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UW-La Crosse assistant professor earns national award

LACROSSE, Wi. (WXOW)-  A UW-La Crosse Political Science and Public Administration Department assistant professor is making the grade in her classroom and beyond.

Assistant professor Shilpa Viswanath, has been named a 2020 Section for Women in Public Administration Rising Star. Viswanath, joined the department last fall.

The national award Viswanath, won, in its inaugural year, is presented to an individual in less than five years of their academic or professional public service. It recognizes those who have demonstrated outstanding potential, growth, and commitment to advancing public administration and public service. Viswanath was scheduled to receive the award at the American Society for Public Administration national conference in April, but the official presentation has been postponed due to COVID-19.

Viswanath, originally from India, has wanted to teach for a long time. She even remarked in a News Release from the university, "This exposure left me with a lasting impression of what I wanted to do with my life and for a livelihood,” Viswanath, explains. “In academia, my primary identity remains that of a teacher. My research, my writing, my professional presence, all feed into my teaching.”

In addition, she remarked in her classroom she is allowed to, "...channelize my experiences of being an immigrant, an international scholar and a faculty woman of color to influence my instruction in the classroom.” She also enjoys, "To come in contact repeatedly with the rigidity of my student’s opinions at the beginning of the semester and, as the weeks progress, to watch their minds uncoil and develop newly found ideological tolerance to contrasting perspectives is enjoyable.” 

Viswanath has really grown in her department for only being at UWL since fall. In fact, Regina Goodnow, associate professor and chair of the UWL Political Science and Public Administration Department, says, “She went the extra mile in reconceptualizing one of our general education courses on women and politics to better reflect broader issues in gender, politics, and policy,” explains Goodnow. “She is also teaching a brand-new social welfare policy course this spring. Her students have responded super well to her attention to critical reflection on important debates in public administration.”

Chip O'Brien

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