The Ward Legacy: Sustaining preeminence in higher educationPhoto of David Ward

David Ward's Biography

David Ward was named chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in June 1993, becoming the 25th individual to serve as the university's chief executive.

Ward was born in Manchester, England, and received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Leeds. He earned a Fulbright Travel award to the United States in 1960 and received a doctorate from UW-Madison in 1963.

His UW-Madison faculty career spans more than 30 years, and he holds the Andrew Hill Clark Professorship of Geography. Ward served as chair of the geography department from 1974 to 1977, and as associate dean of the Graduate School from 1980 to 1987.

Ward became vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-Madison in 1989, and in 1991, he was also named provost, chief deputy to the chancellor. He became interim chancellor in January 1993, and was named to the post in June 1993.

As a scholar, Ward is a recognized authority in historical urban geography and has pioneered research on English and American cities during their rapid growth of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is a past president of the Association of American Geographers. He has authored two books, edited two books and contributed many articles in leading academic journals. In recognition of his postdoctoral research, Ward was awarded the degree of Litt.D. by his undergraduate alma mater.

As chancellor, Ward has provided strong leadership for efforts to improve the quality of undergraduate education. Changes inspired by Ward include enhanced student advising, particularly for freshmen and sophomores; expanded course access; a core curriculum; and increased opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research.

Ward has also sought to redefine undergraduate education, not simply through improvements of existing programs and processes, but by developing new ways for learning to occur on college campuses.

To that end, he published a comprehensive strategic planning document, outlining priorities for the university as it attempts to balance its teaching, research and outreach missions. One way the university can unify its activities, Ward says, is by emphasizing learning as a central goal.

During his tenure, Ward has given new expression to the Wisconsin Idea, the venerable philosophical framework for the university's public service role. The Wisconsin Idea is embodied by a vast array of partnerships between the university and both the public and private sectors, says Ward, ranging from economic development activity and sharing of faculty expertise to educational collaborations with K-12 schools.

"The university's commitment to the citizens of Wisconsin is stronger than ever as we enter the 21st century," says Ward.


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