Search launches for vice chancellor for research and graduate education

September 13, 2018 By Terry Devitt

The search for a new University of Wisconsin–Madison vice chancellor for research and graduate education is underway.

Charged by Chancellor Rebecca Blank, a 15-member search and screen committee chaired by kinesiology Professor Dorothy Farrar-Edwards is conducting a nationwide search for a chief research officer to replace the recently retired Marsha Mailick. A position description has been approved by the committee and the chancellor and has been posted.

“This position is one of the most important on our campus,” says Blank. “UW–Madison has long been one of the largest and highest-ranked universities in research and graduate education. We’re seeking someone with the experience and vision to maintain and build our reputation, keeping us always on the front edge of innovation and discovery.”

The vice chancellor for research and graduate education is the university’s chief research officer. The job entails oversight of UW–Madison’s sprawling program of research, one of the largest and broadest in higher education, accounting for more than $1.2 billion in research expenditures annually. The position also encompasses oversight of graduate education through the Graduate School, as well as 16 interdisciplinary research centers, including the Biotechnology Center, the Waisman Center and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

In addition to leading a large academic research program, the vice chancellor for research and graduate education oversees research policy and compliance.

The position is now held by Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Norman Drinkwater, a professor of oncology.

“This is a big job, a really critical job for our campus,” says Farrar-Edwards. “We want to recruit a strong, diverse pool of candidates from both inside and outside the university.”

Ideally, the applicant pool is diverse on numerous levels, says Farrar-Edwards. “We’re hoping for candidates who represent all four divisions of the university and we’re also looking for someone who understands our governance structure.”

A strong candidate pool will also include applicants from less traditional academic backgrounds: “We would be open to individuals with more entrepreneurial experience,” notes Farrar-Edwards.

The search committee is being assisted by the national executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, a company with extensive reach and that has previous experience helping fill top jobs on the UW–Madison campus.

According to Farrar-Edwards, the committee is hoping to interview candidates in January and have a short list of finalists sometime in February. Finalists will visit campus to meet faculty, staff and students and also be interviewed by the chancellor and other senior UW–Madison leaders.

The search committee will hold two listening sessions for the campus community to ensure the campus community has an opportunity to share its ideas and opinions regarding leadership of the UW–Madison research enterprise. The sessions will be held:

Friday, Sept. 28, 12 p.m.–1 p.m., Memorial Union

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 12 p.m.–1 p.m., Union South

Other members of the search committee include horticulture Professor Irwin Goldman, pediatrics Professor Anna Huttenlocher, engineering physics Professor Douglass Henderson, biomedical engineering Professor Bill Murphy, English Professor Eric Raimy, psychology Professor Carol Ryff, Barbara Bowers of the School of Nursing and the University Committee, School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Bob Golden, Letters & Science Associate Dean Jennifer Noyes, Graduate Program Coordinator in Physics Michelle Holland, Jeff Whitman of Purchasing Services, Integrative Biology Lab Tech Support Supervisor Kate Skogen, graduate student Chris Bosma, and community member Fred Robertson.