Celebrating Outstanding UIU Faculty and Staff and their accomplishments

Upper Iowa University Outstanding Faculty and Staff Service Award 2020-21 recipients were senior director of academic success Amy Tucker, assistant professor of nursing Sheila Crook-Lockwood and head athletic director Matt Rueckert. All recipients were nominated by their peers for embodying the core values of UIU: integrity, excellence, accessibility, respect and stewardship.

NiCole Dennler, assistant professor of communication, was among those who nominated Tucker, saying, “Amy has made a point to make sure each and every one of our students are succeeding. She is also an amazing person to work with on multiple projects. I cannot say enough how I appreciate the ability to chat when I am unsure about a situation of any kind on campus.

“Amy is the best cheerleader for our students,”she added.“She believes in each and every one of them. It shows in everything she does. You can tell she is genuine to her very core. A person that I not only believe is a great UIU colleague, but a true asset to UIU!”

While nominating Crook-Lockwood, assistant professor of communication Jennifer Stoffel stated, “Sheila has been serving in elected faculty leadership roles at Upper Iowa University during difficult times and has grappled with how to best represent her stakeholders and interact as a liaison.”

Stoffel, who also nominated Tucker, later continued, “Sheila has always been a great advocate for student accessibility and inclusion and has been a great champion for making faculty meetings, etc., even more accessible for people to participate. In addition, Sheila is always open to listening, which makes her accessible in even an additional format. I always appreciate her openness to considering alternative points of view and seeking understanding prior to recommending actions or solutions.”

Becki Wissmiller, director of the UIU master of business administration program, nominated Rueckert, saying, “In a year with so much uncertainty, Matt did his due diligence to keep not just our student athletes safe, but our student population. He went above and beyond in service to the institution in a time when many were scared and nervous about what could happen.”

Also, in nominating Rueckert, head baseball coach Jeremy Ische wrote, “I think Matt Rueckert has done an outstanding job in his position as head athletic trainer, and I do not believe I’ve told him ‘thank you’ enough during the course of this past year. Given the pandemic and trying to operate an athletic department full of teams made up of many individuals, I think Matt has handled himself extremely well and his entire staff have been extremely helpful under stressful situations as we all learned together what our protocols and testing procedures were going to be.”

Additional recognition

As previously announced, associate professor of psychology Dr. Melinda Heinz has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Ireland. Beginning this month, Heinz will conduct research exploring how men’s sheds promote meaning and purpose in older adulthood. Heinz will also teach a seminar on aging at the Limerick Institute of Technology and host several community discussions on well-being in older adulthood. Heinz will be featured on Bridge Online upon her return from the experience later this spring. Heinz was also recently featured by “I Love Limerick” for her study on the Limerick Men’s Shed organization. The story can be viewed at www.ilovelimerick.ie/melinda-heinz/. A video interview is also available at www.limerickpost.ie/2022/02/10/limerick-post-show-limerick-mens-sheds/.

Adjunct professor Dr. Greg Beatty won a short story contest, sponsored by Exisle Academy, for his story, “They Both Won the Bet.”

Dr. Scott Figdore, Fox professor of science and herbarium curator, has completed the first phase of a comprehensive archival updating project involving Upper Iowa University’s C.C. Parker Herbarium. Figdore collaborated with Dr. Tom Lammers, retired plant taxonomist at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, to update and record annotation information for 513 herbarium specimens. The specimens were originally collected by Dr. Charles Coleman Parker (first resident physician of the town of Fayette and longtime member of the UIU Board of Trustees) from 1860 to 1876 and by Dr. Bruce Fink (lichenologist and UIU instructor) from 1892-1896. High-resolution digital scans of all specimens were completed, and these images are now archived in the international JSTOR Global Plants repository. The photograph (right) shows the image of a rare orchid specimen collected by Dr. Parker.

Figdore, Dr. Jennifer Stoffel, professor of biology, Dr. Paul Skrade, associate professor of biology, and Joshua Crosbie ’20, post-baccalaureate land management coordinator, were awarded a contract from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to complete a co-educational project involving seed production from prairie plant species of interest to the DNR. The award is an annual contract for services that can be renewed for an additional two years.

Upper Iowa University professor of education Dr. Gina Kuker (right) and preservice educator Bret Corlett of McGregor, Iowa, attended the Iowa Council for Social Studies Conference in October in West Des Moines. Under the theme of “A Whole New World,”they received resources, information and strategies to further engage their students.

Kuker (middle) was joined by UIU students Matthew Hall, Carter Jenssen, Jacob Seeger and Parker Kerf in assisting the North Fayette Valley 7th grade class at Beulahland Christian Camp in rural Elgin, Iowa. The four UIU students assisted the middle school students with team building, games, canoeing, owl pellets and other outdoor activities.

Kuker also received a grant to attend the Global Education Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts, in November 2021. The goal of the professional development was to make study abroad more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Dr. Susan Massey

Master of Education program director Dr. Susan Massey and her research colleagues recently published the chapter “Leading for transformation: The decisions of new coaches matter” in the edited book “Case Studies in Leadership and Adult Development: Applying Theoretical Perspectives to Real World Challenges.” In addition, they published an article in The Learning Professional titled “3 Challenges New Coaches Face — and How to Overcome Them.”

Associate professor of nursing Sheila Crook-Lockwood was the recipient of the 2020-21 Outstanding Faculty Award.

Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Meghan Mettler served on an online panel discussion titled “Godzilla: A Pioneer of Global Pop Culture”in August.

(From left) Assistant professor Gaby Mocanu and preservice educators Marisa Malmgren, Sabrina Voss and Trace Woodward served as tour guides during September’s Rendezvous Days in Fort Atkinson, Iowa. The preservice educators took six through eighth grade students to various displays and exhibits, explaining what life was like in the 1840s.

In November, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Elissa Wenthe and assistant professor of art Laura Gleissner opened their two-person exhibition, “Naturally Synthetic,”at The Shircliff Gallery of Art at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana. The exhibition features three-dimensional work by Wenthe, two-dimensional work by Gleissner and a 40-foot collaborative piece.

(From left) Andres School of Education administrative assistant (and Volga, Iowa, mayor) Carrie Taylor ’16 was joined by UIU students Eric Ihde, an exercise/sports studies major from Garnavillo, Iowa; Trace Woodard, all science major from Somonauk, Illinois; Brian Sadler, industrial technology major from Jesup, Iowa; and Jaima Tonne, human services major from Jesup, Iowa, in volunteering at the November 24 “Friendsgiving” for K-12 students at the Volga City Opera House. The free event was hosted by the Volga City Public Library. UIU student volunteer Nichole White, an elementary education major from Elkader, Iowa, is not pictured.

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