Dr. Karen R. Schmitt Named UW Colleges Provost

Dr Karen Schmitt

MADISON, Wis. – Dr. Karen R. Schmitt has been named the next Provost for the University of Wisconsin Colleges following a nationally competitive search, announced University of Wisconsin Colleges and UW‐Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen.

Currently the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs at University of Alaska Southeast, Dr. Schmitt has broad experience in higher education, including extensive experience in two‐year access institutions and online education. She has also held a number of research and science coordinator/manager positions at University of Washington, Exxon and ITT Antarctic Services.

“I am delighted Karen Schmitt will join our team as the next provost for the UW Colleges,” said Chancellor Sandeen. “She understands and deeply appreciates that the UW Colleges’ core access and student success missions play a vital role in the social and economic mobility of Wisconsin citizens. She will also bring fresh eyes which will lead to growth and innovation within our institution,” added Sandeen.

Prior to her position at University of Alaska Southeast, Dr. Schmitt served as Dean of the Community and Technical College of University of Alaska Anchorage. She earned a PhD in geological sciences from Columbia University; a MSc in geology from University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; and a BS in geology and geophysics from University of Wisconsin‐Madison.

“I consider myself to be a product of the Wisconsin Idea, having grown up on a family farm just outside of Madison,” said Dr. Schmitt. “Working with the remarkably talented UW Colleges faculty, staff and students across the state, as well as with Chancellor Sandeen, was an opportunity I could not pass up. I am looking forward to strengthening and supporting my home state through the critical work UW Colleges does throughout Wisconsin communities.”

Dr. Schmitt will start her position on August 1, 2017, following the retirement of current UW Colleges’ provost Greg Lampe.

The search and screen committee was chaired by Amy Reddinger (Associate Professor, UW‐Marinette) and included representatives of both UW Colleges and UW‐Extension. For more information about the search process, click here.

UW Colleges is an institution of the UW System comprised of 13 freshman‐sophomore campuses and UW Colleges Online that offer an associate degree in arts and science and a single Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree, and prepare students of all ages and backgrounds for baccalaureate and professional programs. UW‐Extension serves Wisconsin families, businesses and communities statewide through offices in all 72 Wisconsin counties and three tribal nations, continuing education services through all 26 UW System campuses, the UW Flexible Option partnership with UW System campuses, the statewide broadcasting networks of Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television, and entrepreneurship and economic development activities by county throughout the state.