Gau, Rosendahl named recipients of annual Clarke Awards; Employee Recognition event honors years of service, promotions and retirement

Dakota Wesleyan University has announced the annual Clarke Awards for Excellence. Others were recognized for retirement, years of service and academic promotions.

Dakota Wesleyan University has announced the annual Clarke Awards for Excellence. Paige Gau, Assistant Professor of Nursing, was awarded the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence. IT Systems Administrator and Programmer Wim Rosendahl received the Clarke Award for Staff Excellence.

The Clarke Award, first instituted in the 1996-97 year, was endowed by John and the late Vicki Clarke as an award to be given annually to a Dakota Wesleyan University faculty member for excellence in teaching, serving the needs of students and service to the university and community. The staff award was added in 2019. Nominations are solicited from the DWU campus community.

Gau joined the DWU Nursing program in 2021. She holds a B.S. degree from Mount Marty College and an M.S. in Nursing Education from South Dakota State University. Gau previously taught at Southeast Technical College and served as a clinical instructor since 2018. She currently works as a part-time pediatric nurse at Sanford Children’s Hospital where she has served since 2013.

In nominations from both faculty and students, Gau was referred to as a mentor, an excellent teacher, one who “holds students to high expectations, and challenges students to expand their learning.” Gau is often cited as a leader in service projects among nursing students, an innovator for developing classroom activities that allow for hands-on learning, and for sharing her experiences as a neonatal and pediatric intensive care nurse.

Provost Derek Driedger, in his remarks recognizing Gau at the commencement ceremony, stated, “Professor Gau exemplifies how DWU faculty can serve as a mentor for their students, one whose leadership is rooted in their character, their knowledge, their patience, and their service to others. She is appreciated by students for helping them feel welcome as prospective students during visits, and then again as first-year students; for providing regular opportunities to engage in service to the community, and for sustaining a determined effort to help all students persist through difficult content and learning in a variety of professional settings.”

Rosendahl is a member of the Information Technology team at DWU, where he has worked since 2008. His duties as systems administrator and programmer provide vital support to all network operations at the university.

When announcing Rosendahl’s selection at the annual employee recognition event, DWU President Dan Kittle said,"Wim's behind-the-scenes work has an impact that reaches literally every everyone at the university. He is a person who can be fully trusted to solve problems, come up with new ways to make things better, and tum something good into something great."

Each Clarke honoree received an engraved plaque and a cash award.

Randy Sprung, Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences, was honored for his 44-year career at DWU as he retires this spring.

Also recognized were a number of employees for their years of service to DWU:

Recognized for 35 years:
Judy Lehi, McGovern Library Supervisor
Tim Mullican, Professor of Biology

Recognized for 30 years:
Lori Solberg, DWU Store Manager

Recognized for 25 years:
Sean Flynn, Professor of History
Donna Gerlach, Campus Nurse

Recognized for 15 years:
Joan Lubben, Professor of Mathematics
Brian Patrick, Professor of Biology
Wim Rosendahl, IT Systems Administrator/Programmer

Recognized for 10 years:
Janet Hayen, Director of Human Resources
Kyle Hobbs, Director of TRIO Student Support Services
Derric Ludens, Assistant Professor of English
Dixie Nolz, Central Services Coordinator
Lindsay Wilber, Head Volleyball Coach

Recognized for 5 years:
Stephanie Gelderman, Assistant Professor of Education
Travis Olsen, Associate Athletic Trainer and Instructor
Dustin Wheeler, Dean of Students

Also announced were promotions and tenure awards. Tressa Wede, Assistant Professor of Education, was promoted to Associate Professor. Those awarded tenure include Stephanie Gelderman, Assistant Professor of Education; Joel Reinesch, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice; Dr. Melissa Weber, Associate Professor of Education; and Matt Zens, Associate Professor of Athletic Training.