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UW-Madison Provost Fellows Program accepting applications

March 13, 2018 By Käri Knutson

Susan Yackee saw a rare opportunity when the UW–Madison Provost Fellows Program was announced last year. Even though she’d been on campus since 2007, Yackee was interested in learning more about how the university works and building upon her leadership skills.

The program is designed to give faculty the opportunity to work in campus leadership at the highest levels and gain insight and experience that will help them develop their leadership skills.

“As a faculty member, I was able to experience only a small piece of this huge campus. As Provost Fellow, I was able to see how — at a very high level — all of the pieces fall together,” says Yackee, a professor in the Department of Political Science and La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Photo: Susan Yacke

Susan Yackee

Yackee has been at UW–Madison since 2007, serving as the La Follette School’s associate director from 2012 to 2013 and as director from 2013 to 2016.

She was the first fellow to serve in the Provost Fellow program. Applications for the 2018-19 year are now being accepted.

Those who have participated or are currently participating as fellows in the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s Academic Leadership Program in the last six years (2012-13 to the present) are eligible to apply.

Fellows will serve in the Office of the Provost during the 2018-19 academic year and work closely with one or more of the vice provosts during the period of the fellowship. Fellows will be given assignments in the office, will attend meetings of the Provost’s Executive Group and other committees and boards, and will work on special projects aligned with the fellow’s interests, which will be identified as part of the application process.

There will also be several semiformal learning opportunities during the fellowship period, organized around issues concerning higher education management as they become apparent on the UW–Madison campus.

During her academic year appointment, Yackee is focusing on institutional planning, enrollment management and the transformation of campus libraries.

“I’ve learned a great deal about communications — especially that having a good idea is not enough; one also has to seek feedback to make ideas better and to persuade others when a change is necessary,” she says.

“As a faculty member, I was able to experience only a small piece of this huge campus. As Provost Fellow, I was able to see how — at a very high level — all of the pieces fall together.”

Susan Yackee

The successful applicant will work during the nine-month academic year as their service commitment, and will be relieved of other service obligations in their departments by arrangement with the Provost’s Office.

Fellows can choose to receive a temporary base adjustment or a flexible research fund.

Yackee has enjoyed participating in the program and having the chance to build relationships with campus leaders.

“The Provost Fellowship is an excellent way to test one’s interest in high-level campus leadership because it allows the fellow to watch leadership in action and to participate in the implementation of major campus change,” Yackee says.

To apply, those interested should submit a letter that describes the applicant’s past administrative and leadership experience, how it represents a leadership trajectory that could be supported by the Fellows Program, and what the applicant hopes to gain from the program (two pages maximum). Applicants should also submit a CV and letters of support from their dean and a member of their home department or unit. The applicant should identify up to three areas of interest in the provost’s office, including but not limited to teaching and learning, faculty and staff support and development, diversity and inclusion, interdisciplinary programs, enrollment management, libraries and institutional planning.

Send applications to Phoua Vang ( by May 1, 2018.

If you have questions or would like more information about the program, contact Michael Bernard-Donals, vice provost for faculty and staff ( or Mo Bischof, associate vice provost (