University of Wisconsin–Madison

What is Compliance?

Compliance is the action of understanding and adhering to prescribed laws, regulations, standards and policies. At UW-Madison, as is true throughout all of higher education, compliance impacts virtually every aspect of our instructional, research, and service endeavors. From animal research to civil rights protection to information security to tax law, compliance with a federal, state, or local law or regulation or UW System or campus policy touches all of us. As a result, every member of the UW-Madison community has a responsibility to ensure we are aware of and engaging in behaviors that comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Compliance is not policing behavior or looking for “wrong-doing”. It is an institutional commitment to establish a culture of “doing right”. An effective compliance environment keeps people safe and minimizes financial and reputational harm. Ultimately, compliance is a shared and collaborative goal that allows UW-Madison to do its best work in keeping with its standard of academic excellence and ethical best practices.

Office of Compliance Purpose and Charge

After a 2014 review of UW-Madison’s adherence to federal, state, UW System and campus rules governing campus operations (compliance) conducted at the request of Chancellor Rebecca Blank, greater coordination of campus compliance activities was identified as an institutional priority. As a result of this review, the Office of Compliance (OC) was established in mid-2016. In keeping with the approach of other peer institutions and in recognition of the university’s decentralized culture, primary compliance responsibility across the majority of compliance areas remains at the “field” level where specialized subject matter expertise exists. A few specific compliance areas however were identified for centralization within the Office of Compliance.

The role of the Office of Compliance across the majority of compliance areas is to support and provide greater coordination and communication among these compliance units. Office of Compliance deliverables at the institutional level include:

  • Review and maintain the UW-Madison Compliance Matrix which identifies individual compliance areas by categories, institutional leads, responsible offices, reporting and training obligations, and resources.
  • Develop the Campus Compliance Partners Network consisting of senior leaders in the primary compliance functional areas. The Network will facilitate horizontal communication, share best practices and other resources, and identify and address emerging areas of risk across the institution.
  • Promote a culture of compliance and ethical best practices through education and outreach.

Compliance areas that are now located within the Office of Compliance include:

Staff with expertise in these areas now report directly to the Director of Compliance. The Director of Compliance reports to the Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs.

The Office of Compliance website will continue to be developed as a centralized resource on compliance issues that impact the UW-Madison community. Please check back often for updates.

Contact or Visit Us
Phone: (608) 265-6018; Relay calls accepted
Fax: (608) 263-4725
Hours: Monday-Friday; 7:45am-4:30pm
361 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706