The Chancellor Search and Screen Committee held a public forum on Wednesday evening, providing Madisonians with the chance to add input before the committee decided what traits to look for in the new University of Wisconsin chancellor.
Search and Screen Committee Chair David McDonald said the issue of shared governance, with both the students and the state, is one of central concern.
“The students support an active role in shared governance,” McDonald said. “As it concerns relations with our friends and neighbors up the street [working at the capitol], we’ve certainly heard [queries of their involvement] at other committee meetings before. We will keep it very much in mind.”
McDonald said because of the forum meeting, the committee is likely to hold a higher value for a candidate that has the ability to engage with students, both in and out of the classroom, in order to better understand their opinions.
According to McDonald, the candidates should be able to solicit and act on the perspectives the students give with regard to the policies that affect them.
McDonald said the finalists for the position will each attend campus on specific tours once they have been decided upon. He said this is a good time for residents to get to meet the candidates on their own.
“Come to the sessions when the candidates are on campus and press onto them,” McDonald said. “Share your priorities.”
According to McDonald, it is important for students to be a part of the process.
Additionally, Jason Chiang, one of the student members on the committee, said it is important the candidates should be able to promote both the Wisconsin community around Madison, as well as the research happening on campus.
“A lot of the [research] we do is cutting edge,” said Chiang. “I also see that as benefiting the area at the same time. A lot of our research students enter jobs.”
Chiang said UW should be able to be both a premier research institute as well as a benefit to the community at large. He also said it would be easier for a candidate to understand UW life if they were an internal candidate because while it is not necessary, it would be beneficial because the candidate would be able to fit into the culture of the campus.
The next important step in the search is to decide which questions will be asked of the candidates, according to Don Mash, the UW System representative to the committee.
“When candidates come forward, they will have done their homework and studied the Madison campus and some of the things we’ve touched on here,” said Mash. “When we get to the question stage of interviewing the folks who come forward, framing questions is key. It’s one thing to ask an intelligent person, ‘Tell us about your view on diversity.’ But another is it ask, ‘Tell us what you’ve done [for diversity].’”