CALS Awards

The 2024 CALS Awards Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 7. Recipients of college-level endowed faculty fellowships will also be recognized at this event.

The CALS annual awards are an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the people who have led the efforts and contributed to the accomplishments of our college. Award nominations are an opportunity to pause and reflect on the work that has been done over the last year. In the reflection, we remember the hard work endured, time invested, and outcomes achieved. Nominations are now closed and will open in fall of 2024 for the 2025 awards. Please consider submitting an award nomination to celebrate a CALS community member.

Information needed to submit a nomination:

  1. Nominee name, email, title, department/unit
  2. 300-350 word (2,500 character limit) essay outlining nominee’s accomplishments and why they are deserving of the award (see below for award details)
  3. OPTIONAL: Up to two letters of support and/or nominee’s CV/resume

Please note: CALS Human Resources will confirm that the awardees have completed all annual employee requirements to be eligible.

Academic Staff Excellence Awardexpand_more

Recipients of this award represent the vital contributions of more than 700 academic staff members to the mission of the college. These individuals have demonstrated excellence, often performing above and beyond expectations, taking initiative, being creative in problem solving and having a personal and positive impact on their work.

All full-time and part-time (50% or greater) academic staff are eligible for the awards, regardless of title, funding support, appointment contract or unit affiliation. In addition, the person being recommended must have been employed for more than 12 months and have a portion of their budget support administered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Any or all of the following criteria will be considered in the review of nominations:

  1. Excellence of Performance – going above and beyond expectations and doing exemplary work that is acknowledged and appreciated on or off campus.
  2. Personal Interaction – being a community builder who plays a positive role in personal or organizational interactions on or off campus.
  3. Initiative – taking on responsibility for work or leadership of a project, process or service. 
  4. Creativity – using novel or innovative approaches for problem solving, research or organizational improvement.
  5. Outstanding Achievement and Accomplishments – formal recognition of work, research or productivity on or off campus, including recognition of a body of work over a period of time. 
  6. Positive Impact and Influence – doing work that has a ripple effect on processes or services or an area of research and brings visibility and positive attention to CALS.

Arthur J. and Ellen A. Maurer Extra Mile Awardexpand_more

Please note: Nominations for this award must come from students. Any student with at least 90-degree credits at the beginning of the 2023 fall semester or a CALS student group may nominate an individual faculty or academic staff member from any CALS department or center. Students are encouraged to contact the department for assistance in preparing a packet. 

Ellen Maurer originally established this as the Arthur J. Maurer Extra Mile Award in 1999 in memory of her husband, a CALS poultry and food scientist and assistant dean for International Agricultural Programs. It has since been renamed to also honor Ellen, who enjoyed a vibrant career as a teacher, writer, editor, photographer, and international science communicator in CALS. 

The Arthur J. and Ellen A. Maurer Extra Mile Award goes to a faculty or academic staff member who has demonstrated unusual concern for and provided exceptional service to undergraduate and/or graduate students. The service should exceed the level that might normally be expected from faculty or staff, and can include:

  • Mentoring/advising of individual students or student groups
  • Creating formal or informal experiential learning opportunities 
  • Providing leadership to improve the educational experience
  • Service on committees related to student life and academic achievement
  • Other activities that enhance the educational experience of students

CALS Equity and Diversity Awardexpand_more

CALS faculty, academic staff, university staff and students in good standing are eligible for award nomination. Nominations can be made on behalf of self, individuals or groups. Nominated individuals or groups will be evaluated on their efforts to advance the academic and professional climate of diversity, respect, inclusion and equity in CALS.

Nominations are expected to include evidence of improvements in diversity, respect, inclusion or equity within CALS in areas such as retention of first-generation students, students with disabilities and students of color, more effective participation of women and minorities in governance and decision-making, positive changes in departmental culture and climate and enhanced participation in programs and activities aligned with CALS equity and diversity goals.

Donald R. Peterson Farm Technology Transfer Awardexpand_more

The Donald R. Peterson UW Memorial Fund was established in 1999 for the purpose of remembering and paying tribute to the outstanding service and dedication of Don Peterson during his long career with the UW, graduating with degrees in agronomy and soil science and serving as associate dean for extension and director of Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, Inc. Prior to 2022, the Donald R. Peterson Wisconsin Farm Technology Transfer Award was awarded through a separate process and is now part of CALS Awards.

Eligibility: Faculty or academic staff member with an active appointment in CALS who has designed creative ways to convey research-based information from CALS to its agricultural and natural resources constituents in topics such as: 

  • Effectively using new management tools, processes, or concepts.
  • Incorporating new technologies into a modern farm operation.
  • Addressing issues that challenge contemporary agriculture and our natural resource base.

Excellence in International Activities Awardexpand_more

Recipients of this award alternate each year between faculty and academic staff. In 2024, one award will be given to honor an outstanding academic staff member engaged in international research, instruction, outreach, program development or service.

Academic staff who hold appointments in a disciplinary department, center or institute in CALS are eligible. The faculty and staff of CALS Global and CALS Study Abroad are not eligible. 

Award recipients will be selected based on their overall contribution to further CALS mission in promoting international learning, research, and outreach among its students, staff and faculty and the global community. 

Preference will be given to international efforts that are above and beyond the nominee’s standard areas of research, teaching and/or outreach.

Louise Hemstead Leadership Awardexpand_more

Louise Hemstead put her animal and food science expertise to good use building her successful 30-year career in the dairy industry. As the Chief Operating Officer, Louise oversaw all operational aspects of CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley of LaFarge, WI. She also served as president of the Cooperative’s wholly owned subsidiary, Organic Logistics, the Cooperative’s distribution arm.

Louise began her career at CROPP in 1993 as dairy program manager. Her curiosity and innovative drive led her to develop a sustainable supply chain for the Cooperative that utilizes existing dairy infrastructure instead of the conventional thinking that would have led to building new infrastructure at great cost. Louise was a strong advocate for advancing women in leadership and was often the only woman at the table as a leader in the dairy industry and as a CEO. In honor of her commitment, the award is open to all, and nominations of women are encouraged.

A 1988 graduate from the Meat and Animal Science program, Louise also served on the college’s Board of Visitors until her death in 2018.

The recipient will be a faculty or staff member with an active appointment in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences who fulfills the criteria and honors the legacy of the award’s namesake, Louise Hemstead. The nominee must have completed all annual employee requirements. 

The recipient will demonstrate a proven track record of accomplishment in one or more of the following areas:

  • A passion for advancing agriculture through innovation and cooperation and leads by example to see programs and projects to completion.
  • A record of stewardship for natural resources and communities.
  • A history of getting things done through service leadership.
  • The tenacity to overcome odds (for example, coming to agriculture through a non-traditional background or championing new solutions to long-standing problems).

Pound Extension Awardexpand_more

The Pound Extension Award is presented annually to an outstanding Extension-funded faculty member of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Madison. 

The individual nominated must: (a) hold a faculty tenure-track or tenured appointment in a department in CALS; (b) be all or partially funded by Extension at the time of nomination; and (c) be currently engaged in Extension programming and delivery. Administrative activities are not to be considered pertinent in the criteria for selection. Previous recipients of the Pound Extension Award are not eligible. 

The following criteria emphasize the unique contributions that CALS Extension-funded faculty make to the overall Extension and CALS missions. Evidence of excellence and responsiveness in Extension programming shall consist of:

  • Effective integration of research and outreachThe record should indicate that the nominee’s Extension program is supported by a strong research base and that the nominee has led his/her own research efforts to fill voids and otherwise strengthen the research base through published work. Publications should include a sufficient quantity of original, applied research articles in peer-reviewed journals and the publication of scholarly work with a clear focus and programmatic theme.  Applied research conducted by the nominee should be cutting-edge, focused on specific problems, focused in a way to have impacts related to issues and problems, address emerging issues, and also have a component of identifying and solving problems of importance to Wisconsin and its residents. The nominee’s work should represent an integration of research and outreach/educational activities over time into a coherent body of work. 
  • Demonstrated program reach through leadership, responsiveness, and engagement of appropriate audiences for maximum impactExcellence in Extension can be demonstrated through any one or a combination of delivery methods appropriate to the subject matter and program. These include affiliation with and participation in Division of Extension program areas and reporting, programs in partnership with public agencies, private organizations and other specialists, and direct delivery to Extension clientele/users. Extension efforts by the nominee should clearly demonstrate focused leadership that effectively communicates the value of Extension work and that is responsive to the specific needs and issues of appropriate groups/individuals, including underserved audiences, in ways that best leverage resources and knowledge. A commitment to leadership in Extension should be further represented by leadership in service to a team/department/program area and in appropriate professional organizations.
  • Ability to attract fundingExcellent Extension programs are designed around a resource base that can be sustained, enlarged, and improved by the infusion of other public funds and private support.  Extension program funding can come from a variety of resources including extramural grants, program revenue, grants, contracts, etc. Funded projects of greatest value to Extension’s stakeholders are problem-focused and outcome-oriented.
  • National and/or international recognitionThe nominee’s Extension program should be recognized as excellent beyond the borders of the State of Wisconsin. Recognition may include international, national, or significant regional leadership roles, invited talks and technical presentations, and use of the nominee’s materials in other states’ Extension/outreach programs or by those in other countries.  
  • Use of effective evaluation technologies that clearly demonstrate impactAccountability is a critical element of an outstanding Extension program and can be best demonstrated by quantitative evidence of behavioral, environmental, economic, or other condition change that enhances public and/or private well-being. Successful nominees should have some level of demonstrated/documented impact such as but not limited to: enhanced knowledge, changed industry practice(s), changes in client behavior(s), enhanced profitability, changes in surrounding environmental/social conditions, or assistance with regulatory development and/or compliance.

Pound Research Awardexpand_more

This award is given to honor an outstanding, early-career CALS research scientist and to promote continued excellence in research. Faculty who hold research appointments in a disciplinary department in CALS and who are currently assistant professors or are less than four years beyond the date of their promotion to associate professor are eligible. One nomination may be submitted per department.

Selection criteria:

  1. Significance of research contributions—30%
  2. Refereed works and other scholarly works—25%
  3. Honorary recognition/awards—10%
  4. Research grants—15%
  5. Research-related committee service—10%
  6. Mentoring and training—10%

Robert G. F. and Hazel T. Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellenceexpand_more

The donors, Bob and Hazel Spitze, established this fund to honor contributions made by faculty in CALS or the School of Human Ecology, the academic units where the Spitzes earned their UW degrees. The award recognizes and encourages faculty who exemplify the Land Grant philosophy through combined excellence in research, teaching, and outreach. The purpose of this award is to reward comprehensive scholarly performance over a sustained period of time. Such performance shall include all areas of academic responsibility unique to the Land Grant mission including teaching and advising, research and publication, outreach/extension and public service, and participation in professional organizations and faculty governance.  

Recipients of this award shall be tenured faculty members with at least 10 years (inclusive of approved leaves) of continuous paid appointment (over 50%) in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences or the School of Human Ecology.

Robert R. Spitzer Teaching Excellence Awardexpand_more

This award recognizes an individual who has advanced the teaching goals of CALS for undergraduate or graduate students. The recipient will have a demonstrated record of curricular innovations and high impact on students and/or instructional practices of colleagues. The selection committee is looking for evidence that the nominee has wholeheartedly embraced his or her educational roles and responsibilities and used them as a platform for designing effective learning experiences.  

Nominees must be CALS faculty or academic staff who teach at least one course at UW–Madison.

University Staff Recognition Awardexpand_more

The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding University Staff performance or service to the CALS. Three awards for CALS University Staff permanent employees are available. 

All full-time and part-time (50% or greater) university staff are eligible for the awards, regardless of title, funding support, appointment contract or unit affiliation. In addition, the person being recommended must have been employed for more than 12 months and have a portion of their budget support administered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. 

Nominee must meet at least two of the following criteria:

  1. Employee’s work performance and work products are outstanding and/or have made a significant impact in terms of the overall value and benefits to specific program goals or to the University.
  2. Employee continually seeks to improve the work products or refine methods/procedures that significantly enhance the ability of the work unit to meet the needs of the organization.
  3. Employee takes initiative to creatively resolve complex and/or sensitive problems affecting the organization.
  4. Employee consistently demonstrates outstanding leadership skills and initiatives. The employee is a recognized expert and is regularly sought out for advice and consultation.
  5. Employee successfully completed a special one-time project of major significance and impact which was an unusual/exceptional circumstance in the department/work unit.
  6. Employee successfully completed an acting assignment which was significantly more complex, included significantly expanded responsibilities, and was of greater scope than the employee’s permanent position.

WALSAA Outstanding Advisor Awardexpand_more

This award recognizes a CALS faculty member who has demonstrated a deep concern for the welfare of CALS undergraduates and has invested exceptional time and effort in providing them (individuals, teams, or clubs) with academic or personal guidance. The members of the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association have been honoring outstanding advisors with this award since 1979.

The selection committee will consider

  1. Quantity of Advising: Number of advisees; time investment; and contributions to student groups, clubs and professional organizations. 
  2. Quality of Advising: Accessibility and willingness to help, knowledge of degree requirements, quality of student records, involvement with internship and placement. 
  3. Other contributions to undergraduate needs and interests.