The University of Wisconsin announced the eight recipients of this year’s Academic Staff Excellence Awards on Tuesday, according to a press release from the university.

Though the in-person award ceremony has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, UW recognizes and celebrates the achievements and contributions of its academic staff.

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In the face of the ever changing demands of the healthcare industry, Urology Simulation Education Program Director Barbara J. Lewis successfully developed a new curriculum, which incorporated cutting-edge simulation activities, to provide up-to-date training for medical residents.

In a short span of time, the Urology Department grew from having no simulation education programs to one of the leading programs in the country, according to the press release.

Project Manager at the Satellite Data Services, Space Science and Engineering Center Jerrold Odilon Robaidek manages the Satellite Data Services facility to ensure all clients have access to the latest weather satellite data at any time.

Robaidek’s work in designing and implementing innovative software and online projects has also greatly increased scientists’ accessibility to historic satellite data, according to the press release.

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As Senior Academic Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction for the main undergraduate library, College Library, Eliot Finkelstein is the expert in equipping freshmen with the essential skills needed for their research and academic writing.

Finkelstein oversees and coordinates more than 400 “Comm A” classes each year across three academic departments to help UW students fulfill their undergraduate communication requirement.

Finkelstein also receives accolades for addressing needs of international students, some of who may not have experience accessing resources in libraries at an American university, according to the release. 

Other award recipients include Director of the Newcomb Imaging Center and Associate Scientist at the Department of Botany Sarah Swanson, Administrative Director of the South Asia Summer Language Institute Laura J. Hammond, Wisconsin State Cartographer Howard Veregin, distinguished lecturer and State Program Specialist at Division of Extension Mary Huser and Administrative Assistant at Waisman Early Childhood Program Lisa Marie Carilli-McCord.

The press release acknowledged the contributions of faculty in an uncertain time like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Academic staff members bring UW-Madison’s mission to life — they are gifted teachers, world-class researchers and dedicated administrators,” the release said. “None of that has changed with COVID-19. If anything, their creativity and dedication is more needed and more apparent than ever right now.”