University of Wisconsin–Madison

One to Watch: teri engelke

terri engelke

Position Title: Assistant Dean for Human Resources

Location: School of Education (SoE)

Educational Background:
B.S., Psychology & Political Science; UW-La Crosse
M.S., College Student Personnel; Western Illinois University
PhD Candidate, Organizational Performance, Learning, and Change Management, Colorado State University (in progress)

How did you come to work for UW-Madison’s School of Education?

I’ve worked in a number of universities and colleges across the U.S., primarily in student affairs and residence life, and briefly as an HR executive for Target Corporation. Prior to joining UW-Madison, I was working in residence life and focused on staffing/recruitment, training, and development. My course work, and experience in developing online courses, supervising entry level staff, and advising Master’s Degree graduate students allowed me the opportunity to make connections aimed at helping others to identify their passions, create and innovate through various programmatic initiatives, and tie in social justice and inclusion into my work. My career path and experiences then led me to my current position here at UW-Madison, where I use my systems perspective in looking at the ways that programs, processes and policies are (or can be) interconnected to benefit our employees and organization.

What excites you most about working on the UW-Madison campus?

I grew up, in some ways quite literally, on this campus. My mom worked here in Biochem for over 30 years (and retired a few years ago), and so I have many memories as a child of coming to campus with her. My dad, a geneticist, also worked on a university campus, so there really should have been little surprise for either of them that I would end up working in higher education. While, I’ve worked for a number of universities across the U.S., for me, there is something quite special about UW-Madison. The traditions that are engrained into the campus culture, the students in terms of their perspective and drive, the foundation of access and outreach to the community (state, nation, and world), and culture of research and innovation are all things that I think make UW-Madison quite exciting. More specifically, the opportunity to work on the visioning team for the HR competencies Program allows me to think strategically and innovatively, and to tap into my educational background of learning organizations and change management, which is quite different from the work I do day-to-day.

What’s happening in your division these days?

One of the things I really appreciate about the School of Education (SoE) is the diversity of departments and units that we have in our division, from the arts to health-related areas, and to more traditional education. I think it’s that breadth and those variety of lenses that provides a richness of discussions and programs. There is always something quite remarkable happening in SoE. Just in the first week of November, you could attend:

  • a lunchtime lecture based on the Wisconsin Idea in Education, entitled “Retrieval-Based Learning: Active Retrieval Promotes Meaningful Learning”
  • a Friday forum in the Dance Department entitled “Design for Social Good”
  • the International Network of Education Institutes (INEI) Annual International Symposium (registration required), which we are hosting this year
  • a talk called “This Old Red Gym: A discussion on Historic Preservation and Adaptive Use”
  • a Homecoming Tailgate with SoE
  • the Annual Master of Fine Arts Open Studios event.

These are just a few things that were going on at SoE in one week!

Any advice for HR Professionals at UW?

Here are a few things I’ve often shared with folks I’ve mentored in the past:

  1. Start with questions. When we are presented with situations, conflict, and others seeking us out to “do something,” there is often a natural inclination to get a bit of information and then move to action, quickly. However, if we start with questions and seek to find out more about the situation at hand, we can then better serve those with whom we are working, find solutions that are likely to be more effective, de-escalate conflict more quickly, and get to the true nature of what is asking to be addressed. So, take a moment to start with questions.
  2. Remember, we all have a story and a journey. Think about how it feels when someone takes an interest in you, your story and journey. The power we hold to make others feel included, engaged, and that they matter can quite simply start with learning about someone’s story.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Hmmm… this is tough question. I’m proud of the how far I am with my PhD – almost to the point of defending my proposal. But really, I’m likely more proud of the relationships I’ve made with people throughout my career. When they reach out to me to discuss something they’re struggling with, or tell me that I am a mentor to them, or that I’m someone they look up to professionally, I think that is what I’m most proud of.

Favorite Thing About Madison?

I have to choose one!?!??! I don’t know if I can… I love the lakes, the terrace, the farmer’s market, the trails, the variety of things to do around town (sports, concerts, and plays).

Extracurricular Activities

You mean when I’m not working on my dissertation!?!? 😉

I’m a bit of a fitness addict (I’m at the gym quite a lot), take my pup for walks, cook & bake, go to badger football, volleyball, and women’s hockey games, movies, and concerts.