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Scholz plans return to faculty; Search for new provost to begin

November 15, 2022
Photo of Provost Karl Scholz bumping fists with a marshal.

Provost John Karl Scholz congratulates graduating students at the 2019 winter commencement. Provost Scholz has announced he will return to the faculty after the 2022-23 academic year. Photo: Bryce Richter

Provost John Karl Scholz has shared his plans to return to the faculty following the end of the 2022-23 academic year, leading to the formation of a search to identify his successor as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“It has been a wonderful honor to work with Chancellor Blank and Chancellor Mnookin, along with our outstanding deans and Bascom leadership team,” says Scholz, who will return to a faculty role in the Department of Economics.

The timing for his return to the department will be based on the start date of a new provost and is expected to take place in summer 2023, following a search. Scholz became provost in August 2019, having previously served as dean of the College of Letters & Science.

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin says she deeply appreciates Scholz’s steady and effective leadership and his thoughtful efforts to support her transition.

“I want to thank Karl for guiding me through my own transition process to UW, as well as for his tremendously impressive leadership as provost. He is both a talented administrator and a terrific person, and I would have been delighted to see him continue as a member of my senior leadership team,” says Mnookin. “But I also certainly understand his desire to return to teaching, research and interacting with our talented students and faculty colleagues after a decade in significant administrative leadership roles here.”

The provost is the chief academic officer of the university and the second-ranking officer under the chancellor, responsible for overseeing and coordinating the academic and outreach missions of the university.

As the chief academic officer, the provost works closely with the deans and with campus leadership as well as shared governance, faculty, staff and students to deliver on UW–Madison’s threefold mission of education, research and outreach.

No one would deny that it has been a challenging and rewarding 3.5 years to work in academic leadership, Scholz says. Upon his departure, he will be the longest serving provost among the sitting provosts in the Big Ten.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve collectively done to navigate the pandemic while continuing to provide an extraordinary learning environment and world-class research, while fostering effective lines of communication and alignment across the schools and colleges and campus,” he says.

“We sharply enhanced the diversity of the incoming class and have made belonging a consistent campus focus,” he adds. “We launched the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring, which will further enhance instruction across campus.”

Scholz says that there are many positives to the job, but the most important is the privilege to work closely with exceptional, dedicated and talented people.

“This includes the two Chancellors I have worked with, members of the Provost’s Executive team, the Chancellor’s Executive team, our Deans and our shared governance leaders. Amazing people accomplish a lot. I am grateful to have been able to play a part.”

A search committee will be nominated by campus governance groups, and the position description and details about a nominating process will be shared soon.

A search firm will be retained to help with the national search. For questions, contact Monica Welke.