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.

VP interviews available on video


The college is in the final steps of the hiring process for the Vice President of Student Services position. All students and employees are invited to attend the open forum sessions on Monday, Dec. 10, Tuesday, Dec. 11, and Wednesday, Dec. 12. This is an opportunity to meet the finalists, ask questions and provide input to Dr. Daniels related to the candidates for the position.

The 45-minute open forum sessions are scheduled to be held at Truax in D1630.

Please plan to attend one or all of the sessions and share your feedback. All of those attending will be provided with a sheet to complete on each candidate. 

Forums will be live-streamed and videotaped so those who are not able to attend will still be able to watch.

The session times are as follows:

Monday, Dec. 10
Candidate Dr. Charles Lopez: 2–2:45 p.m.
Dr. Chuck Lopez currently serves as the Provost’s Advisor for Student Success and Retention at Eastern Washington University (EWU). Previous positions within EWU have included Associate Dean at the University College and Provost for Undergraduate Studies & Student Success, all since 2013. During his service, Dr. Lopez increased the 4-year graduation rate from 22% to 25%, and the 6-year graduation rate from 45% to 52%. Collaboratively, he also reviewed and designed a proactive advisor contact model from a student’s first-year through graduation.   

Previously, from 1999 until 2013, Dr. Lopez served Stephen F. Austin University in various positions including Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Support Services, Director of Disability Student Services, Testing Services, and ADA Coordinator, and Coordinator of Student Employment. He has also served Tulane University as Director of Orientation and Leadership, and Utah State University as Director of Transitional Programs.

Dr. Lopez began his career at Stephen F. Austin State as Coordinator of Orientation and Testing, after earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, a Masters of Education in Mental Health Counseling, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Dr. Lopez has served as an instructor of management, psychology, counseling, statistics, and leadership at Utah State, Stephen F. Austin State, and Eastern Washington Universities.

Tuesday, Dec. 11
Candidate Dr. Jana Schwartz: 2–2:45 p.m.
Dr. Jana Schwartz currently serves as the founding Dean of Pathways and Student Success and Title III Program Director reporting directly to the President at Front Range Community College (FRCC) in Colorado. In this role, she participated in the development of this grant, and FRCC was awarded $2.5 million for their overall student success efforts. She provides leadership for all campuses and sites in the areas of student success, retention, and completion efforts. She also has served as Dean of Student Success at the Larimer Campus of FRCC. 

Previously, Dr. Schwartz was the Director of the Center for Human Enrichment at the University of Northern Carolina and as the Program Director for the Bradley Learning Community at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. She began her professional career as a Residence Hall Coordinator at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Dr. Schwartz earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from Central College, and her M.A. in Student Development in Postsecondary Education from the University of Iowa. She began her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed it at the University of Northern Colorado, where she earned her doctoral degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership.   

Candidate Dr. Howard Spearman: 10:15–11 a.m.
Dr. Howard Spearman currently serves as Vice President/Chief Student Services Officer in Student Services at Rock Valley College, a college within the Illinois Community College System. He has also served as Associate Vice President, Enrollment, Retention and Student Development/ Chief Student Services Officer, Dean of Advising and Retention, Director of Transfer Advising and Student Success, and Manager of Academic and Transfer Advising. Dr. Spearman provided leadership in the implementation of a $6 million Engineering Our Future Grant, and three TRIO grants totaling approximately $3.3 million.

Prior to his service to Rock Valley, Dr. Spearman was Senior Academic Advisor/Multicultural Student Coordinator for the Sheldon B. 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, where he then went on to be a Precollege Director and an Admissions Counselor/Multicultural Recruitment Coordinator.  

Dr. Spearman earned his Bachelor of Science in Human Services and his Master’s degree in College Counseling and Student Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  His earned Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service is from Cardinal Stritch University.

Wednesday, Dec. 12
Candidate Dr. Lori Berquam: 10:15–11 a.m.
Dr. Lori Berquam is currently an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, nominated by the Provost of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She provides leadership support in strategic directions for the office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Arizona. She is engaged in the innovative planning for the Student Success District to better align the environment with their commitment to better serve the needs of students. 

Prior to the ACE fellowship, Lori has served the University of Wisconsin Madison in numerous roles in student life including most recently as Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students and previously as Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students, and Assistant Dean of Students. 

Dr. Berquam has a B.S. in Mathematics and Psychology from Truman State University, an M.A. in College Student Personnel from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and her PhD. In Educational Leadership from Colorado State University.

Candidate Dr. Laura King: 2:15–3 p.m.
Dr. Laura King currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Saint Paul College in Minnesota. She is responsible for oversight of all student services related to enrollment, student success and engagement. Dr. King led the development and early adoption of a co-curricular student learning model for the division. She began her career at Saint Paul College as Dean of Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness. 

Prior to this she was the Institutional Research and Planning Analyst at Chippewa Valley Technical College where she co-chaired the Wisconsin Forward Baldrige Award.  Her former position was as Student Experience Coordinator at Century College, and previous to that she was the Student Life Program Coordinator at Normandale Community College.  

Dr. King earned her B.S in Music Performance and Biology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and her M.S.Ed. in College Student Development and Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  Her Ph.D. is from the University of Minnesota in Education Policy and Administration: Higher Education and Evaluation Studies.

Thank you for your assistance and support in this very important decision.

Tim Casper

Vice President, Institutional Learning & Effectiveness 

Published December 10, 2018. Updated December 14, 2018.

Campuses to close for winter shutdown Dec. 23-Jan. 1

All campuses and district buildings will be closed Sunday, Dec. 23–Tuesday, Jan. 1 for winter shutdown. Campuses will re-open on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

In the meantime, students may find helpful information at madisoncollege.edu. Access to registration, to-do list, payment and other resources are available online 24/7 to students in myMadisonCollege.

Published December 8, 2018. Updated January 2, 2019.

Combined Charitable Campaign online auction ends tomorrow, noon

This year’s online auction for the Combined Charitable Campaign is the largest yet. A vast assortment of 105 Items have been donated, so there is something for nearly anyone. Here are some examples of the tremendous items available:

  • There are two Buckys from Bucky on Parade, available for a one-year lease.
  • Two autographed footballs, one by the entire Packers team and the other by Barry Alvarez and Paul Chryst.
  • A delightful cat or dog lover’s basket.
  • Jewelry, apparel, care packages and student made items are on the list.
  • The auction has great items for families such as gift certificates for local restaurants, a mini-photo session and Pizza Hut pizza for a year.
  • For bookworms and art lovers, the auction offers fiction and nonfiction books, along with several charming paintings.

Bidding for items begins noon, Monday, Dec. 10 and ends noon, Tuesday, Dec. 18. Bidders can place proxy bids, to have their highest bids entered for items of interest. Also, don’t forget to submit the pledge forms by Wednesday, Dec. 19. The paper forms can be submitted to Chelsey Bowers at the Truax Campus.

Published December 7, 2018. Updated December 19, 2018.

Winter shutdown to alter payroll, time entry deadlines

DATE:              Dec. 6, 2018
TO:                  All Employees
FROM:            Mark Thomas, CFO/VP of Administrative Services
RE:                  Payroll/Time Entry for Winter Shutdown

Please pay close attention to the guidelines below. If time is not entered correctly by the deadlines identified, payment will not occur until the following pay cycle.

As with previous years, due to winter shutdown, payroll processes will begin early. The guidelines below will assist you in recording time:

1) Time entries for Nov. 25–Dec. 8, 2018 pay period (pay date of Dec. 21, 2018)

  • PSRP hourly, PT Faculty (Non-TAG), Casual, Student Help, and Work Study employees
    • Time entries must be entered and submitted by end of day Tuesday, Dec. 11.
  • Supervisors must approve time entries by end of day Wednesday, Dec. 12.

2) Time entries for Dec. 9-Dec. 22, 2018 pay period (pay date of Jan. 4, 2019)

  • PSRP hourly, PT Faculty (Non-TAG), Casual, Student Help, and Work Study employees
    • Time entries must be entered and submitted by end of day Wednesday, Dec. 19
    • Note: You will have to project your hours for Dec. 20-Dec. 22
  • Supervisors must approve time entries by noon on Friday, Dec. 21. 

3) Time entries for winter shutdown — Dec. 24, 2018-Jan. 1, 2019

  • PSRP Full-time Hourly Employees:
    • For each day you would have worked over the shutdown period:
      • Choose the Time Entry Code of “Holiday Pay
      • Enter the number of hours you would have worked (maximum of 8 hours)
    • If your schedule is such that you have ‘Leave without pay’ for more than two consecutive weeks before or after this period, no time should be entered. Neither will any time be paid during this period.
    • If required to work during the winter shutdown because you provide critical services*, enter those hours as “Hours Worked.” Workday will calculate your pay at the holiday rate.
    • Note: Per the approved college policy, winter shutdown does not include any observed holidays. The language in the policy related to nontraditional work week employees (Tuesday-Saturday or Sunday-Thursday) receiving a floating holiday when the holiday falls on the employee’s non-scheduled work day does not apply.
  • PSRP Part-time Employees:
    • Per the approved college policy, Part-Time PSRP can choose to use Paid Time Off (PTO) time, and record the PTO hours in order to be paid over the Winter Shutdown.
    • If required to work during the Winter Shutdown because you provide critical services*, enter those hours as “Hours Worked.” Workday will calculate your pay at the holiday rate. 
  • Part-Time Faculty, Casual, Student Help, and Work Study Employees:
    • Record hours only if required to work during the Winter Shutdown; enter hours as “Hours Worked.” Workday will calculate your pay at time and a half. 
  • Administrative, PSRP Band C Salaried, and Full-time Faculty (Exempt) Employees:
    • No time entries required during winter shutdown.


Examples of critical services include veterinary technology, public safety and designated positions in technology services and facilities.

If you have any questions, please call the Payroll Office at 608.246.6650.


Published December 7, 2018. Updated December 10, 2018.

Spring Convocation coming up Jan. 15-16

Spring 2019 Convocation events are scheduled for Jan. 15-16. The schedule is posted with updates to follow.    

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, the General Session for Spring Convocation will be held from 8:30-9:45 a.m. in the Mitby Theater. College Engagement Sessions will follow from 10 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Lunch on your own will follow at 12:30 p.m. School and department meetings will convene between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. with the College Community Celebration coming together from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the cafeteria mall.

Convocation activities on Wednesday, Jan. 16, will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the Learner Success Assembly in the Mitby Theater. Dr. Thomas Crawford, Life Sciences faculty member from Odessa Community College in Texas will be speaking about student engagement in the classroom. Additional College Engagement Sessions will be held from 10 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Lunch will be on your own at 12:30 p.m., and School and Department meetings will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Published December 7, 2018. Updated January 16, 2019.