Biddy Martin, who has served as the provost at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. since 2000, has been selected by a special Board of Regents committee to become UW–Madison’s next chancellor. If confirmed by the full Board of Regents in early June, Martin will succeed Chancellor Wiley, who will be stepping down in September. Martin has explained that her focus as the leader of UW–Madison will be on access and affordability, the quality and retention of the faculty, and the contribution of our research to the state and nation’s greatest challenges.
Governor Jim Doyle, and several members of the search committee have expressed their great enthusiasm for Martin. William Cronon, a UW-Madison professor of history, geography and environmental studies, and member of the 23-person hiring committee, stated that, "All the evidence from Cornell University indicates that Dr. Martin has been a very wise and visionary leader of that institution. She brings a breadth of understanding that ranges from the natural sciences to the arts and humanities, and is someone I hope will lead this institution into the next decade and what we need to accomplish in the 21st century.”
Before serving as Cornell’s provost, Martin spent four years as senior associate dean in Cornell’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences. She was also a professor of German studies and women’s studies, and served as the chair of German studies from 1994-97. Also a plus is that Martin has ties to UW–Madison, having earned her doctorate in German literature here in 1985.
Martin seems to me like an excellent choice for our next campus leader. She obviously has a very clear understanding of the challenges and issues that face UW–Madison and higher education in general. Her experience and leadership thus far (at an Ivy league institution no less) have prepared to do great work on our campus. I look forward to meeting her and seeing what she can do for the future of our university and state.