UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Lecturer, Animal and Food Science
Instructional Academic Staff
Karalyn Littlefield, a lecturer in Animal and Food Science and UW-River Falls alum, is the 2022 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Academic Staff – Instructional Academic Staff.
Growing up on a farm in Turtle Lake, Littlefield started her career in the food industry working in the family bakery/cafe. Prior to coming to UW-River Falls in 2012, she served in various roles for several national and international food-based companies.
“From her senior research food scientist position at General Mills to the 100 hours of culinary arts training she’s received, her vast (and constantly increasing) knowledge of food science is recognized and appreciated by students and coworkers alike,” wrote one nominator.
“She is really passionate and provides great information that doesn’t seem like she’s just reading out of the textbook,” commented a student. “She brings in her own and others’ experiences and makes connections to what we are learning.”
Nominators also appreciated her teaching style, especially her ability to relate to students. One nominator shared that she is “adaptable, patient, warm, and willing to be silly and vulnerable with her students” and a student called her “down to earth, respectful and fun to be around.” These abilities, along with her subject matter knowledge and real-world experience, earned her a Student Government Association Exemplary Teaching Award in 2018.
In addition to her teaching role, nominators noted that Littlefield is also an effective mentor and adviser. From co-leading a study abroad course to Netherlands and Belgium to advising student research projects on cheese production and storage to assisting companion animal students with the development of dog treat prototypes, Littlefield has, say nominators, embodied the UWRF values of service and engagement.
Littlefield was also extolled for her many outreach activities including delivering cooking classes around the region, volunteering time with educational groups like 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and the Girl Scouts, and championing food programs for underserved students from River Falls to Malawi, Africa.
A life-long learner, Littlefield has most recently embraced boatbuilding, basket weaving, master gardener training, and llama shearing. She resides River Falls and Turtle Lake.
Associate Director, Community and Student Development, Residence Life
Non-Instructional Academic Staff
Kenney White, associate director for community and student development for Residence Life since 2013, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Academic Staff – Non-Instructional Academic Staff.
In his role, White supervises eight hall directors across 11 residences that, in 2022, housed over 2,060 students.
Across the board, nominators praised White’s unwavering commitment to student success. One said that students are the “primary focus and driving force for his work” and that student learning is his “center focus.” Kenney has repeatedly demonstrated this commitment … from creating Living Learning Communities to championing student services at Faculty Senate meetings to individually mentoring current and future staff.
“Kenney uses his skills to help foster a culture of care with the end goal of positively contributing to the healthy development of our students,” commented a nominator.
White also received many accolades for his supervisory skills, which he uses, says one nominator, to “help shape young professionals, as well as students, in preparing for their next professional role and how to become an outstanding employee.”
One residence hall director commented: “Kenney has demonstrated what a supportive leader should illustrate. His time and interest in my growth, the ability to problem-solve and encourage critical thinking, and the tools to help make meaningful experiences for our students makes Kenney stand out among the others in the field.”
White was also recognized as a creative problem solver, excellent communicator and active collaborator with multiple departments and leadership groups.
He has been a member of the Faculty Senate and served as the Faculty Senate Liaison. He was also a member of the First Year Seminar Committee which met in summer 2022 to advance the Chancellor’s First Year Experience initiatives.
“Kenney is a staunch advocate for all UWRF staff and has raised thoughtful questions to policies and procedures while offering potential solutions to the issues identified,” one nominator wrote. “His belief in the campus and our community is a testament to the exact type of people that make this campus great.”
White is a native of Gander, Newfoundland, and currently resides in River Falls.
College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Academic Staff Program/Unit/Department
Laboratory Farms is the second recipient of the Chancellor’s Recognition Award for Excellence for Academic Staff – Program/Unit/Department at UW-River Falls.
The UW-River Falls Laboratory Farms, a fixture at the university for over 100 years, are premier farm facilities supporting teaching, research and outreach activities at UWRF.
Though, said one nominator: “When it comes to our farms, it isn’t about the facilities … but rather the people. … They are some of the most dedicated you will find. Their days are often long, the work is hard, the environment is complex, and their commitment is unparalleled. … They genuinely want the farms to be a resource for as many students as possible and value students have positive and engaging experience.”
Indeed, the farms rely on nearly 50 part-time students to help perform day-to-day tasks.
“The farm staff works very hard to mentor these students and offer training to safely work on the farm, many times the first opportunity for students to operate a tractor of work with a cow,” wrote a nominator.
Students also have an opportunity to become involved in important farm decisions and activities. For example, the student-led Beef Management Team works with farm staff and CAFES faculty to make – and implement – decisions about beef operations at the Mann Valley Farm.
Likewise, at the equine enterprise at the Campus Farm, students are actively taking care of horses and helping with events like the Youth Horse Judging Clinic or preparing for a large event such as the annual Falcon Frontier Days Rodeo.
Laboratory Farm staff were recognized not only for their long history of excellence in meeting the needs of students, faculty, and staff, but also for their extensive outreach programs and collaborations including the Dairy Innovation Hub established in 2018, and a 30-plus year relationship with WinField United, a Land O’Lakes company, which opened their Innovation Center in River Falls in 2017.
A WinField representative said: “From my first day, I have always felt very welcome and been treated like just another member of the crew. All the members of the [Laboratory Farms] staff are more than willing to help with anything, be it a mechanical issue in the shop to borrowing rock picking equipment or helping clear off crop residue. … The relationship between my company and UWRF has been great. I attribute much of this to the outstanding Lab Farm staff … who are an amazing group of people to work with. [I] couldn’t ask for any better.”