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February 19, 2018

College recognizes faculty and staff for outstanding contributions

Written By: Staff


At a Feb. 19, 2018, ceremony, Ian Robertson, Grainger Dean of the College of Engineering, honored 11 faculty and staff for their exceptional research, teaching and service. The award recipients include:

Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication
Recipient: Susan Hagness

The Philip Dunham Reed Professor in electrical and computer engineering, Susan Hagness is a recognized leading expert in the field of microwaves in medicine. She works in both computational and experimental applied electromagnetics, particularly to address clinical needs in oncology. She has pioneered a number of innovative microwave techniques for imaging breast tissue and currently holds four patents in this area. She has published nearly 100 refereed journal papers that collectively have received more than eleven-thousand citations. The college honored Hagness for two of these papers. Published in 2007 in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology, they remain the most comprehensive report of the microwave-frequency, dielectric properties of normal and diseased human breast tissue. Researchers have cited this pair of papers nearly thirteen-hundred times over the past 10 years, and the journal editors included both papers among the best papers published in the journal in 2007.

Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award – Teaching/Service
Recipient: Mark Millard

Mark Millard is director of learning design and technologies in the Department of Engineering Professional Development. In this capacity, he provides leadership in support of instructional design for the department’s online graduate degree programs and distance-delivered professional development courses. His expertise in course and program development, delivery and assessment has been invaluable in the department’s quest to increase both the number and the quality of these programs. At the same time, he also has created learning environments that benefit not only the students enrolled in those programs, but the faculty involved in teaching them. Millard also shares best practices at the campus level though his engagement in learning design and technology initiatives; with those of other campus partners, his contributions are laying the foundation for the chancellor’s initiative to grow UW-Madison’s suite of professional programs.

Bollinger Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award – Research
Recipient: Peter Hoonakker, Center for Quality & Productivity Improvement

Whether you are a construction worker or a patient in a hospital clinic, you want Peter Hoonakker on your side. A senior scientist in the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, he is an expert in safety. However, his contributions to CQPI, to the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and to the broader research community, extend beyond his outstanding studies in worker safety, and more recently, patient safety, health information technologies, and quality of care. As a member of the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety within CQPI, Hoonakker has helped train more than 500 clinicians and healthcare leaders. He is widely published and also is sought and respected as an editorial reviewer. He also has advised several graduate students, is a mentor to young faculty, and is generous in sharing his deep expertise in behavioral research methods with students and faculty alike. In short, he is an excellent citizen of our campus.

University Staff Distinguished Achievement Award
Recipient: Catherine Carter

If you read Catherine Carter‘s job description, it very well could contain just two words: continuous improvement. She is administrator for the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her vision for the administrative staff in the department includes innovation, documentation, professional development, team support, networking, efficiency, superior customer service, and proactive engagement, and she has built a cohesive team of people who embrace this these goals.

Within her department, Carter has facilitated many improvements and transformations that benefit students, faculty, other staff, teaching assistants, and others across the college and university. Her contributions extend to college-level efforts, also. Carter has worked on or led college teams whose efforts have included, for example, testing and implementing a new UW-Madison application and onboarding system in the college, updating the college’s room reservation system and associated policies, and project-managing a new-faculty onboarding initiative. In all cases, her work enables the people around her to operate more efficiently and effectively, and with the satisfaction of knowing their contributions are making a difference.

Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Engineers
Recipient: Regina Murphy

Regina Murphy is a perennial teaching award recipient—and with good reason. The Smith-Bascom Professor in chemical and biological engineering, she is truly passionate about innovating and evolving as an educator—all for the benefit of our students. The list of courses she has taught reads somewhat like a course guide; Murphy has taught throughout the chemical engineering curriculum. In many cases, she also worked to modernize the delivery of these courses: As active-learning methods and new technologies emerged, Murphy integrated both into her teaching. As an example of the broad impact of her work, several years ago, Murphy authored what has become a widely used textbook on material and energy balances. Currently, she is working with the publisher to create a “SmartBook,” or interactive digital version of that text. Murphy also is a generous mentor. She has devoted a decade and a half as associate chair of the chemical engineering undergraduate program, leads the undergraduate advising effort within her department, and has made significant contributions to undergraduate education at the college level.

James G. Woodburn Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
Recipient: Krishnan Suresh

When we think about teaching style, what comes to mind often is a tried-and-true approach that works for a particular educator. Krishnan Suresh, however, believes the best “style” is one in which he adapts the teaching method to best deliver the topic and benefit his students. The Phil and Jean Myers Professor in mechanical engineering, Suresh is a passionate educator. In his courses, he challenges his students to learn through something called “problem-posing,” a skill that leads them deeper into the course material and enhances their understanding. He also includes many active-learning techniques in his courses, including small-group problem-solving, 3D printing, and design challenges—and is leading an effort to transform two mechanical engineering courses into design-centric experiences that take advantage of the college’s new makerspace. Suresh also believes one of the best ways to learn a topic is to teach it; with his guidance, undergraduate students in one of his courses participate annually in an outreach effort that introduces middle- and high-school students the art and science of visual thinking. He calls all of his educational efforts “rewarding” and “gratifying.”

Harvey Spangler Award for Technology Enhanced Instruction
Recipient: Peter Adamczyk

As Peter Adamczyk says, robotics is fundamentally about “doing.” So a great way to teach a course on this topic is to make it a hands-on learning environment. An assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Adamczyk joined the faculty just two-and-a-half years ago and completely reinvented the Introduction to Robotics course. Now he teaches it in one of our newly remodeled Wendt classrooms in blended format: Students watch video lectures, complete and submit homework, and take quizzes, all online—while in class, they work in teams and use modern, low-cost hardware and open-source software to build and interact with robotic systems during almost every class period. Throughout the course, they use technology in the classroom to share videos, web resources, coding tricks and more with their peers. Adamczyk also has constructed many of the online portions of the class to encourage interaction among the students. Their comments about the class structure—and their own learning—have been enthusiastic and positive. To quote one student: “Professor Adamczyk began the course by breaking into small discussion groups and facilitating a structure discussion of our priorities as students—and then attended each smaller group to get a sense of why we were excited about learning and what we wanted from the course. I honestly felt that the remainder of the course was tailored to incorporate this information, and this gave us all a sense of agency and community in the classroom.”

Harvey Spangler Award for Technology Enhanced Instruction
Recipient: John Booske

To say that John Booske is passionate about engineering education might actually be an understatement. Booske’s leadership in promoting active learning and technology-enhanced instruction has made an enduring impact on thousands of students in his department, in the college, at the university level—and, through lectures and workshops, around the world. As chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for the past eight years, Booske placed so much importance on undergraduate education that he continued to teach and inspire students throughout his tenure as chair. In ECE, he has led efforts to redesign 200- and 300-level core courses, transforming the experience of ECE majors. As one colleague says,” This shift has also effectively ‘normalized’ the blended mode at the college level. … His work to lead by example in ECE is a key component of this drive to change the culture.”

He was the driving force behind the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning centers at UW-Madison and the Plexus Collaboratory within ECE. Each space is designed to support blended learning, foster student collaboration, and leverage a multitude of technologies—as well as the instructor’s time with students. “In no other classroom format have I learned more about working as part of a team to solve problems, complete projects, or convey my ideas,” says an ECE student. “I have felt inspired by Dr. Booske’s work to wait after I finish the in-class exercises to assist other students. There are many students that choose to do this … . This close collaboration between peers fosters a collective identity of the ECE department.”

Ragnar E. Onstad Service to Society Award
Recipient: Raj Veeramani

At UW-Madison, you’ll hear the term, “the Wisconsin Idea,” pretty consistently. It’s the idea that the work we do here benefits those beyond the walls of our university. The Robert Ratner Chair and professor in industrial and systems engineering, Raj Veeramani has embodied the Wisconsin Idea for more than two decades. Motivating his work is a strong commitment to catalyzing innovation and economic growth through university-industry collaboration. He created the UW e-Business Consortium and the UW e-Business Institute some-20 years ago. Through these two entities, he has shared expertise and best practices in areas ranging from operations management and e-commerce to computer-integrated manufacturing and smart and connected systems with a large and diverse group of U.S. businesses. As a result, through partnerships, research and outreach, Veeramani has simultaneously enhanced the competitiveness of these businesses and offered them access to the best university students and leading-edge knowledge.

Equity and Diversity Award
Recipient: Randolph Ashton

In the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Randolph Ashton is an enthusiastic and active champion for efforts to introduce underrepresented minority students to engineering. An assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Ashton established the BME Diversity Outreach Program in 2014 as a mechanism to establish more a formal BME outreach program with hundreds of underrepresented minority students—and their advisors—in Madison-area high schools. He secured initial funding for the program from 100 Black Men of Madison. Since then, he and his colleagues have expanded it into Milwaukee high schools with support from his National Science Foundation CAREER award and from an innovation grant from the UW-Madison Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement. Beyond this initiative, Ashton also contributes to the college’s diversity efforts through lectures, lab tours, advising and mentoring to participants in the Engineering Summer Program, Admitted Students of Color Preview Day, Black Graduate and Postdoc Student Association, and others.

Equity and Diversity Award
Recipient: Andrew Greenberg

While chemical engineering undergraduates may know Andrew Greenberg as his department’s undergraduate coordinator, his work also has a “broader impact” for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. A distinguished faculty associate in CBE, Greenberg has developed unique research experiences and mentor training exercises that each have played a significant role in the department’s ability to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities. In particular, he administers the Institute for Chemical Education, a partnership between CBE and the Department of Chemistry that is home to community outreach activities and three Research Experience for Undergraduates programs. Somewhat of an introduction to graduate school, these programs provide research, mentoring and social opportunities for participants, many of whom are from underrepresented groups. As a testament to the quality of these and other programs, universities around the country have used them as a model for their own initiatives.