School of Education News

Edlefson to retire as director of Child Care and Family Resources

July 30, 2015

Lynn Edlefson, who has served as director of UW-Madison’s Office of Child Care and Family Resources since 1997, is leaving her post next week and retiring from the university in October.

Edlefson is remaining on campus to help transition Cigdem Unal into her role as the next director of the Office of Child Care and Family Resources (OCCFR). Unal, who for the past six years has served as Director of Child and Family Centers at Madison Area Technical College, begins her new position as head of OCCFR on Aug. 4.

Prior to working at Madison Area Technical College, Unal served for eight years as director of the Children’s Center at UW-Whitewater, and previously also worked as a teacher at UW-Madison’s Eagle’s Wing child care program in Eagle Heights.

Lynn Edlefson
The Office of Child Care and Family Resources promotes the academic and professional goals of the UW-Madison community through the administration of early education and family support programs. Although its mission stretches across campus, OCCFR is administratively housed within UW-Madison’s School of Education.

“Lynn Edlefson took the individual childcare programs across UW-Madison and pulled them together to offer a strong constellation of services for campus families,” says School of Education Dean Julie Underwood. “She improved the services that we offer in early education and care, and worked incredibly hard with a range of stakeholders, including the Associated Students of Madison, in an effort to better understand and support student parents’ needs for child care. Lynn truly did a fantastic job.”

Adds Underwood: “It’s also great to welcome Cigdem back to campus.”

During her nearly two decades on campus, Edlefson initiated multiple new services, including infant care and the implementation of a campus master plan for child care expansion. She also secured federal CCAMPIS funds through the U.S. Department of Education to assist qualifying student-parents with the high cost of child care. In recognition of her commitment to campus families, Edlefson received the Academic Staff Award for Excellence in Leadership in 2004 and the Champion Award from the Women’s Philanthropy Council in 2011.

“Lynn significantly shaped and expanded the availability and quality of child care programs and services on campus,” says Roseanne Clark, associate professor of psychiatry and a member of the University Child Care Committee. “Lynn, who is remarkable at keeping women faculty, staff and students and their young children in mind, has worked tirelessly with campus administrators, offices, departments and student organizations to create productive relationships on behalf of the parents and their children who are served in campus early education and care programs.”

Adds Joan Ershler, the director of the Waisman Early Childhood Program and also a member of the University Child Care Committee: “During her time with us, Lynn has brought the issue of the importance of children's and families' well-being to the table, relating it not only to the quality of child care, but to the ability of student parents to earn a degree and the advancement of women's careers on the UW-Madison campus. She has worked to promote collaborations across city agencies, the Madison School District and the university with great success. From the details of program operation and teachers' salaries, to the cohesiveness of the child care system within and across UW campuses, Lynn has forged relationships on behalf of children and has never forgotten that we all need to play.”

With seed money gifted in honor of Edlefson’s retirement, the Office of Child Care and Family Resources has established a fund at the University of Wisconsin Foundation to support early education students and professionals at UW-Madison. The gift funds will allow for a dollar-to-dollar match for every donation up to a ceiling of $5,000. The goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year.

The Lynn E. Edlefson Fund for Early Education Advancement is designed to support stipends for student practicums in five campus child care centers and to support current early educators who wish to pursue ongoing education and professional development.

For more details about this fund, email Teri Stratton, OCCFR Development Specialist, or call her at 608-890-0436. To make a gift online visit:

“I’m very proud of the work and care that our programs provide on a daily basis to support children and families,” says Edlefson. “Our educators are excellent in their knowledge of early education, their delivery of high-quality services and most importantly, their commitment to always focusing on the relationships that are essential to and for the families we serve. These teachers make it possible for student parents to graduate and our faculty and staff to contribute in so many ways at UW-Madison. Our academic mission keeps us focused on training future teachers and making research opportunities available.”

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