The University of Wisconsin’s Chancellor Search and Screen Committee met with members of the city’s business community Wednesday as the group reaches a transitional point in its process to find a replacement for Interim Chancellor David Ward.
The committee met with the boards of Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau in an effort to gain the city’s perspective on the search and seek process, committee Chair and UW history professor David McDonald said.
According to McDonald, both the board members provided “helpful” feedback regarding Madison’s economy in relation to the university.
“The business community has long been an important supporter of the university,” McDonald said in an email to The Badger Herald. “They have roots in Madison and Wisconsin, and they recognize in a slightly different, but no less important, key the important role that the university plays.”
According to McDonald, there was not much variation between the feedback given on the Wednesday meeting and the committee’s previous town halls.
However, McDonald noted the business community was much more concerned with the university’s “economic footprint” in relation to other public forums.
McDonald added that several of the participants stressed the importance of the chancellor’s role as an active participant in local discussions of the economy and quality of life.
“We received very helpful feedback,” McDonald said. “This included statements of the business community’s strong support for the university as an economic and cultural force in Madison.”
According to a UW statement, GMCC President Zach Brandon advised the committee to prioritize the relationship between the university and the business community.
Others at the meeting also addressed the issue of the “brain drain,” McDonald said, adding many suggested there be cooperation between the chancellor and businesses in order to provide incentive and opportunities for graduates of the university to stay in Wisconsin.
As the assessment phase of the search and seek process begins in a month, McDonald said the committee is at a transition point with Dec. 21 deadline for application materials.
From that point, the committee will begin a “serious evaluation” of the applicants, McDonald.
The committee, which hired a professional search firm, Storbeck Pimentel, will be waiting for applicants throughout the coming weeks and continue to “refine” its understanding of the position, McDonald said.
“There is strong interest in this position, given UW’s international stature as a center for research, teaching and study,” McDonald said.