Sarah Pfatteicher and Xiao-Lin Wu win UW academic staff excellence awards

Sarah Phatteicher and Xiao-Lin Wu were among eight from campus to receive of 2012 UW-Madison academic staff awards. Pfatteicher, interim associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Undergraduate Program, received the WAA Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Leadership. Wu, computational geneticist and associate researcher, Department of Dairy Science, earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research: Critical Research Support.

Here are their profiles from last week’s award announcement:

In a short time, Sarah Pfatteicher has gained a strong reputation as a creative, natural leader. When it came time for the CALS curriculum to have its first overhaul in 25 years, Pfatteicher was tabbed to lead the project. The new structure streamlines the coursework from 74 curricular paths to 23 and makes academic standards more clear, all while still giving students flexibility to achieve their educational goals, say Robert O. Ray, professor emeritus of forest and wildlife ecology, and Daniel M. Schaefer, chair of the Department of Animal Science.

Pfatteicher has completed a body of scholarly work while serving in leadership roles, and in addition to her work at CALS, she has been an important contributor to university projects as varied as reaccreditation and emergency response planning.

“Sarah is a person who goes above and beyond the call to consistently find the best solution to issues involving undergrads at this university and is essential to our core mission in education,” says Nick Balster, associate professor of soil science.


Xiao-Lin Wu came to the university as post-doctoral associate in 2005, is key to making the UW-Madison dairy animal genetics group highly productive. In addition to carrying out his own research, Wu provides computational and statistical support to more than 60 graduate students, post-doctoral students and visiting scientists, and offers technical assistance to more than a dozen faculty members in a range of departments.

Wu is known among his colleagues for being conscientious, bringing a strong work ethic and not being afraid to take on new problems. When George Shook, professor emeritus of dairy science, asked for help with a genetics study, Wu responded not only with a straightforward data analysis, but data analyzed by three methods. He followed up with a draft manuscript, Shook says.

“We cannot overstate Dr. Wu’s contributions to the UW Department of Dairy Science, because our programs would not be as successful and productive without his excellent support,” says Daniel Gianola, Sewall Wright Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics.