Faculty and Academic Staff Development

Keith Wurtz Award for Teaching Excellence

Rewarding innovations in teaching and learning, the Keith Wurtz Award for Teaching Excellence endowment supports two faculty awards per academic year. The award is designed to support innovators 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)

Nomination Procedure

  • A colleague must nominate the faculty member.
  • To nominate a faculty member, the nomination form and supporting letters must be submitted to
  • Please include in the subject line the award title followed by last name, first name. (ie: Wurtz - Smith - Allan)
  • Nominations that are not submitted following these directions will not be considered.
  • Nominations are due no later than 4:30 p.m. March 20 of each academic year
    • The materials will include a nomination form from you (the nominator)
    • An up-to-date C.V. from the nominee
    • Two support letters (limit two pages each) from colleagues addressing the following:
      • “trailblazing” characteristics
      •  validation of student learning
      •  links between the innovation and course or program learning objectives
      •  impact on department, college, university or regional stakeholders.

NOMINATION FORM (click here)



Two faculty members, one junior status (teaching academic staff or assistant professor) and one senior (associate professor or full professor) will be awarded each year.
The awards will be announced at the fall opening meeting each academic year.
Each recipient will receive their award in an upcoming payday.

Past Recipients

Stacy Furness
(Health and Human Performance)

Desiree Wiesen-Martin
(Sociology, Criminology, Anthropology)

Melanie Ayres

Earl Blodgett

Beth Rausch
(Animal and Food Science)

Mark Gillen
(Counseling and School Psychology)

 Dennis Cooper
(Animal and Food Science)

Joseph Rein

Karen Klyczek

Joel Peterson 
(Agricultural Engineering Technology) 

Kim Mogen

Joy Benson 
(Management and Marketing)
Jamie Schneider

Holly Dolliver 
(Plant and Earth Science) 

Cynthia Kernahan

Gregg Hadley 
(Agricultural Economics) 

Erick Hofacker

For more information: 

Wes Chapin 
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
104 North Hall

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Faculty and Academic Staff Development
M-F, 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
104 North Hall