Faculty members continue lifelong learning through sabbaticals, professorships

Seven professors earn awards for research, to improve teaching expertise through professional development
Abbey Goers | September 20, 2022

Lifelong learning is part of UW-Stout’s vision, offering applied learning, theory and research not only to its students but to its faculty and staff as well.

As a part of the lifelong learning process, seven professors and associate professors have been awarded sabbaticals and earned professorships for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

Sabbaticals, which enable recipients to engage in intensive study to become more effective teachers and scholars, are granted to faculty based on their merit of past academic contributions. This academic year’s recipients are:

Jim Bryan, center, with a class outside of Applied Arts
Jim Bryan, center, with a class outside of Applied Arts / UW-Stout

Bryan will research two projects during his sabbatical: a proposal for an art museum exhibition and a study of Frank Sinatra’s political stances.

His exhibition will feature “works of art in which real people take on the guise of someone else, such as in religious masquerading ceremonies in which participants are believed to manifest the supernatural beings they are dressed as, or in portraits in which the sitter adopts the costume and accessories of some mythological character,” he said.

Bryan's second project is to research Sinatra’s mid-1950s bachelor pad, for which he hired African American architect Paul R. Williams. “At the time, Sinatra was a very prominent celebrity supporter of the civil rights movement and was liberal in his political views. But in a televised tour of his apartment, he never mentioned his Black architect,” Bryan said. “This is a fascinating example of what was considered ‘progressive’ in Eisenhower-era America, and how far even a legendary celebrity would or would not go on live TV then.”


Kim Loken, center, and game design students.
Kim Loken, center, and game design students. / UW-Stout

Loken teaches game design and talks with students about systems and the cause-and-effect relationships within them. As a licensed architect, she tends to research ecosystems.

“I’ll be designing a tabletop game about re-wilding rivers,” she said. “But my reading on land use and resource management also feeds another creative inquiry – a prototype for an agri-hood, in which I will study a modular approach to blending food production with moderately dense housing.”

Bryan believes sabbaticals are valuable in that they allow faculty a set amount of time to focus on what is important rather than just what is urgent.

“In an organization as big, and with as many different needs as a university, there are always lots of things to be addressed – classes to teach, students to advise, meetings to attend, forms to be filled out, problems to be resolved, future plans to be made. All of this matters, but it demands a lot of time and energy,” he said.

“The sabbatical means that those long-term goals can be given exclusive attention. It allows faculty to ‘uni-task’ rather than multitask so that through their research they can make further contributions to society’s total body of knowledge, which is one of their professional obligations,” Bryan said.

Professorships are prestigious positions awarded to high-performing faculty to help them improve their areas of teaching expertise through professional development.

This academic year’s professorships were awarded to:


Diane Klemme
Diane Klemme / UW-Stout

Klemme will explore the teacher shortage in career and technical areas by looking into the factors that contribute to students' choices in pursuing a CTE teaching career. She'll work to identify career development programs and practices used in secondary schools that help students seek a CTE teaching career.

Her research methods will include student surveys and interviews with secondary school staff. She'll also explore the research regarding the Alpha Generation and potential avenues for this generation to opt for a CTE teaching career.


Dietetics Program Director Karen Ostenso.
Karen Ostenso / UW-Stout

Karen Ostenso will address the lack of evidence-based nutrition interventions for community-dwelling older adults to reduce malnutrition and promote successful aging.

“The goal is to develop, implement and evaluate an evidenced-based cooking curriculum for community-residing older adults and caregivers as part of a comprehensive nutrition program model being initiated through the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources Inc.,” Ostenso said.

Grace Laudon Ostenso, a 1954 graduate of the family and consumer educational services program, now the dietetics program, founded the endowed chair to provide leadership and vision to ensure expert instruction for UW-Stout students and the continued success of its food- and nutrition-related programs.


Portrait of Christine Peterson
Chris Peterson / UW-Stout

Peterson plans to attend conferences and workshops that align with her interests in literacy and intervention for struggling readers. “Literacy and particularly reading intervention expertise is critical to the role of the school psychologist, and I am grateful for the opportunity to update my own professional development in the area, which will enhance teaching and learning in the classroom,” she said.

Maybelle Ranney Price graduated from the Stout Institute. The professorship is awarded in recognition of outstanding ability and promise and provides support for professional activities.


Vivek Singhal / UW-Stout

Singhal plans to collaborate with the local industry to develop an applied, hands-on course on laser material processing. “There is a regional and national shortage of qualified people in this field, and only a few programs in the country offer any relevant training,” Singhal said.

The John "Jed" Copham Memorial Professorship is in memory of Copham, a 1997 industrial technology graduate who died in a swimming accident in 2018. This professorship is intended to support faculty and staff in the engineering and technology department, with preference for projects that have a connection to automobiles or motorsports.

Faculty must apply for the professorships, which are funded through the Stout University Foundation. They are awarded based on recommendations made by the Named Professorship Committee and are approved by Chancellor Katherine Frank. Use of the stipends must meet state guidelines and be approved by the UW System.

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