UW-Rock selects Wilson as dean
Wilson's opinion makes a difference because she has been named the new boss of UW-Rock County in Janesville.
Wilson's title is campus executive officer and dean. She will start Dec. 1, according to news released Monday from the UW Colleges administration.
Wilson, 44, is chief of staff and affirmative action officer at UW-La Crosse. She earned her doctorate and her master's degrees in counseling psychology and her bachelor's degree in psychology at Iowa State University.
Wilson will replace Diane Pillard, who retired in June. Here are Wilson's responses to questions in a telephone interview Monday.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Wisconsin. Her father is from Richland Center and her mother from Platteville. They met at UW-Platteville. She spent much of her early years in central Iowa. Her father was on the faculty of Iowa State University.
"Wisconsin feels like home to me," she said.
Q: Your resume indicates you've been at UW-La Crosse since 1996, right after you got your doctorate?
A: That's right, even though that wasn't her plan. She thought she would teach part-time and become a therapist but she found she loved teaching. As is common in academia, she was pulled into leadership roles at UW-La Crosse.
Q: What made you decide to become the leader of an academic institution?
A: She didn't even consider it until a search consultant contacted her about the UW-Rock job. Because of her involvements in administration in La Crosse, the idea appealed to her.
"As a leader, you have the opportunity to help people to do things they want do, which I found very satisfying," she said.
Q: What do you think of UW-Rock?
A: She was impressed by the interview committee and the students she talked to.
"It looked like a fantastic place," she said. "… Students raved about the faculty and staff and how they care about student success. That's exactly the kind of thing that I value, and so it just felt right, a good fit. … I was extremely impressed with the facilities. It's clear that Diane Pillard has done a great job, building rapport with the county board (which pays for buildings and improvements), and the board is very supportive of the college, and that's fantastic."
Wilson also was impressed with Pillard's relationships with the community and wants to continue those.
As for four-year degrees, she has no specific plans, but "those are wonderful things, and we can continue to take look at improving o the success that UW-Rock has already achieved."
Q: How long do you intend to stay in this job?
A: "I understand the need for stability in these positions," having been on the search committee for UW-La Crosse's chancellor, she said.
"I wouldn't take this position lightly. I can't give a specific timeframe because you never know what might happen, but … my career goals right now are to be a great dean at UW-Rock."
Q: Will you be moving here with family?
A: "No, it's just me."
She has a daughter who teaches school in Mishicot.
Q: Do you expect to be making any changes right away?
A: "Oh wow, no. Not that I might at some point. ... The people at UW-Rock are much more expert about their college and what's working and what's not working there," she said, so, "They'll let me know how they think it's going, and we'll go from there."