Dr. Andy Leavitt
Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
I would consider myself to be a leader, to be a parent, to be an ally, to be a feminist. In my family, my parents raised all of their members of their family to be feminists. And, I have raised my children as feminists as well so, that is very, very important. We all carry multiple identities in that way, but in terms of race and ethnicity, mine is pretty obvious…it is something that I try to use to be a good ally.
Being the Chancellor, you have some influence and impact on what happens on campus. I think with students, it is a little different. Trust. Trust is a word that comes to mind here, in that, trust is something that is earned.
Other than the obvious sense of basic human fairness and decency, in my role, you want diversity because you make better decisions. I am a big believer in shared governance, which is a deliberate form of decision making where you consult a number of groups of people before you make decisions. If you have a leadership group that lacks diversity, you’re going to end up making very biased decisions.
I am kind of an open book… I want to be accessible. I want to be approachable. I want people to come to me certainly when things are going well, but more importantly when things aren’t going well. I feel that I have achieved that to a certain extent, but you can never fully achieve something like that. The Chancellor of the University is a great honor but is also a very heavy burden. You have the health of the University, itself, that rides on your shoulders. In addition to that, the experiences of individual students also ride on your shoulders. In many instances, those experiences are not good, and that is certainly heartbreaking for me because people entrust their education to this institution, and they need to have the best experience possible.