Search begins for new UW System president


Cennedy Hoppe, Biz and Tech Editor

The search for the next UW president moved along throughout the state of Wisconsin through search committee listening sessions held across various universities in Wisconsin. 

On Aug. 20th 2021 the search committee of the University of Wisconsin System was called into action to find the eighth president for the UW system. 

On Sep. 24, 2021, four out of the 20 search committee members along with Regent Vice President Karen Walsh, visited the UW-Whitewater campus and held a session that was open to all students and faculty. In this session, the committee talked about their own qualities they are looking for in the next president.

The listening session was a collaborative event in which not only the committee spoke about the qualities they wanted to see in the next president, but they also asked the audience to share their own list of qualities they would like to see in the next president. 

Once the time came for members of the audience to share their concerns, the committee listened and then actively responded to their concerns. It was a dynamic atmosphere that led the search committee further to use the information shared within the event, when interviewing the prospective candidates for the next president. 

“As the system and higher education changes, we look for someone that knows what they know and leverages that to be a good leader and more importantly knows what they don’t know and builds a team around them to be a great leader,” said Regent President Emeritus Michael Falbo.

Falbo talked about his concerns with the next UW System president not only acting alone, but working besides his colleagues to build a better system.

“I prefer a style of leadership that is more proactive and less reactive,” said Walsh.

She encouraged the next candidate to take steps in the right direction before something happens instead of trying to fix a bad situation. 

The roles the next UW System President will be accounted for is, staffing the UW System Administrations, establishing system wide policies, coordinating program development and operation among the UW universities; planning the programmatic, financial, and physical development of the UW System, and much more. The president works with the vice president and the Board of Regents. 

The UW System Prospectus guarantees that the next president should be a strong advocate for academic quality, research innovation, student success, inclusive excellence, public accountability, and shared governance.

Current president Tommy Thompson began his term July 1 of 2020. He followed after the retirement of Ray Cross who served from Feb. of 2014 to June of 2020.

The University of Wisconsin System was created by legislature in 1971 to merge two public university systems under one Board of Regents. Today it is one of the largest public education systems in the United States, with 13 universities expanding along 26 campuses. The mission of the UW System is: to discover and disseminate knowledge; to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campus; and to serve and stimulate society by developing human potential.