UW names finalists for president position
The University of Wisconsin Extension’s leader, Pennsylvania’s state college system’s second-in-command and Kentucky’s state college system’s chief overseer who prosecuted mob bosses before he entered academia have emerged as finalists to become the UW System’s next president, system officials announced Thursday.
The candidates include Raymond Cross, who doubles as chancellor of UW-Extension and UW Colleges; Peter Garland, executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; and Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
A selection committee made up of members of the Board of Regents plans to interview them on Monday. All three will be available for questions from faculty, staff, students and community members through a statewide video conference that day as well.
The selection committee will choose one candidate on Tuesday and forward his name to the full Board of Regents, which is expected to make a hiring decision on Wednesday.
The new hire will become the UW System’s seventh president. He will replace Kevin Reilly, who officially stepped down on Dec. 31. Reilly announced in July he planned to resign at the end of 2013 amid intense criticism from Republican legislators for allowing system campuses to build massive reserves while raising tuitions year after year. UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer is serving as interim president.
Cross has served since 2011 as chancellor of UW-Extension, the UW System’s public outreach arm. It includes Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio and county extension offices, and UW Colleges, the state’s 13-campus two-year college system. Cross played a key role in developing the UW System’s flex option program, which allows students to parlay work and life experience into college credits.
Cross holds a doctorate in college administration from Michigan State University and served as president of Morrisville State College in Morrisville, N.Y., and Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, Minn., according to a resume UW System officials released Thursday.
Garland has served as vice chancellor and CEO of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, that state’s 115,000-student, 14-college public system, since 2006. He serves as Chancellor Frank Brogan’s chief adviser and worked as acting chancellor from March until September before Brogan was hired in October.
Garland holds a doctorate in higher education from Penn State. His previous jobs include stints as deputy secretary for postsecondary and higher education with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and executive director of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, according to his resume.
King has worked as president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education since 2009. The council approves tuition rates and develops a budget proposal for the state’s public universities and colleges, which include the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.
He holds a law degree from Vanderbilt and led a task force within the Monroe County, N.Y., district attorney’s office that prosecuted local mob leaders during the late 1970s and early 1980s, his resume said. He also has served in New York’s Legislature, worked as Monroe County executive and worked as chancellor of the State University of New York system.
This from WKMS:
Kevin Reilly officially stepped down as president on Tuesday. He announced in July he would resign at the end of 2013 after taking intense criticism from Republican lawmakers for allowing system campuses to build massive reserves while raising tuition year after year.
And the winner gets...
This from the Wisconsin State Journal:
University of Wisconsin System president Kevin Reilly is leaving his job after nine years defined by soaring enrollment gains, steep cuts in state funding, large tuition hikes and fierce political battles. He’ll leave at the end of the year to advise the American Council on Education and return to teaching.
“He’s proven himself to be an outstanding leader with vision and fortitude through some very interesting times,” said Michael Falbo, president of the UW System Board of Regents. “Kevin Reilly has done a terrific job leading this institution.”
Reilly, at a Tuesday news conference, called the 2011 battle over UW-Madison’s unsuccessful effort to break away from the state System the most challenging stretch of his tenure and ultimately one of his proudest moments.
“I’m very proud the final decision was what it was,” he said, “and that UW-Madison continues to play this wonderful role as a world-renowned research institution in partnership with all of our other institutions.”
Reilly, 63, said bruising battles with state lawmakers in recent months didn’t factor into his decision to move on. When asked if at any point he was asked to step aside, he replied unequivocally.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
Reilly is the second-longest serving leader in the 13-university System’s history. The System also includes 13 two-year colleges and the UW-Extension.
During Reilly’s tenure in charge of the System, enrollment increased 8.9 percent, to 181,000 this year. The number of degrees earned grew 13 percent, to 36,400 in 2012. Need-based financial aid awards grew by 124 percent.
Falbo said work is already underway to conduct a national search for Reilly’s successor, to be named in early 2014.
“Kevin and I began talking about a transition plan last fall, which is a tribute to the way he thinks strategically and methodically about things,” Falbo said.
Gov. Scott Walker credited Reilly for focusing the System’s work on “economic and workforce development” and helping forge a partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. He also said Reilly provided leadership on the UW Flexible Option program.
But other Republicans were critical.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the University of Wisconsin System. They have a chance to start a new chapter,” said Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, in a statement. “New leadership will go a long way to re-establishing trust that has eroded over the years. We are looking forward to working with a new president so together we can create a system that can continue to deliver a world-class education and our graduates are prepared for the workforce.”
Darling and Nygren lead the Legislature’s powerful budget committee.
Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, however, said the next System leader should be a “street-fighting diplomat — somebody who can go to battle to protect the system and its students, but also has the savvy to navigate the minefield that is the Republican-controlled legislature.”
UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank praised Reilly and said the System is at a critical juncture.
“I look forward to working with my fellow chancellors to ensure that the new president will have the cooperation and support of all campuses as we work together to maintain the excellence Kevin was so instrumental in advancing,” she said in a statement.
At ACE, which represents university presidents nationally and advocates on behalf of higher education, Reilly will work with president Molly Corbett Broad on programs that serve university administrators. He said Broad wrote him a few months ago seeking “an energetic recently retired president” to help her in developing leaders, not realizing Reilly would be a fit for the job.
Reilly’s departure comes on the heels of a contentious legislative session in which top lawmakers, mostly Republicans, excoriated him at public hearings, stripped a proposed funding increase for the System and froze tuition for the next two years for state residents. The System later extended the tuition freeze to include out-of-state and graduate students.
Reilly appeared before legislators in January to explain a payroll glitch that initially caused nearly $33 million in benefits overpayments to employees. In April he was back for an even harsher public scolding, this time to explain nearly $650 million in reserve funds legislators say the System didn’t adequately disclose at a time it was also raising tuition at 5.5 percent a year, the maximum allowed by law.
He will stay on until the end of 2013. Reilly will also take a part-time teaching position within the System.
Before becoming System president, Reilly was chancellor of the extension from 2000 to 2004. He was also provost and vice chancellor there and an administrator in the State University and City University of New York systems.
“Kevin has been a steadfast advocate for those institutions,” Falbo said of the System’s campuses. “The challenges have been formidable, but he has met every one with intelligence, grace, integrity, common sense, a great sense of humor ... and the occasional poem.”