Block, Zernicke Among 2016 L&S Staff Awardees

On May 12, College of Letters & Science Dean Karl Scholz granted three sets of awards that recognized and celebrated the excellence of university staff and academic staff.

“Every year at Awards time, I am reminded of the excellence in the College across all levels of expertise,” says Dean Scholz. “This year’s recipients are some of our very best.”

L&S University Staff Awards

Five colleagues in the University Staff were honored for their excellence in four areas: effectiveness; innovation, creativity and originality; leadership; and the promotion of the Wisconsin Idea.

James Zernicke, Inventory Control Coordinator in the Department of Chemistry

In addition to keeping a potentially chaotic Chemistry storeroom organized and meticulous, Jim is constantly evaluating work systems and processes to determine how to do things smarter and more efficiently.

Says Chemistry professor Ive Hermans: “It is rare to find people with Jim’s level of dedication. Jim’s hard work is not only highly appreciated within the chemistry department, but campus-wide people count on his expertise and guidance when implementing new purchasing/inventory systems.”

L&S Academic Staff Excellence Awards

Recipients of the Early Career Award must have 3-8 years’ experience and demonstrate outstanding performance, promise of future contributions, and a high degree of professionalism.

Stephen Block, Assistant Director of the General Chemistry Laboratories

Stephen is the most highly rated lecturer in general chemistry courses 103 and 104 in the recorded history of the department. From creating his own online homework package to explaining complex and difficult concepts in understandable and intuitive ways, Stephen consistently exceeds expectations in the teaching arena.

Stephen also runs an enormous laboratory program – a constant challenge.

“Marvelously steady.” “Even-tempered.” “Amazingly articulate.” “A sly sense of humor.” These are just a few comments from faculty and staff who appreciate not only Stephen’s work, but his approach and presence in the department.