An intensive conversation among the shared governance leaders throughout UW System is currently underway.
Here are some preliminary thoughts from the signatories below regarding the latest press release regarding the search for a new UW System President:
- Why did the search and screen continue, given the pandemic? The press release states, “Amid the search, the pandemic posed unanticipated and unprecedented circumstances and obstacles. Several candidates removed their names from consideration near the end of the process, with some expressing concern over being named publicly as a finalist during the pandemic.” This situation clearly merits a failed search, as the fuller the candidate pool, the better the potential outcome for UW System’s future success.
- Given this pool of one, we collectively question the appropriateness of presenting a single white male candidate for consideration. This seems to run contrary to the System’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. We are concerned that the actions of the UW System in this instance do not clearly match the System’s guiding principle for inclusive excellence (https://www.wisconsin.edu/inclusive-excellence/guiding-principles/), nor its mission to “model…and lead…organizational learning and transformation through inclusive excellence, equity, and diversity, by engaging with students, faculty, staff, and a wide variety of external stakeholders, whose diverse viewpoints and experiences enrich the university’s impact” ( https://www.wisconsin.edu/regents/download/policy_attachment/All-Mission-Statements.pdf ).
- There appears no choice. Wisconsinites, and all UWS constituencies, for that matter, are placed in a position where we must either attack or defend a single lone candidate, rather than weigh the possibilities in order to recommend the better choice from within a group of more than one possibility. We should be asked to determine what might be the BEST choice for the System, not the ONLY choice. Here, we are given only one possibility. Given that situation, we assert that this candidate’s higher education administrative history from within the State of Alaska would not bring forth a positive move forward for the UWS.
- Regent Grebe, Chair of the Search and Screen Committee, made a rather large and showy effort to promote the transparency and inclusivity of faculty in the search process from the outset of this search to replace President Cross. However, faculty have not been included in ongoing conversations, and even now we really have no idea what’s going on. The show was made, but it was a mere “push” of information from Regent Grebe, not a really substantive and productive two-way conversation. Faculty representatives in their majority thought they were “listened to” as a matter of form only.
Faculty and staff from around the UW System are drafting more specific responses to this recent news. We will, as shared governance bodies from around the System, work collaboratively with one another in our efforts to achieve the best outcome for the citizens of the State of Wisconsin.
Mialisa Moline, Faculty Representative, UW-River Falls
Mary Bowman, Faculty Representative, UW-Stevens Point
Druscilla Scribner, Faculty Representative, UW-Oshkosh
Kathleen Dolan, Faculty Representative, UW-Milwaukee
Glenda Jones, Faculty Representative, UW-Stout
Jon Shelton, Faculty Representative, UW-Green Bay
Natalie Eschenbaum, Faculty Representative, UW-LaCrosse
Kirsten Wolf, Faculty Representative, UW-Madison
David Simmons, Faculty Representative, UW-Whitewater.