After a five-month search process, the University of Wisconsin has narrowed its search for a new Chancellor from 37 to five candidates — all of which are scheduled to attend a moderated Q&A session open to the public throughout the week.

Presidential Professor of Computational Science and former Provost to the University of Utah Daniel Reed was the first to complete this part of the interview process Monday.

UW Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Susan Hagness moderated this first Q&A session which consisted of a series of questions sourced by the campus community that will be used throughout the week for each candidate. 

Reed — who worked at Microsoft as the Corporate Vice President for Technology Policy and Extreme Computing — began the session by emphasizing his recognition of our ever-changing world.

“If you look at the history of U.S. higher education, it is one of punctuated equilibria … Each university has responded to the evolving needs of society,” Reed said.

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Reed discussed the impact changes in society have had on the role of higher education, but remained firm on his belief that these changes will “help uplift opportunities and partnerships to engage our society, citizens and students.”

In his time as Provost to the University of Utah, Reed helped implement the For Utah Scholarship — a program similar to Bucky’s Promise — which provides underprivileged, residential students access to higher education. Reed also said he helped expand student access to mental health services by including an additional, nominal tuition fee that created the funds to substantially expand the number of mental health counselors.

Reed also discussed his desire to promote faculty, staff and student input in future decisions and his concern over the decline of humanities majors in recent years.

In response to his plans to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at the university if chosen as the next chancellor, Reed reflected on the importance of “setting the tone from the top.”

“The principle that defines who we are is that we create opportunity for everyone,” Reed said. “This means accountability and action at every level. Some of it is tangible investing restrictions, but it also means building a culture of inclusion.”

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Aligning with UW’s goals of engaging with Native American nations in Wisconsin, Reed said he has played a role in the advancement of Native American communities in Utah who experienced a technological disconnect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reed discussed his dedication towards improving these conditions by funding technology access and engaging Native American leaders to find solutions to the “social inequalities of college.” 

“We have a large Native American population in Utah … a long and storied history,” Reed said. “We have to first own that reality, but then think about the things that will create a difference. Education is for everyone. We have to be honest about the history of what has happened and take responsibility for the inequalities that were created.”

The remaining Q&A sessions will continue throughout the week. The deadline for campus feedback has been set for noon May 7.