Communication Arts Partners (CAPS)

CAPS Mission

Communication Arts Partners (CAPS) is an advisory and support group of Communication Arts alumni, faculty, and friends dedicated to advancing the mission, vision, and priorities of the Department of Communication Arts.

Working under the direction of and in collaboration with the leadership and faculty of the Department, CAPS members pursue the fulfillment of this mission by:

  1. Advocating on behalf of the Department. CAPS members act as Ambassadors, promoting current initiatives, nurturing a continued commitment to academic excellence, and actively participating in alumni outreach aimed at increasing awareness, stature, and support for the Department.
  2. Offering the Department insights and counsel. Leveraging their diverse collective knowledge and professional experiences, CAPS members provide advice and counsel at the request of the Department in matters relating to the preparation of students to enter the communication field and profession and also serve as a potential liaison for the Department’s current students to the professional world.
  3. Gifting their time, talent, and financial resources to the Department. Through the generosity of their time, expertise, and financial gifts, CAPS members take on an active and personal role in contributing to the financial and resource well-being of the Department.

CAPS members may access former meeting materials here:

Membership Appointments

The Chair of the Communications Arts Department and a UW Foundation representative serve as ex-officio members, with the Chair of the Department also leading CAPS.

CAPS membership will be comprised of a select group of 15-20 Active members and a flexible number of Emeritus members.

Both active and Emeritus members will be appointed to serve on CAPS by invitation only. Active and Emeritus CAPS members can nominate new members. The Department Chair, in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee, the UW Foundation representative, and CAPS Chair and Vice Chair, will select CAPS members who represent the diversity, breadth of occupational careers, and varied accomplishments of the Communication Arts alumni and faculty and make a commitment to the fulfilling the membership guidelines.

The Department Chair, in consultation with the UW Foundation representative, will appoint a CAPS Chair and Vice Chair, who will provide ongoing support in leading and managing CAPS.


Active CAPS members will typically serve a renewable term of three years, at the discretion of the Department Chair. Emeritus members will typically serve their term in perpetuity.

Members may be removed from CAPS for good cause shown (e.g., based on the Membership Guidelines) by the affirmative vote of the other CAPS members.

Membership Guidelines

Active CAPS membership status is achieved by fulfilling the following guidelines:

  • Participation in CAPS business meetings. CAPS typically holds two business meetings each year; once in the fall and again in the spring. Meetings are held on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and transportation and accommodations are the financial responsibility of individual members (and may be tax deductible).
  • Participation in ongoing CAPS initiatives. Based on the CAPS Business Plan, specific initiatives, and CAPS member expertise, CAPS members may be called upon to offer their time and talent (e.g., lead a specific project, participate in telephone calls, offer in kind/pro bono services if appropriate for a specific project, etc.) to implement various projects taken on by CAPS.
  • Annual financial pledge to the Department. In line with CAPS mission of financial stewardship, and to promote the long-term well-being of the Department, CAPS members are asked to give generously to the Department through an annual pledge. Active CAPS members are asked to make an annual minimum pledge of $1,500 to the Department. A portion of these gifts will be used to offset CAPS “operating expenses” (e.g., biannual meetings). The Department Chair may, on a discretionary basis and at the request of the individual CAPS member, waive all or part of the expected annual pledge.
  • Advocating on behalf of the Department. As appropriate, CAPS members may be called upon to advocate for the Department including peer-to-peer fund raising, communication with University and public officials, supporting internships for students, and similar activities.

Emeritus CAPS members are asked to continue to advocate on behalf of the Department and encouraged to continue a practice of giving generously to the Department.

The CAPS Business Plan is:

  • A “living” document that is developed collaboratively by the Department of Communication Arts and CAPS.
  • Directly tied to the Communication Arts Strategic Framework that is developed by the Department Chair and faculty, to ensure that the efforts of CAPS are aligned with the mission, goals, and tactical priorities of the Department.
  • A set of shorter-term and longer-term tactical initiatives and priorities that CAPS will implement to fulfill its mission.
  • Reviewed annually by CAPS, the Department Chair, and the faculty to assess progress against goals and to formulate new initiatives.

The inaugural CAPS Business Plan will be developed at the CAPS Fall, 2013 meeting. Using the Communication Arts Strategic Framework and facilitated brainstorming, CAPS membership will be called upon to identify specific shorter-term and longer-term initiatives for advancing the mission, vision, and priorities of the Department.