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Regents announce outstanding UW System teachers for 2021

Published: April 5, 2021

The UW System Board of Regents today announced the recipients of its 29th annual Teaching Excellence Awards. They will be honored at the next Regents meeting, April 9 via videoconference, along with the 28th annual recipients. Last year’s award ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19. The awards recognize outstanding teaching and are the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and instructional academic staff. Each recipient is awarded $7,500.

“These dedicated, gifted UW educators inspire students and colleagues alike,” said Regent Edmund Manydeeds III, chair of the selection committee. “We celebrate their creative approaches to teaching and learning, including their commendable adaptability to circumstances arising from the pandemic.”

Each award recipient demonstrates a strong commitment to teaching and learning; uses effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning; and makes a significant impact on students’ intellectual development.

The 2021 recipients are:

Renee Redman, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology, UW-La Crosse. Dr. Redman joined UW-La Crosse as a senior lecturer in 2005 and has taught more than 13,000 students over the course of her career. In addition to advising up to 30 students each semester, she teaches introductory biology, general biology for majors, anatomy and physiology, cell biology, genetics, senior capstone projects, and a course on health, wellness, and disease. Redman took the lead in developing a high-quality BIO 105 Master Canvas course with seven other instructors, helping ensure core materials are covered regardless of instructor or format. She was instrumental in implementing three grant-supported course redesigns during the COVID-19 pandemic; all three courses are part of UW-La Crosse’s core curriculum, affecting thousands of students each year. She uses interactive polling technology, small group projects, in-class discussions, and creative art projects to teach complex biology concepts in a way that connects with her students. She developed weekly “knowledge checks” to help students apply course material through problem sets. In 2018, she received the Eagle Teaching Excellence Award, a student-driven recognition of teaching excellence.

Ekaterina (Katia) Levintova, Professor of Political Science and Global Studies, Department of Democracy and Justice Studies, UW-Green Bay. Dr. Levintova joined UW-Green Bay’s faculty in 2007 and teaches first-year seminars to upper-level political science courses. Her innovative, student-focused teaching blends discussion and lecture with simulations, such as asking students in upper- and lower-level courses to stage public opinion polls and a mock political campaign. Levintova co-edited a book, Gender in the Political Science Classroom, published by Indiana University Press in 2018. She is co-editor of Syllabus Journal, a peer-reviewed publication showcasing course syllabi, syllabi best practices, and assignment design. A recipient of several research grants, she is a former Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and has authored several articles and book chapters on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as well as the political sociology of post-communist transitions. She is faculty adviser for UW-Green Bay’s Model European Union student organization. In addition to her regular teaching duties, Levintova supervises independent research projects, directs honors projects, and supervises internships. She earned the UW-Green Bay Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019, the same year she earned an alumni achievement award from her Ph.D. institution.

Nutrition Sciences/Dietetics Program, UW-Green Bay. The Nutrition Sciences/Dietetics program is an emphasis within the Human Biology major and currently enrolls 73 students. Three faculty members contribute to the teaching of this program – Dr. Deb Pearson, Ms. Sara Wagner, and Dr. Leanne Zhu – with Ms. Heather Masters serving as the dietetic internship director. The instructors teach first-year seminars, general education courses, and courses for the nutrition science emphasis. The program’s mission is to provide high-quality interdisciplinary courses and learning opportunities that focus on biological, physiological, and behavioral aspects of humans with an emphasis on the role that food and nutrition have in maintaining and improving health. The program received a competitive university grant in 2019, allowing its faculty to leverage best practices for online and hybrid instruction. For example, the program uses a state-of-the-art Food & Nutrition lab in the university’s STEM Innovation Center to continue community outreach during the pandemic, offering virtual interactive Culinary Adventure healthy cooking demonstrations to local Girl Scout troops, and teaching virtual food and nutrition courses to socially distanced students. The program has an 85 percent placement rate of its students employed in food, nutrition, and dietetic-related professions within six months of graduation. Its students have a 98.3 percent pass rate on the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist exam. The program is launching a Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health in fall 2021.

Others on the selection committee were Regent Becky Levzow, Regent Eve Hall, and Regent Carolyn Stanford Taylor.

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

Individual nominees included Kristopher Presler, UW-Eau Claire; Dr. Emily Auerbach, UW-Madison; Dr. Carmen Heider, UW Oshkosh; Dr. Robert Barber, UW-Parkside; Dr. George Krueger, UW-Platteville; Dr. Claire McCarty, UW-River Falls; Dr. Michael Demchik, UW-Stevens Point; Dr. Lopa Basu, UW-Stout; and Dr. Carol Scovotti, UW-Whitewater.

Program nominees included the Department of Biology, UW-Eau Claire; the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, UW-La Crosse; the Flexible Option B.S. in Business Administration, UW-Parkside; the School Counseling Program, UW-River Falls; and the Early Childhood Education Program, UW-Whitewater.
To download high-resolution photos of recipients, see online news release.


The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 165,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Mark Pitsch
UW System
608-265-3419, mpitsch@uwsa.edu
universityrelations@uwsa.edu

Janet Bonkowski
UW-Green Bay
920-465-2527
bonkowsj@uwgb.edu

Brad Quarberg
UW-La Crosse
608-785-8572
bquarberg@uwlax.edu

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