By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner staff
Edmund Manydeeds III, President of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, on July 9 appointed a 19-member Search and Screen Committee to help identify the next UW System President. Tommy Thompson has served as Interim President since July, 2020, succeeding Ray Cross, who had served as President since 2014. The committee will be chaired by Regent Vice President Karen Walsh.
A “non-traditional” UW-Whitewater (UW-W) student, Corey Saffold, who is a Regent, was named as a member of the committee. Saffold is a senior majoring in criminology. Per his LinkedIn page, he is the Director of Safety and Security for the Verona Area School District. Prior to his role with the district, Saffold served as a City of Madison Police Officer for a decade.
Also named to the committee is Dr. Artanya Wesley, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UW-W since July 2019. Previously she served as Dean of Students beginning in 2016. Prior to arriving at UW-W, she served as Senior Academic Planner for Student Affairs at UW System Administration and Dean of Students at UW-Platteville. She has worked in higher education specifically in student affairs for the past 13 years.
Other members of the committee are:
- Warren Anderson, Senior Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, UW System
- Robert Atwell, Regent
- Rebecca Blank, Chancellor, UW-Madison
- Amy Blumenfeld Bogost, Regent
- Johannes Britz, Provost, UW-Milwaukee
- Michael Falbo, Regent President Emeritus
- Deborah Ford, Chancellor, UW-Parkside
- Rob Manzke, Chief of Staff, Chancellor’s Office, UW-Stevens Point
- Sabrina Mueller-Spitz, Associate Professor of Biology, UW Oshkosh
- Geoffrey Peterson, Professor of Political Science and American Indian Studies, UW-Eau Claire
- Dr. Ashok Rai, Regent
- Glendali Rodriguez, Interim Provost, UW-Stout
- Paul Shain, Vice Chair, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, and President/CEO, Singlewire Software, LLC
- Jon Shelton, Associate Professor, and Chair, Democracy and Justice Studies, UW-Green Bay
- Dennis Shields, Chancellor, UW-Platteville
- Olivia Woodmansee, Regent Emeritus and Student, UW-La Crosse
“President Thompson has reminded us of the power of the Wisconsin Idea,” said Manydeeds. “We saw this during the height of the pandemic, when we opened campuses to community testing and vaccinations. Our next president should keep that focus while meeting the many challenges ahead.”
“We are grateful for the leadership of President Thompson, who provided exemplary guidance during the pandemic and has positioned us for future success,“ Walsh said. “I’ve often said that the next UW System president is watching us, and our progress during Covid-19 will no doubt be noticed by potential candidates.”
According to a press release, the Committee is expected to convene in August, when Manydeeds will charge the Committee with its mission, review search procedures, and begin the national search. The Committee will schedule listening sessions at UW System’s 13 universities in September, when additional faculty, staff, and students will be invited to participate.
A subcommittee will review and suggest needed changes to the prospectus that was developed for the presidential search that fell apart in June, 2021 when the only finalist, University of Alaska System president Jim Johnsen, withdrew his name from consideration on the same day the search committee planned to meet and seemed likely to recommend his hiring to the Board of Regents. The search had been controversial from the start when the previous Board of Regents President, Drew Petersen, named no faculty or staff members to the search committee, a break from tradition. That committee had only nine members, six of whom were active or emeritus Regents in addition to two chancellors and a provost.
The Search and Screen Committee will engage the assistance of a national search firm to identify and screen candidates. The Committee will determine and interview candidates; a Special Regent Committee to review finalists will be appointed later in the fall. The successful candidate will require the approval of the full Board of Regents.