Month: January 2014

UW System President Finalists Named; Future Changes to Search Process?

uw system logoUW System Board of Regents President Michael Falbo  announced three finalists for president’s position today:

  • Raymond C. Cross, Chancellor, UW System Colleges and UW-Extension
  • Peter H. Garland, Executive Vice Chancellor /Chief Operating Office, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
  • Robert L. King, President, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

These finalists will be interviewed by the Regent selection committee on Monday, January 6. The committee, chaired by Falbo and comprised of Regents John Behling, Margaret Farrow, Tracy Hribar, Edmund Manydeeds, and Gerald Whitburn, will meet Tuesday, January 7 and recommend one candidate who must then be approved by the full Board of Regents on Thursday, January 9.

Faculty, staff, students, and the public will have the opportunity to interact with the candidates during statewide video conferences on Monday, January 6. Information on these events is here.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the open search process kept at least one interested candidate from applying for the president’s position and he is considering a proposal that would allow for secret searches when hiring future UW leaders:

“I’m a big believer in transparency. I want to have as transparent a process as possible. But I don’t want the process to result in candidates who are second or third tier — and we all know who they are — as opposed to getting top-tier candidates.”

Current state law requires the public announcement of finalists for UW System president and UW System chancellor positions.

Regent and former State Senator Margaret Farrow said she knew of at least one qualified candidate who declined to apply because he or she did not want to be publicly named if named a finalist. Farrow also said she was hoping non-traditional candidates would apply for the president’s position. She noted that UW System is “a big business with a strong link to the academic world.”

Wisconsin’s tradition of open searches has become more rare among institutions of public higher education. Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York System, told attendees at a PROFS forum last year that open searches can keep many top-quality candidates from applying for chancellor positions.

Closed searches have traditionally been opposed by faculty, staff, and students and proponents of open government. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board opposes Vos’s proposal, writing that they are “concerned that pulling down the blinds on the process is overkill. There is little evidence that UW isn’t attracting top candidates for its open positions.”

ETA: Correct date of videoconferences