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Final two chancellor candidates visit

David Heiling, News Editor

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The final two candidates in the running for the chancellor position at UW-Eau Claire came to campus during the early part of this week to state their case as to why they’re the best candidate for the job.

Provost for Ohio University Pam Benoit, the third chancellor candidate to visit Eau Claire, held her open forum from 2:30-4 p.m. Monday in Schofield Auditorium.

Like the other candidates, Benoit visited the campus for a span of three days, and during her visit toured the campus and held her open forum in front of students, faculty and staff.

A main point Benoit focused on when she addressed the crowd was leadership. She said that in order to run an institution like Eau Claire, certain traits are essential to have in a leader.

“I would define a leader as someone who is able to motivate and inspire others,” she said. “(Someone who) is interested in the needs of others and can balance the needs of an organization.”

She also said she could think of over 50 traits that are essential to a great leader but narrowed them down to the most important, some of them being integrity, compassion, curiosity, strategic and communication skills.

Communication starts with the way you talk to other people and connecting and sharing with those people around the university, she said.

“Being approachable, visible, open and empathic along with being concerned with other people’s issues are a must,” Benoit said.

Jim Schmidt, the final candidate to hold an open forum, first addressed the crowd by asking the audience a question and praising his encounter with Eau Claire students before starting his presentation.

Not unlike Benoit, Schmidt also focused on ideals of leadership in response to the university’s question of maintaining Eau Claire as a distinctive premier undergraduate comprehensive.

He said his experience working cooperatively with bodies of legislature is a point of emphasis that can be implemented at Eau Claire.

“For the last 30 years I have been active in St. Paul in the legislature,” Schmidt said. “I’m feisty, and we’re going to have those tough conversations.”

He said he has worked successfully with three different parties in the legislature, and open channels of communication between higher education and legislative bodies need to happen.

Schmidt also said he was very excited for the opportunity to have the Confluence Center come into fruition, and that if it does, it will bring a lot to the community as a whole.

“The confluence project I’m really excited about,” Schmidt said. “It will transform the nature of the downtown and this campus. We’ll finally have a facility worthy of the amazing fine arts program at this institution and should be exactly the type of project the state of Wisconsin would endorse.”

In the end, to the victor really do go the spoils, as the salary of previous chancellors and the interim chancellor reach six digits.

Executive Director of Communications and External Relations for the University of Wisconsin System David Giroux said current interim chancellor Gilles Bousquet has an annual salary of $220,000, and previous Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich had an annual salary of $197,949.

The four candidates remaining for the position, Benoit, Huot, Neely and Schmidt will undergo interviews with a special committee of regents March 20.

The candidates will be considered on the search and screen committee from Eau Claire, along with the special committee and will formally recommend a candidate to UW System Kevin Reilly.

The full Board of Regents will appoint the new chancellor at the April Board of Regents meeting held at UW-La Crosse in early April.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Final two chancellor candidates visit