Interim Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

The Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning leads UW–Madison’s educational enterprise through his work with Deans and Directors, programs, departments and units, and faculty, staff and students.

Dr. Christopher Olsen has been on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1995, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship here from 1992 to 1995. Along with maintaining an active research program from 1995-2011 devoted to influenza viruses, he has always had strong interests in teaching excellence, curriculum development and assessment, and interdisciplinary education; he was tenured in 2001 based on excellence in teaching, and promoted to professor in 2004.

Chris has published more than 65 refereed research and education journal articles, as well as numerous proceedings and book chapters. From November 2006 through August 2012, he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. During this tenure he led the development of a comprehensive outcomes assessment process for the DVM degree program; oversaw a broad-ranging curriculum review of the program; reformulated new student orientation activities; directed development and evaluation of a clinical competencies assessment program; led development of the dual DVM-MPH and DVM-Certificate in Global Health programs and the Food Animal Veterinary Medical Scholars admissions program; implemented a lecture capture system for courses in the DVM curriculum; and, provided administrative guidance in development of multiple academic and student affairs policies. In 2009-10 he completed the Joseph F. Kauffman Administrative Development Program, was a Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Academic Leadership Program Fellow in 2010-11, and is currently serving as an alternate member to the Institute of Medicine’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education. Chris is the recipient of several faculty honors, including the Norden Distinguished Teacher Award, election to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Teaching Academy, and the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Walter F. Renk Distinguished Professor Award. 


Educational Innovation is a coordinated campus effort to enhance teaching and learning, expand our capacity to reach more learners, and develop opportunities for fiscal efficiencies and new sources of revenue. Over 140 projects are in various stages of development/implementation across the campus, e.g., curriculum re-designs, piloting new pedagogies, professional development for faculty and staff in blended learning, technology-enhanced educational efforts, department restructuring, new postgraduate master degrees and certificates, and many more endeavors. This effort empowers and supports faculty and staff to be agents of change for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

University of Wisconsin-Madison students are beginning to reap the rewards of a campuswide effort to boost the value, quality and affordability of an undergraduate education, made possible by the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates. The initiative uses a supplemental tuition charge to invest in the quality of the undergraduate experience while also expanding the pool of need-based aid available for UW–Madison students and their families. 

Each spring, the University of Wisconsin-Madison organizes the Teaching and Learning Symposium, bringing together hundreds of people from across the campus to discuss cutting edge issues in teaching and learning and to share best-practices and ideas. The 2013 symposium focused on the theme: Sparking Innovation: Ideas to Impact. The 2014 symposium will take place May 19 and 20 in Union South. 

 The Wisconsin Experience describes in a single phrase what is special about getting an education at UW-Madison. It is grounded in high-impact educational practices and essential learning outcomes, which transcend a student’s overall educational experience no matter what their major.

Go Big Read has thousands of people reading, talking and sharing their reactions and opinions. That’s the idea: to engage students, faculty, staff and the entire community in a vibrant, academically driven experience. This open-ended, lively discussion is a platform for the exploration of important issues, from a range of perspectives. Join the conversation, read the book and bring your thoughts to the table.

Undergraduate learning experience

Undergraduate Symposium
General Education at UW–Madison
UW–Madison Essential Learning Outcomes
Undergraduate Departments and Programs

Academic enrichment

Center for the First-Year Experience
Office of Undergraduate Advising
First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs)
Learning communities
Undergraduate research opportunities
Service learning — Morgridge Center for Public Service
Undergraduate awards
Honors and scholars programs
Computing information for students
The Writing Center
Student Learning Support

Graduate learning experience

The Graduate School
Delta Program

Institute for Biology Education

Christopher W. Olsen

117c Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Dr.
Madison, WI 53705 
Tel. 608-262-5246

Professor of Public Health (Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine)

B.S., Biology, St. Lawrence University, 1979
D.V.M., Cornell University, 1982
Ph.D., Virology, Cornell University, 1992