Posters and participants at Showcase

IT initiatives earn Administrative Improvement Awards

In addition to the chance to learn about innovations and successes across the university, this year’s Showcase celebrated some key IT projects in the annual Administrative Improvement Awards.

Showcase 2023 resources now available online

Showcase, which took place April 20 at Union South, highlighted improvements, innovations and best practices implemented in the past year that contribute to organizational excellence at UW–Madison. Resources from the 2023 event are now available on the Showcase website. These include breakout session summaries and materials, as well as PDFs of all posters from the event. The slide deck from the keynote presentation by Deborah Biddle, “Enhancing Workplace Diversity and Driving Organizational Excellence,” is also shared online.

The 2024 event is scheduled for April 18. Learn more at

Campus Cloud Infrastructure transformation

Chief Information Officer Lois Brooks nominated the Campus Cloud Infrastructure (CCI) team for the 2023 Administrative Improvement Awards, sponsored by the vice chancellor for finance and administration. The awards recognize UW–Madison employees who demonstrate creativity, forward-thinking and dedication to advancing the university’s core teaching, research and outreach mission.

In nominating the CCI team, Brooks outlined the CCI team’s extensive work to re-think and re-engineer the cloud infrastructure service for the university, going far behind simply updating hardware. The end result? Dramatically ramping up capacity and performance—as well as slashing costs to university customers by 45%, offering them a competitive option in the marketplace. Throughout the project, Brooks noted, the CCI team seized opportunities to improve the service, directly responding to feedback from university customers about cost and efficiency.

Why is our new and improved cloud computing infrastructure so important? Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software, and setting up and running on-site data centers—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, and the IT experts needed to manage the infrastructure. And these costs can add up quickly.

For UW–Madison, the new Campus Cloud Infrastructure combines many of the benefits of cloud computing—including elasticity, scalability and ease of service delivery—with the access control, security and resource customization of an on-premises infrastructure. The initiative delivers a portfolio of shared, scalable IT infrastructure services designed to meet the needs of our campus partners.

“The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) is always working to provide IT solutions and services to our university partners that can be elegantly expanded across UW–Madison and UW System, ensuring that resources are used in the best possible way—both now and into the future,” Brooks noted in her nomination. “This CCI migration initiative is an exemplary model of this stewardship.”

Nominations are reviewed by UW–Madison employees who have received the award in the past, administrators, and subject matter experts in improvement and innovations efforts.

This year’s DoIT’s award recipients for the CCI transformation include project sponsor Tadd Smejkal, Systems Engineering & Operations (SEO) director, as well as the following SEO core team members:

  • Mark Nessel, associate director, Applications & Systems Engineering
  • Rhonda Davis, service coordinator
  • Drew Denson, private cloud technical lead
  • Michael Hopwood, private cloud engineer

Multi-hire functionality project

Brian Zimmerman, software development team lead for DoIT’s Student Applications team is also part of an Administrative Improvement Award-winning team this year, working with Catharine DeRubeis, Caitlin Riechers and the Office of Human Resources on Job and Employee Management System (JEMS) multi-hire functionality.

The new multi-hire functionality reduces data entry time for new hires and rehires from 5-6 minutes per employee to 1-2 minutes per employee, saving UW–Madison staff significant time, reducing data entry errors and increasing efficiency for divisions that hire multiple employees into identical positions.

Additional Administrative Improvement Award winners for 2023 include:

  • Computer Data and Information Science (CDIS) Enablement Project Team (Facilities Planning and Management)
    Kris Ackerbauer, Pam Barrett, Janine Glaeser, Jenee Jerome (Office of Strategic Consulting), Brent Lloyd, Duane Marlette, Silvie Marlette, Jim Martin (Office of Strategic Consulting), Craig Mayer, Bo Muwahid, Allison Sanders, Kirstin Selchow, Rob Shively, Joe Walters, Lori Wilson, Jesse Winters
  • Employee Compensation Compliance Implementation Team (Administrative Transformation Program)
    Kelly Belshaw, Ben Biltz, Betsey Kenyon (Office of Strategic Consulting), Kurt McMillen
  • Faculty Sponsored Research Dashboard (School of Nursing)
    Samantha Kimball, MBA; Staci T. Lowe, PhD; Kim Nolet, Nicci Schmidt, MS; Lindsey Steege, PhD; Breanna Weiss

Meet the 2023 Administrative Improvement Award winners