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:

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

All-Staff Lunch on 11/9/2017

Just a reminder that we will have our All-Staff Lunch gathering on Thursday, November 9th from 11:45am to 1:00pm in 3139A/B/C.

We have the room starting at 11:30 so feel free to come by early for some extra social time and to get your food.

Our agenda for this meeting:

  • New staff introductions
  • Recognize staff for their achievements
  • Discuss the activities of some of our strategic projects
  • Tech Store updates
  • Update from Brandon on departmental activities

As always food is provided and there will be gluten free and vegetarian options available. As a reminder we are a bring your own beverage event.


contributed by The All-Staff Planning Team

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:


User Services Phase 3 Space Redesign: Update

The User Services Phase 3 Space Redesign team was on hiatus after the proposal from our planning stage was submitted, but we have reconvened and we’re excited to inform you that we’ve received approval from DoIT leadership to move forward! We’ve made some updates to the project’s Central Repository on DoITNet:

Expect to hear from us in the future via meetings, e-mails, surveys, etc. We’ll have a lot more information for you as we hash out details with FP&M. In the meantime, take some time to look around your work area and think about what things you use often and what things are collecting dust. Rearranging our space will provide a great opportunity to get rid of clutter that’s accumulated over the years.

Reach out to us via email if you have any questions! As a reminder, team members/alderpersons are:

  • Abrianna Barca
  • Chris Poser
  • David Schlaefer
  • Karl Weirauch
  • David Peterson
  • Will Crickman
  • Jacyln Zavoral

contributed by Will Crickman

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

Students’ beliefs about Social Media in the Workplace


College students are mass consumers of social media. A couple weeks ago some student staff in User Services posted a short video about the UWNet outage that campus was experiencing. So, I found myself curious about students’ beliefs regarding social media and the workplace. I interviewed six students in User Services to get their perspectives regarding posting work-related content on social media.  (Note: all quotes below were provided anonymously by the students who were interviewed.)

Continue reading “Students’ beliefs about Social Media in the Workplace”

Focus Groups – gaining insight into your customers’ needs

As part of our Voice of the Customer initiative, the Great Service Team (GST) piloted the use of focus groups for gathering customer data. Our initial focus groups with Departmental Support contract customers proved successful. Customers identified strengths of their desktop support team along with some specific areas for improvement. Based on this feedback, team leads have been able to set clear goals for process improvement as they continue to engage with the customers.

Continue reading “Focus Groups – gaining insight into your customers’ needs”