Tracy White has been named the new campus executive officer and dean at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County. Interim UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Aaron Brower made the announcement Tuesday.
“We conducted a national search and had an exceptionally strong group of finalists for this position,” Brower said in a statement. “Tracy White emerged as the kind of dynamic, creative leader who is a good match for this campus at this time. She is the right leader to guide UW-Baraboo/Sauk County through future challenges and opportunities.”
White has served as an associate campus dean at UW-Barron County since 2010 and has served as interim CEO and dean of her campus twice, for a total period of about a year. She joined UW-Barron County 2002 as an associate lecturer in chemistry, holds a doctorate in biochemistry from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Lawrence University in Appleton. She was named assistant professor of biological sciences at UW-Barron County in 2003 and associate professor in 2009.
“This is an exciting time to take over the leadership at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County,” White said in a statement Tuesday. “Tom Pleger set the campus on a course of growth and success. I look forward to engaging the community and the campus to meet the new opportunities we will face in the future as we seek to better serve students, our community and the state of Wisconsin.”
Pleger, the campus’ former CEO and dean, recently left to take on his new role as president of Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan,
“Tracy really brought a terrific positive energy and a sense of kind of forward thinking to the position,” Brower said, adding that White has many good ideas for maintaining the relationships UW-Baraboo has with the city, county and various groups and focusing on the access mission of the Colleges.
“She really had a very good feel for that,” he said, adding that White plans to focus on strengthening those connections.
White also has a good sense for the opportunities that can be offered by the new residence hall and science facility being built on campus.
“I really liked her energy and vision for the kind of educational experience that students will get at UW-Baraboo within the context of the Colleges,” Brower said.
White, along with finalists Jon Dalager, Bill Wresch and Tom Neal, UW-Baraboo’s associate dean for academic affairs, visited the campus and conducted presentations for faculty, students and community members.
People from the campus and community, including Baraboo Mayor Mike Palm and Sauk County Board Chair Marty Krueger, served on the search committee for the position, Brower said. He said that in response to the candidate visits, he received close to 30 e-mails with feedback from community members.
Brower said White’s hiring marked his first chance to hire a Colleges dean in his role as interim chancellor.
“I was very impressed at how strong the candidate pool was,” he said, adding that the caliber of the candidates, particularly the finalists, made the decision a difficult one.
“The entire campus has been able to participate along the entire way here, and I think that’s an important thing,” said UW-Baraboo Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Matt Jurvelin.
Jurvelin said he feels for Neal, his friend and colleague, who put forth a tremendous effort and showed great leadership in his candidacy.
Jurvelin said he’s excited to welcome White to campus and have her lead UW-Baraboo.
“Tracy coming in from outside of Baraboo, that could be a real interesting and useful perspective for us,” he said.
Jurvelin also said that he thinks that as a scientist, White will bring a leadership style that is somewhat familiar to the campus. Both Pleger and Neal have strong science backgrounds.
“The mindset of a scientist is something I value in a leadership role,” he said.
Jurvelin said that White’s student-focused approach will fit in well with current campus leadership and should make for a smooth transition. He said he hopes she feels welcome on campus, and he looks forward to working with her.
White is scheduled to assume her new role in August. UW-Baraboo Emeritus Professor Ken Grant has been named as interim dean and is scheduled to serve through July.
“I also want to commend Tom Pleger for his outstanding leadership for the past eight years,” Brower said. “We all wish him well in his new endeavor.”