As a professor in the English department at UW-Stout, Rickie-Ann Legleitner derives great satisfaction from working closely with students and helping them grow as young professionals and individuals.
In her seven years on campus, she also has stepped forward in multiple ways beyond the classroom to become a leader in helping support and create a university culture that values diversity and strives for equity and inclusion.
On Friday, Feb. 10, Legleitner will be honored in Madison for her myriad efforts when she receives a UW System Diversity Award, to be presented at the Board of Regents meeting.
“I strive to make education inclusive and accessible for all students, and I aim to create an inclusive work and community environment that is sustainable, accountable and collaborative — a space where all faculty, staff and students can bring their full selves and thrive,” Legleitner said.
The 15th annual awards recognize individuals and programs that foster access and success for students who are members of historically underrepresented populations. Each recipient is awarded $7,500 to support professional development or continue the program being honored.
“It is an understatement to emphasize how fortunate UW-Stout is to have Dr. Legleitner as a member of both the faculty and administrative team,” Chancellor Katherine Frank said. “She is a passionate, courageous, dedicated and authentic professional who impacts students, colleagues and university partners on a daily basis.”
Legleitner is associate professor of English; interim director of the Equity Diversity and Inclusion office; adviser for women’s, gender and sexuality studies minor; and a coordinator for the Inclusive Excellence Action Plan. Learn more via the FOCUS2030 strategic plan.
She helped create the EDI team with representatives from campus governance groups, revised the WGSS minor to make it more inclusive, is a leader in the UW System WGS Consortium and has worked with the UW-Stout Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation to expand work on initiatives around freedom of expression.
In addition, Legleitner worked to expand EDI professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, and she serves on a university mental health committee.
She received a Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2021 on behalf of LGBTQ+ People and a UW-Stout Outstanding Teaching Award in 2020-21.
Growing up in Flint, Mich., Legleitner earned her bachelor’s degree at Aquinas College, her master’s degree from DePaul University and her doctorate from the University of South Dakota, all in English.
“It is really rewarding work helping people figure out who they are,” Legleitner said, noting college is often a time when many students are first meeting others from diverse backgrounds. “It’s vital to help students become more well-rounded as people and learn to thrive in diverse workplaces.”
Also being recognized with the System’s Diversity Award are the Upward Bound program at UW-River Falls and Lori Kido Lopez, UW-Madison professor of media and cultural studies and director of the Asian American Studies Program. Learn more here.
“We are proud to recognize these people and programs for their profound impact in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Regent Héctor Colón, who chaired the special Regents’ committee to determine the recipients. “Students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds are benefiting from their dedication to building partnerships and expanding opportunity.”
The recipients were cited for their:
- Sustainable positive impact on equity and diversity, leading to positive institutional change
- Accountability demonstrated through routine assessment and feedback to promote forward movement on equity and diversity goals
- Intersections across multiple dimensions of diversity
- Collaborations with other units, departments or communities – within the university and beyond.
Legleitner is the third UW-Stout faculty or staff member to receive a UW System award in the past 10 months. Professor Laura McCullough received the Teaching Excellence award, and Jo Johnson, Human Resources, received the University Staff Excellence honor.