Mangelsdorf looks forward to listening, leading
Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf in her Bascom Hall office. “This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of such a great university, to work with Chancellor Blank and to continue the great traditions already established here,” she says. View her video greeting to campus.
Sarah Mangelsdorf has been told about “Jump Around.”
She’s enjoyed time on the Terrace for cheese curds and a view of Lake Mendota.
And she’s run to Picnic Point a few times.
“I consider myself doing an ethnography,” Mangelsdorf says. “You really can’t come in from the outside and have a vision for a place you don’t yet truly understand.”
Yes, as the new provost of UW–Madison, Mangelsdorf has a lot to learn – but she’s looking forward to it. Mangelsdorf was chosen in April as the new provost following Paul DeLuca’s retirement. Her first day was Aug. 4.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of such a great university, to work with Chancellor Blank and to continue the great traditions already established here,” Mangelsdorf says.
“I’ve known many people who have worked here or gone to school here. It’s one of these places that you hardly ever meet a graduate that doesn’t have positive things to say about. And that’s not true of every university.”
The provost is the university’s chief academic officer, responsible for overseeing and coordinating the curricular, student and faculty life on campus. In the absence of the chancellor, the provost assumes the role of chief executive. The provost’s office is also responsible for faculty and staff programs, diversity initiatives and enrollment management.
Mangelsdorf is the former dean of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and held a similar position at the University of Illinois. Mangelsdorf’s family has a long background in academia. Her grandfather was a plant geneticist at Harvard University, while her father taught physics at Swarthmore College and worked summers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1980 from Oberlin College and her doctorate in child psychology in 1988 from the University of Minnesota. She joined the University of Illinois psychology department in 1991 and served as associate provost from 2001-03 and head of the Department of Psychology from 2003-04.
She also served four years as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include social-emotional development, attachment, temperament and family systems.
“Every time I’ve come back to campus, I see something different. It’s different coming here as a visitor and now knowing it’s home.”
Mangelsdorf’s husband, Karl Rosengren, also a developmental psychologist in Northwestern’s Department of Psychology, will join the UW–Madison Department of Psychology.
As a psychology professor, she’s long been interested in what motivates people and why people are the way they are – skills that should come in handy as provost.
“I want to listen to people and learn how best to work with them,” Mangelsdorf says.
DeLuca shared some of what he has learned in his decades on campus.
“Paul has been extremely helpful. He spent time in weekly phone meetings with me going over all of the complex issues the university is dealing with,” Mangelsdorf says. “I can already tell that those briefings will be quite valuable. And as a newcomer, it’s really appreciated.”
While Madison will be a new home for the Pennsylvania native, she’s visited the city and campus numerous times.
“UW-Madison is one of the world’s great universities,” Mangelsdorf says. “I’ve known many people who have worked here or gone to school here. It’s one of these places that you hardly ever meet a graduate that doesn’t have positive things to say about. And that’s not true of every university.”
She’s looking forward to seeing what makes campus so special firsthand.
“Every time I’ve come back to campus, I see something different,” Mangelsdorf says. “It’s different coming here as a visitor and now knowing it’s home.”