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Hillmer announces plans to retire, CALS will restructure administrative services in response 

Carol Hillmer, the associate dean for human resources in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, has announced her intention to retire later this spring. Hillmer’s retirement marks the end of 26 years of service to CALS, and a total of 44 years of service in the UW System. She came to CALS in 1995 as the department administrator in the department of dairy science. In 1999, she took a position as research administrator within the CALS Research Division, eventually becoming a senior leader in the Research Division and Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station in 2002, as assistant dean. In 2008, Hillmer was named the first assistant dean for CALS HR, then as associate dean in 2015.

Under her leadership, Hillmer led significant operational improvement efforts in CALS Administration, in both the Research Division and Human Resources, establishing strong units serving the needs of the college. A respected advisor on administrative policies, Hillmer has contributed to and led numerous college, campus and System-level committees and initiatives during her career. She has established successful partnerships within CALS and across campus. She has been instrumental in establishing a very successful service model where CALS HR professionals are embedded in specific units, but report through the college HR structure. Additionally, she has provided opportunities and mentorship to many throughout her career. Her commitment and dedication to CALS and UW are applauded.

In the wake of this news and other vacancies, CALS will make some modest restructures to administrative services. As part of this effort, CALS Office of Human Resources will report to Associate Dean for Finance and Administration Angela Seitler. In addition to realizing cost savings, this change better aligns with administrative transformation efforts and the central UW-Madison structure, where human resources reports to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. Seitler’s portfolio, which includes Business Services, post-award research administration, the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station, and Administrative Computing Services/CALS IT, will expand to include Human Resources. This is an organizational structure similar to that currently used by some other UW schools and colleges.

On March 1, Cheryl Bowes will assume responsibility for overall HR operations as the interim HR Director of CALS Human Resources. Bowes joined CALS HR in 2010, has extensive HR experience and familiarity with CALS,  most recently serving as CALS HR Co-Associate HR Director.

HR contacts for CALS departments and units will remain the same. Hillmer will continue in her role of Associate Dean assisting with the transition through April.

During the upcoming year, CALS will further assess this administrative restructuring and administrative transformation efforts before appointing a long-term HR Director. Dean Kate VandenBosch said, “I am very pleased by the ongoing work of our HR team, and appreciate Cheryl and Angie taking on these new roles. While change can be difficult, Carol’s exemplary leadership has set the stage for a successful transition.”

At this time, public health guidelines prevent plans for in-person recognition of Carol’s contributions to CALS, but the college will look for opportunities to celebrate her wonderful career in CALS when restrictions ease.