University of Wisconsin–Madison


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Concurrent Session 1 | 9:45 - 11:00am

Title Guidance and the Art of Job Analysis

Presenters: Brock Flowers and Stephen Colleton

This presentation will cover a recent and ongoing Compensation Administration initiative, title guidance. Job title guidance is a comparison of two or more titles to help campus partners distinguish between similar or confusing SJDs. The guidance is intended to assist with job analysis as it relates to title selection. At UW-Madison, job title guidance provides a “best practice” across colleges, schools, and divisions. Title Guidance is actively being worked on by the current Job Rotation Program Cohort 4 and we will share their progress as well as the materials developed so far for the HR campus community.

The presentation will include the currently identified title guidance areas as well as share expected future title guidance topics as received by our HR survey. We aim to share why title guidance is important, how the resources are being developed, and how to use the title guidance docs to aid in job analysis and title selection. Additionally, Compensation Administration will share our process for selecting a title based on a bulleted list of responsibilities as often provided to divisional HR by a supervisor/hiring manager. This includes sorting through the SJD library to narrow down the job group, subgroup, and ultimately title. Many factors are considered during job analysis, and you will find it is often more of an art, than a science.


The Faculty Appointment Life Cycle

Presenter: Heather Daniels

In this session, you’ll walk through the life cycle of a faculty appointment from hire until a faculty member separates from the institution. The way faculty appointments are structured and function is different from any other appointment type. This session will cover topics like tenure clocks and probationary periods including tenure clock extensions, contract lengths, non-renewals, appeals of non-renewals, and post tenure reviews. While HR professionals may only touch certain points in the faculty appointment life cycle, having a general understanding of how faculty appointments operate will help HR professionals see how the work they contribute fits into the overall picture of faculty appointments.


Thinking Together: Cultivating Communities of Practice

Presenters: Leah Stoiber, Edith Osorio, Cassie Poehnelt, Izabella Warner

Have you ever heard the saying “Two heads are better than one?” Well, we are here to tell you that a community of like-minded individuals is even better.

In this session, we will de-mystify the concept of communities of practice (CoPs) by providing you with an opportunity to experience and actively participate in a CoP. We will explore the benefits, challenges, and best practices of creating and managing communities of practice in different contexts. We will show you how through regular collaboration and knowledge exchange members of a CoP can improve their professional skills and actively advance their knowledge in a shared domain. If you would like to learn how to integrate work and learning through collective innovation, join us as we delve into the personal and organizational value of CoPs.

We will show you CoP participants can improve their professional skills and actively advance their knowledge in a shared domain through regular collaboration and knowledge exchange.


From Transaction to Transformation: Creating Consultative Relationships

Presenter: Sarah Noll Wilson

Embark on an inspiring journey in this breakout session as we explore the evolution of HR relationships into powerful alliances. In the ever-changing landscape, the traditional transactional model is giving way to a more nuanced approach where businesses need HR professionals to act not only as providers but as trusted advisors. We’ll unravel common pitfalls that often ensnare people, hindering the progression towards deeper connections. By delving into the neuroscience of connection, real-world scenarios and industry insights, we’ll navigate the challenges and opportunities brought forth by this cultural shift. Join us to discover practical strategies for fostering lasting partnerships, breaking free from transactional constraints, and navigating the path towards becoming true advisors in your organization’s success.


Coaching Circles: Let’s Launch More Pods!

Presenter: Theresa Kim

What if I told you there is a fresh new way to help people who are frustrated or stuck? A completely free resource that connects people to a caring community of employees across campus? A way to offer coaching to anyone who wants it? Coaching Circles have arrived! Last year at the HR@UW Conference we tested out this new concept. A year later, Coaching Circles have launched and we have employees all over campus meeting in pods of 5-6 people to support each other and offer this new flavor of coaching. Come to this session to find out more about how Coaching Circles work, how your people can sign up, and actually experience a Coaching Circle for yourself. Don’t miss getting in on this opportunity that is sweeping across campus.


Career Growth@UW

Presenter: Christopher East

Are you an HR professional looking to take control of your career journey, explore exciting opportunities within the HR field, and set a roadmap for your future success? Join this dynamic session where you’ll embark on a self-discovery journey, delve into the vast HR landscape, and leave with a draft of a personalized action plan to make your career aspirations a reality.

This workshop is designed to empower HR professionals to reflect on their career journeys, explore diverse career options within the HR field, and create a tangible plan to achieve their career goals. The session will incorporate self-reflection, group discussions, and practical planning, ensuring participants leave with a clear vision and a roadmap for their career development.

Concurrent Session 2 | 11:15am - 12:30pm

Conversations on Top-of-Mind HR Topics and how CUPA-HR Can Help

Presenter: CUPA-HR Midwest Region Board – Connie Putland and Heather Butterfield

This interactive session will have participants discuss top topics in HR in 3 “lightning” rounds and share solutions. Then the conversation will turn to what resources CUPA-HR has to help in those areas. Participants will then here from the Wisconsin Chapter Leaders and how they use CUPA-HR in their work.


The Employee Life Cycle & Career Development: Why it’s important to HR professionals

Presenter: Kelsey Harrington and April McHugh

We all keep hearing about progression and promotion, improving the employee experience, talent mobility, and retention. But what does this mean for UW’s employees? Everything! Join us for more information about how career development impacts our employees, their life cycle, and the importance of career development to HR and UW’s future.


Failing to Succeed: Leveraging Failure to Improve and Innovate

Presenter: Whitney Sweeney

To err is human, to forgive divine.
~Alexander Pope

Although organizations are frequently encouraged to learn from their failures, it is “extraordinarily rare” to find those that do this well. Despite best intentions, many do not truly understand how to conceptualize learning from failure in a constructive way. Failure is often perceived as “bad” and to be avoided at all costs. Determining blame is a common first strategy and situational analyses just skim the surface. In organizational cultures that embrace these approaches, mistakes and failures are often hidden, sometimes leading to catastrophic consequences. Even when the stakes are low, these approaches stymie innovation and impede process improvement. For organizations to thrive, they need to create cultures in which failures are embraced, analyzed, and leveraged. Inspired and informed by the work of Amy Edmondson from the Harvard Business School and other scientists from the Science of Team Science, this session will challenge common conceptualizations about failure and discuss best practices for reframing. To do this, we will examine case studies involving examples of failures common to teams, explore constructive ways to learn from these experiences, and experiment with skills to derive wisdom for future success.


Supporting and Retaining Employees with Young-Onset Dementia and their Caregivers

Presenter: William Clifton, Moira Kelley, Barbara Lanser, and Molly Schroeder

Dementia is a progressive, long-term condition. If someone develops the condition before the age of 65, it is known as young-onset dementia (YOD), or early-onset dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association calculates that in the United States “there are between 220,000 and 640,000 people with early onset Alzheimer’s or related dementia.” (Early Onset Dementia: A National Challenge, A Future Crisis.

Of those they insure with early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s, Blue Cross and Blue Shield found that “[i]n 2017, about 131,000 people between the ages of 30 and 64 were diagnosed with either form of dementia. Diagnosis rates increased by 200% from 2013-2017 in ages 30 to 64. The average age of someone in the commercially insured population living with either condition is 49.” (Early-Onset Dementia and Alzheimer’s Rates Grow for Younger Adults, February 27, 2020)

Many people who are diagnosed with YOD are working and do not receive adequate support in their workplaces if they are able to continue working. HR professionals have power and influence in advocating for and cultivating equitable work environments for employees caring for or living with Young Onset Dementia. Join this session to engage in a panel discussion focusing on what YOD is and how it impacts employees, strategies to support employees with YOD, and strategies to support employees providing care for a person with dementia.


Investing in Our People: HR’s role in Employee Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparation

Presenters: Hassan Pasha, Thomasin Propson, Carol Hulland, Mary Czynszak-Lyne

You don’t have to be a financial advisor or a benefits specialist to play a pivotal role in shaping the financial well-being and retirement preparedness of your employees. Using real-world examples, best practices, and success stories, ‘Investing in Our People’ explores how HR’s commitment to employee financial wellness not only enriches individual lives but also contributes to a more engaged and resilient workforce and an enduring community post-retirement. Be inspired to embrace a proactive role in shaping a financially confident and retirement-ready workplace.


Concurrent Session 3 | 2:45 - 4:00pm

Build Your Benefits Savvy: Learn to Navigate and Advocate!

Presenter: Barb Walters

In the benefits world, there are many layers of consumerism. Becoming a savvy benefits consumer has become a second job, but where does an individual start? We will introduce starting points to help individuals utilizing UW’s various benefits to learn how to maximize their benefits to save themselves potential dollars when they do need to seek services.


The Kindness Advantage: Cultivating Kindness as a Culture Builder & Retention Strategy

Presenter: Cindy Rowe

Science has proven that doing kind acts for others makes us happier. And that’s great news for leaders because happier employees are 12% more productive. In today’s workplace climate—amid staffing and retention challenges, it’s crucially important to have a competitive edge with current staff and future employees. In this talk, you’ll learn how to use kindness as a key differentiator to make your organization stand out from the crowd. When you learn how to use kindness strategically, you’ll be seen and valued as a strategic and compassionate leader while simultaneously boosting the bottom line and improving workplace culture.


Transforming Employee Retention: Centering equity, climate and well-being to keep employees

Presenter: Jay Botsford and Susan Tran Degrand

Employee retention has historically lived in the shadows of recruitment and hiring. Now, in a time where employees have opportunities to find what they need, with organizations that can meaningfully support them, prioritizing employee retention is more important than ever.

Current framing of employee retention focuses almost exclusively on compensation, promotion, and effective management, often minimizing the impacts of institutional and interpersonal bias, hostility, and exclusion on every aspect of employee experience. Subsequently, these factors negatively impact an employee’s ability to stay with an organization.

This session will help participants expand their understanding of employee retention by centering marginalized employees’ well-being and belonging. Participants will leave with concrete strategies to identify and improve their workplace climate and address inequities.


The Past is Present: Reckoning with Our University History

Presenter: Kacie Lucchini Butcher

In 2019, the UW–Madison Public History Project was created to uncover and acknowledge the history of discrimination and resistance on campus. The Project culminated in a physical exhibition Sifting & Reckoning, a complementary digital exhibit website, curricular materials, an event and lecture series, and much more. On the heels of the successful completion of the Public History Project, the Rebecca M. Blank Center for Campus History was opened in July of 2023 to continue and expand upon this work. The transition from Project to Center comes with expanded research, new engagement opportunities, and new methods for communicating the history of UW–Madison. The history of our campus community is an important component to creating an equitable and inclusive workplace. This session will provide updates on the Center’s new direction and initiatives along with additional information on how Center materials can be integrated across departments and units.


Effective Communication in a Multilingual Workplace: Strategies for Success

Presenter: Karen Parrillo

An interactive workshop to discuss and practice effective communication strategies for English speakers working with those who speak different first languages. Participants will receive a “toolbox” of tips for communication and a list of resources.


Let’s Get Intentional about Learning!

Presenter: Tina Ngo

Consider how much you have learned and developed from the beginning of your career until now. What contributed to your learning journey? And how has that growth contributed to your success, and to your organization’s success?

Learning is a key factor of successful employees and successful organizations. HR professionals are uniquely positioned to help integrate learning into the employee experience. In this session, we will first explore through reflection and discussion what growth and development as an individual looks like. We will then apply our insights about learning and development to our role as HR professionals. Come ready to reflect, share, and learn from one another!


Did you find what you need?