On Thursday Jan. 9, 2014, Ray Cross, formerly the Chancellor of UW Colleges and Extension, was appointed as UW System president.
Cross was approved by the UW System of Regents with personal goals to invoke pride in residents, embrace good relationships, and move forward into better education statewide.
Cross is the seventh UW System president and is taking over for Kevin P. Reilly, who is now the adviser of the American Council on Education. A press release from the UW System further explained Cross’s ideals about his new position.
“I’m eager to work with the Regents and all my UW System colleagues to enhance these assets in ways that will benefit the entire state, in keeping with the richest traditions of The Wisconsin Idea. That involves strong two-way relationships and open, honest communication – bringing the resources of the university to the people of Wisconsin, while also bringing the problems of the people to the university. To do that, we have to be really good listeners – not just good lecturers,” Cross said.
The Wisconsin Idea that Cross discusses was founded on two major principles. To be brief, these principles encompass both the idea that education exists to serve the public and that we should strive for community pro- activity within our campus outlooks.
“Cross comes with an excellent understanding of two-year colleges,” said Ryan Specht, the president of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Student Government Association.
Specht believes that Cross’s experience as Chancellor of the 13 two-year colleges in the state is a hope striking benefactor for college students statewide.
With his experience, he has garnered a more intimate understanding of the people who will be affected by his presidency.
“Cross advocates on behalf of students,” Specht said.
Some of Cross’s general duties as president include managing resources, negotiating with the legislature, and looking at the budget. Cross has maintained a good relationship with the state legislature that makes for a positive outlook for students and faculty in the UW System. This gives campuses hope for increased funding, which could be very beneficial.
“Initially, I don’t think students will see any direct changes. It may take six to twelve months,” Specht said. “He’ll need time to get his bearings, but I think he’ll be spending the first couple of years rebuilding relationships within the UW System.”
It seems that Cross’s relationships are well built, as is his attention to campus needs. These qualities about Cross might just make for a good foundation to start a new chapter of the UW System with. Surely, we are to see him build upon these values during the next few years.