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Virtually everything that you enjoy about PLATO – the courses, the lectures, the trips, the publications – is available solely because of the efforts of members like yourself. Committees are comprised of member volunteers.  Serving on a committee is one way to participate and contribute.  See below for more details about the various committees or check out the volunteers page for additional info.  

Curriculum Committee

The two main responsibilities of this committee are:

  1. Evaluating course proposals.
  2. Becoming a liaison for a few course coordinators.

Other opportunities within this committee are:

  • Course planning.
  • Host location planning and management.
  • Coordinator care and recruitment.
  • Assist coordinators in learning and managing course technologies.
  • Write Curriculum Showcase articles and create ideas for Facebook & Weekly Update Newsletter.
  • Maintain Curriculum web pages.

This committee meets the first Friday of every other month.

Time of Meeting: 1:30 p.m. Location: Until further notice, our meetings will be held virtually via video conference.

For more information please contact committee chair Kathie Burman (

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Diversity Awareness Committee

This committee helps PLATO implement its core value and aspiration to “Be an inclusive and welcoming organization to all members of the greater Madison community who wish to continue learning and/or teaching in retirement.” Diversity has varied definitions. It often refers to a broad range of characteristics including, but not limited to, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and cultural background. This committee seeks to promote awareness in PLATO about social justice, inclusion, and diversity issues in all its varieties.

This committee seeks to promote awareness about diversity issues by:

  • Offering support and information to assist interested course coordinators in developing components in existing courses.
  • Offering support for and initiating new courses to increase awareness and appreciation.
  • Compiling references to books, films, podcasts etc. to inform interested PLATO members.

  • Identifying and recommending lecture presentations and field trips to the Special Events Committee.

Click here for their current Social Justice Events and Reading Recommendations.

Contact committee chair MaryJo MacSwain ( for the meeting schedule. 

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Executive Committee

This committee oversees the operations of PLATO. Its membership consists of the PLATO President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Immediate Past President.

This committee is responsible for:

  1. Advising on Board agenda.
  2. Authorizing expenditures subject to Board approval when deemed necessary by the committee or the Board.
  3. Implementing Board decisions or overseeing their implementation by others.
  4. Providing oversight for day-to-day operations of the organization.
  5. Planning of the Annual Membership Meeting.
  6. Evaluating organizational needs and making recommendations to the Board.

This committee meets on the second Friday of odd-numbered months at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. Contact the PLATO President (, or the PLATO Office ( for updates on meeting dates, times, and location.

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Finance Committee

This committee provides advice and counsel to the Treasurer concerning the development and oversight of the PLATO budget and expenditures, other financial activities, and business functions and initiatives.  The Treasurer, President, and President-Elect will serve on the committee as ex officio members.  Additional committee members will be selected by the Treasurer in consultation with the ex officio members.

This committee is responsible for :

  1. Reviewing and monitoring PLATO financial statements on a quarterly basis.
  2. Participating in the development of the annual budget each spring.
  3. Reviewing the annual federal and state tax returns prior to their submission.
  4. Discussing and making recommendations about PLATO Fund management issues.
  5. Reviewing detailed PLATO general ledger documents on a quarterly basis.
  6. Participating in financial planning for new PLATO initiatives.
  7. Making recommendations about dues increases and amounts.
  8. Providing advice and counsel to the Treasurer in the development of the Memorandum of Agreement with UW-Madison.
  9. Performing other duties as needed to further the financial and business interests of PLATO.

For more information on quarterly committee meetings, contact the Treasurer (, or the PLATO Office (

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Fund Development Committee

This committee oversees the fund raising activities for PLATO. The purpose of these activities is to provide scholarships to adult students with significant financial needs who are returning to college to finish their education. The PLATO Education Fund is administered through the University of Wisconsin Foundation and coordinated with the Division of Continuing Studies at UW. All donations to the PLATO Education Fund are tax deductible.

This committee is responsible for:

  1. Developing promotional brochures and letters.
  2. Coordinating with DCS to send mailings and/or electronic communication to members soliciting contributions to the PLATO Education Fund.
  3. Making recommendations to the PLATO Board about annual distributions from the Fund for scholarship assistance.
  4. Planning for future fund raising activities to support the purposes of the Fund.

There are no regularly scheduled meeting times. To find out information about the next meeting, please contact the committee chair: Mike Kernats (

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Membership and Communication Committee

This committee is responsible for helping the organization optimize members’ experiences and satisfaction with PLATO. This committee communicates with new members as appropriate to ensure a positive introduction to the organization and conducts periodic member satisfaction surveys, analyzing and synthesizing the data to identify opportunities and trends in members’ interests.  

This committee is also charged with the development of communications that enable interested parties to understand PLATO’s mission and the learning and teaching opportunities it provides to participants. The communication team serves as a “consultant” to other PLATO committees and members seeking guidance in the preparation of PLATO-related communications.  In the event the PLATO Board determines that a membership growth target is desired, the membership committee will be responsible for recruiting new members to address those growth goals. 

This committee meets several times each year, as needed, however there are no regularly scheduled meeting times. For more information, please contact the committee chair, Steve Sparks (

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Special Events Committee

This committee is responsible for planning lectures, local tours, theater trips, field trips, and social events, including the following:

  • Planning lectures by authors, educators, scientists and business people on topics of interest to PLATO members.
  • Planning, developing, and publicizing educational or social tours.
  • Planning, developing, publicizing and conducting walks in city and county parks, trails and conservancies.
  • Planning social events , including the Annual Meeting and Spring and Fall Course Preview.

Meetings ares held virtually via Google Meet and are scheduled on the 4th Monday of each of the following months: May, August, October, January, and March. This committee is currently seeking a new committee chair; please contact the PLATO Office ( for more information about this committee and the open chair position. 

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The Agora Editorial Board

The Agora is PLATO’s literary and arts journal, created in the spirit of PLATO’s mission to promote intellectual and cultural enrichment opportunities for the senior community. The Agora is a venue for sharing the creative literary and artistic talents of PLATO members in a periodic volume of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and pictorial and photographic art. The first volume was printed in 2011. It is currently a biennial publication.

The Agora is distributed to PLATO members and made available to the wider Dane County community through libraries, senior centers, retirement centers, and our website.

The Agora Editorial Board solicits submissions for the journal, provides juries to review submissions and select items for publication, oversees production of the journal, and raises funding to support printing and distribution costs.

Current and past issues of The Agora are available on the PLATO website under the The Agora tab.

For questions, contact Managing Editor Edie Urness-Pondillo (

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PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supported in part by:

Facebook: @platomadison


6209 Mineral Point Road #203
Madison, WI 53705

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