The process of hiring a new chancellor for the University of Wisconsin will continue into the upcoming semester as the Chancellor Search and Screen Committee moves forward in narrowing the list of candidates.
According to committee Chair David McDonald, because the soft Dec. 21 application deadline for the position has passed, the committee is now looking to narrow the number of candidates to a short list to present to the UW System Board of Regents.
However, the committee received about 70 applications, with a few more applications submitted over the holidays.
Because the search process began with public forums to involve campus and community members, McDonald said the committee was then able to set its own expectations for the new chancellor based on this information.
“From all the discussion, we reached a rough consensus on what we all agreed the campus and community want in a candidate applying to be the next chancellor,” McDonald said.
Despite some contention surrounding input from state business leaders in the search process, David McDonald said the business community has been a “strong supporter” of the university and recognizes the key role it plays in the city.
McDonald said he hopes the committee can reach a “long shortlist” of people to interview for the position in the next couple of weeks.
Through this process, McDonald said the committee will try to have a list of about five finalists to present to the Board of Regents sometime after the beginning of February.
UW System Spokesperson David Giroux said the names of the finalists will be announced to the public once the UW System president and the Board of Regents agree on the candidates chosen by the committee.
Giroux said the board and its own committee, the Regent Selection Committee, which is designated to help with the process, will then gather additional insight on each of the final candidates through public events and interviews. He said after doing so, the final decision will be made.
“Then, [UW System] President Reilly and the Regent Selection Committee will agree on their preferred candidate,” Giroux said in an email to The Badger Herald. “That person must be confirmed by the full board.”
McDonald said he anticipates the board will announce its final decision sometime in mid-March, with a formal contract to be signed around mid-April.
According to Giroux, the person chosen to be the next chancellor will be someone who will continue UW’s tradition as a strong research university which thoroughly prepares students to enter the workforce.
“Clearly, UW-Madison needs a leader who understands the university’s important role in educating students and creating a stronger workforce,” Giroux said. “At the same time, the chancellor must be someone who can provide leadership for [UW's] research enterprise and public outreach programs.”
According to McDonald, the candidate must have a combination of necessary skills, including effective communication, community outreach, approachability to his or her constituents and be able to foster a collaborative and supportive climate.
McDonald added the committee has not been impacted by Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to fund education institutions based on how well they prepare students for available jobs in Wisconsin.
He said the group will choose a candidate who understands UW and its context well enough to implement such policies in the best way possible if they are approved.
“The biggest challenge [for a chancellor] is being able to speak and listen to the whole myriad of constituencies that are represented on our campus,” McDonald said. “There are a great many academic cultures here and an effective chancellor has to be able to speak and relate to each of them.”