2011 President's Award for Outstanding Service Recipients

2011 recipients of UMN President's Award for Outstanding Service

2011 Recipients of the President's Award for Outstanding Service are pictured with President Robert H. Bruininks.

J. Brian Atwood

J. Brian AtwoodJ. Brian Atwood, former dean and professor (on leave) in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, is currently serving as chair of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), a permanent forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that coordinates international development policy. As chair, he serves as the official representative of development stakeholders from the 24 DAC member nations, who collectively contribute more than $120 billion per year in official development assistance. The chair of the DAC is an elected position chosen by the DAC member states. He served as dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs for eight years where he directed the academic, research, and outreach activities of the School. Under his leadership, the School was transformed and the culture changed. During his tenure as dean, the rankings rose from a tie for 21st to 6th overall among public policy schools. Not only did he improve the national ranking but he also increased the student body and the number of faculty. He added two new endowed chairs, three new research centers, one new degree program, and three new certificates. He expanded undergraduate course offerings and added four new joint degrees. In addition, he increased scholarship funding for students and established the Dean's Strategic Initiative fund to support innovation and seed grants for research. He is credited with inspiring and mobilizing everyone on behalf of the common good of the School and the fulfillment of its mission in the state, nation and world. He strived to provide outstanding and innovate service to students and alumni that included attending numerous recruitment events, teaching courses, serving as a guest lecturer, and holding many formal and informal seminars and discussions. He created the Dean's International Policy Forum in response to students' desire for a forum to discuss international policy and current international events. He brought new life into the Humphrey Alumni Board as well as a chapter in Washington, D.C. He is known to speak regularly with alumni, both locally and nationally. One person wrote, "In Brian Atwood's eight years at the University of Minnesota, his leadership practice has most certainly advantaged the University at large as well as the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Of course, any dean is expected to be a leader. But, Brian is a truly exceptional, thoughtful leader whose work has affected not only the Humphrey School but the entire University and the community outside of our borders."

Jean W. Bauer

Jean W. BauerJean W. Bauer, professor, Department of Family Social Science (FSoS), College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), has demonstrated extraordinary leadership to her department, her college and to the University. She served as FSoS Director of Graduate Studies for six years where she provided programmatic leadership and student-focused leadership and mentorship. She is credited with establishing a graduate minor in family policy. To do this, she coordinated the planning and implementation efforts of faculty in the former College of Human Ecology (CHE), the Law School and the Humphrey Institute. The family policy minor is considered one of the few successful cross-college efforts at the University. She has served as the director of the Twin City Family Policy Graduate Minor since 2005. In 2006, when the new CEHD was founded and three colleges were merged, Jean was called upon to serve as the chair of the Graduate Committee of the CEHD Curriculum Committee, one of two major committees in the new college. And, she served as a key member of a group that drafted a temporary constitution for the new college. As chair of the college Promotion and Tenure Committee, she led a large and diverse group of faculty to consensus. Her colleagues unanimously acknowledged her as a skillful facilitator in overseeing one of the most critical tasks of a college. Her service to the University is outstanding. She was elected to the Faculty Senate, served on the Senate Judicial Committee, the Committee on Committees, and the Senate Finance and Planning Committee. In 2003, she was elected to the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) and during the final year of her term, she served as chair. As chair of the FCC, she also served as chair of the Senate Consultative Committee (SCC) and the Business and Rules Committee. In addition, she both served and chaired the Social Science Policy and Review Council and was a member of the Executive Committee for the Graduate School. One person wrote, "Jean Bauer is one of those faculty members who does exceptional work no matter what you ask of her. She does it with skill and with a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect with her colleagues. Her leadership skills are legendary. Her contributions to the University of Minnesota far exceed what we might expect of any individual faculty member."

Stephen Benson

Stephen BensonStephen Benson is the executive director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in the College of Continuing Education. OLLI is a volunteer organization that provides educational opportunities for adult learners. In 1995, Steve's vision for providing a place for lifelong learners came to fruition when he created the ElderLearning Institute (ELI). The organization thrived and ten years later it was renamed OLLI in honor of Bernard Osher, who presented an endowment to further the goals of ELI. The renamed OLLI recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. Steve has served as the executive director for the duration and he has worked tirelessly with the OLLI curriculum committee to plan excellent programming, recruit distinguished faculty, retired faculty, and others with expertise in specific areas to teach courses for the organization. In 1995 enrollment was 132; in 2008 it reached the 1,000 mark; and, this year it reached 1,236 paying members with 45 on yearly scholarships. Because of the program's strength, the National OLLI Foundation has twice donated $1 million dollars to OLLI. Steve has also been instrumental in promoting learning opportunities for older adults throughout the state through AllMN, a consortium of colleges and universities. One person wrote, "The career path of Steve Benson at the University of Minnesota represents an extraordinary achievement of service in the best tradition of unique contributions of lasting value to the University's mission."

Victor Bloomfield

Victor Bloomfield is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics in the Medical School and the College of Biological Sciences. For more than 35 years he has had a distinguished career as a scientist, educator, administrator, and national leader. He served as head of the Department of Biochemistry (1979-1991), founding director of the Biotechnology Research Center (1982), vice provost for research and associate dean of the Graduate School (1998-2002) and then as interim dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for research (2002-2005). From 2005-2007, he served as associate vice president for public engagement. He has served on countless committees, task forces, steering committees and advisory groups, including the General Research Advisory Committee of the Graduate School (1976-1988), and the Advisory Board of the University Without Walls (1978-1980). He also served as chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee (1988), the Senate Committee on Educational Policy (1991-93), and the Council of Liberal Education (1992-1995). He was appointed to the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) in 1995 and was chosen vice chair in 1996-1997 and as chair in 1997-1998. This was an important time for shared governance at the University centering on the dispute with the Regents over tenure policy. He was chair when Mark Yudof arrived as the University's new president and he is credited with playing a critical role in reestablishing good relations between the faculty, central administration, and Regents. All of his administrative and volunteer services took place while he maintained an active and vibrant research program. He published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, authored or co-authored four books and gave approximately 200 invited talks at conferences, universities and companies in the U.S. and overseas. He is a fellow of the AAAS and has trained 17 Ph.D. students, seven MA students and 34 postdocs. He also is credited with leading the effort for the development of the Scholars Walk, a partnership between the University and the Alumni Association. One person wrote, "Professor Bloomfield has brought the attributes that characterize the best administrators. He is intelligent, visionary, and inclusive. He stands out because he thinks about other people and listens to them."

William Durfee

William DurfeeWilliam Durfee is a professor and director of Design Education in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) in the College of Science and Engineering. He left MIT to join the University of Minnesota in 1993. Since then, he has distinguished himself as a researcher and educator. He is credited with single-handedly modernizing the entire design curriculum, revamping the senior level capstone design course, and is probably most well known for introducing the sophomore level class ME2011 Introduction to Mechanical Engineering or the "robot class." More than 200 sophomore students enroll in this class each year. He has been recognized for these accomplishments with several teaching awards including the 2000 George Taylor/IT Alumni Society Distinguished Teaching Award, the 2000 Minnesota State Council on Disability Educator of the Year Award, and the 2001 Horace T. Morse Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. His innovations have had a significant impact in connecting ME with local industry, which regularly attracts the positive attention of the local news media. The annual senior design "robot show" fills the ground-level floor of the McNamara Alumni Center with students, parents, local media and alumni, to experience the excitement of engineering as a tool to improve human lives. This design class is considered one of the most effective means to connect the ME Department with the industry in the state. A strong believer in faculty governance, he has actively served on numerous committees including the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) and the Senate Consultative Committee (SCC) (2006-2009), and as vice-chair of FCC and SCC (2008-2009), the Senate Committee on Committees (currently), the Committee on Graduate Education (2009). In addition, Will served on the Graduate Education Academic Issues Working Group, and served as chair of the Campus Writing Board. He also is involved in a number of community engagement activities. He served as director for Outreach and Human Resources of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and is involved with Project Lead the Way curriculum review. He also taught the "Creativity in Engineering" workshop as part of the Mentor Connection. In addition, he has been active in the FIRST Robotics competition, which has become a major magnet for high school students to enroll in science and engineering programs. One of his colleagues wrote, "There are very few individuals at the University of Minnesota as talented as Professor Durfee. Will is an exceptionally talented scholar, teacher, advisor, and mentor, recognized by students and peers alike, for his many achievements."

Elizabeth Isensee

Elizabeth IsenseeElizabeth Isensee is an undergraduate student services coordinator in the International Student and Scholar Services Office. Described as a true champion of internationalizing the student experience on campus, Beth has demonstrated her passion and commitment to serving both the international student population and those domestic students who seek an international experience on campus. Known to many as the face of International Student and Scholar Services, she is credited with creating the International Student Liaison Committee (ISLC) to bring together representatives from the undergraduate colleges and related units for an ongoing discussion about international student issues. She was instrumental in creating the Advisor Resource Guide: New Undergraduate International Students, which serves as a very useful tool for academic advisers in their work with newly arriving international undergraduate students. She has worked to facilitate discussions with academic advisers and student services staff regarding students' English language issues. Because of her efforts, advisers are better able to advise and guide students through their major curriculum. Beth's other accomplishments include the development of an Ambassador Program where students are trained to work with perspective students through emails and blogs and the creation of the very successful Buddy Program, which includes both international and U.S. students as buddies to assist with the needs of new international students. She works tirelessly with the Orientation and New Student Programs Office and the Admissions and Housing Offices to ease the transition for international students to the U.S. and the University of Minnesota. Her involvement and support of the creation and development of the Students Crossing Borders Living Learning Community has brought almost 200 students together to create meaningful cross-cultural learning opportunities by housing students from the U.S. with international students in intentional roommate pairings. One of her colleagues wrote, "Beth is a great educator and advocate for improving and meeting the needs of international students." Another wrote, "The many impacts created by Ms. Isensee go beyond just reaching the students at the University of Minnesota. Over the past years of partnership between our two offices, she has also become a dedicated collaborator, a trusted confidant, and professional mentor and a valued friend."

Mary Koskan

Mary KoskanMary Koskan is the former director of One Stop Student Services for Academic Support Resources (ASR) in the Office of Undergraduate Education (retired May 2011). She has created a legacy for the University by providing exceptional student service. Her vision for and creation of the One Stop Student Services centers on the East Bank, West Bank, and St. Paul campuses, which provides students a place to go for professional advice and counseling on anything related to a students' academic record, financial aid, or billing, is considered to be one of her greatest accomplishments. The One Stop model has improved the integration of services with all areas across the University that provide student services, from collegiate departments to Boynton Health Services, Housing, and Student Affairs, to name a few. The One Stop model is recognized nationally as the "best practice" in integrated student services. One Stop also certifies and handles the processing of educational benefits for veterans. In 2007, Mary decided to expand the definition of One Stop's role in supporting student veterans by implementing the Veterans Services Office as a comprehensive resource for University of Minnesota student veterans. Her commitment to student veterans was further demonstrated when she accepted an invitation to serve on Governor Tim Pawlenty's Yellow Ribbon Task Force and the Higher Education Action Group, a coalition that improved educational services for military members and veterans throughout the state. In 2009, the Governor presented Mary with the Above and Beyond Award on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). She also was the driving force behind the 2009 $100,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support student veterans. She has been a key player in the creation of Veterans Recognition Day on campus annually in November. Mary has been actively involved in the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and also within the Big Ten Registrars professional activities, where she is considered to be an enterprising and renowned leader. In 2009, she received the APEX Award at the AACRAO annual meeting, which recognizes individuals for achieving excellence in education administration and outstanding influence in their field. One colleague wrote, "Mary Koskan is clearly one of the University's treasures - a consummate professional who inspires and nurtures staff, and who has dedicated her career to supporting the success of our students."

Susan Balow Miller

Susan Balow MillerSusan Balow Miller, program associate, Department of Legal Writing and Oral Advocacy, Law School, has provided exceptional service to the program and a broader commitment to excellence at the University of Minnesota. She is credited with orchestrating moot court competitions involving seven different course sections, seventeen classrooms over four days, and over seventy-five outside judges including three justices from the Minnesota Supreme Court. She also created a template for the 2001 national conference of the Association of Legal Writing Directors and represented the Law School at the national conference of the Legal Writing Institute in 2010. She is the creator of the Annual Dean's Law School Picnic and the Dean's Breakfast Forum for first year law students. Susan has served as a committee member on the Senate Research Committee (2000-2006) and as an active member of the Legal Writing Institute and the ALWD (the non-profit professional association of directors of legal reasoning and writing programs). Susan has served as a long-term volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House, the vice president of the local International Optimist Club, and vice president of a local chapter of the American Business Women's Association. One person wrote, "Susan Miller's commitment to students and learning are immeasurable. I believe Susan Miller embodies the exceptional service to the University community that is worthy of recognition in the President's Award for Outstanding Service."

Jerry Rude

Jerry RudeJerry Rude is a retired landscape maintenance supervisor in the Facilities Management Department at the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC). His contributions to the beautification of the Crookston campus are renowned. Over the course of his 36 years of service, Jerry designed every flower bed differently every year. He also designed the current mall for sidewalks, lighting, and irrigation. In addition, he played a key role in parking lot, street, sidewalk, and athletic field development. His dedication and hard work has been acknowledged by alumni, students and UMC faculty and staff through awarding him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 1985, the UMC Award for Distinguished Civil Service, AFSCME Clerical/Technical, or Teamster in 1992, the Torch and Shield in 2003 (the highest and most prestigious award presented on the Crookston campus), and he was selected by students for the faculty/staff of the month award in 2008. In addition to Jerry's visible work on the landscaping, he made significant contributions that were not as noticeable. He made sure roads and parking lots were clear after a blizzard and before people arrived on campus. He would often spend much of the night following weather reports and different radar sites so he would be prepared to recommend whether the campus should remain open. He would spend countless hours on campus to ensure the safety of others during and after these storms. He was also known for his willingness to share his expertise and support for the faculty, staff, and students. He worked with students in various horticulture classes, supported the forestry program and athletics. He touched the lives of many students. He supervised work-study students each year and would supervise students on internships. One person wrote, "Jerry Rude truly loved his job and the University of Minnesota, Crookston. When people speak of Jerry they use the words dedicated, respectful, knowledgeable, hardworking, unselfish, character and professional, just to name a few. It is not an exaggeration to say it would be difficult to find an individual on or off campus who didn't know of the contributions Jerry made to the University of Minnesota, Crookston."

Thomas M. Scott

Thomas M. Scott is professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and founding director for the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) in System Academic Administration. For more than forty-seven years, he has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to the University of Minnesota. During this time, Tom served in numerous leadership and service roles. He is credited with building CURA into a vital University urban research and outreach unit. He played a pivotal role in the creation of the University Metropolitan Consortium as well as the Hennepin-University Partnership. He was also actively involved in the development of the University's "Urban Agenda." In 1978, he worked on the Report of the Study Group on University Outreach and has been involved in the efforts in public engagement ever since. He organized the Outreach Compact Proposal, served on the Civic Engagement Task Force, and on the Council on Public Engagement Steering Committee. He has served the University tirelessly in his effort to enhance the quality and excellence of the institution. Tom contributed significantly to President Nils Hasselmo's "University 2000" strategic planning and visioning process. He has also led innumerable collegiate level and university level search, evaluation and operating committees and University governance committees. He chaired an ad hoc committee charged to restructure the Senate committee structure, he chaired the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) and the Senate Consultative Committee (SCC), and he chaired the Senate Judicial Committee. He and his colleagues worked to create the University Faculty Association (UFA), an independent lobbying group with the objective of supporting state and federal policies and programs that would strengthen the University. He has also demonstrated his commitment to his community by serving on the League of Minnesota Cities board of directors, the Minnesota Council of Economic Advisers Task Force, and on a Governor's Crime Commission, to name a few. The following was written on his behalf, "His outstanding service to the University community, and to the citizens across the metropolitan area and the state, are exceptional. He is truly an ambassador for this institution and a role model for how outstanding service can make a positive difference in the lives of people. He serves by example and continues to set the highest standard for outstanding service not only for himself but as a role model for others."

Yared Tadesse

Yared TadesseYared Tadesse is a senior building and grounds worker in Facilities Management (FM) for the East Bank District, who is pursuing a double major in chemistry and medical technology at the University of Minnesota. His primary responsibilities require him to be adept in the use of equipment and chemicals as well as processes and procedures necessary for maintaining the Twin Cities campus buildings. He is responsible for training and managing employees who are responsible for all custodial activities that occur on the weekend including, opening and securing buildings, ensuring stairs and entrances are free of snow and ice all winter, maintaining public space cleanliness for weekend visitors, as well as organizing the clean up and prep of public spaces and classrooms for Monday mornings. Yared has also contributed tremendously in responding to emergencies on campus such as the flood in Walter Library and the 2007 bomb scare on the East Bank. He is described as an able ambassador who has a calm, confident, poised, and effective communication style. Yared is considered to be a trusted knowledgeable hard worker who has a positive influence on his peers. One person wrote, "This individual has been a large reason why the student experience during the weekend is just as great as during the week. If there is a problem within a building, Yared is one of the first to assist and help where needed. Yared has proven his skills as a leader many times and does his best work when handling a crisis. He is a great peer leader, trouble-shooter, and reliable. He continually works to make the University a pleasant experience for those he encounters and is a great example of being a steward."

Martha L. Thurlow

Martha L. Thurlow is the director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) in the Institute on Community Integration in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). NCEO provides national leadership in designing and building educational assessments and accountability systems that appropriately monitor educational results for all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners. She was a member of the team that founded NCEO in 1990 and she has served as the director since 1999. She is considered to be a national expert on state accountability and assessment policies and practices for students with disabilities, an outstanding researcher and teacher; and a mentor to more than 150, primarily doctoral students in educational psychology, school psychology, special education, and other disciplines. Her publications include 17 books, 48 book chapters, and over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, technical reports, curricula, and policy briefs. Her contributions to national organizations and policy groups are significant. She serves as a consultant and committee member for the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors Association Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the National Center for Learning Disabilities Growth Model Task Force, the U.S. Department of Education's Growth Peer Review Panel, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress Full Population Estimates Work Group, to name a few. She has demonstrated her commitment and dedication to the University and CEHD through her service on numerous work groups and committees that have benefited students and professional research staff. Her service to professional associations includes the Council for Exceptional Children, the Council for Learning Disabilities, the International Reading Association, American Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education. One person wrote, "Dr. Thurlow has devoted 40 years of exemplary service and professional commitment to the University of Minnesota. Her talent, commitment, and energy, have made her a significant influence, which she has used tirelessly to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families."