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Jennifer Hess – University Staff Spirit of Community Service Award 2024

June 14, 2024

As an associate director of Continuing Education and Outreach at UW-Stevens Point, Jennifer Hess sees her work as community service.

“Continuing Education has the ability to directly and indirectly make the world a better place,” said Hess. “What I love most about my work is the opportunity to impact people’s lives – while they go on to impact others.”

In her role, she works with both campus and off-campus partners to create programming for specific audiences, including certificates, customized training, workshops and credit and online programs that fit a local or regional need.

“I’m driven by the positive impact and the opportunity to make a difference wherever I can, on campus and off,” she said.

This mindset, along with her contributions to educational programming across the region, earned Hess the 2024 University Staff Spirit of Community Service Award.

Jennifer Hess, associate director of Continuing Education and Outreach, received the 2024 University Staff Spirt of Community Service Award.

“Jennifer embodies the spirit of service and community building through her unwavering commitment to community outreach, professional development programming and service to the university,” said Renee Pfeifer-Luckett, associate vice chancellor for Program Growth. “Her professional philosophy centers on inclusivity, collaboration and respect.”

Hess has reframed Continuing Education and Outreach to be workforce-focused, creating a monthly newsletter to extend UWSP’s educational brand for area companies. She collaborates with statewide organizations such as the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin Technology Council and local area Chambers of Commerce, among others.

She helped build the Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate, achieving national accreditation and the National Wellness Institute’s Circle of Leadership Award.  She also led the development of the Certified Professional Recovery Coach program and the Autistic Mental Health and Well-Being workshop.

Having earned both her undergraduate degree and master’s degree at UWSP, Hess knows the faculty members who are now her programming partners. Working at her alma mater has helped her see all sides of the academic experience and make impactful connections.

“I can advocate for student needs and see areas where more support may be needed for both students and faculty,” she said.

The research she did as part of her psychology degree has also influenced her current work, as she learned to look at things in a different way.

“That is what we do in Continuing Education – we find different solutions for non-traditional students that consider their prior experiences,” she said. “I love how we are always pushing the norm and using innovative approaches to educating adults.”