University of Wisconsin–Madison

About the Program

Structure of the Program

This program is not a lecture series. Rather, a special guest is invited for the first half of each session, to speak informally on issues related to their role (e.g., the role of the System President, the Board of Regents; their views on the issues, challenges, and priorities for UW–Madison in the unfolding fiscal and political environment; or the responsibility for Graduate education and research; or a brief explanation of the budget process; or the differences between state and university administration, etc.). Kauffman Program administrators want the participants to get to know the speakers, their values, expertise, challenges and triumphs. The second half of each session is devoted to open discussion among the group on current issues or a continued discussion of issues presented by the guest. The program also includes several assessments to foster self-discovery and leadership development (e.g., 360, DiSC, Emotional Intelligence, etc.).

Nomination Process

Nominations from Vice Chancellors, Deans and Directors include a summary of each nominee’s current or anticipated responsibilities, and a statement about the ways in which participation would benefit the nominee and the University. Participants will be asked to provide information about their background and experience via an online nominee interest form, as well as a headshot and short bio to be shared with other participants and speakers. Participants may or may not be new to this University.

From among those nominated, participants are selected with a view to achieving balance in program areas and the nature and level of responsibilities, within a class of about 30 each year. Nominees who are not selected each year may be renominated in subsequent years.

If you wish to be considered for nomination, it is appropriate to let your Dean or Director know that, but please bear in mind that they may need to consider various priorities and may have a backlog of previous nominees.

How Seminar Participants are Selected

Selected participants are new or continuing Academic staff and university staff with some higher-level administrative experience or Faculty members who have had or will have a major administrative or committee assignment, and those who would benefit from an overview of university administration

Participants are expected to attend Seminars bi-weekly on Friday mornings through much of the academic year. The quality of the seminar experience depends on having every member participating, with rare exceptions.

Topics Covered

  • Accreditation and Academic Administration
  • Alumni, Donor Engagement and Fundraising
  • Athletics
  • Budget Process
  • Campus History
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
  • Facilities and Master Planning
  • Human Resources
  • Legal and Executive Affairs
  • Organizational Structure and Culture
  • Policies and Governance
  • Perceptions and Public Image of the University
  • Research and Land Grant Mission
  • Student Enrollment and Engagement
  • Technology Issues and Infrastructure
  • The Role of the Chancellor
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Education
  • UW System Administration

Note: Not every topic is covered every year.

Historical Overview

This program began in 1985 as the Management Development Program, first conducted by Professor Emeritus Donald K. Smith. After a one year lapse, it was led in 1987–88 by Professor Emeritus Joseph F. Kauffman. The name of the program was changed the following year, 1988–89, to the Administrative Development Program. Sixteen years later, at the completion of the 2002–03 session, the name was officially changed to the “Joseph F. Kauffman Administrative Development Program” honoring Professor Kauffman’s continued dedication to the program. Since mid 2004–05, in the wake of Professor Kauffman’s waning health and subsequent passing, a staff of very capable emeriti retirees has stepped in to conduct the program. Participants find this program to be invaluable in their overall understanding of a campus of this size, as well as in the connections they make with fellow participants. As of the 2015–16 session, 724 employees have participated in the program.

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