Boots & Sabers

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2056, 03 Dec 19

UW Regents Exclude Faculty from Presidential Search Committee

I think I’m with the Regents on this one.

Faculty at all 13 University of Wisconsin System campuses have called on the UW Board of Regents to expand its presidential search committee and include representation from the faculty, staff and students whom the next president will oversee.

But Board of Regents president Drew Petersen said in a Monday statement that he will not expand the committee.

Faculty, graduate assistants and staff make up 96% of the System’s 40,000-member workforce, but none of them have a seat on the search committee tasked with selecting System President Ray Cross’ successor. In past searches, faculty and staff played a role in identifying the next leader.

“The people with the boots on the ground are not represented,” UW-Madison food science professor Mark Etzel told his colleagues at a Faculty Senate meeting Monday. “I find it to be a preposterous proposal. It’s just a shame what faculty governance has become at the University of Wisconsin.”

Think of this from a private sector perspective… do employees participate in the search and vetting of new executives? Nope. Should they? Maybe, but it’s certainly not required. Sometimes the executives that the employees like are the worst ones. Sometimes you need executives to be a change agent and employees are naturally resistant to change. Depending on what the Regents are looking for, it might be best to not let the employees have a say.


2056, 03 December 2019


  1. Mar

    Certainly, the students should have no voice in selecting the head of the UW system.
    As far as the faculty, what do you do? 5 from UW Madison, 4 from UWM and from every other college? Um, no.
    And based on my experience at UW-Madison, no one really is qualified to be an objective person in a hiring process.

  2. jjf

    I know this might blow your mind, but there are organizations and institutions that aren’t run like private businesses, and they’ve been around for a long time.  There are even two students on the Board of Regents.

    Clutch my pearls!  That would be like putting employees on the Board of Directors!

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