Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies

Keith Wurtz Award for Teaching Excellence

Rewarding innovations in teaching and learning, the Keith Wurtz Award for Teaching Excellence endowment supports up to two faculty awards per academic year. This award will go to an innovative tenured or tenure-track faculty member and those who demonstrate "trailblazing" characteristics that may include innovative approaches to teaching, demonstrated scholarship of teaching and learning (e.g. publishing a journal article or textbook), innovative use of technology, curriculum development, effective assessment approaches and results, outreach and partnerships with collaborators on- or off-campus.  

Keith Wurtz

From his early career as a high school teacher to retirement as a clinical surgical professor at Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, Wurtz, '41, dedicated his life to the teaching and healing professions. Named the UWRF Distinguished Alumnus in 1980, Wurtz shared his passions through an endowment that will foster and acknowledge faculty-teaching excellence at UWRF.

As an agricultural education and science major, Wurtz was a bit of a renaissance man as a college debater, Student Voice reporter, Honor Society member and intramural athlete. He credited his college days at River Falls with opening doors to medicine, surgery, education and community service. Wurtz, who received his M.D. from Northwestern University, was chief of surgery and a consulting surgeon at several hospitals, including the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Hines, III.

The new Dr. Keith G. Wurtz Fund Award for Teaching Excellence will ensure that the good doctor's prescription for excellence and passion in education will continue for years to come. (Courtesy of UWRF Falcon Features, April 2007)

Application Process

A Brief Overview of How to Proceed:
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Academic Affairs

  • Complete an application (click below) that includes a personal narrative.
  • An up-to-date CV uploaded into the system.
  • One support narrative from a colleague (UWRF preferred), who can address how you use innovative approaches to teaching, demonstrated scholarship of teaching and learning (e.g. publishing a journal article or textbook), use technology inovatively, developed curriculum, have effective assessment approaches and results, or developed partnerships and outreach with collaborators on- or off-campus. You will identify this person in your application, and once the application is submitted, this person will receive an email asking to provide the narrative.
  • Ensure that the application is complete.  You will receive a final email indicating that it has been sent to the committee.  This must be completed by the due date.
  • Note: Department Chair needs to approve request, so ensure to submit within a reasonable time so your chair has time to approve application before the deadline.

Due Date

For 2024-25: February 9, 2024


Faculty and Academic Staff Development Grant Opportunities and Programs

Dykstra Faculty Excellence and Wurtz Teaching Excellence Awards Committee Members


  • The award will be announced at the fall opening meeting each academic year.
  • The award amount will be paid directly to the recipient via payroll distribution.

Past Recipients

Rich Wallace (Sociology, Criminology and Anthropology)

Arpan Jani (Computer, Information, and Data Sciences)
Christy Pettis (Teacher Education)
Paul Budde (Music and Stage and Screen Arts)
Travis Tubre (Psychology)

Brian Greco (Animal and Food Science)
Cheng-Chen Huang (Biology)
Michelle DeBoer (Animal and Food Science)

Stacy Furness (Health and Human Performance)
Desiree Wiesen-Martin (Sociology, Criminology, Anthropology)
Melaine Ayres (Psychology)

Earl Blodgett (Physics)
Beth Rausch (Animal and Food Science)

Mark Gillen (Counseling and School Psychology)

Dennis Cooper (Animal and Food Science)
Joseph Rein (English)

Karen Klyczek (Biology)

Joel Peterson (Agricultural Engineering Technology)
Kim Mogen (Biology)

Joy Benson (Management and Marketing)
Jamie Schneider (Chemistry)

Holly Dolliver (Plant and Earth Science)
Cynthia Kernahan (Psychology)

Gregg Hadley (Agricultural Economics)
Erick Hofacker (Mathematics)

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Academic Affairs