Dawn Crim, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Dawn CrimWhat brought you to UW–Madison? 

I came to UW–Madison in 1996 as a women’s basketball coach. I thought I would be here for 3-5 years, because I had no connections to Madison or Wisconsin.

Why did you decide to pursue graduate study? 

I came to UW–Madison with a master’s degree in counselor education. As I continued to move up in my career, moving into leadership roles in higher education, I wanted to continue adding knowledge and expertise and obtain a PhD, because that is the credential standard for leadership in higher education. I started my graduate studies at UW–Madison during the summer of 2016. I have taken one class every semester including summers to earn the degree.

What are your research interests?

My research interest is higher education leadership, and specifically the leadership trajectories and experiences of women and African Americans.

Could you share a little about your role at the Department of Safety and Professional Services?

I serve as the Secretary for Safety and Professional Services for the State of Wisconsin. As secretary, I lead an agency of 270 employees located in five offices around the state. We collaborate with constituents and stakeholders across a wide range of industries to promote safety and advance the economy. 

"As I continued to move up in my career, moving into leadership roles in higher education, I wanted to continue adding knowledge and expertise and obtain a PhD, because that is the credential standard for leadership in higher education. I started my graduate studies at UW–Madison during the summer of 2016. I have taken one class every semester including summers to earn the degree."

Dawn Crim

You have had a lot of experiences at UW–Madison. What has been the most meaningful experience?

There are too many to count. If I had to pick a few, I would say: My time leading the labor licensing committee in the Chancellor’s Office, working to ensure that clothes bearing the UW logo are made in the best conditions possible. I toured factories and met with workers in countries including San Salvador, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic, as well as reviewed Adidas’ books as part of quality assurance. We were the only university with that level of access. I also managed many student protests during that time, and worked with the City of Madison, new alcohol coordinator, MPD, and UWPD to change the Halloween event and culture to the ticketed event you now see annually on State Street. 

And lastly, working in the School of Education with the UW Foundation to create a fundraising campaign with an ambitious goal to raise more money than ever before to support scholarships and professorships. 

All of these experiences are meaningful because they contribute to higher education leadership in some form or fashion.

How will you celebrate your graduation? 

Attending graduation in person!!!!! Taking photos all around town. Sending the virtual link to family and friends. Going out to dinner with my husband and rock Dr. Elton Crim Jr. And taking a trip this summer to see family and friends out East.

What are your plans for the future? 

In the immediate future, I will continue serving as the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, then return to higher education in a leadership role. 

Thai Pavilion
The Thai Pavilion at Olbrich Gardens (Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay)

What is one thing every UW student should experience?

Definitely, experience the Memorial Union during an outdoor concert and venture off campus to Olbrich Gardens to see the Thai Pavillion or “sala” as it is known in Thailand — a gift to UW–Madison from the Thai government and the university’s Thai Alumni Association. The Chancellor’s Office works with Facilities Planning and Management and the City of Madison to keep up the pavilion. While working in the Chancellor’s Office, the crown princess of Thailand visited. I was among the group to receive her and plan a Thai festival to celebrate her visit and the pavilion — another UW–Madison meaningful experience.