MADISON—Rebecca R. Martin, a former provost and vice chancellor at universities in Wisconsin and Vermont, has been named senior vice president for academic affairs for the University of Wisconsin System.
Martin will serve as chief academic officer for the UW System, which includes two doctoral universities, 11 comprehensive campuses, 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges, and UW-Extension programs in all 72 Wisconsin counties. UW System President Kevin P. Reilly announced the appointment on Friday (May 18).
“Dr. Martin’s outstanding record of university leadership, and her vision for quality higher education in Wisconsin, will be significant contributions to the UW’s success in a complex and changing world,” Reilly said. “She is deeply interested in providing students from all backgrounds with equitable opportunities for education, and she is respected for her approach to building productive partnerships. I am confident that students, faculty and staff will benefit from Rebecca’s experience and devotion to the UW System.”
Since January, Martin has provided interim leadership to the UW System Office of Academic Affairs, succeeding Cora Marrett, who is now an officer at the National Science Foundation. Martin now guides ongoing planning and development for academics and research, and has initiated strategic planning for the future of academics at the system level. She has led the process of approving new degree programs for students who transfer from Wisconsin technical colleges. She also contributed to developing new faculty and staff personnel policies, and to the Equity Scorecard Project, a pilot program that seeks to narrow achievement gaps between students of color and the rest of the student body.
“Our colleges and universities must change in important ways if we are to meet the emerging needs of our communities and the changing needs of the students who will become the leaders of our state and nation in the 21st century,” Martin said. “I welcome this opportunity to help our system achieve the ‘Growth Agenda for Wisconsin’ and to support all of our campuses in advancing productivity and academic quality.”
Martin served for five years as provost and vice chancellor at UW-Parkside, where she focused on priorities of academic excellence, access, diversity, and engagement. Her duties included budget oversight and shared governance, faculty recruitment and development, and guiding university centers for academics and public service. Martin initiated UW-Parkside’s participation in the national Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year project, led data-driven analysis of academic programs, and supported work to engage adult students and educate teachers. She also established a Provost’s Fund to support faculty research and creative activity.
Martin previously held multiple leadership roles, including interim provost and acting president, at the University of Vermont, a top-ranked public research university where she oversaw a $348 million annual operating budget. She was a key partner in the university’s strategic planning and its 10-year accreditation. She also led diversity efforts, which included a long-term partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
“Dr. Martin is an accomplished leader and educator who knows what makes the UW System nationally distinctive in higher education,” said Danae D. Davis of Milwaukee, chair of the Board of Regents Education Committee. “Rebecca’s academic expertise and inclusive leadership approach will be invaluable as we strategically study the UW’s strengths in educating students and serving the state of Wisconsin.”
Martin is a tenured professor in the political science department at UW-Parkside, and has been an associate professor of educational leadership and associate faculty of public administration at the University of Vermont. She also held several roles in university libraries in Vermont, at San Jose State University, and the University of California-Berkeley.
She earned her doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, her master’s degree in Librarianship from San Jose State University, and her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and history from the University of California-Santa Cruz.
Rebecca has served on the board of the Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation, as well as the boards of directors for the Racine Art Museum, the Kenosha Boys & Girls Club, and the Racine County Workforce Development Board.