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New chancellor to be approved for UW-Madison today

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MADISON (WSAU)   The U-W Board of Regents will vote today on hiring two new chancellors, including Rebecca Blank at the Madison campus. The Regents are meeting at U-W La Crosse. They’ll also consider the hiring of James Schmidt as the new chancellor at Eau Claire.

A search committee recommended Blank, who’s been the acting secretary for the U-S Commerce Department. Among other things, Blank promises a strong emphasis on fund-raising for the state’s flagship school.

State Assembly Colleges Committee chairman Steve Nass opposes the selection. Nass, a Republican from Whitewater, says Blank has impressive credentials. But he’s worried that her policies would eventually make tuition unaffordable for many Wisconsin students. Blank would replace Biddy Martin, who left for a private college two years ago in part because she was tired of dealing with political pressure from Nass and other lawmakers. Former chancellor David Ward has filled in since then – and the tension between the campus and the Capitol has quieted down.

At Eau Claire, Schmidt would replace Brian Levin-Stankevich, who left a year ago to become the president of a college in Salt Lake City. Schmidt is currently a vice president at Winona State University in Minnesota.

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