And the search is on: UW-Whitewater aims to hire 16th Chancellor

Jan. 28 2015 By Alexandria Zamecnik
The job of a chancellor is not a role that can easily be defined. When it comes to hiring a head of university to serve UW-Whitewater, however, current Chancellor Richard Telfer thought those roles should be defined.
Telfer met with the UW-Whitewater Chancellor Search & Screen Committee on Jan. 20 to discuss what he thought those roles were. The eight roles were meant to assist the committee in its search to fill the position. Richard Telfer
At the end of June, Telfer will officially retire and step aside for the 16th Chancellor.  By April 2, the committee is expected to have 10 to 12 semi-finalists hand picked. Two weeks later, they will meet with the prospective candidates.
After they meet with the 10 to 12 candidates in confidentiality, they will narrow it down to five candidates. Those candidates will then be presented to the campus. UW-W students will have a chance to meet the prospective chancellors and give their feedback to the committee.
Dr. Jessica Kozloff, president and senior consultant of Academic Search, Inc. said this is the first chancellor search she has been to where the outgoing chancellor sat and defined roles.
“I think this is a very state-of-the-art practice for the search, and I am very impressed with what is being done,” Kozloff said.
The state-of-the-art practice Kozloff was referring to was the hour Telfer set aside to discuss the roles of the Chancellor, challenges that come into play and to answer any concerns or questions the committee shared.

The eight roles covered areas from state politics to being the face of the campus.
•    Providing Campus Leadership
•    Governance Responsibilities
•    Leadership in the Community
•    Leadership within UW-System,
•    Wisconsin and Nation Fundraising
•    Legislative Relations
•    Visibility
•    Ceremonial

The three biggest challenges Telfer defined as important to keep in mind when hiring the new Chancellor were:

•    Creating and working with the budget
•    Faculty and staff compensation
•    Perceived cost of tuition

“Budget is always a challenge,” Telfer said. “It’s been a challenge longer than I’ve been here. It’s been a challenge the whole time I’ve been here, and it will be a challenge this year.”
When asked why the budget would be an issue, Telfer said the major problem is having a reliable source of income.
UW-Whitewater receives its income from two major sources: tuition and state general purpose revenue. General purpose revenues, or GPR, consist of general taxes, miscellaneous receipts and revenues collected by state agencies which are paid into a specific fund, lose their identity, and are then available for appropriation by the legislature, according to Wisconsin State Statutes.
Telfer said because UW-Whitewater does a better job of raising money through tuition, it receives less money from the GPR.
“No chancellor can [fix the budget] alone,” Telfer said. “But working with folks, I think you can make a big difference.”
When Telfer listed “perceived cost of tuition” as a challenge, he used the word “perceived” because the amount of attention tuition has received nationally in the past three years.
“It has got a lot more attention, but the dollar amount has not changed,” Telfer said.
Tuition and fees from the 2012-13 year cost approximately $7,528 while tuition and fees from the 2013-14 year cost approximately $7,578. A state-wide tuition freeze is also behind the steadying costs.
Telfer said even though the dollar amount has not changed, he thinks tuition is too high and there is less and less state investment.
The discussion switched from challenges and roles to what the committee should look for in the candidates they seek out.
Although a large number of chancellors or presidents were provosts before, there is no strict pre-employment requirement.
“I think you should be open to all [people],” Telfer said. “I think this is about who the person is more than it is his or her previous experiences. I think you want to get a person who you feel shares your values, shares the values of the campus and wants to be here.”
Jazelynn Goudy a veteran student and Whitewater Student Government senator talked about what she wanted to see in the chancellor they hire.
“I would like a chancellor who is fun-loving like ours that we have right now,” Goudy said. “…Our chancellor now, is seen in many different avenues from the arts to sports to academics.”
Goudy said she enjoys being able to see the current chancellor in regular clothes, but she doesn’t want that to be mistaken for the chancellor being a fatherly figure.
“I don’t want to say I want my chancellor to be a father-like figure,” Goudy said. “But I want someone that I can look up to and be confident when I walk across the stage that when I grab my diploma they care about me.
During closing thoughts at the Chancellor Search & Screen Committee, Telfer touched on the idea that it will be hard to find the perfect candidate.
“We all make mistakes, probably every day,” Telfer said about what will make for a good chancellor. “If you get arrogant, that becomes a problem. In my estimation, you need to be humble.”

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