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Administrative Improvement Awards recognize five outstanding and innovative teams across UW–Madison

March 30, 2023 By Alex Peirce

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Administrative Improvement Awards recognize outstanding work at UW in administrative process redesign, process development and customer service innovations that result in improved efficiency, revenue, cost savings or service delivery. Five team projects were selected to receive the award this year, representing a combined total of 33 employees from across the university.

All recipients and nominees will be recognized at a celebration following the UW–Madison Showcase on Thursday, April 20, at Union South. The event will begin at 4 p.m. and is free and open to members of the UW–Madison community. Friends and family are also invited to attend. Although registration is not required, those planning to attend can RSVP online.

The Office of Finance and Administration sponsors the awards. “The 2023 Administrative Improvement Award recipients represent how administrative work makes it possible for our academic and research mission to thrive,” Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer says. “This year’s projects address pain points experienced by our campus partners and, most importantly, represent the value of teamwork to make meaningful improvements.”

The 2023 Administrative Improvement Award recipients are:

Campus Cloud Infrastructure Team (DoIT)

Rhonda Davis, Drew Denson, Michael Hopwood, Mark Nessel

In response to customer feedback regarding cost and efficiency, members of the DoIT Systems Engineering and Operations team reimagined and re-engineered UW–Madison’s cloud infrastructure service. The cloud allows UW–Madison to store, access and manage data through the internet rather than on a computer or server, which can be costly to maintain. The updated software increased capacity and performance and decreased costs by 45% for university customers. The cloud services are designed to serve the university’s teaching, research and public service mission.

Computer Data and Information Science (CDIS) Enablement Project Team (Facilities Planning and Management)

Kris Ackerbauer, Pam Barrett, Janine Glaeser, Jenee Jerome (Office of Strategic Consulting), Brent Lloyd, Duane Marlette, Silvie Marlette, Jim Martin (Office of Strategic Consulting), Craig Mayer, Bo Muwahid, Allison Sanders, Kirstin Selchow, Rob Shively, Joe Walters, Lori Wilson, Jesse Winters

The CDIS Enablement Project Team relocated the FP&M Physical Plant shops and administrative staff, as well as other smaller FP&M business units and campus partners from their previous workspaces to three different buildings in preparation for construction to begin on the new CDIS building. This project required an expedited and very complicated series of relocations that impacted over 1,000 UW–Madison employees in more than a dozen locations. The cross-functional team kept the project on schedule, retained as many Physical Plant operations on campus as possible and allowed CDIS construction to begin as planned, despite facing supply chain issues, materials shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the workforce.

Employee Compensation Compliance Implementation Team (Administrative Transformation Program)

Kelly Belshaw, Ben Biltz, Betsey Kenyon (Office of Strategic Consulting), Kurt McMillen

Effort certification reporting provides transparency and accountability in funded research activities. Researchers must report the amount of time and effort spent on specific activities to ensure that the research project stays on budget and that funds are used appropriately. This can be a time-consuming process for the principal investigator (PI) of a research project. Changes to federal regulations allow universities more flexibility in making this process easier. The Employee Compensation Compliance Implementation Team implemented a new project-based payroll certification approach and introduced new technology to do this work. As a result, the number of PIs performing the certification task dropped by 67%, and the number of transactions to be processed dropped by 56%.

Faculty Sponsored Research Dashboard (School of Nursing)

Samantha Kimball, MBA; Staci T. Lowe, PhD; Kim Nolet, Nicci Schmidt, MS; Lindsey Steege, PhD; Breanna Weiss

The School of Nursing Research and Sponsored Programs (NRSP) Team identified the need for a better method to track and visualize faculty’s sponsored research activities, such as research proposals and awards. Sponsored research is research that is fully or partially funded by an external organization, such as a government agency, a non-profit organization or a private company. In collaboration with a financial specialist in UW–Madison’s Job Rotation Program, the team designed and implemented a tool that provides a holistic view of individual faculty members’ involvement in sponsored research activities and includes eight new data points that were difficult to pinpoint before the tool was developed. The tool will be used to structure planning conversations between administrators and researchers and to anticipate faculty needs.

Job and Employee Management System (JEMS) Multi-Hire Functionality (Office of Human Resources) 

Catharine DeRubeis, Caitlin Riechers, Brian Zimmerman (DoIT)

The JEMS Multi-Hire Functionality allows UW–Madison units to hire multiple employees into a position whose job attributes are the same for all employees. JEMS Multi-Hire can be used to process hundreds of hires in a short amount of time. Typical applications are cyclical and annual, such as employees for summer athletics camps or student assistants in academic divisions. The project was initially a response to this “pain point” that was identified by several university units. JEMS Multi-Hire reduces data entry time for new hires and rehires from 5-6 minutes per employee to 1-2 minutes per employee, saving UW–Madison staff significant time, reducing data entry errors and increasing efficiency for divisions that hire multiple employees into identical positions.