Academic staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison passed a resolution Dec. 9 opposing the composition of the UW System president search and screen committee, according to reporting from the Cap Times.

The current committee includes four regents, one student regent, one former regent, two chancellors and one provost, according to the list published Friday by the UW System. No members from the academic staff and faculty were given a place in the committee, and according to the Cap Times, it is the smallest search and screen committee in years.

Academic Staff Executive Committee Chair Jenny Dahlberg said the staff feel they deserve representation on the committee. 

“The Academic Staff Assembly felt very strongly that we, as academic staff, and academic staff across all UW systems, deserve as a right to be represented on a certain screen committee that was formed with no representation from academic staff or faculty which is in violation, really, of every previous UW president system search,” Dahlberg said. “They usually included both academic staff and faculty voices on the committee.”

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Dahlberg said the current composition of the committee does not include faculty or academic staff, and ASEC hopes the Board of Regents will reconsider the composition of the committee and add academic staff and faculty to it. 

If that fails to happen, Dahlberg said during a listening session, the Board of Regents has indicated that the ASEC can provide feedback and input on what it feels are “important characters,” like personal values or attributes, for the system’s president to have.

“The resolution specifically calls on the Board of Regents to revisit the composition of the committee, to allow for true shared governance voice — individuals that don’t just represent the Board of Regents and a few chancellors,” Dahlberg said. 

The ASEC has been invited to provide feedback on characteristics for the system president or who it would like to see in the position at the UW representative meeting this Friday, Dahlberg said. 

Dahlberg said ASEC had been given short notice — two business working days — to collect and compile their feedback from all districts, and ASEC has not thought about potential candidates so far. 

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The selected individual should, Dahlberg said, “have an idea of modern education goals,” understand that UW System has a rich history of shared governance and think about research, teaching, service and administrative work instead of being concerned with generating revenue through tuition and online courses.

“My concern, personally, is that the Board of Regents is much more concerned with really making education at the highest level about workforce development, and it’s more than just that,” Dahlberg said. “It was to broaden and develop individuals with as many opportunities as they’d like, to grow their education, to grow their experience, and then contribute that with the Wisconsin Idea broadly to the State. My biggest fear would be to find somebody without an academic background or without experience running an academic institution.”