MADISON – University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly announced today that he is extending UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward’s interim appointment to two years.
“This is a great testament to Chancellor Ward’s leadership capabilities,” Reilly said. “He’s clearly made a very positive impression in a short amount of time.”
Ward agreed in June to serve a one-year term as UW-Madison’s Interim Chancellor following the departure of Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin. He had previously served as UW-Madison Chancellor from 1993 to 2000, and then as President of the American Council on Education (ACE) in Washington, D.C. for seven years.
Reilly decided to extend Chancellor Ward’s appointment, taking into account the requests of faculty, staff, students, and others at UW-Madison.
In a Sept. 12 letter to Reilly, UW-Madison’s elected faculty leaders formally requested that Ward’s appointment be extended through June 2013. The University Committee of the Faculty Senate emphasized the “unique capacities and continuity” Ward offered at a time of significant organizational and governance changes.
“With his current one-year term, many of the major organizational redesign efforts could flounder or lose steam later in 2011-12, in part because attention will naturally shift toward the selection of the new chancellor and in part because it will be easy to slide toward delay until the new chancellor arrives,” the committee wrote. “In our view, we have in place the leader we need to see us through the early phases of this unprecedented period, and we risk losing precious time, momentum, gains and morale if we do not take advantage of the opportunity afforded us by having Interim Chancellor Ward’s unique experience, leadership, and commitment to executing these reforms.”
Representatives of UW-Madison’s Academic Staff also requested that Ward’s interim appointment be extended. In a Sept. 16 letter, Academic Staff Executive Committee Chair Heather Daniels told President Reilly that, “Having consistent leadership during this time of change will be extremely helpful to the campus; as will having a respected, well-seasoned leader who can help ease the fear and tension on campus that often accompany periods of significant change and uncertainty.” Citing Ward’s experience at the American Council on Education, Daniels added, “This experience makes him uniquely qualified to help shape UW-Madison into an educational institution that is able to not only survive, but excel as we continue to see changes in higher education.”
The Associated Students of Madison, UW-Madison’s student government, has also endorsed extending Ward’s term. “We believe continuing the appointment of Interim Chancellor Ward for another year will allow for meaningful discussion about timely issues affecting the climate of UW-Madison and UW System surrounding governance, the personnel system, and other flexibilities extending from the biennial budget,” according to a Sept. 19 letter co-signed by Chair Allie Gardner and Vice-Chair Beth Huang.
Debbie Weber, Chair of the Council for Non-Represented Classified Staff, reiterated these views in a Sept. 27 letter. “The stability that Interim Chancellor Ward can provide is crucial during this period of the new personnel system development. He is the right person at the right time to lead the UW-Madison,” she wrote.
In accordance with Board of Regents policy, Reilly consulted with Regent President Michael J. Spector and Regent Vice President Brent Smith, who both supported the extension of Ward’s interim appointment. The President also consulted with other Regents, the heads of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the Wisconsin Alumni Association, the UW Foundation, and other campus stakeholders.
A nationwide search for a new UW-Madison chancellor will be launched in Fall 2012, with a goal of naming the new Chancellor by Spring 2013. Reilly will consult with UW-Madison faculty, staff, students, and others about the best ways to organize that new search committee and about the timeline for nominating members.
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