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, a legacy of teaching and healing.  From his early career, as a high school teacher to retirement as a clinical surgical professor at Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, Dr. Keith 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 in the early 1940s, 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)


  • A colleague must nominate the faculty member.
  • To nominate a faculty member, the application and supporting letters must be submitted in electronic format by attaching them to an e-mail and sending them to The e-mail subject line must include the Excellence Award name and last name of the nominee. Applications that are not submitted following these directions will not be considered. After the application and supporting letters have been sent via e-mail they can be saved for your records. Nomination applications will be due no later than 4:30 p.m. on March 1 of each academic year
    • The supporting letters will include a letter from you (the nominator) and two additional support letters (limit 2 pages each) from colleagues addressing “trailblazing” characteristics, validation of student learning, links between the innovation and course or program learning objectives, and impact on department, college, university or regional stakeholders.


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 of the award will receive $1,000.

Nomination Application Due:   March 20

View Nomination Application

For More Information, Contact: 

Wes Chapin 
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

o: North Hall 104
t: 715-425-0629

Past Recipients

Gregg Hadley 
(Agricultural Economics) 
Erick Hofacker (Mathematics) 

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

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

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

Karen Klyczek (Biology)

Senior Award: Dennis Cooper (Animal and Food Science)
Junior Award: Joseph Rein (English)

Mark Gillen (Counseling and School Psychology)

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


Contact Us

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