Prager stays following U. of Wisconsin pick

by Julia Levy | 11/13/00 6:00am

Provost Susan Prager will remain at Dartmouth -- at least for the time being -- following Friday's appointment of John Wiley as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wiley is currently the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Wisconsin, and he was the only internal candidate of the group of three finalists for the Wisconsin chancellorship, which included Prager.

"I knew that there was a very strong internal candidate and I also knew that things were going very well at Wisconsin for more than a decade," Prager said yesterday. "John Wiley had played an important role in that."

She speculated that in such a smooth-running situation like Wisconsin's, "it would be hard not to choose the internal candidate."

The Dartmouth community first heard that Prager was under consideration for the Wisconsin chancellor position when that university's search committee presented her as one of three finalists less than a month ago.

At the time, she indicated that the possible move would be a step up for her career, but told The Dartmouth, "I feel very privileged to be at Dartmouth and want to emphasize that as long as I'm at Dartmouth I'll be working very hard for Dartmouth's behalf. That very well may be for years to come, or it may be for a shorter period if this goes forward in a positive way."

Prager said she has been interested in leadership roles in higher education for a long time.

In fact, in July, Prager told The Dartmouth that she would be interested in being a college president at some point if she is the "right fit for the school." However, yesterday she said she was not considering any other moves right now, explaining, "I think it's really not the right time for me to be thinking about that."

Prager traveled to Madison to meet faculty, students and staff early in November. At the same time, she had a "committee interview" and a meeting with the state university system's president Katherine Lyall.

Prager called her visit " a good experience."

Prager said the Wisconsin search committee approached her about the position over the summer around the time when she spoke to The Dartmouth about her future ambitions.

During the initial search committee process, the names of candidates were not released -- but certain key administrators, including Dartmouth College President James Wright, were contacted as references.

Wright told The Dartmouth in a previous interview that the committee asked him "a whole range of questions," and reported that he was very positive in his assessment of Prager.