Fit to Lead

June 29, 2011 | Blog

UW-Madison has a new interim chancellor and it’s a person of great integrity, intellect, and experience. David Ward has led Madison before, and is exactly the right kind of person to lead us through the current high waters.

My opinion of David is based on many things, including:

— His decision to found the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education with gifts he received when completing his term as chancellor. This was an effort to let more flowers bloom in higher education research and policy, and it led to the creation of several faculty lines including one I occupy.

— His leadership on the Board of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, the state’s largest private need-based financial aid program. Again, in full disclosure, it’s the program I have spent the last three years studying. I’ve watched David interact on this board, asking tough questions of us researchers, and offer sage advice. He’s fully capable of making thoughtful decisions informed by rigorous evidence.

— His prior term as Chancellor of UW-Madison, during which time he showed great respect for shared governance and solid choices in selecting staff.

— His work as president of the American Council on Education.

This, ladies and gents, is the power of a System. President Kevin Reilly has installed just the kind of leader we need at this moment, someone who has not been embroiled in rancorous campus politics, and can come and steer us onto calmer seas.

Trust me, given their druthers, it’s not whom “Bascom” would’ve appointed.

Rock on.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Jason Pickart

    June 29, 2011

    When we look back on this period (pending what happens with Walker's term) we'll look at what amounted to a war between UW-Madison (headed by Biddy Martin) and the UW System, with the UW System winning. It's only fitting and analogous to a political situation between two countries that the UW-Madison chancellor gets replaced by a pro-UW System chancellor as soon as the "war" ends.

    The UW System won and UW-Madison lost. The NBP was far from perfect, but at least it was innovative and forward thinking in a time where limited resources mean such thinking is necessary. Ward, whose term from 1993-2001 almost exactly coincides with a period of budget surpluses and economic prosperity under Clinton's two terms, doesn't strike me as the kind of leader UW-Madison needs (but I suppose he is the kind of 'leader' the UW System wants).

    I'm sure that once Ward steps down and the full chancellor is named it will be more of the same.


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