Academic Staff Assembly Document #425
8 March 2010
Memorial Resolution of the Academic Staff Assembly Of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the death of Robert G. Heideman, Director Emeritus,
Office of Educational Placement and Career Services, School of Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert G. Heideman, 86, director emeritus of the Office of Educational Placement and Career Services in the School of Education, passed away December 22, 2009, as the result of a sudden illness. With his lifelong passion for education and public service, Bob made a difference in the lives of countless individuals on the UW-Madison campus and in the surrounding community.
Bob received a B.S. in science from what was then Oshkosh State Teachers College and continued his education at UW-Madison, where he earned an M.S. in zoology (1952) and a Ph.D. with a double major in anatomy and counseling (1962). Bob joined the Office of Educational Placement and Career Services as assistant director in 1960 and was named director in 1967, a position he held until his retirement in 1987.
Among his many responsibilities, Bob served as campus coordinator of the Northern Nigeria Teacher Education Program, as acting director of the School of Education Counseling Center, and as coordinator of the School’s Fulbright Program in Santiago, Spain. He was the author of numerous publications relating to education research, and he served in many leadership positions. These included chair of the Associated Organizations for Teacher Education and member of the board of directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Bob was involved in all aspects of University life. Students were his first love and priority but he was a mentor, coach, and friend to colleagues in all corners of the campus. If there was an inequity anywhere, Bob was there. As early as 1978, he was calling for the creation of an Ombuds Program for employees to address climate issues in an informal, non-confrontational way. The success of the current Ombuds Program is a testament to his wisdom.
As a trend watcher, Bob was the primary author of "Seminal Points," a manuscript produced in 1987 that documented ten trends that the university needed to pay attention to if it wanted to remain a first class institution. Several years later, Chancellor Ward put together a landmark group to flesh out what was to become "The Futures Report," a blueprint for the UW for the next decade. Most of the themes harked back to Bob's report. He also orchestrated a five-year follow-up in 1992, "Critical Issues," to see how the campus was progressing.
Bob was a champion of academic staff rights and responsibilities. As an administrator, he chose not to serve directly in governance groups but provided strategies, support and inspiration through his role in the Madison Academic Staff Association. Serving in the president series, he made sure that MASA was revitalized so it did not fold with the awarding of governance rights. He understood thoroughly the benefit of a separate professional association in keeping academic staff issues alive and well. His commitment to academic staff issues is recognized and honored by the Robert Heideman Award for Excellence in Public Service and Outreach given annually as part of the UW-Madison Academic Staff Excellence Awards.
Following his retirement in 1987, Bob dedicated his time to service and philanthropy, partnering with his wife, Carroll, a retired elementary school teacher, on numerous community projects. By the time they were honored with the Philanthropy Day Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2007, this dynamic duo had participated in nearly 36,000 hours of volunteer service. For years they have donated more than one third of their after-tax income to giving – an amazing commitment that has benefited many area organizations. Bob and Carroll have been especially generous to the School of Education, where they established four major scholarship funds. Their gifts have provided financial support and recognition for deserving students, staff and alumni, while also serving as examples and inspiration for others.
Bob took an active role in many initiatives benefiting children and saw the need for organizations to collaborate and work synergistically. He helped to bring people and organizations together to help further this common mission – to provide enriching experiences in science to all children, particularly those of low-income backgrounds. Bob was very active in the Downtown Madison Kiwanis and gave many hours of volunteer service to achieve the organization’s mission to “serve the children of the world.” Along with Lyle Hill (a UW-Madison CALS alumnus), Bob worked hand-in hand with the UW Center for Biology Education to develop the vision and ensure the continuation of the ARMS (Adult Role Models in Science) program. Twenty years later, ARMS continues to connect students to caring, qualified adults to spark and support their interest in science. Bob was a science mentor to the children of Emerson School for many years and a source of great inspiration to their teachers.
Bob is survived by his wife, Carroll, two stepchildren, Jeffrey Grathwohl and Jill Jacobs, and three grandsons. He is greatly missed by his many friends at the School of Education and the University, who will always remember his unwavering optimism, his kind spirit, his creative thinking, and his passion for public education. Always ready to right a wrong, Bob was determined to make the world a better place. Through his and Carroll’s generous gifts and selfless service to the community, they have done exactly that. Under Carroll's watchful eye, with Bob whispering in her ear, their legacy will continue.
Jo Ann Carr, Judy Holt, Dolly Ledin, Kevin Niemi, Char Tortorice