Taking Design Thinking to the Next Level

Service Design Role PlayOn Monday, December 18, numerous staff from User Services attended a full-day workshop on Design Thinking in an ongoing effort to become subject matter experts for their groups.

Jaclyn Zavoral, who organized the event, said that this workshop built on the foundation of design thinking to explore service design. According to Design Concepts, service design is a “human-centered design approach that places equal value on the customer experience and the business process, aiming to create quality customer experiences and seamless service delivery.”

Jaclyn went on to say that during the training they “used a service blueprint to explore the visible and invisible steps involved in service delivery of a few real life scenarios [in User Services]. Then they analyzed these steps for potential pain points or unknowns and brainstormed ideas for how they might improve the process.”

Jaclyn particularly liked that the activities helped them see the world as the customers do and encouraged them to consider the entire customer experience rather than their single point of interaction within the service delivery.

Another point Jaclyn commented on was the value in prototyping  an experience prior to full implementation. She pointed out that one thing that can be challenging with design thinking is making the process tangible. The facilitators at Design Concepts helped everyone understand that role-playing helps makes complex services more understandable. Role-playing also allowed for everyone to practice empathizing with the customers, as well as assessing the feasibility of the proposed solutions.

Providing trainings like this helps to ensure that User Services continues to provide user-focused solutions that are desirable, feasible, and viable.

Take a look at what those who participated had to say about the workshop:

Leah Scheide:

1) It’s easy to try to come up with solutions right away, but before doing so, you need to make sure you understand the heart of the problem—define, then redefine, until everyone on your team is speaking the same language. Even then, you still need to ask “how might we” until you have not only looked at the problem from the obvious angles, but you have also questioned your initial assumptions about the nature of the problem itself.
2) Just like in customer service, you need to make sure that you are considering every one of your users. The “front stage” end users are easy to keep in mind, but every single person who interacts with your service—whether they build it, support it, or fix it—are your users, too.

I also learned that pretty much everyone loves their Contigo coffee thermos

Sean Bossinger:

Service Design (which was the topic of the class) is somewhat different from Design Thinking, in that it is the application of Design Thinking principles to the improvement of specific services.

Service Design offers us a set of specific tools (Customer Journey Mapping, Service Blueprints, Service Prototyping, Experience Prototyping, etc.) that we can use to help improve the services we offer from the customer perspective.

We will apply many of these tools to the development of our Help Desk and User Services initiatives over the course of the next year.

Design Concepts (the company that provided our training) has an impossibly beautiful new space on East Washington Avenue

Chris Poser:

I really enjoyed how Design Concepts was able to reduce the concept of “Service Design” to a blueprint with a handful of straightforward steps.  It reduced the perceived complexity of the process, while still emphasizing the importance of human-centered design.  Also, their space was amazing (and inspiring)!

Abrianna Barca:

I don’t have a single biggest take-away instead I would sum up my experience by saying – Time spent designing our services to meet our ever-changing customer needs, is time well spent. It was great to take a day to really focus on how we can use design thinking as a tool for our services.


Highlights from the EDUCAUSE Panel Discussion: “Being Male Allies for Advancing Women in IT”

October 18th was a sunny autumn day in Lincoln, Nebraska, perfect weather for the 2017 Women Advance IT Leadership Conference featuring topics on women advancing the future of IT in Higher Education. Among the sessions was a Coffee and Conversation panel discussion: “Being Male Allies for Advancing Women in IT”. Brenda Spychalla co-leads the Women in IT EDUCAUSE group, along with Bernadette Williams-Looper from University of North Carolina – Charlotte.

Discussion Panelists:

  • Jesse La Grew (JL) from UW DoIT User Services Departmental Support
  • Andrea Mascher (AM), University of Iowa,
  • Heath Tuttle (HT), University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Wes Juranek (WJ), University of Nebraska Central Administration.

Conf Slide
The first three questions of the panel discussion dove right in to the heart of the matter:

Q1: What does it mean to you to be a male ally/ what do you look for in a male ally?

HT – For me, it is about awareness first and foremost: how I interact with everyone in my department, with women colleagues and how those interactions may be perceived by others.  There has been more interest around this in the past year or two. To me, there is a big difference between an ally versus an advocate. While I do not want to define each role for all, I feel there is definitely a distinction. I want to further the voice of women in IT and be cognizant of this on a daily basis and considering it at all times.

JL – Being a male ally means helping support any individual and taking an active role – which is more than just sitting behind a desk. Self awareness in a huge part of this effort. I start with myself, I work to understand what I am thinking, what I am feeling and how I am being perceived and getting that feedback. If I am not being a good example, I am not helping to forward this effort.

WJ – My awareness began a year ago when I was invited to a Male Ally meeting at the 2016 Women Advance IT Conference. It felt intimidating, I asked myself, “Am I an ally”? It was the beginning of a journey. I was willing to start on journey to promote a more diverse organization in an effort to be a better organization.  Allyship means being engaged, learning about current topics and issues. Use what resources are at my disposal to help our women counterparts.

AM – What I look for in a male ally is for someone willing to take action. When discussing this with my partner, he did not believe there is gender inequality, but after I made him aware, he noticed it at his own place of employment. Work and credit were misapplied to him. No one took action to correct this. He struggled as he asked himself “what should I have done in that moment”? He would like to be more fluid bias interrupter.

LaGrew_EducauseQ2: Can you share an experience that showed you the value in being a male ally?

HT – I can’t pinpoint any specific moment or incident. Now that I am more aware, I’ve noticed people taking credit and giving away credit. I also noticed the (verbal) interrupting cited widely in literature I’ve read. I encourage you to be aware of your own actions: do you interrupt people? do you interrupt women?

JL – I have a 16 year old daughter. I want her to see all of her own possibilities and have a future without facing a barrier she may feels she can’t overcome. I attended a discussion at a Big Ten Leadership Conference that encouraged openess, honesty and open dialog. Unfortunately, attendees were all communicating very, very cautiously. They were all careful with what they were saying, afraid to step on toes. That group put in so much time, energy and effort to build a culture and rapport but it was still so hard to have an honest dialog. We all trusted each other but struggled to talk it out.  The message I got was ‘we are still not comfortable talking about this/ are in an uncomfortable situation’. There is fear around the discussion, and I have felt it myself but I need to embrace it. I need to engage in the conversation that people are thinking and feeling and engage in all the emotion behind it.  I know I am going to screw up:  I need to hear feedback and then do something about it and around it. We need to be willing to learn along the way and acknowledge that we may stumble.

Brenda Spychalla – We need to acknowledge that we are all vulnerable in this conversation and that all are awkward in their first steps when entering this conversation…and that’s okay.

Q3: What are some initial steps individuals and campuses are taking to engage men in becoming allies?

JL – The seeds were planted at a Big Ten Leadership group after having a conversation with other men. We asked each other:

  • How do we get women more invested in IT programs?
  • How can we get something things moving?
  • How can we get men involved?
  • What would it take?
  • Who would be interested?

I was motivated to take some action. I sought out and received some great feedback and perspective from wife. Then, I went to our local Women in IT program coordinator Brenda Spychalla, and learned about this thing called “a Male Ally” and asked myself:

  • What does this look like?
  • How can we build a community and candidly discuss, “What is a Male Ally”?

Since then, we have been reaching out on campus to get support and generate interest. We are hoping early next year to create a space to talk about this.  We have people who are interested in starting this conversation. It wont be a session where you sit in a room an bare your deepest feelings. At this point its a all a grass roots effort where we talk to a few people, they are talking to a few more people. On the UW campus, we have a number of diversity efforts. In User Services we have a community, but I think this challenges us as a larger community.

To see and hear the rest of this Coffee and Conversation, please click here and listen to its entirety .


While there is no standard definition for “Male Ally”, here are a few timely articles to help spark some thought and discussion.

Check back here at the US Newsletter, we will keep you posted on developments for the upcoming UW-WIT event currently in the works.


Last week I got to take part in one of my favorite professional development experiences, the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, which took place in Philadelphia. This conference “hosts professionals and technology providers from around the world to enable you to network, share ideas, and discover solutions to today’s challenges.” This year’s conference brought together 8,000 higher education professionals from 43 different countries.

If you haven’t heard of EDUCAUSE, or had an opportunity to get involved, I would really encourage you to do so. In addition to conferences (national and regional), EDUCAUSE is a great resource for staying up to date on higher education IT trends and resources (see image). They are also a wealth of information when it comes to developing your career. EDUCAUSE has something for everyone no matter if you’re interested in learning more about our industry as a whole, or just a specific facet.

While I attended many great sessions, I wanted to share a few of them and some additional resources:

Michael Cato (CIO @ Vassar College) gave a great talk entitled “Pursuing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Strategic Advantage.” In his talk, he referenced The Diversity Bonus by Scott E. Page which just may become the next US reading series book.

Katherine Milkman (Assoc. Prof. at Univ of Penn) gave a tremendous keynote on “Decision Biases: Improving the Quality of our Everyday Decisions.” You can see more of her work here: http://www.katherinemilkman.com/multimedia/

Liv Gjestvang (Assoc VP of Acad Tech at Ohio State), this year’s Rising Star Award winner, shared some tremendous insights on “Designing Workplaces That Matter.” You can read more about her and her background here (scroll to bottom).

As you look to learn more about IT in higher education, or what professional development resources are out there, I hope that you consider EDUCAUSE. Whether it’s reading their monthly publication (EDUCAUSE Review), joining an email discussion group, or participating in the other opportunities I’ve mentioned, know that it will be a valuable use of your time. EDUCAUSE has a way of opening doors to opportunities both in your thinking and in your career.

If you’d be interested in learning more, or getting involved in EDUCAUSE, please let me know. I’d be happy to connect you to the right resources and people.


contributed by Brandon Bernier, Director of User Services

2017 Diversity Forum Workshop: “Developing Meaningful Conversations Around Microaggressions”

DDEEA Diversity Forum 2017 Nov. 7, 2017. (Photo © Andy Manis)Union South’s Varsity Hall was packed to the brim for the 2017 Diversity Forum. Bright and early on the morning of November 9, the Conference Welcome was presented by UW Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf. Opening ceremonies included a review of  UW Native November events by the  Bear Clan Singers out of Mauston, Wisconsin. The drumming group was led by Mr. Gerald Cleveland, his two grandsons and his great-grandson, all from the Ho Chunk nation. They sang two songs, a “Welcome” song and a “Let us Begin” song.

There were 750 people registered for this event and 80 people on the waitlist. Organizers of the event said that most sessions had every seat filled and had many standing.


The 10:30am Breakout Session navigated some very tricky waters as it implemented a 90 minute, introductory level session around the awareness and management of microaggressions. The goal was for attendees was twofold; 1) to be more comfortable having conversations about microaggressions and 2) to be more likely to address them if they witnessed one.

Workshop attendees were asked to get into groups of 3 or 4 to have facilitator guided discussions. After personal introductions and citing favorite things about their own jobs, participants were presented with:

Workshop participants were gently and thoughtfully led through a series of discussion questions. While each of us has personally witnessed / or experienced microaggressions, this workshop gave detailed examples of microaggressions many may have not experienced based on; religion, class, gender, sexual orientation and/ or disability.Poster

Facilitators then asked each table to share their findings. Participants did their best to be open, vulnerable and candid throughout the small group sessions. Acknowledging that awareness and learning to interrupt bias will be an ongoing process, all tables shared some very useful methods of bringing awareness and interruption to microaggressions:

Paraphrase or repeat back what was said – Restating a comment clarifies it for you and for them.

Ask for more information – This can be a follow-up to paraphrasing. Try to understand why people hold those views thereby inviting dialog.

Express empathy first – Listen for the feeling and energy behind the statement. People may make biased comments when they are feeling frustrated, disappointed, or angry.

Share your own process – Talk about how you used to hold a similar view and the factors leading to change.

Separate intent from impact – Acknowledge that someone may have said something biased or inappropriate without meaning to. Don’t automatically assign negative motives.

Use humor – Sometimes exaggerating the comment or using gentle sarcasm makes the point. However, you need to be sure that it is heard as humor or sarcasm, not a reinforcement of prejudice. This is where tone is particularly important.

Finally, acknowledge that we are all human and subject to making mistakes and subsequently that we are all “works in progress”.

Other resources:


Career Exploration Fair on November 8th!

Interested in early- to mid-career opportunities at DoIT? Then don’t miss the DoIT Career Exploration Fair! You can learn DoIT job requirements, identify your skills & interests, and explore other professional development opportunities.

This event is from 10am to 1pm at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery DeLuca Forum. And it’s free!

You can also connect with colleagues from across DoIT during one of two speed-networking sessions! Networking not your thing? Have no fear – they’ll provide you with question prompts to help guide the conversation. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with several DoIT colleagues over the course of 30 minutes and learn from their career experiences during this facilitated discussion.

Please follow the links below to register for one of the speed-networking sessions:



contributed by Jaclyn Zavoral

Meet the Final Candidates for Assistant Director of DoIT Tech Store Operations: Allison Olson

The Position

In August of 2017, the DoIT User Services Search and Screen Committee began the process of filling the vacant position of Assistant Director of DoIT Tech Store Operations.

Retail Locations 3
Full-time Staff 18-20
Student Staff 20-25
Departments to oversee
Retail Sales
Technical Support
Repair Services
UW Missions and Commitments to Support
DoIT Foundational Principles
UW Academic
UW Research
UW Outreach

The last week of September, the search was narrowed to three finalists. Each finalist was assigned his/her own day to spend with User Services Staff and undergo the following final screening activities:

  • Welcome and Tech Store Tour
  • Interview Screen and Search Committee
  • Deliver a Presentation to User Services Staff
  • Lunch with the Leadership Team
  • Tech Store Staff Panel Q & A
  • Interview with Brandon Bernier, User Services Director

Continue reading “Meet the Final Candidates for Assistant Director of DoIT Tech Store Operations: Allison Olson”

2017 Expanding Your Horizons: Call for Presenters

For over 50 years, the Expanding Your Horizons conference has helped young women in grades 6-8 learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM). We would like to invite you to join us as a presenter and role model at this conference, which will be held on Saturday, NOVEMBER 4, 2017.

windowsAs you may recall, at the EYH Conference, small groups of girls accompanied by a college student leader, attend three hands-on career sessions led by presenters like you. Typically, sessions are held at workplaces, both on the UW campus and off site. Each career session is 60 minutes long.

You can lead up to three sessions and select which time slots work best for you. We encourage you to register for as many sessions as you can. Many of our presenters work in teams, so feel free to recruit co-presenters if you like (women only, please, and be sure to list their names on your registration form). presentIt is not necessary for you to know what your career session activity will be at this time. Additional information about the conference including photos of past career sessions can be found on our website: http://eyh.wisc.edu/.

Please register using this online form by September 22; we will email you a confirmation of your registration details by September 25. If you know of other professional women or graduate students who might be interested in presenting at EYH, please email us at eyh.uwmadison@gmail.com.


Thank you
for considering volunteering some of your weekend time with EYH. Together we can help girls stay excited about STEM and encourage them to keep all career doors open.


We’ll leave you with a few quotes from EYH students:

  • “It was interesting and fun which helped me a lot for my future”;
  • “The hands on stuff that helped us learn was really cool!”; and
  • “[It] made me think of science in a new way.”


contributed by Heather Daniels, UW Secretary of the Academic Staff