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UI staff, faculty honored for excellence

Thirteen staff members and six faculty members at The University of Iowa received awards for excellence in 2008. The staff were recognized with one of three annual staff awards for excellence presented by the UI Staff Council, including the Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards; the honored faculty also received Excellence Awards from the Regents.

Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award

Six Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards were given to UI staff members for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to their institutions as well as to the State of Iowa. Established in 1993, the award was created to provide a statewide forum to recognize staff members in conjunction with colleagues from the other Board of Regents institutions. Their accomplishments have significantly benefited the University, brought honor or recognition to the University, and had a significant positive impact on the State of Iowa. Each winner receives a commemorative gift, and the University grants a $1,000 prize to the winner's department to be used for his/her benefit. Winners will be recognized at a University event in the fall and at an event held by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Recipients are listed below.


Lisa Baum photo

Lisa Baum, associate director, Children’s Miracle Network

Baum has dedicated her imagination, energy, and talent toward developing relationships and venues to raise funds to support the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. In 2008, the Children’s Miracle Network, which is under Baum’s direction, raised more than $1 million during its Dance Marathon. During her 19 years at the University, Baum has planned, organized, and implemented a comprehensive marketing and annual giving program that meets departmental goals while putting forth a favorable image of University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to donors, employees, patients, and families. Baum has served on the UIHC leadership development program, and received an Improving Our Workplace Award in 2006.


Laurie Croft photo

Laurie Croft, administrator—professional development, Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education

Croft has spent the last 10 years working to expand the professional development program in the Belin-Blank Center, which in turn has made the preparation of teachers of gifted students one of the center’s national strengths. The Belin-Blank Center is the leading site in Iowa for obtaining the state endorsement in gifted education. The College of Education’s Honors Opportunity Program has grown under Croft’s administration, and she is responsible for the expansion of online/ICN course offerings. Her leadership roles include service on the College of Education Diversity Committee, and she received the Audrey Qualls Commitment to Diversity Award in 2005. Croft also received an Improving Our Workplace Award in 2006. She served as chair of the Council on the Status of Women and chair of the College of Education Staff Council.


Joan Felkner

Joan Felkner, administrative coordinator, Cancer Information Service, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Felkner oversees the daily activities of the Cancer Center’s Cancer Information Service, which she has been involved with since its inception in 1986. Felkner designs, promotes, and conducts the nationwide outreach service’s educational and promotional activities. She has authored and coauthored more than 40 pieces of educational literature, and is a champion for low-literacy materials in an effort to provide information access to all patients, regardless of educational level. Felkner also serves an integral role in the Iowa Consortium for Comprehensive Cancer Control: she serves on the executive committee; chairs the communications committee; works with the patient and family resources committee as a pilot site for the new Cancer Mentors Assisting and Preparing Survivors (Iowa Cancer MAPS); and is forming a new clinical trials project team.


Peter Hubbard photo

Peter Hubbard, associate director of academic services, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Hubbard has held a variety of staff and faculty appointments during his 25 years with the University, allowing him frequent contact with students and staff across the UI campus. Hubbard has worked in CLAS Academic Programs and Services since 1993; he was named associate director in 2006. Hubbard interviews and advises UI students who are dealing with academic difficulty, mentors students whose academic achievement is affected by personal issues, and generally counsels students on CLAS policy and procedures. Hubbard ensures that faculty who serve as advisors are adequately prepared, and tracks first-year courses to ensure that the college has sufficient classes available for incoming students. Hubbard has served on numerous UI committees, and has worked as an academic advisor and as an adjunct instructor.


Roger Tracy photo

Roger Tracy, assistant dean, UI Carver College of Medicine

Tracy has headed the Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs since its establishment in 1974. Under his leadership, the office has provided service and outreach programs for medical education and community service throughout the state of Iowa. Tracy developed programs in rural physician support, physician recruitment and placement, community relations, and health care market research. He also led the creation of the Iowa Physician Information System, a tracking system that provides a continuous inventory of health care personnel actively practicing in Iowa. In 2007, Tracy was honored by the Iowa Pharmacy Association for his longtime work in support of pharmacy in Iowa.


Susan Zollo photo

Susan Zollo, administrative director, Continuing Medical Education Division, UI Carver College of Medicine

Since 2001, Zollo has directed the Continuing Medical Education (CME) Division, which is responsible for nearly 100 conferences and more than 100 annual CME programs on the UI campus and across the state of Iowa. Zollo significantly revamped and reshaped office staffing to improve efficiency, and she initiated innovative features and programs that have brought recognition to the UI programs from colleagues on campus and peers elsewhere. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education commended Zollo for her administrative leadership in submitting the division’s 2008–12 accreditation report. Before her role with CME, Zollo was a major architect of the resource center for the National Laboratory for the Study of Rural Telemedicine, a research and development program that brought the University nearly $14 million and created lasting relationships with rural hospitals and libraries.


The University of Iowa Outstanding Staff Award

Six staff members received the UI Outstanding Staff Award. The winners were recognized for “outstanding accomplishments and contributions that significantly benefited or brought honor or recognition to the University.” All recipients will be recognized at a University event this fall. Recipients are listed below.


Wendy Brentner photo'

Wendy Brentner, secretary III, College of Engineering

Brentner has worked in the College of Engineering for 10 years, during which time she has immersed herself in virtually every aspect of the college’s marketing and communications efforts. Brentner researches, writes, and edits the college’s weekly electronic newsletter, which is read by several hundred faculty, staff, students, alumni, and corporate partners. She plays a key role in organizing external programs and events, and has helped shape the University’s online community project—designed to engage alumni with programs that need mentoring. She initiated—and now oversees—a Young Alumni Advisory Board to engage recent graduates in a valuable guiding role for the college. Brentner also works as a contributing researcher and writer for alumni publications such as Alumni Reunion memory books and Iowa Engineer magazine.


Elizabeth Constantine photo

Elizabeth Constantine, director of grants and research services, College of Education

In her director role, Constantine identifies external and internal grant opportunities for UI College of Education faculty and students, and ensures that principal investigators comply with UI policies and state and federal rules and regulations. Her support has led to an annual increase of grant application submissions, which results in increased external funding secured by faculty and graduate students. Constantine plays a key role in orientation of new education faculty, meeting individually with them and seeking funding opportunities in support of their research. She provides a similar role for College of Education staff members. Constantine also serves on a number of college-wide committees, including the College of Education Administrative Council, and has made great contributions to UI International Programs.


Phil Ecklund photo

Phil Ecklund, graduate advisor, Department of Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Ecklund serves as the administrator for the graduate program in the Department of Biology, a role in which he works with the Graduate Admissions and Recruiting Committee, the Graduate Affairs Committee, and the Graduate Curriculum Committee. He keeps and analyzes records for all graduate students in the program, and serves as a liaison between the biology department and the Graduate College. Ecklund monitors the academic progress of all of the department’s graduate students and assists in the preparation of all documents required by graduate programs. As competition for top students increases, Ecklund plans recruiting weekends for the department, handling arrangements and scheduling for the prospective students.


Nancy Fick photo

Nancy Fick, director of human resources, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Fick advises the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) deans, department executive officers, and departmental administrative staff on all staff-related issues, including recruitment, training, classification review, performance evaluation and management, and general personnel policies. Fick initiates, develops, recommends, and implements programs, policies, and protocol that have a significant organizational impact; in one instance, she developed a strategic plan for CLAS departments that ensures that each department has adequate administrative staffing. Fick also leads the CLAS Administrative Support Group, which includes the chief administrative staff member from each department. Through this group, the administrative staff have developed a greater level of cohesion and camaraderie. 


Pam Kostle photo

Pamela Kostle, industrial and environmental hygiene program manager, University Hygienic Laboratory

Kostle has been with University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL) for nearly 24 years, starting as a laboratory technician and working her way up to her current managerial position. She has served as a chemist IV for nearly 15 years, and provides oversight of environmental microscopy and radiochemistry laboratories. Kostle also has served as the safety officer for the lab. As UHL constructs a new building, Kostle is coordinating all lab activities necessary for development of dsign and construction documents for the new building. She serves on the University of Iowa Safety and Security Charter Committee, and has developed training programs for UHL staff, custodial staff, and public safety personnel at the University. Kostle provided similar training to personnel at the UHL facility in Ankeny, Iowa. Her leadership on the UHL Reward and Recognition Committee earned her an Improving Our Workplace Award.


Rosemary Stanley photo

Rosemary Stanley, chief radiologic technologist, College of Dentistry

In her role in the Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine in the College of Dentistry, Stanley oversees the usual functions of the radiology clinic and has been instrumental in the college’s conversion from analog to digital radiography. Stanley became the primary instructor for the rest of the staff, faculty, residents, and students on how to use digital imaging, from capture to storage to retrieval. Stanley is often sought for counsel on digital radiography matters, both within the college and by external dental practitioners. She has been with the College of Dentistry since 1982, and has been honored with the college’s Ambassador Award in 2003 and an Improving Our Workplace Award in 2005.


The David J. Skorton Staff Excellence Award for Public Service

The David J. Skorton Staff Excellence Award for Public Service is given annually to individuals who have made significant contributions and have shown “exceptional imagination and dedication to improving the university community.” Service must include activities of high quality in staff governance, committee work, policy improvement, program creation, etc. and must be outside normal job responsibilities. Recipients will receive $500 and a commemorative gift. The 2008 recipient is listed below.


Carol Hunsicker photo

Carol Hunsicker, academic advisor II, Academic Advising Center

Hunsicker has served as an academic advisor at the Academic Advising Center for 24 years, and her extensive knowledge about the University and student needs has led to informed policy and curricular developments that eliminate barriers to student success, enrich undergraduate academic programs, and promote positive relationship with external constituencies. Hunsicker’s insight and leadership on the University’s online math placement test initiative ensures that math courses are filled with appropriately prepared students. She also played a key role on the Math Matters@Iowa project, a statewide outreach project designed to encourage prospective students to complete four years of high school math. Hunsicker also coordinates advising for the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program, through which students from surrounding school districts take UI classes. In addition, Hunsicker works to create a welcoming campus climate through campus beautification efforts and welcoming receptions.


2008 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence

Six University of Iowa faculty members have won the 2008 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. Given by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the award honors faculty members for work representing a significant contribution to excellence in public education. Each honoree will receive $1,000. Recipients are listed below.


Peter Damiano photo

Peter Damiano, professor of preventive and community dentistry in the College of Dentistry and director of the UI Public Policy Center

Damiano has focused his scholarship on finding solutions to the problems faced by people who encounter barriers to receiving health care. He also works actively to reduce those barriers to care for the citizens of Iowa. His work includes helping the Iowa Department of Human Services evaluate various innovative, managed care programs that have led to substantial improvements in health care for Iowans. Recently, in collaboration with several statewide organizations, he developed a network for the delivery of oral health care for nursing home residents that is quickly becoming a national model. Damiano stays actively involved in teaching and student mentorship while carrying out his impressive research program and service to the University and the state.


Pam Geyer photo

Pamela Geyer, professor of biochemistry in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine

Geyer is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the area of biochemical research on RNA transcription regulation. Insights gained in her lab will likely lead to improved strategies for gene therapy and treatment of disease. A collaborative scholar, highly sought-after presenter, and committed teacher, Geyer has energized countless scientists at all levels of experience. She has a long record of service to the University and to the college, including seven years (1999–2006) as director of the National Institutes of Health–funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), which guides students who are studying simultaneously for MD and PhD degrees. Under her leadership, the number of students and faculty participating in MSTP increased dramatically. She also used the program effectively as a platform to enrich the college by recruiting underrepresented minority students and other undergraduates for summer research opportunities.


William LaRue Jones photo

William LaRue Jones, professor and director of orchestral studies in the School of Music in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jones conducts the UI Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. He also created the All-University String Orchestra, which provides a performing outlet for nonmajor UI string players. He is a highly sought-after clinician and guest conductor for high schools, colleges, music conservatories, professional orchestras, and international workshops. He has served as guest conductor for all-state honors orchestras in 42 states. As director of the graduate program in orchestral conducting, Jones has had particular success in attracting, mentoring, and placing talented female and minority students, who are underrepresented in the field of conducting. In addition to his extensive professional service, he has served on the School of Music's Executive Committee as well as numerous faculty review and mentoring committees.


Craig Kletzing photo

Craig Kletzing, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Kletzing is internationally known for his research on space plasmas, which are rarified, ionized gases that make up much of the observable mass in the universe. His emphasis is on the plasmas associated with the Earth's auroras, especially the northern lights. His work has led to one of the largest NASA grants ever awarded to the University's renowned Department of Physics and Astronomy. The award of approximately $30 million was made for an in-depth study of the Van Allen Radiation Belts. Kletzing was recognized for his outstanding teaching with a 2006 Collegiate Teaching Award and a 2007 President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence. He has also maintained a record of extensive service, having served as his department's associate chair and director of graduate studies, as a member of the college's executive committee, and on the University-wide Faculty Senate.


Sheldon Kurtz photo

Sheldon Kurtz, Percy Bordwell Professor of Law in the College of Law

Kurtz is a prolific scholar in the area of property law, wills, and trusts. He has put his expertise into the service of the state by acting as a commissioner on Uniform State Laws for the state of Iowa since 2000. In that capacity, he works with numerous state legislatures on the adoption of important statutes such as the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Kurtz has offered dedicated service to the College of Law and the University, notably as an active participant and past president of the Faculty Senate. A popular and creative teacher, he has developed several innovative educational opportunities for law students. One is a law and technology seminar in which students mimic the role of legislators and develop statutes on important public policy issues, typically relating to law and medicine; another is a medical seminar for law students in which students work with faculty and staff from the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the Carver College of Law to learn about various aspects of the health care system.


Jane Paulsen photo

Jane Paulsen, professor of psychiatry in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine

Paulsen researches the neuropsychological aspects of Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia. She has garnered funding from the National Institutes of Health and the High Q Foundation to support the largest clinical research program ever undertaken in Huntington's disease, and her findings represent the greatest growth in knowledge about the disease since study of it began. The Huntington's Disease Society of America has given the program its Center of Excellence Award every year since 2000. Paulsen also built and now directs the division of psychology within the Department of Psychiatry, and she also directs the department's neuropsychiatry service. She is known as a caring and effective mentor, and consistently receives the highest evaluations for her teaching and presentations.

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