Madison College shines as host to prestigious theater festival

Madison College became the first two-year college in history to host the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Jan. 8-13. Over 1,400 university students and theatre professionals hosted workshops, events and competitions across the Truax Campus. Over 75 workshops were held in theater including directing, playwriting, theater for young audiences, performance, design and advocacy. The creator of "Shakespeare Behind Bars" was here and screened the documentary about the project. 

So many from our Madison College community made this event possible and successful. Special thanks to faculty Miranda Hawk, Corey Helser and the entire events team, Rhoda and the Welcome Center team, Jason and the cafeteria team, the Student Senate, Public Safety team, Arts & Sciences leadership Todd Stebbins and Brian Short, and all the many student, faculty and staff volunteers. This was an outstanding way to showcase our college, and our college spirit. We are set to host the event again in 2020.

One direct testimonial shared with Miranda, “I've attended this festival for years and I've never been so impressed with the host school. Such beautiful facilities. And everyone here is so helpful."

Thanks to all for making Madison College shine so brightly.

— Dr. Turina Bakken, Provost

Published January 25, 2019.

January 2019 Convocation sessions available via video

The following sessions have been video recorded and a link is included for each recording:

  • 2019 January Convocation Opening session. (1:39:52)
  • The Convocation Breakout session: Classroom Practices - Better Blackboard, Better Gradebooks and Better Syllabi for Better Outcomes.
  • The 2019 January Convocation session: Learner success, Wednesday, Jan. 16.
  • The Convocation session: Classroom Practices - Designing a Course Feedback Survey with Survey Monkey, Wednesday, Jan. 16.
  • The Convocation session: FY 19-20 Budget – Wednesday, Jan. 16.
  • The Convocation Active Listening session – Wednesday, Jan. 16.



Published January 16, 2019.

College celebrates completion of rooftop solar installation

Faculty, staff, administrators and officials including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes celebrated the completion of Wisconsin's largest rooftop solar installation Wednesday, Jan. 16. 

The solar installation was a collaborative effort with Madison Gas and Electric Company and will provide a hands-on laboratory for students in renewable energy and related programs. The solar array will also save taxpayers $300,000 per year in energy costs.

Barnes read a gubernatorial proclomation that stated Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 is now Madison College Solar Energy Day. The news conference concluded with a ribbon cutting and poster presentations by students who are earning Renewable Energy Certificates. 

Published January 16, 2019.

New Unit Planning Cycle begins Feb. 4

The Organizational Excellence team is excited to announce that the 2020/21 Unit Planning cycle will begin on Feb. 4, 2019. In addition to planning for 2020-21, this year we will be assessing progress made on goals identified in 2019/20 unit plans.

The Organizational Excellence team will be conducting training and drop-in sessions over the next few weeks. These training sessions are open to all unit planners and anyone else involved in the planning process. If you are new to unit planning, it is important that you attend one of the sessions listed below.

Training session (demo of the tool):

1. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 9–10 a.m. Room B3230
2. Thursday, Jan. 24, 1–2 p.m. Room B3230
3. Friday, Feb. 1, 9–10 a.m. Room B3230

Drop-in sessions (1:1 assistance):

1. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 10–11 a.m. Room B3230
2. Thursday, Feb. 28, 2–3 p.m. Room B3230
3. Monday, March 4, 2–3 p.m. Room B3230
4. Thursday, April 11, 1–2 p.m. Room B3230

For more information you can visit the Unit Plan SharePoint site, or contact Jennie May or Ali Zarrinnam with any questions.


Published January 14, 2019. Updated February 6, 2019.

Convocation feedback requested

Convocation is an event the college strives to develop and employee feedback is vital for that process. Employees are asked to complete the survey by 5 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 25. The survey closes at 5 p.m. Everyone’s feedback is appreciated.

Published January 14, 2019. Updated February 6, 2019.

Wisconsin Retirement System contribution rates decided

DATE:            January 11, 2019

TO:                 All Wisconsin Retirement System-contributing Employees

FROM:           Mark Thomas, Vice President of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer

SUBJECT:      WRS Contribution Rates for 2019


Happy New Year, I hope everyone had a great break and this finds you well rested and ready to go for a great 2019. It’s that time of year when the Employee Trust Funds Board sets the pension contribution rates for Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employees and employers, so we wanted to keep you informed.

The adjusted total contribution rate for 2019 is 13.1 percent, down from 13.4 percent in 2018.

As a reminder, the total contribution rate is split evenly between the employee and employer:

  • The 2018 contribution rate of 13.4 percent was split evenly at 6.7 percent.
  • Effective Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, the contribution rate of 13.1 percent will be split evenly at 6.55 percent.

Payroll Deduction:

  • Employees paid on a bi-weekly basis will have noticed this adjustment on their Friday, Jan. 4, paycheck.
  • Employees paid on a semi-monthly basis will notice this adjustment on their Tuesday, Jan. 15, paycheck.

The change will likely result in only a few dollars difference in your take home pay; after all, the percentage adjustment to the employee contribution is only 15/100 of a percent. However, if you do have any questions about how this will impact your compensation, please reach out to our Payroll Office at 608.246.6650.

In addition, if you have any questions about how the rate was determined, you can contact the Department of Employee Trust Funds at 1.877.533.5020 or http://etf.wi.gov.


Mark Thomas

Vice President of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer


Published January 11, 2019.

College welcomes new vice president of Student Affairs

DATE:  January 7, 2019

TO: All Madison College Employees and Students

FROM: Jack E. Daniels, III, President

RE: Vice President of Student Affairs

I am pleased to announce that the next vice president of Student Affairs at Madison College will be Dr. Howard Spearman effective Tuesday, Jan. 22. We are fortunate to gain an experienced executive with 20 years of higher education experience and understanding. If you were unable to meet him during his on-campus visit in December, I would like to share several highlights about him. 

Dr. Spearman comes to us from Rock Valley College, a community college in Rockford, Illinois where he currently serves as vice president-Student Services/Chief Student Services Officer. Dr. Spearman’s successes include leadership in the implementation of a $6 million “Engineering Our Future” grant and three TRIO grants totaling nearly $3.3 million.

While at Rock Valley College, he held successively more senior administrative positions for areas of enrollment, advising and retention, and student development before becoming vice president in 2015.

Prior to Rock Valley College, Dr. Spearman served as senior academic advisor/multicultural student coordinator for the Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as interim program director, TRIO and precollege programs. He began his career in student services at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh as a multicultural advisor/counselor and later served as precollege director and an admissions counselor/multicultural recruitment coordinator. 

Dr. Spearman earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. His Ph.D. is in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service earned from Cardinal Stritch University.

I also would like to thank our search committee members for their dedicated efforts in the process of identifying a new vice president.


Published January 9, 2019. Updated January 14, 2019.

January Convocation schedule deadlines, details announced

The January Convocation schedule is now available online. All Convocation schedule details must be submitted by no later than Wednesday, Jan. 9, at noon. No changes will be made to the program after this deadline.

Staff and faculty are asked to please use the Convocation App on their smart device to see a detailed and complete Convocation schedule.

Step-by-step instructions are listed below.

Step 1: Download Yapp

Visit the app store on your device and search for Yapp. It is free to download. Yapp is required to load the Convocation app.

Step 2: Install the app

Install the Convocation app on your smart device.

The Convocation app will then be installed inside Yapp.

Step 3: Stay connected through the Yapp App

Schedules, session descriptions, room changes, photos, videos and more will be posted before and during the event.

Need more help? Check out the Yapp demonstration video.

For Convocation schedule submissions or inquiries contact: Chelsey Bowers

For all other Convocation inquiries, contact: Kim Brudny


Published January 7, 2019. Updated January 11, 2019.

College Assembly hears regional report data, textbook rental plan

Regional campus report

Associate Vice President of Regional Campuses Jim Falco shone a spotlight on our regional campuses. Interesting data points of his report included:

  • 12 percent of the college headcount are regional campus students
  • 46 percent of regional students are in associate degree programs
  • 34 percent are in liberal arts
  • 88 to 90 percent attend regional campuses part time
  • The total regional headcount was 4,992, with a median age of 21.5
  • 95 percent of the students are white, but the minority numbers are growing

Tactical strategies for increasing regional enrollments include expansion of business and industry services, offering credit and noncredit programming, providing apprenticeship opportunities and workforce development academies, working with incarcerated students and creating more Middle College and internship opportunities.

Falco went on to share challenges and opportunities within the 2018 Academic Plan through the lens of the regionals.

He also shared big picture strategies that could bridge the gap, including:

  • Align the Academic Plan with regional campus realities
  • Build a unified regional campus vision
  • Foster more business partnerships and expand campus services
  • Make each campus a local destination
  • Work with Business and Industry training and the Entrepreneurship Center to increase service offerings
  • Improve class section offerings to help working persons complete more classes locally

Textbook rental update

Ben Monty shared a brief update on the textbook rental plan on behalf of the Textbook Affordability Committee.

Degree credit students will pay up to $7 per credit. Students will have the option to waive the rental fee, but the hows and whys are still under discussion.

The committee is still considering how departments will plan for rental.

Council updates

The IT Council shared that they will soon finish their asset/software management policy. The council will then tackle a three-year strategic plan, policies related to security and  administrative rights.

The Assembly thumbed the council’s plans.

The Institutional Effectiveness Council reported they are examining how to make the college an “evidence-based culture.”

Discussion took place about what that means and how fostering this idea will help the council dive deeper into the college’s organizational structure.

Course assignment

Some Assembly members would like the Assembly to handle the course assignment policy as an issue.

The Assembly co-chairs requested that documents related to the policy be sent to the Assembly for further review. They also suggested that everyone review Dr. Daniels’ comments about the issue within the Workload Policy.

The topic will revisited in January.

Next meeting

The College Assembly will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 23 from 2-4 p.m.

Published December 21, 2018. Updated January 4, 2019.

Preliminary results of communication survey released

In the most recent PACE survey, “communication” was identified as an area of needed improvement. To learn more, the Communication Assessment was released. There was a 43 percent response rate for the assessment, which is 755 responses out of 1,776 invitations.Below is a high-level view of what the analysis team, which consists of Tom Heaney, Cary Heyer, Jennie May, Kristin Polywacz and Ali Zarrinnam, are learning.

For college-wide, internal communication, the top three topics employees feel very informed, somewhat informed, or uninformed about are as follows:

  • Very informed: emergency alerts at 82 percent, employee benefits at 60 percent and Technology Services responses to Help Desk or project requests was 50 percent.
  • Somewhat informed: strategic initiatives was 45 percent, shared governance loop-outs about current work at 43 percent and newly created policies from shared governance was 42 percent.
  • Not informed: impact teams was 61 percent, innovation fund projects at 59 percent and process improvement projects was 54 percent.
  • 44 percent of respondents indicated they are “rarely” or “not at all” asked to give feedback on initiatives, systems or projects that affect them.

The methods of communication employees find most effective from the options provided:

  • The order varied depending on the topic, but the top four most effective methods out of the options provided are:
    • Emails from executives
    • Direct information from a supervisor
    • Madison College Matters
    • Convocation

      The two exceptions were text and phone messages, which are most effective for emergency alerts and emails from Technology Services are most effective for Help Desk and project requests.

Feedback on Madison College Matters:

  • 71 percent of respondents read Matters regularly (twice a week or more), 26 percent sometimes, 3 percent never.
  • “Reduce repetition of information” was rated the number one priority. “Aesthetics and formatting,” “improved reliability of information” and “navigation/search” were closely clustered secondary priorities.

The next steps are to conduct interviews and focus groups with employees who volunteered, share the findings in more detail, develop a collaborative action plan and continue sharing the progress.

More detailed results will be provided soon, through Matters.


Published December 17, 2018.