Celebrating Innovation Behind the Mission: 2024 Administrative Improvement Award Recipients Announced

From its classrooms and labs to its administrative offices, the University of Wisconsin–Madison prides itself on fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. Honoring this spirit, the 2024 Administrative Improvement Awards recognize outstanding work in process redesign, process development, or customer service that results in improved efficiency, cost savings, increased revenue, enhanced service delivery, and overall operational excellence.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer is the executive sponsor of the Administrative Improvement Awards. “I am extremely pleased to see such a variety of nominated projects this year and so many examples of leveraging technology to support our work,” Cramer said. “It underscores a shared commitment to continuously improving the way work gets done and highlights that administrative improvement and innovation can come in many ways.”

Six team projects were selected to receive the award this year. The selection process includes a meticulous review by a committee of previous award recipients, experts in process improvement, and colleagues in finance and administration. A final selection team of administrators in finance and administration then determine the standout projects to be recognized for their improvement of administrative services and impact on the university’s mission.

The project teams will be recognized at a ceremony on April 18 at 3 p.m. at Union South. The Administrative Improvement Awards ceremony will immediately follow the UW–Madison Showcase event on a day that celebrates UW–Madison’s culture of innovation. All members of the campus community are invited to attend the ceremony and can RSVP here.

The following projects and team members will receive the 2024 Administrative Improvement Award.

Department of Medicine Central Finance Administrative Improvement Project

Mickie Dickrell and Jillian Raff

The Department of Medicine implemented Smartsheet to replace its time-consuming and manually managed financial spreadsheets. The team used the tool to streamline and automate tasks, leading to real-time financial reports, more transparency and clarity for leaders, and decreased administrative burden on staff. The successful transition to Smartsheet has prompted other integrations across the department that will benefit medical residents and staff.

Division of University Housing Single-Stream Recycling Transition

Travis Blomberg, Malorie Garbe, Jodi Krause, Carley Suemnicht, and Jeff Templin

Challenged by an outdated dual-stream recycling system that required separate collections for different materials, a subgroup of the Housing Sustainability Committee introduced a single-stream recycling approach. This transformation has led to substantial efficiencies and cost savings and has strengthened recycling awareness and practices among students living on campus.

PeopleSoft as a Service (PSaaS) Initiative

Scott Buckingham, Priya Chinthakayala, Lynnette Gerstner, Bruce LaBuda, Ryan Larscheidt, Dale Lucier, Jim Maufort, Tadd Smejkal, Aqueel Syed, Steve Tanner, and Anand Vangipuram

UW-Madison’s Division of Information Technology (DoIT) led the PeopleSoft as a Service (PSaaS) Initiative to create a centralized service model for Student Information Systems (SIS) technology for campuses within the Universities of Wisconsin system. Previously, each campus managed its own SIS, which was costly and led to duplicated efforts and staffing and security challenges. By centralizing the SIS, the DoIT reduced costs for the other campuses, enhanced security, and improved the service provided to each campus.

SOAR Advising Working Group

Kristin Armstrong, Jenny Binzley, Chris Diorio, Kelley Harris, Keri Johnson, John Klatt, Curt Lauderdale, Emily Loew, Diana Maki, Carren Martin, Cassie Sandberg, Amy Shannon, Alexis Steinbech, Darby Sugar, Jen Walsh, and Amy Zwaska

The SOAR Advising Working Group redesigned the advising structure during new student orientation to better support new students and advisors. The previous model was becoming unsustainable due to growing first-year student class sizes and the transition to virtual advising. The reimagined model has enhanced satisfaction for students and advisors, streamlined and standardized processes, and reduced administrative workload for employees involved in SOAR advising.

Social Work Instructional Planning Tool (IPT)

Peter Doksus, Russ Portier, Emmy Roper, and Stephanie Van Pay

The Social Work Instructional Planning Tool revolutionized curriculum planning by offering web-based software that consolidates various activities into one efficient system. This tool has improved coordination and planning speed, reduced time spent on teaching assistant and instructor teaching plans, reduced scheduling errors, and boosted confidence and reliability in the overall instructional planning process.

Student Affordable Housing Access Initiative

Helen Faith, Brenda Gonzalez, Nancy Lynch, Kristen McRoberts, Edward Stevens, Karla Weber Wandel, and Alex White

The Office of Student Financial Aid developed an eForm within the MyUW Student Center to streamline and expedite the application process for affordable off-campus housing. The Reduced Cost Housing eForm integrates data from the Student Information System (SIS) and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to improve the service provided to eligible students. The initiative served 222 students in Fall 2023.

Through efforts like the 2024 Administrative Improvement Award, UW–Madison continues to demonstrate its commitment to administrative excellence in service of the teaching, research, and public service mission and delivering a world-class student experience. Learn more about the awards here.