Ackerman to lead as interim vice chancellor for research and graduate education

July 11, 2019 By Kelly April Tyrrell

Steve Ackerman, who has served as the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s associate vice chancellor for research in the physical sciences since 2012, will assume a new role as interim vice chancellor for research and graduate education on Aug. 19.

He succeeds Norman Drinkwater, who has served as interim vice chancellor since 2018 and plans to retire.

Photo: Steve Ackerman

Steve Ackerman

Photo: Portrait of Norman Drinkwater

Norman Drinkwater

“It’s a new challenge but I look forward to continuing to support the critical research and educational missions of our campus,” says Ackerman, who will continue to engage in his research programs in the Space Science and Engineering Center.

Drinkwater, a UW–Madison professor of oncology, has long planned to retire but will continue to collaborate on existing research projects as an emeritus faculty member. He served for 17 years as chair of the Department of Oncology and director of the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research. He was also associate vice chancellor for research from 2014 until 2018.

“Serving as vice chancellor for research and graduate education has been an extraordinarily satisfying job,” says Drinkwater. “The goal is to make it easier for people to do their research and be successful. To see the wide array of research taking place on this campus has been awe-inspiring.”

The vice chancellor for research and graduate education leads UW–Madison’s large and robust research program, overseeing a diverse portfolio of $1.2 billion in research expenditures. In addition to managing research policy and compliance, the position also oversees graduate education through the Graduate School and the activities of 18 interdisciplinary research centers, including the Wisconsin Energy Institute, the Waisman Center and the UW Arboretum.

The search for a permanent vice chancellor for research and graduate education began in 2018 and will restart in the fall of 2019, with assistance from the national executive search firm WittKieffer.

“I am immensely grateful to Norman for his leadership during a time of transition in VCRGE, and his willingness to extend his term during the search for a permanent vice chancellor. He has been superb in this job,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “I am grateful that Steve is willing to serve as the interim in the year ahead. His experience and vision will help to carry the institution’s mission forward.”