Regent Manydeeds with UW-Green Bay Professional Program in Education members

MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday (June 10) honored two professors and one academic program for their outstanding career achievements in teaching, as they bestowed the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and academic staff.

The 2011 recipients of the Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:

  • Craig Berg, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, UW-Milwaukee;
  • Regan A.R. Gurung, the Ben J. & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology, UW-Green Bay; and
  • The Professional Program in Education, UW-Green Bay.

Regent Betty Womack, who chaired the selection committee, said that this recognition is “a welcome reminder of what a treasure we have in our faculty and academic staff, those who bring that special dedication, creativity, and passion to their craft, and to whom we entrust the education and enlightenment of the citizens of the future.”

Regent Jeff Bartell introduced the first award recipient, Dr. Regan Gurung, a professor of psychology at UW-Green Bay. Dr. Gurung’s self-described goal as a teacher is to “make students realize that they can do better than what they think is their best,” Bartell said. In 2009, Gurung was named the Wisconsin Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Bartell noted that Gurung has built a reputation not just as an outstanding teacher, but as an outstanding scholar, and he is nationally known for his research and publications on teaching and pedagogy.

“I am proud to be a teacher, and I am very proud to be a part of the UW System,” said Garung. “We’re here for the students. We’re here because we believe that education improves life. I believe that, and that gives me energy.”

Gurung recognized those in the room for the work they do to support teaching, saying,“I am very buoyed by what the Office of Professional and Instructional Development, OPID, does. I salute what they do for faculty to make sure we keep educating, and I thank all of you for the work you do. That helps me know that I can focus on the classroom, and that’s what gives me strength.”

Regent John Drew introduced Dr. Craig Berg, who has been on the faculty in the School of Education at UW-Milwaukee for more than 20 years, where he has focused on building a top-notch science teacher preparation program.  Drew also noted that Berg has been an “ardent advocate for improving the lives of urban children and increasing their chances for success,” and has personally invested thousands of hours into fulfilling that mission in the Milwaukee area.

“Although you know we’re expected at this university to be highly productive in terms of scholarship, writing grants, publications, and service, teaching is still the central core of what I want to do, and what I’m expected to do,” Berg said. “It’s the most important part of me being a faculty member at UW-Milwaukee.”

Finally, professor and department chair Timothy Kaufman accepted the program Teaching Excellence Award on behalf of the UW-Green Bay Professional Program in Education.

“This is a program that is firmly grounded in UW-Green Bay’s campus-wide commitment to connecting learning to life,” said Regent Edmund Manydeeds, in presenting the award.  He noted that students in the program are provided with rich and varied opportunities to put the theories of education into practice, working with children and families from different ethnic, cultural, and economic groups, as well as children with exceptional educational needs.  One of the department’s most recognized initiatives is the “Phuture Phoenix” mentoring program, which encourages at-risk youngsters to pursue a college education.

Kaufman said, ““This is truly a group effort. Our vision and commitment is to produce the teachers of tomorrow, really the greatest profession in the world. Professionals that are not only well prepared, but highly desired by schools and districts. Practitioners who are comfortable and nimble in diverse settings and who are able to adapt and successfully serve the needs of young learners, especially those who are at risk or underserved.”