Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Bob Lavigna

Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Affairs 

Bob Lavigna
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Phone: 608-890-3888
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Current CV

Bob Lavigna has more than 30 years of experience leading public sector human resources (HR) organizations and programs. He was assistant vice chancellor for human resources for the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 2010 to 2016. , he directs the centralized HR activities for a university ranked among the world’s top 25 research institutions.

From 2006 until 2010, Mr. Lavigna was vice president-research for the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing public service by inspiring new generations to serve, and helping to transform government. He directed research projects that found new ways for government to attract, develop and retain talent. His research portfolio included “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.”

Earlier, he was senior manager of consulting for CPS HR Services, an independent public agency that provides HR solutions to federal, state and local government agencies across the United States.

From 1991-2001, he was Administrator of the Wisconsin civil service system, and he directed a statewide labor-management cooperation program. Before being appointed to his Wisconsin position by the governor, Mr. Lavigna served for 17 years with the U.S. Government Accountability Office as an auditor, program evaluator, HR director of GAO’s largest field office, and assistant to the assistant comptroller general.

The organizations Mr. Lavigna has led have received innovation awards from the Ford Foundation, International Public Management Association for HR (IPMA-HR), Urban League, Council of State Governments, National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE), and others.

He is an elected gellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. His individual awards and honors include selection as a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine, the IPMA-HR Stockberger and Honorary Life Membership awards, and the “Rooney Leadership Award” from NASPE. He was the first HR official to be awarded a “Henry Toll Fellowship” from the Council of State Governments.

Mr. Lavigna is a past national president of IPMA-HR and a past national chair of the American Society for Public Administration Section on Personnel and Labor Relations. He writes frequently for professional publications and is the author of three book chapters on HR. His first book, Engaging Government Employees: Motivate and Inspire Your People to Achieve Superior Performance, was published by the American Management Association. He has spoken at conferences throughout the U.S. and in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East.

He has a bachelor of arts in public affairs from George Washington University and a master of science in human resources from Cornell University.

Current Course(s)