Nursing was also one of the first colleges in the system to support the flex option for degree completion.
The Ernest Spaights Plaza is named in honor of the late Professor Ernest Spaights and is dedicated to individuals who have made significant, enduring and campus-wide contributions to the growth and development of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.