Contact Us

Cynthia Brun

UW Oshkosh
Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement
800 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI  54901
Phone: (920) 424-1458
Toll-free: (800) INFO-UWO 
Fax: (920) 424-0235
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Join us for our next course offering:

Course Four: Personnel Administration

February 21-23, 2014 • Camp Douglas, Wis.

Register online today >>

Join us at Volk Field for our fourth course of the Chief Officer Program. In this course, participants will learn about administration duties in managing firefighting and emergency response personnel. 

Learning Outcomes

Course four focuses on the skills, knowledge and abilities chief fire officers need to know when managing personnel. After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe various elements of personnel management in the fire service.
  • Understand fire service demographics including diversity within your community.
  • Learn how federal and state statues impact fire service management.
  • Explain the difference between job analysis, job descriptions and job classifications.
  • Understand selection standards and methods for fire departments.
  • List the components of your promotional process.
  • Identify the elements of a performance appraisal system.
  • Outline the disciplinary process and how to perform it in your department.
  • Describe how the union and bargaining unity organization affects your department.


This course will be taught by James Austad. Austad is a 25 year veteran of the fire service, and he has spent the past 20 years with the Oshkosh Fire Department. He is the Battalion Chief in charge of the emergency medical services division for the Oshkosh Fire Department. Austad received an associated degree in Fire Protection from Fox Valley Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Silver Lake College and a master’s degree in Public Administration from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Austad also is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Officer Program. He is is accredited as a Chief Fire Officer, Chief EMS Officer, and Institution of Fire Engineers. Austad sits on numerous boards and committees including the gubernatorial appointed emergency medical services advisory board.  

Chief Officer Program

The Chief Officer Program (COP) is a collaborative initiative between UW Oshkosh and the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association (WSFCA) designed to provide officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire and emergency services administration.

The target audience of the program is officers in the fire industry and firefighters and emergency response personnel who desire to become officers.

Through six educational courses, the COP framework helps senior officers to strengthen their communication and leadership skills and gain a better understanding of public administration in fire and emergency services.

Chief Officer Program Curriculum

The program helps leaders develop sound critical thinking and problem solving sills,  oral and written communication skills, and knowledge in the areas of human resource management, fiscal management, and community risk assessment.

Participants will learn a variety of leadership and management skills through the six-course program. Each course consists of one weekend class of work, along with some reading and preparation before the weekend and some online work after.

    • Course 1: Relating to others through communication
    • Course 2: Improving your writing
    • Course 3: Leadership in the public sphere
    • Course 4: Personnel administration
    • Course 5: The budget process
    • Course 6: Risk management and strategic planning
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