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.