Chancellor finalist and current dean at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering Nicholas Jones highlighted the similarities between the University of Wisconsin and his current home institution in a visit to Madison Tuesday.
Speaking about his background, Jones said the vision, values and passion that drive UW are not unlike what he experienced at JHU. He said being the dean of a relatively modest-sized private institution “jives well” with being the chancellor of a large and complex state institution.
“Wisconsin may be bigger, it may be a public institution,” Jones said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about the people and it’s actually remarkable to me the commonalities among the people make me feel comfortable here.”
In comparing Hopkins and UW, Jones said the institutions are more alike than they are different. He said he feels the same passion for excellence and commitment among faculty, staff and students to accomplish a mission in research, teaching and service that he knows from Hopkins to also be present on UW’s campus.
Tackling unique problems that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries is something Jones said he has been successful in doing at Hopkins. He said he sees “tremendous opportunity” to do the same at Wisconsin.
Problem solving about funding streams is something Jones said he has been successful in at Hopkins, and added he would also do if elected chancellor at UW. He said he sees Wisconsin, with its incredible alumni base of 400,000, as a great opportunity to work with the UW Foundation in development and opportunities for fundraising.
“One can look to fundraise on angle basis to try to supplement your operating costs, but that can be challenging,” Jones said. “I think what’s more exciting is to be able to get people together around new and exciting ideas and use resources that come from philanthropy to see new investments, which when they become successful will generate revenues.”
Jones said he is confident all UW System campuses could work effectively together. He said he is not yet sure what collaboration would look like, but he added he believes there are opportunities to embrace and take advantage of the relationship with the other UW campuses for the betterment of the entire system.
Jones said he believes there are opportunities for individual campuses to do better themselves, in addition to as a whole.
“I don’t know enough about the specifics yet,” Jones said. “I’ve just got to imagine that there are great opportunities to partner with the other campuses in ways that perhaps we haven’t even thought of yet.”
Regina Millner, a Board of Regents member, said pubic receptions provide the opportunity for candidates to feel like part of the selection process. She said they allow candidates to be acquainted with campus and for campus to get to know its finalists.
Student Regent and UW junior Katie Pointer said public forums allow for attendees to provide the regent chancellor selection committee with feedback. She said this is important for their process.
“It [open forum] is really insightful and helpful for us 14 making a decision,” Pointer said.
Jones was the first of four finalists to visit the UW campus. The remaining three will visit over the next two weeks.