Kim A. Wilcox
Kim A. Wilcox, a finalist for the position of chancellor at UW-Madison, meets with faculty, staff and students during a public reception on Monday, March 11. Wilcox is provost and vice president for academic affairs at Michigan State University. (Photo by Bryce Richter/UW-Madison)
In his own words:
For years, I have admired the University of Wisconsin-Madison from afar. As a native Midwesterner and someone who has spent his entire career in public higher education, I have a deep respect for, and enthusiasm about, the university and all that it has accomplished. Among the small number of universities that have achieved the academic prominence of UW-Madison, few have achieved that success with such consistency of commitment to mission. The revolutionary Wisconsin Idea continues to promise, provide, and fulfill both a vision and an agenda. "The boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state” means more than simply maintaining a presence in every county or looking around the state for research questions or policy issues. At its core the Wisconsin Idea is a promise that the university will forever be woven into the fabric of the state, reflecting its conscience, its values, and its ideals, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has fulfilled that promise.
For more than 160 years, Madison has recruited students, staff, and faculty members who live the Wisconsin Idea:
- individuals who believe that the university has a responsibility to remain accessible to all of the students of the state with the ability and commitment to succeed;
- individuals who believe that the university has a responsibility to partner with the state to create opportunities and to solve its problems; and
- individuals who strive to achieve at the highest possible level.
These are values that I share with those who compose the University of Wisconsin-Madison community unrestricted by borders of any kind, a university that has been, is, and always must be elite without being elitist.
As a first-generation college graduate who owes his entire success to the education he received at land-grant universities, I know the value of providing access to a world-class education to all of the citizens of a state. I left graduate school expecting to spend my career working with students and pursuing the research that I loved, and for many years, I did just that; so I know the importance of working with outstanding colleagues in a supportive and demanding environment. I also had the privilege of serving as president of the Kansas Board of Regents; so I have worked closely with legislators, the governor, and other public officials helping to ensure that the state’s universities serve and support the state’s interests. I also proudly claim many friends and valued colleagues among the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and from those relationships I have come to appreciate the depth with which Wisconsin’s institutional values are held by those across the campus.
UW-Madison promises to be the prototype of the great public universities our nation will need throughout the 21st century. Its next chancellor will have the privilege and pleasure of helping to shape that future. Among the chancellor’s most important responsibilities will be protecting the academic quality of the university and ensuring that it has the resources necessary to support that quality far into the future. I have raised academic standards as a department chair, dean, provost, and state system head, and have spent my entire administrative career securing financial support for the work of my colleagues. These experiences and my personal commitment to academic quality will be invaluable to me if given the chance to assure and advance the academic heritage of the university.
Any academic would be proud to serve on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and being selected to serve as the institution’s leader would be an even greater honor. I believe that I have the leadership, advocacy, and management skills — supported by energy and experience — needed to help the university reach its potential in the years to come. And I am confident that I will delight in the job. My wife, Diane, and I love Madison and we share a respect for the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of this fine institution. The chancellorship of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one the great jobs in all of higher education and I would consider myself privileged to be asked to serve in that role.