May 9, 2008

Provost Biddy Martin Named Finalist in UW-Madison Chancellor Search

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Four people are vying to take over for University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Jon Wiley at the helm of the nation’s 10th largest university when he steps down in September. One candidate is Cornell’s own Provost Biddy Martin.

U.W. System President Kevin Reilly named Martin a finalist for the position on Wednesday, signifying that she has made one of the last cuts in the chancellor search.

“It is a particularly exciting opportunity because of the quality of the institution and the fact that it is my Ph.D. alma mater,” Martin, who graduated from UW-Madison in 1985 with a degree in German literature, stated in an email.

Martin told The Daily Cardinal, UW-Madison’s student newspaper, “I think my love [of UW-Madison] and sense of its extraordinary spirit puts me in a great position to help it continue to flourish.”

Although Martin’s status as a finalist has made news across the Midwest, Martin seems less preoccupied by the selection.

“As an experienced provost of a major research university, I frequently get inquiries about presidencies and chancellor positions at other institutions,” Martin said. “I love Cornell and am very happy in the provost’s position, so was not ‘looking to leave.’”

Martin was also one of the top 30 candidates on the list to find a replacement for former Harvard President Lawrence Summers. President Drew Faust was eventually named to the position in February of 2007.

Martin added that it is too early to tell whether she will take the position at UW-Madison if offered. However, she stated that Cornell has not begun the search for a replacement for the provost.

“The state of Wisconsin would be lucky to get Biddy,” President David Skorton told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “She’s a wonderful leader, just a superb colleague – I enjoy every day working with her.”

According to The Sentinel, the maximum salary that the next chancellor of UW-Madison would make would be $452,000. Martin currently earns over half a million dollars at Cornell. She told The Sentinel that salary is not a concern for her in making the decision.

Other candidates for the position include former University of Michigan School of Public Policy Dean Rebecca Blank, University of Minnesota Vice President R. Timothy Mulcahy, and Current U.W. College of Letters and Science Dean Gary Sandefur.

The four candidates will spend time at UW-Madison next week visiting with a number of different campus groups, including students, faculty and administrators. They will each participate in their own reception in order to meet the public. The candidates will also be interviewed by the Board of Regents, an 18-member group that governs the U.W. System. [img_assist|nid=30446|title=A bit of Biddy|desc=Provost Biddy Martin delivers the Academic State of the University Address to a capacity audience in Call Auditorium on March 7. Courtesy Cornell University|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]

U.W. System Spokesperson David Giroux told the Cardinal, “Everybody who makes it to this stage of the search is someone who’s got very, very strong credentials. The charge to the search committee is to advance a slate of people, each of whom could do the job and succeed as chancellor … each of these four individuals is qualified to be the next chancellor of UW-Madison.”

According to the Cardinal, the final decision – which will come before June 5 – will reflect the views of the 23-member Chancellor Search and Screen Committee, as well as feedback from Reilly and other members of the administration.