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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Cornell University's provost 'eyes' UW chancellor position

Biddy Martin, provost of Cornell University and finalist in UW-Madison's chancellor search, expressed the importance of higher education Tuesday during her visit to campus. 


Martin graduated from UW-Madison with a doctorate in German studies in 1985. She has since been at Cornell working as a professor in German and Women studies and took on the role as provost in 2000.  


Martin said her love of Madison drew her to the chancellor position.  


I saw that it was open, it immediately appealed to me because of my knowledge of the university, my love of Madison and the University of Wisconsin,"" Martin said. 


Martin said the most important thing for a chancellor to do is to get to know the campus as well as the alumni. She said she knows there are many issues facing the UW-Madison campus specifically. 


""There are a number of issues facing all systems of higher education. I would like to say that the challenges for higher education at the moment are extraordinary but the opportunities are also great."" 


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If offered the position, Martin said one of her goals would be to address the issue of funding for the university by working closely with state lawmakers.  


""I think the change is in funding models for higher education'¦that is a major challenge everywhere,"" she said. ""As the pressures on federal and state government grow for all kinds of reasons there is less funding available.""  


Martin expressed her passion for the diversification of students, faculty and staff through ""creating an environment where everyone is well served, where everything feels they are getting the benefits of what the campus has to offer."" 


""A chancellor can set a tone when it comes to creating an environment and holding a campus accountable for enhancing diversity.""  


With the struggle of retaining faculty, Martin said it is important to keep up with salary increases to help retention rates.  


""We have entered an era of extraordinary competition not only nationally but internationally for the best faculty'¦I think it is absolutely essential to keep pace with peers when it comes to salary. It's always good to be at the median."" 


When asked about her strengths as one of the three external finalists, Martin answered, ""I think it is an advantage to know a place and love a place and then to also have experiences elsewhere and to know from firsthand experience how things could be done differently. It is a fresh pair of eyes."" 


The other two external finalists include University of Minnesota Vice President for Research R. Timothy Mulcahy and Rebecca Blank, former dean of University of Michigan's school of public policy. UW-Madison College of Letters & Sciences Dean Gary Sandefur had his campus sessions Monday.  


Check back at for complete coverage of the remaining finalists' campus visits. Mulcahy will be on campus Wednesday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in Memorial Union's Main Lounge and from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Red Gym's On Wisconsin room.

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