On Feb. 1, the Academic Staff Senate held their first meeting of the new year, discussing new university initiatives, the future of COVID-19 testing, vaccination on campus and the distribution of the Academic Staff Award of Excellence.
The meeting began with Provost Tammy Evetovich discussing the way the university has handled COVID testing as students and faculty alike return to campus.
“You probably noticed that, test-wise, we put a pause on faculty/ staff testing so that we could get all the students through,” Evetovich said, before adding, “Please note that you can start planning out for testing again [Feb. 2], so if you want to get tested you can do that.”
Though some expressed concerns about previously planned testing dates for the coming week, Evetovich was quick to reassure the senate that their previously arranged appointments would be honored.
Senate Chair Tyler Tollefson discussed his meeting with representatives of the other universities in the state on Jan. 22, which included an update on vaccine rollouts. University faculty are expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine next month, as part of group 1B.
The senate discussed that perhaps those working on campus will have priority in the coming rollout, though this will be subject to availability of the vaccine. Tollefson stated that it’s also been under discussion that universities may be used as inoculation sites in the coming months.
Some initiatives discussed during this meeting included the freshwater initiative (an educational program headed by UW-Milwaukee dedicated to the study of water and its properties), a prison education initiative (meant to allow inmates a path towards a bachelor’s degree while serving their time) and a mental health initiative being headed by UW-Stevens Point (meant to increase resources for students and faculty alike).
The academic staff decided on two recipients of the 2021 Academic Staff Award of Excellence. The first nominee brought to the table by university Scholarship Coordinator Becky Digman was Jessica Brogley of the College of Liberal Arts and Education.
Regarding Brogley’s nomination, Digman said, “She has done an amazing job trying to make sure our students are Google Level 1 certified. She also has a podcast that’s reached national based on a grant. She’s also done a number of things in her teaching role for our students.”
The second nominee brought to the table was Kathleen Wagner of the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science.
Regarding Wagner’s nomination, Digman stated, “She’s done some amazing work regarding collaboration in their department with Budget Tool, regarding their financial resources, working with the foundation funds, salary savings. She also works on a publication for EMS, and just working within the department and others across campus on department shortcuts.”
When brought to a vote, the measure passed unanimously. Brogley has been awarded the UW-Platteville Academic Staff Award of Excellence, and Wagner the Regent Academic Staff Award of Excellence.
The next meeting of the Academic Staff Senate will be held Feb. 15.