Debby Hannon O’Connell Award for Exemplary Service: Aaron Raasch
Please join the school in congratulating Aaron Raasch on winning the Debby Hannon O’Connell Award for Exemplary Service for 2021. Aaron is an Administrative Assistant III at the school.
Aaron is an outstanding staff member in the school with a calm and caring personality that is helpful and knowledgeable. One of Aaron’s greatest strengths in his position is that he is committed to doing a good job. This is demonstrated in many ways, such as through his excellent attention to detail and timeliness in planning graduation for the full-time program; his implementation of the student course evaluations and feedback protocols (and their changes as we had to go online); his work on figuring out the details of implementing the Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice Conference; and his oversight of events that he is responsible for or steps in to support. In addition, he is a most excellent supervisor of the students in the mailroom — choosing excellent students, training them well, and supporting them. Aaron is always available to answer a question, assist with printing office work, room scheduling, and technology needs. Aaron handles his tasks with a smile on his face and he is a joy to work with.
Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work Academic Staff Excellence Award: Connie Koebke
Please join the school in congratulating Connie Koebke on winning the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work Academic Staff Excellence Award! Connie is a Foundation Trainer and Development Manager at the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System (WCWPDS) within the school.
Connie is a graduate of our MSSW program, has supervised our students, and has taught for the school. She exemplifies the mission of the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work in numerous ways, including her strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. After being trained herself, Connie provided in an in-service training to the entire WCWPDS staff on cultural humility. She also led a session specifically for trainers to help them explore increasing the use of a culturally humble approach in training and in curriculum development. Connie also arranged for the WCWPDS staff to receive training from a Tribal Liaison in the Department of Public Instruction about Wisconsin tribes. She then arranged for a conversation and training with leading Tribal representatives within the Division of Children and Families and the WCWPDS Intertribal Child Welfare Specialist, to help trainers better support Indian families and the principles of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Supporting the learning of new child welfare professionals is also part of Connie’s position, including fostering their growth in culturally humble practice and the importance of advocacy. She has added cultural humility into the new worker pre-service training modules. She also directly trains new child welfare staff throughout the state on topics that broaden new child welfare staff’s understanding of cultural humility, help them contemplate their own biases and privilege, and explore ways to reduce power imbalances. Connie is a member of the Cultural Humility Council, comprised of staff from both the Milwaukee and Madison branches of WCWPDS, and she has recently agreed to co-chair the council.