MADISON – Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University (OSU), will be recommended to the full University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents for the position of chancellor at UW-Milwaukee by a Regent Special Search Committee and UW System President Katharine C. Lyall.

The recommendation follows interviews May 5 with Zimpher and two other finalists. The recommendation will be presented to the regents for formal action during their monthly meeting, tomorrow, May 8, at UW-Oshkosh. If the Board concurs, Zimpher will take office August 1 as the sixth UW-Milwaukee chief executive. Her salary, to be set by the Board, is anticipated to be $175,000, contingent upon anticipated action by the state Legislature and governor to raise the pay ceiling for a UWM chancellor from the present maximum of $140,324.

Zimpher, 51, would succeed Dr. John Schroeder, who announced in July 1997 that he would step down as chancellor at the conclusion of the 1997-98 spring term. Schroeder has served as chancellor since May 1991. He will return to a faculty teaching position.

“Dr. Zimpher is a dynamic leader who will lead our urban research university to the next level in academic distinction and national visibility,” Lyall said. “Her national reputation in teacher education reform and her proven ability to bring all segments of education together will be especially important in Milwaukee and to the entire UW System. She is an articulate advocate for quality teaching and research, with a track record in creating productive business and community partnerships. We look to Dr. Zimpher to increase UWM’s national visibility and its fundraising support for this urban mission.”

Schroeder echoed Lyall’s sentiment, saying: “The Regents Special Committee has selected an outstanding individual. Clearly, Dr. Zimpher brings very strong professional credentials to this demanding position. I am confident that she possesses the talents necessary to lead and advance UWM’s stature in the years ahead.”

Since 1993, Zimpher has served as dean of OSU’s College of Education, which in 1997 was ranked 13th among 223 graduate programs in education by U.S. News and World Reports. Zimpher also is executive dean of OSU’s seven professional colleges, and leads the deans of such colleges as business, engineering and law in setting policy.

A native of Gallia County, Ohio, Zimpher has strong ties to OSU, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English education and speech (1968), her master’s degree in English literature (1971) and her doctorate in teacher education and administration in higher education (1976). Her professional career at OSU spans more than 25 years, and includes teaching and research positions in the college of education and a stint as associate dean for academic affairs in the college. She served as acting dean of the college from July 1992 until her permanent appointment in March 1993.

Zimpher is recognized nationally for her work as an advocate for reforming and updating how professional educators are taught. She serves as the first president and chair of The Holmes Partnership, a national coalition of university education deans, public schools and teachers unions dedicated to improving teacher education.

At OSU, Zimpher chairs the “Campus Collaborative for Educational Excellence,” a highly visible, university-wide program to bring the teaching, research and service missions of OSU into direct contact with the urban neighborhoods surrounding campus. The program focuses on economic opportunities, health, education and social services.

“I am honored to be the preferred candidate for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee chancellorship,” Zimpher said. “The missions of UWM and The Ohio State University are very similar, and their urban interests are comparable. I feel comfortable in those areas.

“Also, the chance to lead UWM is testimony to the opportunities I have been given at Ohio State, and I hope to represent OSU well,” she said.

Zimpher is married to Ken Howey, an OSU professor of educational policy and leadership. They have co-authored two books and numerous scholarly articles.

Regent President Sheldon Lubar, Milwaukee, chair of the Regent Special Search Committee, said of Zimpher: “Dr. Zimpher brings to UWM a quality of leadership and experience that strongly complements the university’s desire to move forward in academic standing and public visibility, and to build increased financial support throughout the greater Milwaukee area. We welcome her to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.”

Along with Lubar, members of the regent committee were Michael Grebe, Milwaukee; Virginia MacNeil, Bayside; and Gerard Randall, Milwaukee.

UW-Milwaukee was founded in 1885 as Milwaukee Normal School. Wisconsin’s major urban university, UWM currently enrolls 22,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. The university is served by 2,027 faculty and academic staff. UWM’s 11 schools and colleges are located on a 93-acre campus, a short walk from the scenic Lake Michigan shoreline. UWM has an annual budget of $274 million and an estimated economic impact of $824 million annually.


Peter D. Fox
(608) 262-6448