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Friday, February 23, 2024
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UW-Madison gathers student input in search for new education school dean

University leaders partnered with an executive search firm to host listening sessions and a student feedback form. Finalists are expected to be announced this spring.

The search is underway for a new dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education after Diana Hess stepped down as the head of one of the nation's highest-ranked education schools. 

Hess, who served as the dean of the School of Education since 2015, announced in October she would be leaving her leadership position and returning to a faculty role in summer of 2024. During her tenure, Hess oversaw new programs to support students and solidified the education school’s status as No. 3 in the nation, according to U.S. News. 

The UW-Madison Provost’s Office and WittKieffer, a Chicago-based executive search firm, are overseeing the search for Hess’s replacement. WittKieffer partnered with the university for previous faculty replacements including the search for a new provost and a director of student financial aid.

Search committee chair Carolyn Kelley told The Daily Cardinal WittKieffer and the committee invited students to fill out a feedback survey and held virtual listening sessions over the past weeks that were open to students, including two hourlong forums over Zoom during January.

According to UW-Madison, the information obtained from these listening sessions and surveys is being used to support candidate recruitment and inform the search committee’s screening process.

The search committee is composed of various professors and chairs within the School of Education. PhD student Cherish Golden was appointed by the Associated Students of Madison as the student representative.

The dean serves as the School of Education’s chief academic and executive officer, with responsibilities ranging from staffing, budget and fundraising.

The new dean will take over at a time of expanded opportunities for the School of Education. 

Since 2015, the School of Education has increased its undergraduate and graduate majors by approximately 25%, expanded its faculty fellowships and dramatically increased scholarship support for students. After stepping down, Hess will remain in charge of the Discussion Project, a professional development curriculum founded during her tenure that fosters professional development

The deadline for candidates to be considered is March 18, with interviews expected to begin shortly after. Public information about finalists will be shared on the provost’s website for campus involvement, Kelley said.

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Gavin Escott

Gavin Escott is a senior staff writer and photographer for multiple desks at The Daily Cardinal. Throughout his time at the Cardinal, he's written articles for city, state, campus and breaking news. He is the current host/producer of the Cardinal Call podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @gav_escott.

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