News Bureau | ILLINOIS
CHAMPAIGN, Illinois — Six academics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign were honored this week with Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Awards for 2022.
The CAPE Prize was created to recognize academic professionals for their work, personal and professional contribution. Individuals are nominated, reviewed by a committee, and approved by Chancellor Robert Jones.
Each of the winners will receive a cash prize of US$1,000.
This year’s awardees, with descriptions adapted to their nomination forms:
Jessica Hartke, Senior Associate Director of nutritional sciences, fills several important roles that span the teaching, research, and public responsibilities of the university. In her position, she accompanies graduate students throughout the cycle of their program – from meeting prospective students to proofreading dissertations and reading graduates’ names at induction ceremonies. Advisor for new students Hartke is often the first point of contact for students in need. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been an important resource for many PhD students.
Hartke recently collaborated to develop a new online food regulation course that uses a novel team-based learning approach. The new course has received excellent reviews.
Hartke is passionate about graduate education and has an extensive knowledge of the academic, research and administrative policies required to operate interdisciplinary programs. Her advice is frequently sought by other units across campus wishing to set up interdisciplinary research or educational programs.
Florence Henshaw, Spanish and Portuguese, the Director of Advanced Spanish, coordinates four of the foundation courses for all Spanish majors and minors. In this capacity, she looks after 600 to 1,000 students annually and supervises an average of 15 research assistants per semester. She created a special Spanish composition department—the department’s only compulsory course—to meet the unique needs of Latinx students. She has also developed seven other online courses ranging from Spanish courses for beginners to advanced level Spanish courses.
Henshaw has used her personal interest in online technologies to help many others. During the pandemic, Henshaw created a website compiling resources to help language teachers make the transition to distance learning. She recently launched her own podcast and YouTube channel to bring research to teachers and bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Henshaw is a frequent speaker in the field of language education and her work has won multiple awards, including the Campus Award for Excellence in Online and Distance Teaching.
ken vickery, graduate school, the Director of Scholarships, helps graduate students apply for prestigious scholarships and fellowships. In 2009, Vickery was asked to set up a new office to help graduate students apply for outside funding. He launched the nationwide with a few models External Grants Officehelping graduate students learn the art of proposal writing and compete effectively for the nation’s most prestigious awards.
Vickery offers proposal writing workshops, information sessions, and one-on-one proposal counseling. He is particularly committed to workshops and consulting, through which he helps students refine their research projects, think deeply about the scientific and societal implications of their research, and articulate those implications in a bold and compelling proposal. He also designed Fellowship Finder – a nationally recognized curated database of nearly 1,800 funding opportunities available to graduate students. In 2016, Vickery began managing the Graduate College’s internal fellowship and fellowship programs, working closely with the Fellowship Board to award millions of dollars in grants to graduate students each year.
Kraig Wagenecht, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, was appointed SHIELD Project Manager in Spring 2020 and is currently Managing Director of SHIELD Operations. Prior to this role, he linked, managed and implemented on an ad hoc basis a comprehensive set of pandemic mitigation initiatives, programs and processes. He has led with vision, collaborating throughout the campus and community – with incredible wisdom and camaraderie – to oversee an unprecedented endeavor involving complex logistics, diagnostic testing, software development and delivery, and education and outreach on campus and in the community community requires.
Wagenecht is responsible for the day-to-day end-to-end operations of an efficient, effective and high-quality COVID-19 mitigation program. Additionally, as Senior Director of External Research Partnerships at OVCRI, he develops and executes comprehensive engagement strategies and plans for select external government, national and international research collaborations. Wagenecht’s portfolio also includes working as a security officer for university facilities in the Security Management Officewhere he co-manages national security reviews and a special research facility dedicated to housing construction and supporting secret projects.
Nancy Walsh, Undergraduate Admissions, is the Director of Operations driving approvals for more automated and technically efficient processes. When the admissions process began in 1996, the university received around 22,000 applications for freshmen and transfers – all on paper. More than 50,000 applications are expected this year, all of which will be submitted and processed online. To initiate the transition over the years, Walsh needed a thorough understanding of complicated functional processes, a vision of how and where technology could improve office efficiency, and the ability to articulate that vision in technical terms so programmers could implement updates. Walsh knew the functional side of processes very well, understood the capabilities of software and led the development of online processes.
In addition to leading student admissions projects, Walsh oversees admissions records management, course articulation, national processing, first-year review and international processing units. She is proud of the work her departments have accomplished over the years, especially as application volumes and complexity have increased.
steven wilson, Illinois State Water Survey, a groundwater hydrologist, supports people nationwide who get their drinking water from private wells. Its programs also serve as a resource for operators of water and sanitation systems in small towns and tribal areas. His work includes applied scientific research, outreach and education to the general public and government officials.
More than a decade ago, Wilson created an externally funded national program that reaches water utilities, well owners and public health workers. The program includes a website for disseminating information to public water systems and a free online course for private well owners. This latter program includes monthly webinars and has reached more than 20,000 private well owners, public health practitioners, local and government officials, and real estate professionals.
Wilson is in high demand as a speaker at national conferences and is regularly approached with potential funding opportunities. His public speaking and willingness to provide individual support to stakeholders are the main reasons for the success of his programs.