… a tough decision to make. My thoughts are summarized by this reader’s comment
I felt they were both more qualified and would make much better spokespeople for the university than Mulcahy or Sandefur. They were the most charismatic of the candidates and came to the forums with the most energy and excitement.
After much deliberation, I made a decision. Thus, without further ado, the official Fearless Sifting endorsement for the next chancellor of the University of Wisconsin – Madison goes to Rebecca Blank. Biddy Martin was a clear runner up, but there are a couple of reasons why I think Blank is better suited to become our next chancellor.
The first has to do with her experiences in the realm of politics and public policy. The reason why has nothing to do with an outsiders perspective on education or anything like that, but rather I think her experience dealing with politicians and in politics will help her immensely when dealing with the state legislature. The other candidates can talk about communication and building relationships with politicians, she has more experience and has dealt politicians on a bigger scene over in DC. Her experience in handling politics was evident from hearing her speak about how she would deal with the legislature.
Blank was a better speaker from what I heard. She was more vibrant and energetic. Overall, I think her personality lends her to doing a better job of selling the university to the state legislature, the state of Wisconsin, alumni and private donors.
The CB beat me to the punch on my next point. Her experience in private fund raising for a major state university is something that we need. I don’t know if its the attitude about the importance of private fund raising that she’s gotten from Michigan, but I feel like that she prioritizes it much higher than any of the other candidates.
I also think that there is something to be said for experience at the flagship public university in a state, especially one in the Big 10. Coming from Michigan, I think Blank has a better grasp on the expectations and demands that come with leading the preeminent public university in a state that Biddy Martin does coming from Cornell. Her handling of questions about athletics and sportswear demonstrated and understanding of what it takes to lead a Big 10 university with a big time athletic program.
Blank would be my first choice. Martin comes in a solid second and then you can take your pick between Sandefur and Mulcahy.