University of Wisconsin–Madison

About the Program

Structure of the Program

This program is not a lecture series. Rather, a guest is invited for the first half of each session, speaking informally on issues related to his or her role (e.g., the role of the System President, the Board of Regents; his or her views on the issues, challenges, and priorities for UW–Madison in the unfolding fiscal and political environment; the responsibility for Graduate education and research; a brief explanation of the budget process; or the differences between state and university administration, etc.) Program coordinators want the participants to get to know the speakers and their values. 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.

Participation in the Seminar

During the late spring and early summer each year, school and college deans, and directors of administrative divisions and support units are asked to nominate up to three candidates from their unit/division. A diverse group of participants is selected that includes faculty, academic staff, and university staff, with consideration given to achieving balance in program areas and the nature and level of responsibilities. The class is kept small—25–28 people.

How Seminar Participants are Selected

Each year, the Deans of schools and colleges and the Directors of major divisions of the University are invited to nominate prospective participants for the Kauffman Seminar. The deadline for nominations is usually in mid-June. The call for nominations says this about eligibility:

Academic staff and university staff nominees should have had some higher-level administrative experience and be individuals who would benefit from an overview of university administration. Faculty members should be individuals who have had or will have major administrative or committee assignments.

Another essential qualification is the willingness to attend and participate on fifteen Friday mornings during the academic year, a substantial commitment of time and thought. The quality of the seminar experience depends on having every member participating, with rare exceptions.

Deans and Directors are asked to provide a brief summary of each nominee’s current or anticipated responsibilities, background, and experience, as well as a statement about the ways in which participation would benefit the nominee and the University, and a vita for each nominee. 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 25 each year. Nominees who are not selected in a given 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 he or she may need to consider various priorities and may have a backlog of previous nominees.

Topics Covered

  • Budget Process
  • Chancellor
  • Diversity Issues
  • Governance, concepts and practices, including Chapter 36 of Wisconsin Statutes
  • Graduate and Research Mission
  • Harassment and Diversity
  • How Others See Us
  • How the University Presents Itself
  • Information Technology
  • Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Legal and Executive Affairs
  • NCA Re-accreditation
  • Organization of UW–Madison
  • Human Resource System/Personnel Issues
  • Pictorial History of UW–Madison
  • Protective Services
  • Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • Student Affairs
  • Student Health Service
  • Student Life Issues
  • Student Services Issues
  • Technology Issues
  • Undergraduate Education
  • University Admissions
  • University Corporate Relations
  • University Master Plan for Facilities
  • University Research Park
  • UW Foundation
  • 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.