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 the Curriculum Committee members are:

  1. To evaluate course proposals
  2. To become a liaison for a few Course Coordinators.

Other opportunities within the Curriculum Committee are:

  • Locate and reserve suitable meeting rooms for courses.
  • Assist course coordinators to learn how to manage an online course using Google Meet.
  • Co-plan the semi-annual Open House with other PLATO committees.
  • Plan a Coordinator Lunch once a year to honor and thank current coordinators.

The 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 contact committee chair: Paul Thompson (

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Diversity Committee

The Diversity Committee works to foster and assist PLATO’s committees to address learning and teaching about the issues of diversity, inequality, and injustice in the greater Madison community.

Click here for their current Social Justice Events and Reading Recommendations

Contact Committee Co-Chairs Kathy Michaelis ( or Rick Orton ( for the Diversity Committee 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. It 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.

The Executive Committee currently meets at 10 am on the first Friday of the month at the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies, 21 N. Park St., 7th Floor. 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.

The Finance 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 information on quarterly Finance Committee meetings, contact the PLATO Treasurer or the PLATO Office.

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Fund Development Committee

The Fund Development 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.

The duties of the Committee involve the following:

  1. Develop promotional brochures and letters.
  2. Coordinate with DCS to send mailings and/or electronic communication to members soliciting contributions to the PLATO Education Fund.
  3. Make recommendations to the PLATO Board about annual distributions from the Fund for scholarship assistance.
  4. Plan 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: Rod McKenzie at or 608 444-5935.

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Membership and Communication Committee

The Membership and Communication  Committee is responsible for helping the organization optimize members’ experiences and satisfaction with PLATO.  The 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.  

The committee also is 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. 

The Membership and  Communication Committee meets several times each year, as needed, however there are no regularly scheduled meeting times. To find out information about the committee, please contact the Membership and Communication Committee Chair, Hedy Lukas (

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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:

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

Meetings are scheduled on the 4th Monday of each of the following months: May, August, October, January, and March. Meeting locations vary. To learn more, please contact committee co-chairs, Sue Dentinger ( or Janet Cabot (

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The Technology Committee

The Technology Committee is responsible for:

  1. Providing technology services

  • Researching, evaluating, and recommending new technologies for PLATO use.
  • Assisting other committees in the adoption and use of technology.

  2. Maintaining the PLATO website

  • Overseeing all website work.
  • Recruiting and training website volunteers.

  3. Assisting committees with data retrieval and analysis.

  4. Recommending data archival storage and retention policies.

The Technology Committee meets as needed (typically the afternoon of the first Monday of the month).  Contact committee chair, Scott Kolar with any questions or for more information about the committee.

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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 William Eisinger,

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PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

For more information about PLATO, contact:

Christine Bartlett
UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

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