The search continues

UW-W Chancellor Semi-Finalists Interviewed

Interim+Chancellor+John+Chenoweth+welcomes+UW-Whitewater+to+another+school+year.

Interim Chancellor John Chenoweth welcomes UW-Whitewater to another school year.

Katie Popp, Assistant Campus News Editor

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is within the final months of searching for a new chancellor. After the resignation of former Chancellor Dwight Watson in June 2021, the university has been in search of a candidate that will serve and better the Warhawk community for years to come.

Following Watson’s resignation due to his diagnosis of stomach and intestinal cancer, former administrator of the UW System Jim Henderson assumed the role of Interim Chancellor until a permanent candidate could be appointed. Henderson, however, suddenly resigned in April 2022 stating that he felt he could not fulfill his duties due to system circumstances. Although he expressed no negative emotions toward the UW-Whitewater campus and community, the university was yet again left with the appointment of a new interim chancellor which was passed on to the then newly appointed Provost John Chenoweth.

Former Chancellor Dwight Watson cheers on faculty and staff member accomplishments awarded during the State of the University address. (Dane Sheehan)

Chenoweth, the current interim chancellor, was appointed shortly after Henderson’s resignation on April 5, 2022. The Search and Screen Committee, composed of faculty members and student representatives from both the UW-Whitewater and UW-Rock County campuses have hosted several hearings and question sessions throughout the current semester to allow all members of the Warhawk community to be involved with the search process. During the Fall All Faculty Meeting hosted Oct. 18, Faculty Senate Chair Tracy Hawkins outlined the final steps of the search process, drawing close to nearly a year and a half of searching. 

“On Oct. 24 and 25, the semi-finalists will be interviewed by the search committee,” said Hawkins. “Once they name a list of finalists, they will be on campus Dec. 5 through 12. There will be a regional decision in January.” She also added that additional forums for the search will also continue during those times.

Nearly a week later on Oct. 27, 2022, an email was sent to all students, faculty and staff from the Search and Screen Committee Chair Amy Bogost and Vice Chair Lynn Gilbertson formally announcing the timeline of events that will tentatively end in January with a recommended candidate presented to the full Board of Regents. 

While many members of the UW-Whitewater and UW-Rock County campuses are expressing their opinions at the end of the search process, students are speaking up and getting more involved than ever before. While the new chancellor will benefit both campuses and communities, students (especially those directly involved with the campus) are sharing their hopes for the future chancellor and their involvement with the student body.

Will Hinz, president of the Whitewater Student Government, shared that the organization continues to “look for values in a new chancellor that benefit our community.” He added that he is hoping for someone with a “holistic experience on student affairs,” to best benefit student-run organizations around campus. As the search continues, Hinz and the rest of WSG encourages all students to get involved in the process, as the decision will directly impact the student body.

Previous chancellors, including Watson and Henderson, were known throughout the organization for their involvement in the organization’s meetings such as their consistent attendance as well as providing insight on events and activities. The WSG hopes that the future chancellor will adopt these same values.

Many students are looking for more consistency in the new chancellor, in hopes that they will stay with the university to promote more programs and events for student betterment. 

“It would be really nice to have someone that will stay with the campus and become involved with student life, not to mention create more involvement programs,” shares current sophomore and housing employee Rianna Gilerman. “As a resident assistant, I want to make sure everyone who comes to campus feels welcomed. I hope the new chancellor succeeds in making the campus more welcoming and open to all people, whether they be students, faculty, staff, community members, alumni, or visitors. Above all though, I hope they continue to promote diversity in our school, which is something that is really important for our campus to continue learning.”

Since the summer of 2021, the search for a new chancellor has spread throughout the UW-Whitewater community. With the end in sight, students, staff, faculty, and community members are encouraged to participate in the final months of not only the selection process of the new chancellor, but also the selection of the future here on campus.