It’s time to move on…

Biddy is moving on. We have to move on.

Higher education is changing. We see this in how students approach learning, the infusion of technologies into our everyday work habits and the financial stresses on our organization. Biddy is a strong leader who is future focused, she recognizes that changes are needed and fights to make them happen. There is no question that our leadership and administration must be vigilant and continually examine whether changes should be made that would enhance our endeavors. But, running a university is a people business. You must take into account the people of the organization or risk becoming irrelevant.

While Biddy knew where she wanted to take the university, her administration sometimes lacked transparency of plans and process. Plans to make fundamental changes in who we are were not always openly debated. Consider the proposed plan to reorganize our research enterprise by separating graduate education from our research endeavors. The PVL for a vice chancellor for research was drafted prior to engaging the campus in a discussion. The negative response to this plan resulted in a series of townhall meetings that presented the plan, rather than providing an opportunity for open debate. And while the points of the New Badger Partnership where openly presented, the plan to separate the UW from the system came as a surprise to campus. Again, the campus engaged in a discussion of whether this action would be good for the campus. The campus hardly discussed the process and transparency of the Biddy administration that lead us on this path.

It has been reported that UW System President Kevin Reilly will name the interim chancellor but has “no hard deadline for when he wants to name the interim chancellor.” We need an interim chancellor now. One who will work with and lead us with vision and passion in an open, transparent manner in order to enable the mission and vision of the institution. A transparent decision making process must be in place to support a shared governance model that supports good decision making throughout the organization. Faculty must be engaged in addressing these problems—both individually and in collective governance bodies. Biddy is moving on in August. We need to move on now.

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5 Responses to It’s time to move on…

  1. Anon says:

    I agree that it’s important for the interim chancellor to be appointed quickly. That said, I’m not all that enthused about the list of those who have been reported by Todd Finkelmeyer ( as likely front runners.

    In my opinion, all three highlighted in the article have significant strikes against them, some noted in Finkelmeyer’s article and some not.

    I hope Reilly will act quickly but that he will look beyond superficialities and pick someone with strong academic credentials, strong leadership qualities, and a demonstrated commitment to UW-Madison as a public university.

    Of course, that goes double for the non-interim chancellor position.

  2. anon says:

    I disagree with the previous poster. Gary Sandefur would be an excellent choice. Not as bold as Biddy but he will involve the campus community.

  3. Anon says:

    Perhaps the best qualified to comment on Sandefur’s leadership qualities would be the 70-odd department and program chairs in L&S. If a solid majority of them would endorse his candidacy, then that would certainly tend to override any concerns raised by others. Of course, there is probably no plan to seek their input.

  4. anon says:

    Good point but as you imply I would be shocked if Reilly asked their input. The faculty senate has already voted in favor of public authority. What if next year the faculty senate has the same view? Will the new Chancellor be bound by that? This has got to be the critical question in Reilly’s mind. Reilly is very likely to pick someone who is very unlikely to support public authority. My guess is that Sandefur will abide by the faculty senate’s wishes while John Wiley is likely to disregard the senate’s view in this matter. Hence Reilly picks Wiley. Rather ironically, If Wiley ends up disregarding the senate, he will effectively be doing what Biddy was accused of.

    All of this is moot if the task force does not recommend Public Authority.

  5. Crazy Harry says:

    Wiley should have zero chance of being picked, given his Madison Magazine article which appeared the month that Martin took over. There would be hell to pay at the other end of State Street if Reilly pulled such a bone-headed move. Having said that, I would not put it past him, however.

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