OU Provost Named Finalist In Wisconsin University Chancellor Search

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Ohio University's Executive Vice President and Provost has been named one of five finalists for the position of chancellor at The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The chair of a 21-membered search committee, Rama Yelkur, said the committee recommended OU's Pam Benoit and four other finalists to UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and the UW System Board of Regents after conducting an extensive screening and interview process.

"The search is a long process and [chancellor is] a very important critical position. It's a position where the chancellor of the campus reports to the president of the system and cares for the campus that they are charge of," said Yelkur.  "It's very complex. There are layers to navigate, and a lot of stakeholders in the community."

Yelkur said there were between 50 and 100 initial applicants for the university position. She said she interviewed Benoit as a semi-finalist, but was not authorized to comment on the status of individual candidates.

If Benoit is hired as the university's next chancellor, she would succeed former UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevichm, who left his position in May 2012.

"One of the concerns that I have with the state of higher education is that women are significantly underrepresented in the ranks of public university presidents, said Benoit in a statement.  "That will not change unless women are willing to put themselves forward for these roles.  Given my personal convictions about the role of women in academia, I want to explore the possibility of becoming a university president." 

Yelkur said Benoit will visit the UW-Eau Claire campus from March 3-5 and has an open forum scheduled on March 4.

"I genuinely enjoy my work and colleagues at Ohio University and would not leave unless the right opportunity presented itself," Benoit said.

The next chancellor of UW-Eau Claire will be announced at the UW Board of Regents meeting in April.

If selected, Yelkur said Benoit could start her new position this summer.