Sole Finalist in UW System President Search Withdraws

Kelly Meyerhofer reports today that University of Alaska president withdraws as sole finalist in UW System president search:

The sole finalist in the running to lead the University of Wisconsin System withdrew his name from consideration Friday after a months-long search marred with criticism.

University of Alaska System President Jim Johnsen, 62, informed search committee chairman Michael Grebe of the news on the same day the group planned to meet behind closed doors and make a hiring recommendation to the UW Board of Regents.

“After deep reflection as to where I am called to lead a university system through these challenging times, it is clear to me and my family that it is in Alaska,” Johnsen said in a statement. “I appreciate the strong support from the search committee at Wisconsin, and for all those who supported my candidacy, but it’s clear they have important process issues to work out.”

Calls to expand the search committee beyond six board members and three high-level administrators came from all 13 universities and even Gov. Tony Evers last winter, but the committee forged ahead even as the pandemic paused leadership searches at a few other state university systems.

Well, yes, the UW System regents do have issues to work out: (1) the System is too centralized, (2) the System has too few competent administrators, (2) current president Ray Cross has been a notable failure, (4) the System places too much emphasis on public relations, and (5) too little emphasis on faculty and student needs.

See also UW System President Ray Cross’s Overreach.

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