​Faculty Awards

Eugene Katz Letters and Science Distinguished Faculty Award

The Eugene Katz Letters and Science Distinguished Faculty Award is presented annually to a College of Letters and Science faculty member in recognition of ongoing excellence in teaching, scholarship and service over a period of years. The award has been presented  since 1999 in memory of Eugene Katz, a long-time friend of UW-Stevens Point.

2016 Award Recipient - Alton "Sonny" Smart


A member of the Bad River Band of Chippewa, Sonny is the first Native American faculty member to be tenured at UW-Stevens Point. Throughout his career, Professor Smart has demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. He is committed to our students, department, institution and community.

One of Sonny's most significant accomplishments during his time at UW-Stevens Point has been developing an accredited social work program. He was initially hired to teach Introduction to Social Work and the generalist practice courses in the Department of Sociology, and he later spearheaded the development of a Native American and Rural Social Work minor. Developing an accredited social work major was no small task. It involved extensive curriculum and policy development, as well as collaboration with personnel across campus and in the community. Sonny demonstrated considerable leadership and skill throughout this process and was instrumental in its success.  

Sonny's colleagues are impressed by his ability to engage with students, get them to critically think about their own views and the world around them, and consider new approaches to resolving complex issues. He is creative in his style, weaving in cultural stories and real-world examples. He takes students beyond the classroom in ways that are significant to them. For years he took students in one class to the Lac Du Flambeau Reservation for a field trip, and more recently he has taken them off-campus to demonstrate the sweat lodge ceremony. Through such activities, Professor Smart affords our students access to a world that is often restricted from the general public.  

Sonny's contributions to his home department as well as students across campus have been significant. Over the years, he has taught a variety of courses in both sociology and social work. He is always willing to be a guest presenter in colleagues' classes.  Professor Smart is known as a leading expert on campus regarding Native American culture and other diversity issues. He has further benefitted campus by serving on Equity and Affirmation Action Search and Screen, Letters and Science Advisory Committee, as well as all of the department's standing committees. He has also acted as mentor to African American, Latino, Hmong and Native American students as part of the institution's Multi-Cultural Affairs initiative.

Professor Smart is also deserving of this recognition because of his significant work within the tribal communities across Wisconsin. He has worked with various state/tribal organizations such as the State Indian Child Welfare Program Directors Association, the Wisconsin Tribal Judges Association, the Wisconsin State Indian Child Welfare Act Advisory Board and the Great Lakes Intertribal Council. He serves as a tribal judge for the Bad River Band of Ojibwe. These interactions have allowed him to stay current in child welfare practice, family law, cultural competence, mental health and policy changes, while also providing expertise to the tribes and universities in the Great Lakes region as well as nationally.
 

2015 Award Recipient - Richard Ruppel

Recently retired as chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures, Richard has been a dedicated teacher, both respected and liked, by the many German students he has taught during the past three decades. During his career he has taught nearly every course in the German curriculum, having focused on language, literature and culture. He is viewed as a rigorous professor who seeks to challenge his students to do the very best they can, yet in the end he is known for awarding them fair grades.

Richard believes that German is a window to another world. He encourages his students to use the language as a key to unlocking another culture, another way of viewing the world and oneself. Critical thinking and cross-cultural and interdisciplinary thinking is as central to his classroom as language learning. One simply has to learn how to do this all in German. As an adviser, he has travelled that extra length to help his German   students — and as chair all students of World Languages — to succeed. He has written hundreds of letters of recommendation for his students, sending them off to graduate school, medical school, veterinary school and dentistry school. He has been adviser to the German Club since 1985.

He is perhaps most broadly known for his longtime service on the University Personnel Development Committee, on which he served for 14 years and chaired seven times. He was also a Faculty Senator for 12 years and served on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for seven years. He chaired the University Awards Committee for two years. He was a member of the Graduate Council for two years. He has served on the Phi  Kappa Phi Executive Board since 2002 and is currently its president for the second time.

Richard has also been an adviser to the UWSP Ski and Snowboard Club for the past 12 years and has accompanied them on every January ski trip to various resorts in the Rockies. Through it all he became the respected face of the Department of Foreign  Languages, now World Languages and Literatures. Across the campus, everyone in every college, including all the deans, know Richard personally and identify him with World Languages, for whom he has been a persevering advocate. It is hardly a surprise that Richard received the University Service Award in 2011.

2014 Award Recipient - Sol Sepsenwol

Sol Sepsenwol has been a faculty member at UW-Stevens Point since 1978. After receiving both his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Chicago, he worked at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Northwestern University Medical School. He was originally hired at UW-Stevens Point as a human physiology professor, but now also teaches upper-level Biology classes that he has developed ranging from electron microscopy to human reproduction. Sol has served as an advisor to the UWSP Pre-Medical Society since 1980, as UWSP coordinator for the Goldwater Excellence in Science Scholarships since 1994, and co-directs the electron microscope lab.

His research on the sperm cell of an intestinal parasite has earned him four research grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health to support his work. Additionally, he has many nd varied publications and papers. Off campus, Sol rock climbs and has guided trips to Devil’s Lake with UWSP pre-med and other students from around campus.

 

2013 Award Recipient - John C. Blakeman

John came to UW-Stevens Point in 2003 after earning his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Virginia and teaching at Baylor University.  His classroom teaching includes courses in constitutional law, civil rights, religion and politics, and European politics.  John’s book The Bible in the Park: Federal District Courts, Religious Speech and the Public Forum was nationally recognized as an in-depth study of First Amendment cases concerning religious speech and expression in public places.  His newest book, The U.S. Supreme Court and New Federalism: From the Rehnquist to the Roberts Court has been equally well received.  John’s frequent scholarly papers and presentations have earned him a considerable following among students of the courts. He has also served as department chair the past six years.

Eugene Katz Letters and Science
Distinguished Faculty Award Recipients 

 
​Year Recipients​ ​Department
​2016​Alton "Sonny" Smart
​Sociology and Social Work
​2015 ​Richard Ruppel ​World Languages & Literatures
​2014 ​Sol Sepsenwol ​Biology
​2013 ​John C. Blakeman ​Political Science
​2012 ​Sarah A. Kent ​History
​2011 ​Richard Barker ​Foreign Languages
​2010 ​Susan Brewer
Jeana Magyar-Moe
​History
Psychology
​2009 ​Padmanabhan Sudevan
Eric Singsaas
​Psychology
Biology
​2008 ​Marcia Parker
William Lawlor
​Foreign Languages
English
​2007 ​Gary Itzkowitz
Dennis Riley
​Sociology & Social Work
Political Science
​2006 ​Jan Seiler
Erik Wild
​Foreign Languages
Biology
​2005 ​Valentina Peguero
Robert Wolensky
​History
Sociology & Social Work
​2004 ​Jim Canfield
Steve Taft
Justus F. Paul
​Political Science
Biology
Dean, L&S; History
​2003 ​Gail Skelton
Jianwei Wang
​Sociology & Social Work
Political Science
2002 ​Hamid Hekmat
Donald L. Showalter
​Psychology
Chemistry
​2001 ​C. Marvin Lang
Edward J. Miller
​Chemistry
Political Science
​2000 ​Jack K. Reed
Lawrence Weiser
​Chemistry
Business and Economics
​1999 ​C. Edward Gasque
James Stokes
​Biology
English
 

Faculty Awards

From 1985 through 1998 the College of Letters and Science recognized outstanding faculty achievement with the Faculty Award. Recipients of this award are listed below.
 
​Year Recipients​ Department​
​1998 ​Donna M. Desforges
Nancy LoPatin-Lummis
Thomas Overholt
​Psychology
History
Philosophy
​1997 ​Dennis E. Elsenrath
Marcia G. Parker
​Psychology
Foreign Languages
​1996 ​Richard J. Feldman
Keith Rice
​Philosophy
Geography & Geology
​1995 ​Susan Brewer
Fred A. Copes
Larry Watson
​History
Biology
English
​1994 ​David Ozsvath
James Stokes
​Geography & Geology
English
​1993 ​Gary Itzkowitz
Mary T. Whalen
​Sociology & Social Work
Math & Computing
​1992 ​Shelly Jansky
Donald Showalter
​Biology
Chemistry
​1991 ​Randy Cray
Douglas D. Post
​Business & Economics
Biology
​1990 ​Arthur L. Herman
Edward Miller
​Philosophy
Political Science
​1989 ​Jan J. Seiler
Padmanabhan Sudevan
​Foreign Languages
Psychology
​1988 ​Robert Beeken
Neil Lewis
​Physics & Astronomy
History
​1987 ​David Chitaranjan
Robert P. Wolensky
​Chemistry
Sociology & Social Work
​1986 ​J. Baird Callicott
Robert K. Miller
​Philosophy
English
​1985 ​Paul K. Schwieger
Ronald A. Lokken
​Psychology
Physics & Astronomy