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Lakeland College's Richard Lemke, an assistant professor of criminal justice, is the 2015 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
Lemke, in his third year as a member of Lakeland's faculty, is the college's 24th winner of the Underkofler, which recognizes outstanding performance in undergraduate teaching.
The Underkofler Award was presented on April 1 at Lakeland's annual Honors Banquet, which recognizes outstanding academic accomplishments of students and faculty.
Lemke was recognized as a steady and respected professor in one of the largest majors at Lakeland.
"His preparation ensures that every class is excellent, well organized and engaging," said Elizabeth Stroot, a Lakeland professor of psychology and chair of the Underkofler Selection Committee. "Students comment regularly that he encourages their participation and values the diversity of their perspectives. His patient and gentle questioning style allows students to dig deeper, to think more carefully and to arrive at conclusions and ideas that may not have been their first responses."
He was also lauded for mentoring his students, tracking their academic progress and understanding their career goals, while also regularly assessing the college's criminal justice program to make sure the curriculum is rigorous and current.
Senior criminal justice major Joshua Leisemann has Lemke as a teacher, academic advisor and project advisor.
"He is tireless, helpful and caring with every single student; his dedication to improving a student's education is evident in his teaching and his assignments," Leisemann said. "He is always there to offer advice and solutions, to help a student with a paper/project and to show students their full potential."
Prior to coming to Lakeland, Lemke was an assistant professor at the University of West Georgia, where he was undergraduate program co-coordinator. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Marian University, the University of Cincinnati and Castleton State College. He has worked in the industry, serving as a case worker for the Rutland County Court Diversion in Vermont and for the Center for Addiction and Behavioral Health Research.
The winner of several grants and awards, Lemke has authored and presented numerous articles and papers. His areas of specialization include criminological theory testing, explanations of violence, community and institutional corrections (adult and juvenile), research methods and statistics and program assessment.
He earned his Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati, his master's degree in forensic psychology from Castleton State College and his bachelor's in psychology from the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin.
The Underkofler Award is presented through the Alliant Energy Foundation and the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges, Inc. The Underkofler Endowment Fund was created in honor of past Wisconsin Power & Light president and chairman James R. Underkofler to recognize his 48 years of service to the utility industry.
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