Pratt-Heins and Staff Awards Presented at UNK Fall Faculty/Staff Convocation Today

Tom Tye II
308.237.3155; Beverly Mathiesen, 308.865.8208; Brandon Benitz, 308.865.1619

UNK- Five major university awards were presented this morning, three to faculty and two to staff, during the University of Nebraska at Kearney Faculty/Staff Convocation on the campus.

Three faculty received Pratt-Heins Foundation faculty awards for teaching, scholarship/research or service. Each Pratt-Heins Award recipient received a plaque and a $1,000 check. Presenting the awards was Tom Tye II, a Kearney attorney and Pratt-Heins Foundation trustee.

The Pratt-Heins Foundation Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Marguerite Tassi, professor of English. The selection was based on peer evaluations from departmental faculty, the department chair and the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities. In addition, student comments from recent course evaluations were reviewed. Her student evaluations average 4.8 on a 5.0 scale.

Dr. Tassi, who joined the faculty in 1997, is described as “…one of the best of the best.” She is a member of the graduate, Honors and Women’s Studies faculty, and has served as director of Graduate Studies for the Department of English.

“She has played a significant role in directing, co-directing or serving on nine master’s theses committees, and several of her students have received national recognition for their scholarly works,” Tye said.

The Pratt-Heins Award for Scholarship and Research is based on the consistent production of exceptional original work in the nominee’s discipline. In addition, each nominee must submit evaluations from individuals qualified to evaluate the nominee’s scholarship and research, along with administrative evaluations from the departmental chair and dean.

Victoria Goro-Rapoport, a printmaker and an associate professor in the Department of Art & Art History, received the Pratt-Heins Award for Scholarship and Research. Since coming to UNK in 2004, her prints have been featured in more than 130 juried national and international exhibitions, and she has won six Solo Exhibition Awards. In the last four years, alone, she has won 49 national awards (15 for Best of Show or First Place) and 11 international awards.

Among her many letters of support for the award, Zdzislaw Sikora, professor and print media section chair for the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, wrote: “To say that I was stunned when I saw her work in person would be an understatement. Her work is among the finest of its kind that I have had the pleasure of experiencing. The combination of extraordinary drawing, technical virtuosity and conceptual depth in her work is to be envied.”

In making the award, Tye said: “As with many UNK distinguished faculty in scholarship and research, she is also a very gifted teacher and mentor to her students. Her students, peers, the university and our community are the fortunate beneficiaries of her multiple talents.”

The Pratt-Heins Award for Service is based on consistent outstanding service to UNK students, the university, education in general, and to significant state, regional or national educational programs.

Dr. Glen Powell, professor in the Department of Teacher Education and the associate dean for the College of Education, received the Pratt-Heins Award for Service. Dr. Powell joined the UNK faculty in 1979.

“He has given countless hours to UNK, as well as local, state and national organizations,” Tye said. “In fact, his record of service is detailed by decade.”

Among Dr. Powell’s service listings are vice-chair and chair of the Faculty Senate, president of the University of Nebraska Education Association and chair of the Graduate Council. For more than a decade, he volunteered at Northeast Elementary in Kearney where he helped fourth graders learn to read and tutored fifth grade English-learning students. He has served on self-study teams, volunteering his time to fellow educators in communities across the state. He also served as a consultant to numerous school systems. In 2001, he earned a place among faculty featured in the Profiles in Excellence.

As one nominee wrote: “He is a man of honesty, integrity and humility who cares deeply about UNK. His personality and caring attitude make him a natural draw for new faculty in the College of Education. His door is always open to those faculty members who value his judgment and advice on matters related to becoming a successful university professor.”

Outstanding staff awards were presented by Brandon Benitz, chair of UNK Staff Senate and the assistant to the Dean of Students. Staff Awards for Excellence (SAFE) are based on nominations and a maximum of three peer references. Each recipient received a plaque and $1,000.

Eve Green, an office associate in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Jo Ludden, business systems analyst/trainer, are the 2009 recipients.

In making the award to Green, who began her career at UNK in 1988, Benitz noted: “She has a passion for her work and the people she serves. In reality, her job has been more than a job. It has been a way of life for her and for her family as well.”

A co-worker of Green’s commented: “It is quite possible that no other person has as complete a passion for UNK Athletics as she does.”

In her nomination materials, Ludden is described as, “…a wonderful representative of a group of long-term UNK employees whose work ethic, experience and talents serve as a positive role model to other members of the university community. She always displays the highest ethical and professional approach, and is always willing to listen and dig in and help.” Ludden joined the campus in 1974.