The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today announced this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards. Denise Olstinske, Administrative Program Manager III in the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies at UW-Parkside was among those honored this year.

These awards recognize exceptional service to the university and are the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff. The recipients were originally to have been honored at the Board of Regents’ June 2020 meeting. However, because of COVID-19, the ceremony will be rescheduled.

Olstinske develops innovative higher education programs to recruit and support both traditional and working adult students. She established and directs a concurrent enrollment program called Parkside Access to College Credit (PACC), which enables area high school students to earn both high school and college credit for certain classes in their high schools. She received a $1.4 million grant from the US Department of Education to create a three-year US history and civics program for high school students and social studies teachers. In collaboration with the college dean, she created two associate degree programs, one in professional studies and another in military and security studies. For working adults, she helped create the Master of Arts in Applied Professional Studies and co-directs the program. In line with her involvement in the development of a graduate certificate in smart city policy, Olstinske coauthored a chapter on smart cities for a Springer-Verlag volume on Smart Cities. Olstinske serves on a variety of campus committees, including the Course and Curriculum Committee and the Adult Education Committee.

Olstinske’s service goes beyond the immediate Kenosha and Racine area. Responding to the need of a Milwaukee high school, Olstinske developed a summer pre-college program for its students, many of whom are under-represented youth. She worked with Marquette University to bring the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps presence to campus, including on-campus courses, physical training, and large training exercises.

“This year’s award recipients reflect the amazing efforts of our academic staff across the UW System,” said Regent Emeritus Janice Mueller, chair of the selection committee. “We are inspired by the far-reaching and influential ways they are helping students succeed and contributing to their communities.”

Award recipients are selected for superior performance resulting in significant contributions to the department and institution; use of positive personal interaction to manage work changes; and a consistently creative approach that improves productivity and work quality. Each recipient is awarded $7,500.

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