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UW System Regents Honor Winners of ‘2009 Academic Staff Award for Excellence’ from the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley

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Terri Holzman, UWFox ETS Program directorThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents honored this year’s recipients of the “Academic Staff Awards for Excellence” in Madison on June 5. The Educational Talent Search (ETS) Program at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley was one of three award recipients this year. This is the highest recognition bestowed on members of the UW System’s academic staff. Each winner receives a $5,000 award for professional development to enhance their program or function. Academic staff members and programs from each of the 15 UW institutions were nominated for this year’s awards.

UWFox’s Educational Talent Search (ETS) Program is a pre-college program designed to encourage students to complete high school and pursue a college education. As a federally funded TRIO program designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, ETS serves qualifying 6th through 12th grade students in the Kaukauna and Menasha school districts. 

Terri Holzman, UWFox ETS Program director explained the focused effort, “It is a requirement of  the U.S. Department of Education  that at least two-thirds of the students we serve be both low income according to federal guidelines and first-generation college students, meaning neither of their parents have received a bachelors degree.”

The two UWFox ETS program coordinators, Dawn Grenzer and Kerry Johnson, work with 620 students each year and log over 5,000 hours of student contact annually. In 2007-08, 100 percent of the non-senior participants were promoted to the next grade, all 72 participating seniors graduated from high school and applied for college and 60 out of the 72 ETS seniors went on to enroll in college programs.

UWFox’s Educational Talent Search (ETS) Program is staffed by Holzman; Grenzer, high school coordinator; Johnson, middle school coordinator; and Carol Kuehne, program assistant.

“It is an honor to recognize this year’s recipients of the ‘Academic Staff Excellence Awards’,” said committee chair Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler. “These winners represent the outstanding effort, creativity, and all-around dedication of UW System academic staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help our students succeed and our Wisconsin communities become stronger.”

“Thanks to all the energetic efforts of our TRIO staff, there are many more students in our area who are looking forward to continuing their education after high school,” said Carla Rabe, assistant campus dean for student services at UWFox. “These students might not have felt they had the chance to attend college if the ETS staff were not a part of their lives.”

According to Dr. Debra Hunt, former assistant superintendent in the Kaukauna Area School District, “The [ETS] coordinators have done an exceptional job of working with teachers, counselors and administration to understand the gap in perception of college accessibility of parents and students and demonstrated that they had the skills and resources to help students realize their post secondary options. The confidence and pride the coordinators have helped instill in the students is inestimable.”

For more information about the TRIO program or about the “2009 Academic Staff Award for Excellence” presented to the TRIO staff, contact Holzman at 920-832-0111 or email terri.holzman@uwc.edu, or visit http://www.uwfox.uwc.edu/campconnect/trio/.

Facts about the ETS Program at UWFox:

ETS coordinators facilitate 35 separate, small group workshops each month—on-site, right in the schools—where students learn alongside their peers about academic, career and financial topics. Students also receive individualized, one-on-one attention and frequent access to ETS resources, since ETS coordinators have offices in each school.

Although the program provides students with intensive assistance, it is accomplished with an investment of only $365 per student (or $1 a day). This compares to other federally funded TRIO programs, such as Upward Bound which spends $4,400 per student and the Student Support Services program which spends $1,000 per student.

ETS is a 100% federally funded program. Excluding the costs of staffing and student activities, the program meets its objectives with an annual operating budget of only $6,900. The program has seen steady growth in the number of low income, first generation students who participate -- from 552 students in year one to 620 students today.

The ETS program at UW-Fox Valley exceeds both state and national averages for college enrollments. Nationally, 66.7% of all students who graduate from high school will actually enroll in college. In Wisconsin, 52% of students from low income families enroll in college. By comparison, 83.3% of the seniors who participated in the ETS program last year (60 out of 72) actually went on to start college.

Posted 07/01/2009