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UW-Madison begins search for new chief human resources officer

August 2, 2016 By Käri Knutson

The search for UW–Madison’s chief human resources officer is underway.

An 11-member search and screen committee, chaired by Jeffrey S. Russell, dean of the Division of Continuing Studies and vice provost for lifelong learning, is seeking candidates.

Applications are due by Aug. 31 with an anticipated start date of mid-to-late fall. The selected candidate will replace Bob Lavigna, who retired July 1 after serving in the role since 2010.

The chief human resources officer provides leadership, policy direction and management oversight for all HR services for UW–Madison faculty and staff, including athletics and the School of Medicine and Public Health. UW–Madison has more than 20,000 employees, including about 2,200 faculty and 12,500 staff across multiple shifts; plus 5,000 graduate assistants and 7,000 student employees.

The human resources officer is responsible for developing and implementing campuswide HR policies and systems, directing a staff of 85 in the Office of Human Resources (OHR) and managing a $5 million budget. The selected candidate reports to the vice chancellor for finance and administration.

On July 1, 2015, UW–Madison began implementing an HR system separate from Wisconsin state government. This position will play a key role in fully implementing this new system over the next several years.

“The committee is excited to be searching for candidates that will build on the HR redesign success, enhance our collaborative culture, promote inclusion, and drive employee engagement, development, retention and compensation,” says Russell.

Other members of the committee include Michael Bernard-Donals, vice provost for faculty and staff and professor, College of Letters & Science; Shenita Brokenburr, senior associate vice president, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity; Sharon Gehl, associate administrator, School of Medicine and Public Health; Brian Gittens, associate dean for human resources, equity and inclusion, School of Medicine and Public Health; Carmen Romero González, director of Cultural Linguistic Services, Office of Human Resources; Lisa Learish, senior accountant, Wisconsin School of Business; Ruth Litovsky, professor, College of Letters & Science; Dan Okoli, director and university architect, Facilities Planning and Management; Meghan Owens, human resource specialist, Office of Human Resources; and Angie Rosas, human resource specialist, Office of Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate.

A complete position description is available on the Office of Human Resources website. Nominations and applications may be sent to