Kwaterski wins Golden Award for Inclusive Excellence

Jordyn Schraeder, News Writer

According to the University website, UW Oshkosh aims to create a community environment that recognizes differences, respects uniqueness and facilitates interaction, learning and appreciation. One individual who focuses on promoting inclusion, Jean Kwaterski, received national recognition for her efforts.

Kwaterski, a UWO alumna and the executive director of campus life, won the Edwin R. Golden Award for Inclusive Excellence from the National Association of College Auxiliary Service.

According to the NACAS website, criteria for the Golden Award require that nominees demonstrate outstanding service to cultural awareness in college management and encase inclusiveness in an ongoing fashion through leadership in the areas of cultural diversity and equity.

“I didn’t know I had been nominated, so it came as a complete surprise,” Kwaterski said. “I felt quite honored.”

Kwaterski was nominated by Ron Portwine, the associate vice president for administration and business affairs at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. Portwine said he nominated Kwaterski because of her efforts to promote inclusive excellence at UWO and her involvement with NACAS.

Dean of Students Art Munin spoke highly of Kwaterski.

“Jean is a driving force for inclusive excellence initiatives at UW Oshkosh,” Munin said. “Her leadership in this area is genuine, heartfelt, substantive and systematic. Jean Kwaterski is a leader that all would do well to emulate in this and many other regards.”

Kwaterski directly oversees the Children’s Learning & Care Center, Reeve Memorial Union, University Books & More and University Dining.

“Promoting inclusivity on campus allows students to thrive and be successful,” Kwaterski said. “It is important for all students to feel welcome at UW Oshkosh, to feel that this is a place where they can find their niche, find some friends and know that there are people who will help them if they need it.”

Kwaterski said she was the chair of the NACAS Inclusive Excellence Committee for a couple of years. During that time, she brought the Inclusive Excellence Toolkit used at UWO to NACAS.

“The NACAS [Inclusive Excellence] Committee adapted the Toolkit for NACAS to make sure the association was inclusive within their office, at their regional and national conferences, during their webinars and in their publications,” Kwaterski said.

When Kwaterski was the chair of the UW Oshkosh Division of Student Affairs Inclusive Excellence Committee, she adapted the Inclusive Excellence Toolkit from the University of Denver and modified it for the purposes of the Division.

According to Kwaterski, the Inclusive Excellence Toolkit assesses how the organization infuses inclusivity in 17 different areas of an organization. Examples include assessing the physical environment and asking the following questions:

— Are offices and classrooms physically accessible?

— Do units adapt for students with diverse needs?

— Do students feel welcome in their units?

— Are interpreters available for hearing impaired students?

— Does the artwork reflect appreciation for diversity?

Munin said that Kwaterski winning the Golden Award for Inclusive Excellence reflects the efforts of the dedicated staff at UWO.

“This is another example of the many colleagues throughout the institution who are committed to inclusive excellence,” Munin said. “We are lucky to have such a transformative leader working at UW Oshkosh. She is well deserving of this honor.”

Sylvia Carey-Butler, the associate vice chancellor for academic support of inclusive excellence, shared her first experiences with Kwaterski in 2013.

“She shared information about an organization she was and continues to be affiliated with, who had established standards of practice for organizations as it pertains to diversity and inclusion,” Carey-Butler said. “It was clear to me from our first meeting that Jean was committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion. She cares about how students experience UW Oshkosh.”

Carey-Butler praised Kwaterski for her efforts to increase diversity and said she was absolutely deserving of the Golden Award for Inclusive Excellence from the NACAS.

“She works tirelessly to advance diversity and inclusion on campus in every aspect of her job and has done so with a sense of excellence,” Carey-Butler said.

Additionally, Carey-Butler said that UWO benefits from Kwaterski’s efforts.

“UW Oshkosh gets the opportunity to share in her success and celebrate with her,” Carey-Butler said. “It’s an opportunity to remind the campus of the importance of diversity and inclusion and how we all can play a role in making UW Oshkosh a more inclusive university.”