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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Minnesota finalist stresses change for UW if chancellor

Timothy Mulcahy, current vice president for research at the University of Minnesota and finalist for the UW-Madison chancellor position, said Wednesday his experience at Minnesota can be applied to the UW-Madison campus.  


Minnesota has done a tremendous job of looking at itself as an institution and embodying a new course for its future. I think that the University of Wisconsin needs to undergo a similar type of inspection,"" Mulcahy said. 


Mulcahy spent 20 years in UW-Madison administration before taking the Minnesota position in 2005, and spoke in ""we"" terms for most of his media briefing Wednesday.  


He said UW-Madison should promote what makes it a prestigious university. 


""We need to identify what it is we think we are uniquely qualified and best at delivering, and then provide measurable endpoints to demonstrate that we are delivering on that promise."" 


Mulcahy said universities across the country are getting better at identifying their strengths and weaknesses, increasing the competition facing UW-Madison to get needed financial support. He said universities are all confronted on the same issues and are being innovative on how to deal with these challenges and UW-Madison needs to do the same thing. 


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""I would suggest [being] more deliberate in the competition. If we sit still they are going to eat our lunch."" 


The finalist also stressed the need for a culture change on campus.  


""I think Wisconsin has enjoyed a tremendous position as a prestigious university but sometimes you can get comfortable in a lead position and not be attentive to the things around you that cold challenge your leadership,"" Mulcahy said. ""I think we need to be acutely aware of those and identify them strategically. 


The culture changes he presented included accountability, partnership and responsibility. He said university administrators should listen to others to decide what to change and how to deliver those requests. 


""Many times we think we know the answer and many times we think we know the question, but I do not think that is always the case,"" he said. ""I think we have to rely on people to tell us what the issues are."" 


Mulcahy said there should be no worry about his dedication to the arts and humanities. 


""We are going to need to make arts and humanities a priority because the sources are more limited in those areas. The university has to be very deliberate in making them a priority.""  


Mulcahy stressed the university deserves more support than it currently receives from the state legislature. He said UW-Madison should provide more background outlining why the money is needed and what it will be put toward.  


At a separate reception, Mulcahy had the opportunity to sit down with students and listen to their concerns with the university. Students discussed their thoughts on segregated fee policies and access to information.  


The fourth finalist to visit campus is Rebecca Blank, former dean of University of Michigan's school of public policy. UW-Madison College of Letters & Sciences Dean Gary Sandefur and Cornell University Provost Biddy Martin had their campus sessions earlier this week. 


Check back at for complete coverage of the remaining finalist's campus visit. Blank will be on campus Thursday 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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