UW-Madison Deans Take the Lead

Friday, September 16, 2011
In the last 24 hours we heard from at least two UW Madison deans, weighing in on the COE debacle. I share their words with you here.

Thursday, 8:59 pm.
CALS students,

I am writing to you in my role as interim dean of CALS to respond to attacks on members of our community by Mr. Roger Clegg of the Center for Educational Opportunity. The center released a report that charges that UW-Madison discriminates against applicants on the basis of race. This conclusion is misleading and unfounded. UW-Madison uses a system based on a holistic, selective, competitive process that includes many factors to determine who is admitted. Most importantly, UW-Madison only admits students who have demonstrated the ability to succeed at Madison. On Tuesday evening, along with over 800 other members of our community, I had the opportunity to witness a debate between Mr. Clegg and Professor Church of our law school. I was deeply offended that Mr. Clegg chose to make his argument with comments that were demeaning and derogatory to members of our student body. Every one of you who has been admitted to UW-Madison has worked hard to get here and you all deserve to be here.

As scholars, I urge you to be on guard for the misuse of statistics for political gain. As Badgers I know you will continue to respect and support all the members of our community.

On Wisconsin!

William F. Tracy
Interim Dean and Director, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Friday Chair of Vegetable Research
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Friday, 11:32 am

Dear Colleagues,

The School of Education is proud of its long commitment to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. Moreover, School faculty and staff have been major contributors to the scholarship on issues of educational access and equality. Our research and experience confirm that a diverse academic community enhances teaching and learning, enriches research, promotes vibrant intellectual discourse, and serves the professions and communities for which we prepare our students.

We affirm our conviction that all School of Education students represent the best of our campus—smart, committed, and active individuals who make a difference now and, as alumni, will shape our future. Our students compete vigorously for admission both to the campus and to our professional programs. Our School’s minimum academic requirements are among the highest on campus. For these reasons we reject the recent claims by the Center for Equal Opportunity regarding the quality of our undergraduates.

I call on the School to support and encourage every student; to take this opportunity to engage in critical discussion and analysis about access and equity in education; and to redouble our efforts to create a School that reflects the diversity of our nation and the world.

Julie Underwood, Dean
UW-Madison School of Education