Academic Staff Excellence Award Recognizes Executive Director Matt Sanders' Leadership

Matt SandersMatt Sanders, executive director of the Department of Chemistry, is one of nine members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s academic staff to receive a 2014 Academic Staff Excellence Award.

Sanders, who has served as the administrative head of his department since the position’s creation in 1996, will receive the Wisconsin Alumni Association Award for Excellenece in Leadership at the individual unit level.

He brings stability amidst transition, allowing academic leaders to maintain active scholarship.

“Matt has been a strong partner for six chairs and has increased the effectiveness of each substantially,” says former department chair Fleming Crim. “He has emerged as the leader of all the senior staff in the department.”

In 2013, while welcoming a new department chair, the department lost its academic department manager, two key classified staff members and the building superintendent. Sanders steered the department toward calmer waters — all while recovering from a serious accident.

“I get to interact with the talented faculty, staff and graduate student scholars who are the heart of this highly-ranked graduate program,” says Sanders. “The intelligence, creativity and drive of my faculty colleagues constantly impresses me. The knowledge and dedication of the staff help to keep it a pleasant place to work. In particular, I enjoy watching the graduate students grow as they progress through the program.”

Sanders and the eight other recipients will receive their awards at the Academic Staff Assembly’s meeting on Monday, April 14. They will also be honored at a reception with the chancellor on Wednesday, April 23 at the Fluno Center.

“We depend upon academic staff to have a vision that extends well beyond their own departments — a vision that enables them to see opportunities for collaboration and innovation,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “These awards celebrate not only extraordinary work but the gift of joyful, compassionate, caring colleagues.”

To read more about the rest of the award winners, see the full release from University Communications.