MADISON (WKOW) -- UW System officials have recommended U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank for UW-Madison chancellor.
A special Board of Regents committee voted on Friday, and announced their choice Monday afternoon. UW System President Kevin Reilly says Blank has a number of qualifications the system was looking for in a candidate, especially her economic expertise. Blank was chosen over three other finalists from across the country.
Rielly says as a former dean at the University of Michigan, Blank was an educational innovator.
"[Blank] created some new interdisciplinary graduate programs there between public policy and the social sciences," says Reilly. "She also for the first time created an undergraduate major at the University of Michigan in policy studies."
Some have questioned whether Blank will support issues students say they're concerned about, like increasing tuition and shared governance. Andrew Bulovsky, president of Associated Students of Madison (ASM) says he's happy about the board's decision, after meeting with all the candidates.
"I'm excited to see [Blank] use resources wisely and use her economic background to mitigate any issues that would come from the difficult economic times," says Bulovsky. "She promised to continue reaching out to students and working with students and promoting those meaningful opportunities for engagement with students through shared governance."
Blank would replace Interim Chancellor David Ward in July, who has held the title for nearly two years. The full board will make a final vote on April 5th. Reilly says it's unlikely the group wouldn't agree with the committee's recommendation.
Reilly declined to comment on Blank's potential salary, saying it won't be finalized until the board vote. Reilly says it will be slightly higher than the current salary of $437,000, in order to be competitive with other universities.
MADISON (WKOW) -- UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and a special committee of the UW System Board of Regents announced Monday they are recommending Dr. Rebecca M. Blank to be the next UW-Madison chancellor.
The full Board of Regents has to approve the hire and is scheduled to act on the recommendation at an April 5 meeting.
A news release from the University of Wisconsin System says Blank plans to step into the chancellor job in July.
"I am honored and delighted to be offered the job of Chancellor at UW-Madison. This is a world-class school, and I have been continually impressed by the caliber, dedication and enthusiasm of its students, faculty and staff," Blank said in a statement released by the UW system. "Together we will continue to build on the school's long history of excellence. Wisconsin is one of the foremost public universities, demonstrating that a top research institution can also provide educational access to students from all backgrounds. One of the many attractions of this job is the school's strong commitment to the Wisconsin Idea of engaging the state and its communities. The University is integral to the economic future of the state and must continue to be a strong partner in the effort to create jobs and stimulate economic growth."
Dr. Blank is the acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
She has been with the Department of Commerce since 2009, serving first as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, then as Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary.
She previously served as Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, where she also worked as a Professor of Public Policy and of Economics.
She also has experience as a faculty member at Northwestern University and served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors from 1997-99.
"Dr. Blank is uniquely prepared to lead UW-Madison, coming to us with broad national and international experience in roles where big science and big research intersect with job creation and commercialization. She also has a strong track record of educational innovation, having created interdisciplinary graduate programs, and a new undergraduate public policy major, at the University of Michigan," Reilly said.
Blank holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota.
David Ward has served as UW-Madison Interim Chancellor since July 2011.
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