Climate Survey

At our March all-staff lunch, we welcomed Chad Shorter of Academic Technology to talk about DoIT’s 2016 Climate Survey. Chad helped us to understand how User Services compared to the rest of DoIT, how the 2016 survey responses compared to 2015, and gave an overview of the current User Services climate. You can find a copy of Chad’s report here.

Team climates always evolve, and our team is no exception. As a result of the 2015 Survey, we created initiatives aimed at the following focus areas:

  • Recognition
  • Employee input
  • Advancement Opportunities

You can find specific initiatives here.

The changes brought about by those initiatives showed up in this year’s climate survey — you thought we made some good progress in those areas and that the health of the User Services climate is good. However, that’s not to say our work is done.

In some areas we still have a ways to go, particularly as it relates to advancement opportunities. One initiative we’re launching to help with that is the IT Track and Snack, which will be a pilot series featuring hiring managers from other DoIT departments. They will be talking about their areas, positions they hire for, and the skillsets they’re looking for in new hires. We encourage you to attend — the first one is on Wednesday, 4/26 from 1pm to 2pm and will feature Tamara Walker (Productivity & Collaborative Solutions Manager) and Ty Letto (Middleware Manager).

Another important part of our climate in User Services is our commitment to diversity and inclusion. While we’ve had many recent initiatives aimed at this, I want to share with you the personal inclusivity statements that our Extended Leadership Team members have written and committed to. These statements describe our departmental leaders’ intentions and are an indication of the actions we’ll be taking in coming months to ensure that we at least maintain and preferably increase inclusivity in our work environment. I’ve also asked each of these leaders to talk more about their statements at your upcoming group meetings.

I want to thank you all for your participation in this past year’s survey. User Services had one of the highest response rates in the division. Also, please know that if there are any ideas, initiatives, or perspectives you’d like to share related to these areas, I would be very interested in hearing them.

Keep up the great work team!


contributed by Brandon Bernier, Director of User Services

A Screening of “CODE: Debugging The Gender Gap” Presented by the ‘Women in User Services’ (WiUS) Group

WiUS is an organization supported by the Director of DoIT User Services, Brandon Bernier and is dedicated to the support and advancement of women in Information Technology (IT). On January 10th, WiUS hosted a screening of the 70-minute documentary, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. About 29 viewers, comprised of full-time staff and student employees, filled the 3139abc conference room in the Computer Science Building. After the screening, viewers self-divided into four small groups for a guided discussion. WiUS will be co-hosting the User Services All-Staff meeting on February 8th and are also planning to host an Allyship event in late March.  Check the User Services Newsletter for details!

Director Robin Hauser Reynolds, a former stockbroker, knows what it’s like to be a woman in a field dominated by men. Her film, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap (‘CODE’), examines the lack of females and minorities in the fields of computer science and software engineering and focuses on inspiring young girls to pursue such careers. Along with candid interviews with experts in technology, psychology, science and education, the film features successful technologists like  Danielle Feinberg of Pixar, Aliya Rahman of Code for Progress and Github founder, Julie Ann Horvath discussing today’s challenging  professional landscape. By profiling and displaying the careers of these women, Reynolds hopes to show that computer science can be creative, lucrative, and rewarding.

Continue reading “A Screening of “CODE: Debugging The Gender Gap” Presented by the ‘Women in User Services’ (WiUS) Group”

Multi-faceted Wellness

So you eat right, exercise every day, and meditate. If you do those things, have you achieved wellness? What does it mean to be well?

Gabe Javier

Gabe Javier

At the recent 2nd annual UW Wellness Symposium, Gabe Javier, Interim Director of the Multicultural Student Center, suggested that wellness goes far beyond taking care of our physical and emotional selves. He said that wellness is multi-faceted just as we as individuals are multi-faceted, and called it a synergy of multiple factors: personal, the collective nature of society around us, and relational.

Although there are various ways of categorizing the different aspects of wellness, some common categories are:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • social
  • spiritual
  • intellectual
  • environmental
  • diversity/social justice

Javier expanded on the concept of socially just wellness by describing it as inclusive wellness that is “accessible, available, and achievable to all people.” Inclusive wellness balances the need to be active in our pursuit of personal wellness alongside relief from things that detract from wellness in our lives.

2016 Expanding Your Horizons Conference: Providing a Broader View of Possible Careers in Math and Science since 1959

UW Madison Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) is a one-day conference held annually at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  This year, it was held on November 19 in Varsity Hall at Union South. EYH provides opportunities for middle school aged girls to explore careers that use math and science.   Each year, up to 350 students from south-central Wisconsin participate in hands-on career sessions and have the chance to interact with women who work in careers that require a background in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The objectives of the EYH conference are to:


While in general, female and male students perform equally well in mathematics and science on standardized tests, larger gaps exist between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds or family income, with white and Asian/Pacific Islander students and those from higher income families scoring higher than their counterparts who are black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alasconka Native or who are from lower income families, as per the 2016 National Science Foundation Science & Engineering Indicators. EYH looks to raise the awareness of the middle school girls to a wide range of STEM career options. EYH provides middle school girls with role models to engage them and creates an experience to let them know that thriving in any of these fields is possible.

Continue reading “2016 Expanding Your Horizons Conference: Providing a Broader View of Possible Careers in Math and Science since 1959”

The 18th Annual UW Diversity Forum: Town Hall Discussion

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has presented annual Diversity Forums since 1998 which are free and open to students, faculty and members of the community. Now in its 18th year, this day-long event hosted by the Office of the Provost’s Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) continues to address issues stretching beyond the borders of our campus. The 2016  Diversity Forum was titled “ALL INclusive: Our Diversity Commitment in Practice”  and  took place Tuesday, November 1 at Union South.

Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Patrick J. Sims describes the Forum as, “an all-inclusive event…we have realized a goal to be truly inclusive by offering sessions to all of our 24-hour campus community”.  He further related, “It’s rewarding to have students, as well as our late-night and overnight campus audiences, engaged in this annual event intended to help us learn, share and celebrate in community”.

Continue reading “The 18th Annual UW Diversity Forum: Town Hall Discussion”

Internship Team Co-hosts Binnu Hill


Binnu Hill

In August, the Internship Team, in conjunction with Women in User Services, hosted Binnu Hill, the Business School’s Director of Diversity. Ms Hill gave a talk about Cultural Competence, or the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

She defined cultural competence as a “set of attitudes and behaviors that help individuals effectively interact and work across diversity dimensions.” She discussed how it’s not just the visible characteristics that make us diverse, like the color of our skin or (in some cases) our gender, but also invisible characteristics, such as our sexuality, religion, or veteran status.

Ms Hill highlighted how employees feeling valued as a contributing member of the team, or feeling included, can actually benefit the organization by increasing productivity, innovation, and worker retention. Our workforce is continually evolving, and the importance of our leaders being behind diversity and inclusion cannot be ignored.

contributed by Rhianna Campbell

UW-WIT Holds Networking Event at IoT Lab

samsungMany billions of devices are already part of the Internet of Things (IoT), and that number is forecast to increase dramatically in the next five years. For many of us, it’s an invisible tidal wave of connected devices that changes everything, while being so useful and ubiquitous that we don’t give it a second thought.

But that’s not the case for Raj Veeramani. As Executive Director of the UW IoT Lab, his daily life is wrapped up in learning, research, accelerated innovation and development, and eventual deployment and adoption of IoT technologies and applications. The purpose of the IoT Lab is to provide a setting and the resources for students to explore the technology, experiment, and to work with teams to exploit the world of networked objects. Based in the UW-Madison College of Engineering and the Department of Industrial Engineering, the IoT is open to any UW–Madison student.

Recently, the UW Women in Technology group (UW-WIT) held a IMG_2441networking event at UW-Madison’s IoT Lab. There, Veeramani shared information about what IoT is, the impact and anticipated growth of IoT, and highlighted many IoT examples. He also told the story of how the IoT lab got started on campus in early 2014 and how it’s grown exponentially since then.

After Veeramani’s presentation, attendees split into groups and came up with their own IoT ideas around a certain topic (energy, safety, transportation, etc.). Afterwards they reconvened to share their ideas.

This event, organized by Amy Gee and Edward Hoover, was the most recent in a series of networking events sponsored by UW-WIT.


contributed by Cari Skeim