The University of Wisconsin furthered efforts to involve the public in the search for the next UW chancellor with the Search andScreen Committee’s second open forum held Wednesday afternoon.
David McDonald, chair of the committee and UW history professor, said committee members are interested in gathering the perspectives, ideas and clarification from communities across campus in the process of choosing the next chancellor.
McDonald said public forums are important because they allow an opportunity for the community to voice their opinions and create a set of criteria of what qualities they think the next UW chancellor should have.
“We need somebody who is not only able to bridge all these different constituencies, but also give us a common sense of mission,” McDonald said.
Civic Engagement Coordinator for University Health Services Katherine Loving said the next chancellor should be someone who is willing to interpret the Wisconsin Idea in new ways and put more resources behind that concept.
Loving said in terms of outreach, she is worried UW is lagging behind other similar universities.
“One of the things we really need to think about is what kind of leader is going to have a vision for our future as a public institution,” Loving said. “We need somebody who is really going to work on infrastructure, staffing and other issues related to how we are going to carry that out.”
McDonald said the implementation and carry-through of the Wisconsin Idea is something that has been, and always will be, very important to the university.
Sam Seering, UW student and shared governance chair of the Associated Students of Madison, said he believes the chancellor should work to find ways of connecting different areas and communities within the university to advance its mission.
Seering said ideally, the chancellor should reach out to governance groups on campus for an understanding of what issues are most important for students.
Ilene Seltzer, manager of the Student Information System in the Division of Enrollment Management, said the major distinction between other campuses and UW is that shared governance is real.
“Here, we actually do shared governance,” she said.
Seltzer said she was also worried the university’s global vision was not being adequately translated into the day-to-day activities of students, faculty and staff.
“It’s a matter of having someone who can articulate if this is a goal by working with various deans and directors and coming up with a process to move that goal forward,” Seltzer said.
Loving said shared governance has its roots in the Wisconsin Idea, and because of the importance of shared governance, the next chancellor should understand its importance at this university.
Seering added the level of engagement in decision-making at UW should continue with the chancellor. He said the chancellor should acknowledge decisions made have widespread effects and therefore should take into account all of those involved.
“The chancellor must understand that you have to go through all stakeholders when making a decision,” Seering said. “On this campus, when unilateral decisions are made, bad things tend to happen.”
When chosen, the new chancellor will be effective as of July 1, 2013.