Regents announce University Staff Excellence Awards for 2022

MADISON, Wisconsin – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today announced the recipients of the University Staff Excellence Awards. These awards recognize outstanding service to the university and are the highest recognition of the UW system for members of university staff. The 2022 recipients will be honored at the next meeting of Regents on September 30.

The awards, in their second year, are part of a family of awards sponsored by the Regents, including the Regents Teaching Excellence Awards, Regents Academic Staff Excellence Awards and Regents Diversity Awards.

“The Board of Regents is proud to recognize this year’s University Staff Excellence Awards recipients,” said Regent Kyle Weatherly, Chair of the Selection Committee. “We are pleased to highlight the many ways their dedicated service supports student success and strengthens our UW campus communities.”

Award winners are selected for outstanding achievements resulting in significant contributions to the department and the university. using positive personal interactions to manage work changes; and a consistently innovative approach that improves productivity and quality of work. Each recipient will receive $7,500 in support of professional development or program improvements.

The 2022 recipients include two people and one program:

  • Nicole Owen

    Nicole Owen, Academic Department Associate, Department of Mathematics, UW-Eau Claire.
    Owen is an academic staff member for one of the largest departments on campus. In addition to supporting the math department’s chair, faculty, staff, and students, she helps plan major events the department sponsors, including recruitment events such as the annual Math Meet. Owen has served on the University Staff Council since 2016 and was elected Council Chair in October 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she participated in on-campus consultations, met with joint leadership, the Rapid Response Team, the Chancellor’s leadership team, and healthcare leaders to understand, discuss concerns, and build consensus on the pandemic how to create a safe learning environment. In 2016 she was a co-creator of the Administrative Professional Collaboration Group and in 2021 she joined the UW-Eau Claire Caregiving Group, which advocates for the care needs of staff and students on campus. Owen is part of the planning team for the 2023 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, a major event UW-Eau Claire will host next spring for 4,000 undergraduate researchers from across the country.

  • Photo by Jolanda

    Jo Johnson

    Jolanda “Jo” Johnson, Assistant Director of Payroll and Benefits, Human Resources, UW-Stout.
    Johnson has worked in UW-Stout’s human resources department since 1999, during which time he has assumed positions of greater responsibility. The campus community appreciates her empathy, her reliability and her holistic thinking. She helped design and implement the AskHR program to ensure timely responses to inquiries and questions. She also worked with programmers to create a workload tracker to replace an outdated spreadsheet system. For both new systems, she helped implement the software solutions and the change management process. She is part of the Advisory Committee for the Administrative Transformation Project and works with UW-Shared Services to provide feedback and review training materials developed for payroll and benefits across the UW system. She became a trusted resource for employees to turn to for help and guidance during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson was named Stout University Staff Employee of the Month in January 2018 and has been nominated for the award more times than any other staff member.

  • Care Services, UW-River Falls.
    The UW-River Falls Custodial Services departments are an integral part of campus life, creating a clean, safe, and welcoming community for students, staff, and visitors. Staff embody the spirit of campus core values ​​and contribute positively to the university’s mission to prepare students to be productive, creative, ethical, engaged citizens and leaders. The program employs more than 50 student support staff, including a student recruitment coordinator and student trainers. Professional supervisors and supervisors work alongside the eminent student supervisors to provide excellent service to the campus. Guard units have adjusted their job responsibilities and increased cleaning procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic to find new ways to handle the increased workload, even when understaffed. For example, they helped empty and clean a large dorm in a week so it was ready for COVID-19 quarantine and isolation. Campus visitors regularly praise the cleanliness of the university buildings and their positive attitude towards the caretakers. In 2021, the nursing service was awarded the Federal Chancellor’s Acknowledgment Prize for university staff for the first time.

Other members of the University Staff Excellence Awards selection committee included Regent Scott Beightol, Regent Jennifer Staton and Regent Dana Wachs.

The committee also recognizes the important contributions of this year’s other nominees:

Individual nominees included Amy Ibuaka, UW-Green Bay; Jeri Baller, UW-La Crosse; Glenn Morgan, UW-Milwaukee; Keith Hussey, UW-River Falls; and Nick Ciesinski, UW-Whitewater.

Program candidates included UW-Madison DoIT Digital Publishing and Printing Services; UW Milwaukee Postal Services; UW-Stout University Dining Services; and UW-Whitewater Sustainability Program.

To download high-resolution photos of the recipients, click on the image above.

The University of Wisconsin system serves approximately 161,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW system is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, empowering graduates to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of graduates from the state UW system stay in Wisconsin five years after graduation. The UW system offers a 23:1 return on government investment. The institutions of the UW system also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with pioneering research, new businesses and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.

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