UWEC recognizes eight faculty members for their excellence

UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff members receive cash prizes and university medallions for excellence

More stories from Stephanie Janssen



Eight UW-Eau Claire faculty members were recognized on Aug. 22.

UW-Eau Claire recognized eight faculty members during the university’s first meeting of the academic year on Aug. 22.

Chancellor James C. Schmidt presented awards to: Jay Dobson, lieutenant of UW-Eau Claire Police; Jeffrey Goodman, director of undergraduate studies and associate professor of psychology; Martina Lindseth, professor of German; Karen Mumford, associate professor and director of UW-Eau Claire’s Watershed Institute; David Shih, associate professor of English; David Sprick, chief of UW-Eau Claire Police; J. Todd Stephens, professor of special education; and Evan Weiher, professor of biology.

Each person received a university medallion and $1,500.

Shih received the award of Excellence in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Shih has been a UW-Eau Claire faculty member since 1999. Joel Pace, one of Shih’s nominators, said he selected Shih for his leadership efforts in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion on campus and across the UW System.

When discussing his start in equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, Shih said it was a personal issue for him as a Chinese-American citizen.

“I was hired as a specialist in Asian-American literature, so the issue of race and racism in the United States has always been part of my research,” Shih said. “Personally, as a Chinese-American, those issues have been central to my identity and my life, so really from the point of arrival those identities were really important to my interest in to what we now call EDI.”

When discussing what the award meant to him, Shih emphasized not only how it felt for him on a personal level but also the importance of other faculty members’ contributions to equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.

“It meant a lot,” Shih said. “It was quite humbling and gratifying at the same time to be recognized by the campus and your peers in this way. … I also want to say that there are colleagues of mine who have been working just as hard, if not harder, than I have on EDI issues — even before I arrived. It was a little bit of a surprise that I was selected for the first award and felt gratified.”

Stephens received the award of Excellence in Teaching. Stephens has been a UW-Eau Claire faculty member since 1997. Freesia Krogstad, a 2017 UW-Eau Claire graduate and one of Stephens’ nominators, chose to acknowledge him for his passion of teaching and providing real-life scenarios in the classroom.

When talking about his teaching style and what makes it effective, Stephens said it’s all about giving your students real-life examples.

“I like to ask my students questions,” Stephens said. “I like to get them thinking about things. I try and use examples of things that have worked for me in the past and examples of things that haven’t, places where I have not done well, where I have had to learn, in a way that lets people think a little bit more about what they can do. So I try to personalize things.”

Stephens identified his fellow co-workers as his support system when discussing the the personal meaning behind his award.

“It meant that I had a chance to think about all the people that have supported me,” Stephens said. “So it really wasn’t just me that won the award; that’s not the way I looked at it. Instead, I got to thinking about all the people in the department, and all the people in my life, that have supported me — been excited about the stuff I’m doing, encouraged me — that’s within the department.”

Stephens said he may have been awarded the recognition this year, but colleagues of his deserve the same appreciation in the coming years. He said he believes we have an excellent university, full of highly-skilled teachers, and that it takes a group of people for this university to be as great as it is.

Janssen can be reached at [email protected].