Search Committee for UW System President Named

19-member committee chosen by UW Regent, with emphasis on tradition of shared governance.

By - Jul 12th, 2021 04:49 pm
Van Hise Hall, home of University of Wisconsin System offices. Photo courtesy of UW System.

Van Hise Hall, home of University of Wisconsin System offices. Photo courtesy of UW System.

After the initial search for a new president of the University of Wisconsin System failed last year, newly elected chair of the Board of Regents Ed Manydeeds appointed a 19-member committee to try again.

The new committee includes regents, university chancellors and provosts but also students and faculty members — a departure from the original search, which was criticized because it lacked the voices of students and professors. The committee is also more than twice the size of the first one.

From the start of the first search, spearheaded by Regent Michael M. Grebe, it was criticized for neglecting the university system’s principle of shared governance, which is meant to allow everyone involved in the administration of the state’s higher education to have a voice. Grebe is an appointee of former Gov. Scott Walker.

The first search resulted in one candidate being named, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen. Johnsen withdrew from the search, citing “process issues.”  Following Johnsen’s withdrawal, former Gov. Tommy Thompson became the interim president.

The second search is being run by Regent Vice President Karen Walsh, an appointee of Gov. Tony Evers.

“We are grateful for the leadership of President Thompson, who provided exemplary guidance during the pandemic and has positioned us for future success,“ Walsh said in a statement. “I’ve often said that the next UW System president is watching us, and our progress during Covid-19 will no doubt be noticed by potential candidates.”

The committee is also set to hold listening sessions at each of the system’s 13 campuses, another step for increased reliance on shared governance.

Control of the search process played a major role in the election of Manydeeds, an Evers appointee, as Regent president last month. Manydeeds was put forth as a candidate by the other Evers appointees — who had recently gained a majority on the board — as an alternative to Grebe in order to control the consequential search for the system’s next leader.

The committee is set to use a national search firm to find candidates and is expected to begin its work in August.

New Regent chair names search committee for next UW System president was originally published by the Wisconsin Examiner.

One thought on “Search Committee for UW System President Named”

  1. JE Brown says:

    No faculty from either of the R-1 institutions seems an oversight. Yes, I know that Chancellor Blank is a faculty member at UW-Madison, but her administrative role outweighs her research/teaching role by far. I would have liked to see more academic staff as well.

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