Media Watch

Haiti Relief Fund

The devastating earthquake in Haiti has many of us looking for ways to help. Madison College has set-up a donation drop-off box in the Truax Student Life office (3550 Anderson Street--Room 140) to help collect money for the America Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

If you're writing a check, please address it to:
-American Red Cross, Badger Chapter
-In the memo area please write "Haiti Relief"
-Your donations are tax deductible (please make a copy of your check)

Here are links to organizations helping earthquake victims in Haiti: 

-American Red Cross
 Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 (billed to your phone).

-The United Nations World Food Program

-The Salvation Army 

-Action Against Hunger 

-Project HOPE  

-Partners in Health  

Madison College thanks you for your help!

Published January 25, 2010.

State Cooking Competition Winners!

If you like TV cooking competitions such as “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef” you really would have loved the recent state cooking competition at Madison Area Technical College's Truax campus.

Madison College culinary students squared-off with Milwaukee Area Technical College students to see who could cook the best four-course meal. Madison College won the competition and is moving on to the regional competition in Indianapolis!

The event was featured on Channel 3 and Channel 15 news.

Are you interested in an exciting Culinary Arts career?
Call 800-322-6282, ext. 6003 or (608) 246-6003 to learn how you too can be a top chef. 

Published January 24, 2010.

How Long Before Our Economy Recovers?

Madison Area Technical College recently hosted a Banking and Economic Forum at the West Campus.

The forum focused on factors influencing our national, state and local economies.

Mike Ivey from the Capital Times covered the forum and updates us on what the experts are saying.


Published January 20, 2010.

Should Nurses Be Required to Have a BSN?

Suggestion that all nursing employees have BSNs prompts reaction among educators, professionals
By Meghan Wons
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wisconsin Public Radio/Web

All prospective workers wanting to go into the nursing field should have a bachelor's degree, recommends a new study. That suggestion is causing mixed reactions.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released the study, which recommends a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) be the standard for nursing professionals.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing applauds the recommendation, saying advanced education is in the best interest of patients.

Kay Grotelueschen is co-director of Madison Area Technical College’s Associate Nursing Program. She says their nursing graduates are well prepared to provide patient care and often do go on for advanced degrees, after earning their Associate Degree in Nursing. She says no matter the education level, nurses have the same licensing exam and must all meet minimum standards.

Grotelueschen says requiring a Bachelor degree might prevent some people from pursuing nursing at all, which could add to a looming shortage of health care workers.

Grotelueschen says she has seen a trend of more nursing students pursuing advanced degrees. In 2008, 24-percent of MATC’s nursing graduates were pursuing a BSN, up from 19-percent in 2006.

Published January 15, 2010.

Madison College Hosts Madfest Juggling Festival

Performers at Madfest Juggling Festival appreciate the gravity of the situation

By ROB THOMAS | The Capital Times | | Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 5:00 am | No Comments Posted

What does it take to become a juggler? Do you have to be especially coordinated, or particularly quick-witted?

That helps, of course. But Katherine Girdaukas, coordinator of this year’s Madfest Juggling Festival, said the main ingredient for success is desire, the willingness to pick up that ball or club that just bounced off the floor and try again.

“All it is is taking time to practice,” Girdaukas said. “Like any skill, there’s going to be people who can pick it up faster, but that’s to be expected. If you have that desire, you’ll be able to push through the hard times of dropping a lot, and get to the good times of seeing a pattern starting to come together. Those are the really magical times when you’re juggling.”

This weekend, audiences can see some of the best jugglers in the country do amazing things with balls, clubs, rings — even a bowler hat and umbrella. But the hallmark of the 47th Annual Madfest Juggling Festival (by the way, the name is an inside joke — the festival has been called the “47th Annual” every year since it started in 1991) is an eagerness for jugglers to share and teach their tricks to fellow jugglers and to anybody who’s interested in learning.

Juggler Steven Ragatz, who has performed with Cirque du Soleil and will be a guest performer at this year’s festival, said the juggling community is very different from something like the magic community, where magicians zealously guard their tricks from other magicians. For juggling, there really are no secrets to how tricks are done.

“It’s not proprietary,” he said. “You’re not evaluated or judged strictly on originality. Originality is encouraged and supported, however the fact ... that you can just sit back and appreciate the technique means that there’s no need for trade secrets. Plus, (jugglers) tend to be a bunch of hippies who like sharing things anyway.”

The festival is basically divided into two parts. The centerpiece is the MadFest Juggling Extravaganza, an all-star showcase of local and national juggling talent that often sells out. This year’s Extravaganza takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Wisconsin Union Theater, 800 Langdon St. It features Ragatz and the comedy-juggling duo known as Smirk, along with local performers like the Mad Five and Girdaukas’ group, Mobile ZOC, who are all part of Madison Area Jugglers, the sponsors of the event.

But the rest of the festival, which runs Friday through Sunday in the Redsten Gymnasium at Madison Area Technical College’s Truax Campus, is basically a free event for jugglers of all skill levels. Visitors will see all kinds of jugglers getting together to perform and to share ideas.

In fact, Girdaukas said, anyone who comes can basically get their own “juggling counselor,” and get one-on-one lessons on how to juggle three balls in the air.

“One of our goals has been to keep the convention free,” she said. “Juggling is very much for the community. It’s something that you don’t need to be a millionaire to do. If you’ve got three oranges, you can start learning how to juggle.”

Girdaukas said she used to be the most uncoordinated person she knew, so she is a testament to the theory that anyone can learn to juggle if they have the desire.

Mobile ZOC is planning a daring juggling stunt for the Saturday night concert: Four members of the club will pass clubs back and forth while riding two-wheeled skateboards called RipSticks.

“As far as we know, this has never been done before,” she said. “But that’s really hard to say in juggling, because there’s so many people out there and so much creativity.”

Ragatz, who lives in Indiana, is one of those envelope-pushing jugglers. He toured with the famed Cirque du Soleil for a decade, but his act stands in stark contrast to the wild costumes and props that that troupe is known for.

Instead, Ragatz appears on stage in a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase and umbrella as if he’s on his way to an office job. But those objects and other mundane ones are transformed as he both juggles and performs “contact juggling,” in which the objects roll across his arms and shoulders, seemingly of their own volition.

Ragatz said he was inspired by a college class he took on surrealism, and particularly the work of French artist Rene Magritte, whose paintings use mundane images (including the iconic image of a man in a bowler hat and suit) in unusual ways.

“It was an art form and philosophy that I connected with,” Ragatz said. “I liked that, taking real objects and transforming them and really kind of celebrating that subconscious transformation. To me it provided a good angle, because I wanted to use ... found objects, objects that people relate to in their lives — a hat, an umbrella, a briefcase — as opposed to made-up objects, like a shiny juggling club that nobody really has.”

Ragatz has been to the MadFest festival before and is looking forward to coming back, saying that even within the juggling world it’s considered a very special event.

“It really is a one-of-a-kind sort of thing that they have the people who will organize a festival big enough and elaborate enough to draw the kind of talent they need to put on such a show,” he said. “And they do it every year, and they do it in January in Madison, Wisconsin!”

Different juggling communities are known for different skills, and Madison is known nationally as a haven for great club passing. Girdaukas said she’s not sure why, but a lot of talented club passers ended up living in Madison and have handed down their techniques.

In a way, group club passing serves as a metaphor for the collegial nature of the juggling community, where everybody passes on tips and tricks to everybody else.

“Everyone’s needed in these patterns,” Girdaukas said. “Everyone has value, so it’s of value to the community to help each other out, so the group as a whole can (master) harder and better and cooler patterns. It’s all about teamwork, about knowing each others’ boundaries and also pushing those boundaries.”

Girdaukas said she’s found that the lessons she’s learned while learning to juggle — don’t give up, and always keep trying new and harder things — have spilled over into the rest of her life as well.

“You also have to push yourself and try something that you’re almost sure you’re going to fail at,” she said. “Being fearless towards failure is the key. That’s something that juggling has redefined for me. Immediate failure is no longer daunting for me.”


(Free convention)

When: Friday, Jan. 15 to Sunday, Jan. 17

Where: Redsten Gymnasium, Madison Area Technical College Truax Campus, 3330 Anderson St.

Hours: 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Admission: Free

For more information:


(Ticketed show)

When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m.

Where: Wisconsin Union Theater, 800 Langdon St.

Admission: $10 in advance through 265-2787 or, or $13 at the door

Published January 15, 2010.

Soup Clubs Feed the Need to Try New Recipes

Soup clubs feed the need to try new recipes

Posted: Jan. 12, 2010
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Nancy Stohs

January is National Soup Month, but at Templeton Middle School in Sussex, every week is soup week.

Each Thursday throughout the school year, four to six members of the Soup Club haul in slow cookers full of homemade soup, plus assorted breads and desserts. The potluck lunch, set up in a room off the media center, is open to the 25 or so fellow club members, who rotate as soup cooks.

Sometimes the soups follow a theme - Mexican, fall and "around the world" are past themes - and members coordinate by e-mail to avoid duplication and ensure that each offering includes a vegetarian soup, a chicken soup, a beef soup and a non-dairy option, said Anita Paque, library media specialist at the school. Cooks are told to make enough for each person to try one cup.

It's a great way to socialize with colleagues and try out new recipes, and it's a weekly break from having to pack a lunch, Paque said.

She talked it up so much that her sister, Tina Rettler, initiated a similar club when she worked at a Target distribution center in Oconomowoc. She took the tradition with her 2 1/2 years ago to Madison Area Technical College, where she teaches supervisory management and is the curriculum consultant in the school's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Soup Club there meets at least once a month, sometimes more, Rettler said. Two people bring soup, one person brings bread or another "go-along," and a fourth brings a miscellaneous item - a fruit plate or dessert or special salad. The group of a dozen or so includes faculty members, administrators and support personnel.

"It provides a chance for our team to sit down and hear about what's happening in each other's lives," Rettler said. "We're so busy here. People share what movies they've seen or books they've read or trips they've taken, things that wouldn't come up in the normal work day."

And the student interns are always invited. "It's a good chance for us to feed them," she said.

It's also an opportunity to share a diversity of backgrounds, she said, mentioning a colleague from New Mexico and another from Texas who've cooked up favorite regional soups. "It's fun, it's great," Rettler said.

And it's contagious.

A former Target co-worker of Rettler's, Stephanie Pederson, took the concept with her when she left to join the Wisconsin Department of Justice as a law enforcement educational consultant.

It was a frigid, late-winter day when she proposed a soup potluck to her small Training and Standards Bureau of about 15 people. Once she'd convinced them she meant homemade soup - not canned - they were in.

Potlucks now take on various themes and are held about once a quarter, more as a team-building exercise, said Pederson, who commutes to Madison from the Town of Brookfield.

For National Vanilla Ice Cream Day one July, they did ice cream sundaes with all the fixings. One fall, they brought in brats, buns, sauerkraut, German potato salad for an Oktoberfest potluck. This past Christmas, they asked everyone to bring a traditional dish for whatever holiday they celebrate.

"We try to keep it creative and fun," Pederson said.

One time the entire justice department held a heritage potluck. "We had Native American food, we had soul food, we had different kinds of German food," she recalled.

As foods go, soup lends itself particularly well to communal meals. Who doesn't like soup? The varieties are endless, it reheats (and stays warm) well, and it can accommodate a wide array of tastes and dietary needs. There are brothy soups, cream soups, chowders, stews, chilies. Cold soups, hot soups. Spicy, herby, sweet soups.

You can make it BYOM (bring your own mug) if you wish. Furnish crackers or toppings or not.

Just don't forget the ladles.


Here's one soup served at last week's Soup Club potluck at Templeton Middle School. It was brought by Rebecca Abler and is one of the recipes she uses in her Family and Consumer Education classes. Soup recipes typically are doubled or tripled for the potluck.

Buffalo Chicken Soup
Makes 6 servings
2 small onions, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

½ cup flour

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups chicken broth

4 cups diced cooked chicken

½ cup buffalo wing sauce (or less to taste)

8 ounces processed cheese, diced

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon garlic salt

In pot, sauté onions and celery in butter until tender. Stir in flour until smooth and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk and broth; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cheese has melted.

Published January 14, 2010.

Umoja Magazine Highlights Madison College's Staff of Color

This month's Umoja Magazine highlights many of the new staff members of color at Madison College.

The first two pages of the article includes features on Doug Holton, Joshua Cotillier, and Antoinetta Hayes.

The next two pages highlight Deryl Davis Fulmer and Corey Johnson.

And the final two pages feature Dennis Baskin and Chuck McDowell.

Congratulations and welcome to all of our staff of color!


Published January 14, 2010.

Madison College Instructor Talks About Social Media and Haiti

Social media brings instantaneous images of Haiti
Posted: Jan 13, 2010/Channel 27 

MADISON (WKOW) -- Instantaneous images from Haiti are changing the way we view catastrophes around the world.

27 News spent the day as much of you did, looking at the devastating images from thousands of miles away, and trying to figure out how we could help.

Hours after the earthquake hit, YouTube was full of raw home videos, some now already watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Steve Noll, a Marketing Instructor from Madison College, says this social media response is changing communication.

Noll says, "Seeing this almost uncensored is amazing, yet scary and horrifying at how fast information is coming out."

On Twitter, eye-witnesses describe the scene. Another pleas for help, saying go's ugly out there.

Janet Staker Woerner of Herzig University says in situations like this, the Internet is often the only way to get ahold of loved ones.

But social media not only is connecting frantic family members, it's creating an instantaneous world-wide help.

On Twitter, there's already a "help Haiti" link. Users can text to help.

The Red Cross even has a video on You Tube.

Noll adds, "All this information came out so fast, and made it seem like it was happening in our own backyard. Really, our whole backyard is the whole world today."

A world that's responding almost as fast as events unfold.

As ways to help multiply, you're going to want to be aware of charity scams. Make sure you're directing your money to a legitimate charity.. before you hit send.

If you think you're being targeted by a the state's consumer protection agency to let them know.

Published January 14, 2010.

Madison College Enrollment Up 14 Percent

MATC Enrollment Up 14 Percent

Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 -- 5:10PM
By Zac Schultz/Channel 15

Madison: The line at the enrollment desk stretched down the hall for most of the day Monday. It's the first day of second semester classes at Madison Area Technical College and students were everywhere.

Enrollment is up 14% compared to this time last year- just try to find a place to sit in the cafeteria.

One of the biggest jumps in enrollment is in the age group 30 to 49. Typically workers who have been laid off, or those just looking for that next career "That's why I'm here. To get some help and try and figure out what my next step is," says Joelle Zradicka, who is attending a dislocated worker workshop.

She's spent the last 12 years in the painter's union, but work is slow. "It's just very slow in a lot of the trades. I'm a painter, steel studs not going up, I don't have drywall, I don't paint anything."

At age 38, Joelle has realized she needs a new trade. "I'm very overwhelmed. I don't quite know which way to go, who to turn to, so therefore people have been saying to come to this program."

Al Studesville has been dealing with this for 16 years as a counselor. He says the most common issue older students face is they don't know what questions to ask. As a counselor, he hopes to get them into a program that will lead to a career. "I'm just hoping and praying we have enough dollars to help all the people who have a need. That's my biggest concern right now."

Joelle is ready to take the next step, she just doesn't know which direction that will be. "Brand new and scary. Exciting at the same time. I want to try and figure out what I'm goign to do with the rest of my life before I'm 40."

You may have noticed the MATC portion of your property tax bill went up quite a bit for last year. Officials say that's because all the new students enrolling at the college has forced them to increase their budget.

Published January 12, 2010.

Madison College Reports Enrollment Increase

College Officials Report Enrollment Increases
Channel 3000/Updated: 7:56 am CST January 12, 2010

MADISON, Wis. -- Madison Area Technical College officials said that they're seeing double-digit growth in back-to-school enrollments, which they said justified a big jump in the tax levy in 2009.

Madison College has seen steady increases in students since this time last year, which led in part to an increase in property taxes in 2009 -- at the highest rate of any part of residents' tax bills.

Crowded hallways and long lines are the norm throughout Madison College's Truax campus as classes start for some excited students, WISC-TV reported.

New student Uriel Rosales, of Sauk City, said he's dealt with the congested conditions.

"I see a lot of people, long lines for everything. Just to even see an adviser took me an hour and now, I'm in line again," said Rosales.

"I'm taking liberal arts classes right now, but next semester, I'm transferring to the barber and cosmetology program," said Kelsey Nelson, of Madison.

There are 14 percent more students at Madison College compared to last year, which is more than it had projected in increasing the levy limit in 2009 by 8.6 percent.

School officials said that the increases were necessary given the growth numbers.

"That was partially as a result of the growth that we had anticipated and what we're experiencing," said Roger Price, vice president of Infrastructure Services at Madison Area Technical College.

Officials said that they needed to add sections and expand into a West Side campus.

"Two-thirds of that cost comes from the taxpayer so any time that we are growing or have additional needs to serve the community, there's going to be an additional burden on the taxpayer," Price said.

However, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance said the appointed, not elected, Madison College board has tax rate limits based on total property value and not levy limits. It's the same for all technical college districts around the state, alliance officials said.

"The discussion if we were to think about some kind of reform would center around electing the board, which some people would think is not a good idea. Or, finding an alternate way to raise the money so you wouldn't have an unelected board levying taxes," said Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

Either way, students said keeping the funding flowing is important.

"We need more of our youth to progress and do better stuff with their lives instead of ending up in jail," said Nelson.

"I definitely think it's worth it because it obviously is helping more students to enroll in classes and let MATC be well known around the area," said Rosales.

College officials said that they're well below their rate limit right now and they fully consider the impact on taxpayers when raising the levy. The 2009 increase added up to about $22 dollars on the average home, WISC-TV reported.

While other technical colleges have seen increases in enrollment, Madison College's increase was the second-highest hike in the state next to Southwest Technical College's increase of more than 13 percent. Milwaukee Area Technical College went up 1.8 percent while Janesville's Blackhawk Tech only increased their levy 0.6 percent.

MATC officials said that the board is just now beginning to consider what the levy could be this year, but if more expansion of services is needed, it could go up again.


Published January 12, 2010.