Core Workforce Skills: Are we teaching what employers need?

In 2014, local employers shared their perception of graduate and student competence in key workplace skills. A skills gap was uncovered as part of the survey. In response, faculty work groups created and tested a universal rubric that was implemented last fall. The results are in. 

Instructors volunteered to assess 646 students. The chart below lists the percentages of students who met the criteria, did not meet the criteria or were not assessed.

What did we learn?

The good news:

  • Our students are critical thinkers! About 85 percent of students in this study demonstrated this skill.
  • Greater than 60 percent of students showed evidence of reading, writing, self-management and ethics.
  • Students performed these skills in a variety of ways.

The work ahead

When analyzing the original gap and student scores, it was found that more than 40 percent of students were not assessed in three of the skills. How can these skills be better infused into everyday learning?

Future faculty invitation

This initial study had multiple goals: assessing skills, testing the reliability of the rubric and capturing participant feedback on the process. Future studies need broader faculty representation so the process can be refined and repeated. 

Stay tuned for an invitation to be part of the fall 2016 round of assessment. This project is led by Madison College’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Project history and supporting documents are available.

Questions? Contact Robin Nickel for more information at (608) 246-6413.


Published February 24, 2016. Updated April 6, 2016.

Spring campus visit schedule: Priority Issues Update


I hope the semester is off to a great start for each of you and our students. This spring, members of the Cabinet will once again be traveling to all campuses throughout the College District to provide the Priority Issues Update for the semester. This semester’s update will cover the FY17 budget, unit planning for FY18, the Higher Learning Commission’s March site visit, the advancement of a diversity strategic plan, and an update on the Metro campuses.

In a change from past practice, Cabinet members have created video segments of various components of the Priority Issues Update that may be viewed in advance of the Cabinet visit to your campus. The goal of this change is to provide members of the College community the opportunity to come prepared with questions or comments that you may have and would like to share with the Cabinet on these topics.

The campus visit will still include a brief presentation on the various priority issues, in case colleagues have not had the opportunity to watch each of the various videos. The presentation will then move into a discussion of these issues with the Cabinet members. The video segments have been uploaded to our intranet; please follow this link to watch them.

The schedule for the spring Priority Issue Updates campus visits are below. Please note the date change for the Portage visit as well as a room has been identified for Commercial Ave. 

  • North:
    • Portage – Tuesday, March 1 • 9:30 -10:30 a.m. • Room 128
    • Reedsburg – Monday, Feb. 29 • 1 – 2 p.m. • Room 111
  • East:
    • Watertown – Tuesday, Feb. 23 • 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. • Room 142/144
    • Fort Atkinson – Thursday, Feb. 25 • 4:45 – 5:45 p.m. • Room 157
  • Metro: 
    • DTEC –  Thursday, March 3 • Noon to 1 p.m. • Room D240
    • South –  Tuesday, March 1 • 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. • Room 108
    • Commercial Ave – Thursday, March 3 • 1 – 2 p.m. • Room 108B
  • Truax:  
    • Tuesday, March 1 • 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. • Room B3243
    • Wednesday, March 2 • Noon – 1 p.m. • Room AB 122/130

We look forward to seeing each of you later this spring.

Jack E. Daniels, III, Ph.D.

Published February 22, 2016. Updated March 4, 2016.

Construction update: Roof installation and wall framing

What's new?

The new loading dock and mailroom area will be completed next month as the construction workers finish painting and flooring. The new Culinary addition’s roof is being installed as MEPF rough-ins continue to be installed. Steel stud wall framing will begin at the east end of the Culinary addition as well. There are many moving parts and pieces but the construction is coming together nicely.

The past weeks

  • Roofing of the new addition is in full swing.
  • Slab-on-grade has been poured for the remodeled north bathrooms.
  • Drywall and taping was completed in the shipping and receiving area.
  • Plumbing, mechanical and electrical rough-ins have started in the Skills Lab and Advanced Lab.

Coming up

  • The last of the new slab-on-grade pours for the new addition will be completed.
  • Structural steel will wrap up at the canopy and Administration building entrance of the new addition.
  • Stud wall framing will start at the east end of the new building addition.
  • Painting and flooring will be completed in the shipping and receiving area.

Did you know?

With the new mailroom nearing completion, the fun fact for this week focuses on how the mail is delivered. The US Postal Service moves mail using planes, trains, trucks, cars, boats, ferries, helicopters, subways, float planes, hovercraft, mules, bicycles and feet.

Questions? Contact Mark Premo, construction manager, at (608) 442-7341.

Published February 22, 2016. Updated March 7, 2016.

Student Satisfaction Inventory starts Feb. 22

On Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, Madison College will begin facilitating the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), a survey of all degree credit students. This anonymous survey is conducted every two years and completed by students online, outside of class time. The survey will take students approximately 15 - 20 minutes to complete.

Results from the survey, compiled and reported by an outside firm, provide important insights into areas of student satisfaction and provide key direction for initiatives related to retention, strategic planning, overall student services and more. Additionally, our results will be benchmarked against other two-year institutions nationwide. The college has made many improvements based on past SSIs.

All degree credit students will receive an email inviting them to participate. To encourage all eligible students to participate, a laptop station will be set up and staffed Feb. 22-24 at all Madison College campuses.

As an important member of the Madison College community, it is critical that faculty and staff help get the word out to students. To increase the response rate and hear from as many students as possible, faculty and staff are asked to:

  • Make announcements during class about the survey and its importance to making college improvements
  • Post an announcement and reminder on your Blackboard sites
  • Mention that those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win prizes like $500 Madison College Scholarship, a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, gift certificates and more. 

The survey will be open Monday, Feb. 22, through Saturday, March 12.

For more information please take a look at the the Student Satisfaction Inverntory (SSI): FAQ sheet. 

If you know of a student in need of accommodations to participate in the survey, contact Jennie May, in Institutional Research and Effectiveness, at (608) 243-4042.

Published February 8, 2016. Updated March 2, 2016.

Construction update: Close to wrapping up

What’s new?

The construction workers are getting close to wrapping up the new loading dock addition as interior walls are built; flooring and painting are close behind. As they finish the steel decking on the new Culinary Addition, the roofing of the new addition will be starting on the east end of the addition. The north bathrooms have been demolished and are ready for the new floor to be poured back in place. Stone and precast continue to wrap around the south elevation of the new addition as well.

The past weeks

  • The glazers have installed window frames and glass around the east and south elevations of the new addition
  • The roofer has completed the work on the new third floor mechanical room roof
  • The shipping and receiving area has been fireproofed and most MEP rough-ins are done

Coming up in the weeks ahead

  • The ironworkers will complete the structural steel and decking on the last area of the new addition
  • Slab-on-grade will be poured at the north bathrooms
  • Drywall, taping and paint will start in the shipping and receiving area
  • Stone and precast work will continue on the South Elevation.

Did you know? The existing site of the Truax Campus sits on land that was formerly part of the Truax Air Force base, originally called Madison Army Airfield. This base was first activated in June of 1942 during World War II.

Questions? Contact Mark Premo, construction manager, at (608) 442-7341.


Published February 8, 2016. Updated February 24, 2016.

Woodhouse named Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Center

A letter to all faculty, staff and administrators from Judith Castro-Romaker on behalf of Jack Daniels III.

Over the course of the past year, the leadership team of Dr. Turina Bakken, Bryan Woodhouse, Erin Kohl, Jill Huizenga and Teresa Werhane established the Madison College Entrepreneurship Center. Efforts have focused on exploring and promoting partnerships and connections among a variety of entrepreneur-focused organizations and agencies within our District, looking to leverage our strengths and maximize our value in this critical arena of student opportunity and economic development. These partnerships are congruent with the mission of the Entrepreneurship Center, which is to strengthen communities through entrepreneurial education, innovation and collaboration. 

To expand this work from the margins to the mainstream, an initial plan was presented that included leadership and resource commitments. To continue progress toward realizing the mission of this Center and firmly establish Madison College’s value and role at the center of the entrepreneurial community, Bryan Woodhouse has been named Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Center effective Monday, Feb. 1.  This title is concurrent to his role as Dean of Business and Applied Arts. 

Bryan’s extensive experience in building bridges with the entrepreneurship community, aligning opportunities across Madison College, negotiating leased space and managing building projects, and his success as an entrepreneur make him a natural fit for this endeavor.

Related to this appointment, which runs through Thursday, June 30, is the design of a pilot aimed at the possible restructuring of related positions within the School of Business and Applied Arts to leverage talent, maximize resources, provide the most support for faculty, and ensure the most relevant and innovative programming. This work will also include a recommendation of the future state of an Entrepreneurship Center including a business model, leadership structure and budget.

In the entrepreneurial space, the time is now to formally commit talent and resources to strengthening partnerships and capitalizing on current activities around the District for the good of our students, stakeholders and communities.

Please join me in congratulating Bryan and in thanking the team that brought us to this point.


Published February 1, 2016.

Construction update: Moving along

What’s new?

Construction is moving fast. The crews are getting close to wrapping up the new loading dock addition as fireproofing and interior walls are built! Just to the south of the loading dock, the crews have been busy demolishing the existing bathrooms. Stone veneer and precast panels have started to be installed on the east elevation and will continue moving south.

The past weeks

  • The shipping and receiving area’s roof is complete!
  • Fireproofing started in the loading dock addition this week.
  • Demolition continues to take place in the existing bathrooms.
  • Stone and precast panels were installed at the east elevation of the new addition near the Childcare Center.

Coming up in the weeks ahead

  • The MEPs will start to install hangers and piping in the shipping and receiving area.
  • Precast panels and stone will continue to be installed at the south elevation of the addition.
  • Roofing over the pool mechanical room and new addition will start.
  • Aluminum window frames will continue to be installed with the first glass delivery only a few weeks out.

Did you know? Over 40 percent of the Field Personnel working on-site on the new Culinary Construction project have graduated from or taken classes at Madison College.

Questions? Contact Mark Premo, construction manager, at (608) 442-7341.

Published January 25, 2016. Updated February 12, 2016.

Important FERPA reminder for all employees

Please take a moment to review the information below. It is important that we understand our rights and responsibilities as employees of the college to ensure the privacy and safety of our students and their academic records. Any questions or concerns regarding compliance with FERPA may be directed to the Enrollment Center.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the confidentiality of students’ educational records.

Information that must be handled in a secure and confidential way includes:

  • Student information displayed on a computer screen
  • Student schedules
  • Class rosters
  • Class assignments
  • Grades, grade rosters, transcripts
  • Degree audits
  • Any printed material with the student’s identification or other personally identifiable information.

It is our policy at Madison College that staff do not release grades and/or test scores over the phone, because the caller’s identity cannot be verified. Discussions about specific students in public areas by college personnel should not occur.

The College may release “Directory Information.” Madison College has identified the following as directory information:

  • Student Name
  • Major Field of Study (Program)
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height for members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance (term start/end dates – not specific dates)
  • Enrollment Status (full or part-time)
  • Email address

If you receive a request to disclose student information, please contact the Enrollment Center. Students have the right to restrict the disclosure of any information and may do so by filing a Request to Withhold Student Information form (PDF, 787 KB) in person with photo ID at the Enrollment Center or any regional or metro campus office. If a student has made this request, they will be identified with a FERPA indicator on: class rosters via Faculty Center, Student Center via Advisor Center and Student Services Center. In Blackboard, the student will be listed as a Buckley Student.

All Madison College employees requesting access to student records and/or to the Student Administration System must undergo training prior to accessing student information. Along with the rights to access comes the responsibility to maintain the privacy rights of students. If you have not completed your online FERPA training, it is important that you do so by signing on to Blackboard, going to FERPA Training, and completing the tutorial and quiz (it will take about 15 minutes).

Questions? Contact Lori Sebranek, Registrar, at (608) 243-4185.

Published January 13, 2016. Updated March 20, 2018.

Construction update: Happy New Year!

What’s new?

The crews at the Truax campus have been working hard to complete as much work as possible as the weather starts to turn colder. The New Loading dock is enclosed and moving towards completion. The Culinary/Baking Arts addition continues to move forward as well with more block wall construction and additional pre-cast plank being installed. Work on remodeling the existing bathrooms on the first floor near the Facilities office also started over winter break.

The past weeks work

  • The new AHU (Air Handling Unit) for the Culinary/Baking Arts addition was installed through the existing third floor roof structure.
  • Exterior block walls have continued.
  • Additional precast plank has been set for the Culinary/Baking Arts addition between the administration building and the new addition.

Coming up in the weeks ahead

  • Demolition of the existing bathrooms near facilities on first floor.
  • Roofing will be completing on the Loading Dock addition.
  • Demolition of the existing escalators.
  • Continue setting structural steel and roof deck at the culinary addition.
  • Exterior stone work at the Culinary/Baking Arts addition has started.
  • Exterior glazing is set to start in two weeks.

Questions? Contact Mark Premo, construction manager, at (608) 442-7341.

Published January 7, 2016. Updated January 25, 2016.

Madison College to receive Dash Emergency Grant

Madison College will receive a $79,300 Dash Emergency Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. The 2016-2018 grant is part of a larger $1.5 million recently awarded to 31 community and technical colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 20 percent of full-time students at public two-year institutions earn a degree within three years. Students at technical colleges come from diverse backgrounds: they may be older, lower income, or maintaining a delicate balance between school, work and family.

Juggling multiple financial responsibilities and unforeseen expenses can threaten students' ability to stay in college. Great Lakes' pilot emergency grant program, run for a three-year period, increased the rates of grant recipient's graduation and continued enrollment.

The Dash program was designed to help prevent these students from dropping out of college when faced with unforeseen expenses, often less than $500. Small grants can help at-risk students overcome the economic barriers to their completed education.

"We know that when students run into a financial barrier, it stops them in their tracks," says Keith Cornille, Vice President of Student Development and Success. "By establishing these emergency funds, we can keep them on their path to success."

To be considered, students will need to apply for small grants directly from the college. When faced with an unexpected bill, such as a car repair or medical costs, expenses will be paid within 48 hours of the approved application.

Published January 6, 2016. Updated January 11, 2016.