Cadwallader to step down from top UW-Madison research post

Jan. 24, 2014

by Terry Devitt

After an almost 13-year stint leading the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s vast research and graduate education enterprise, Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Martin Cadwallader announced today he is stepping down from the post to return to the faculty.

Photo: Martin Cadwallader

Martin Cadwallader

“It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to lead the research and graduate education missions of such a great university,” Cadwallader says. “I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful set of colleagues; the Graduate School provides an extraordinarily collegial environment where the concept of a 'team effort' is paramount.”

Cadwallader will leave his post at the end of August to return to his faculty position in the UW-Madison geography department, where he plans to teach courses in urban geography and quantitative methods.

“The UW-Madison research and graduate education portfolio is among the largest and most diverse anywhere, and Martin Cadwallader deserves much credit for keeping our university at the forefront of scholarship internationally,” says UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “His leadership has been impressive.”

During his tenure, Cadwallader presided over a period of unparalleled growth and success of a research program that consistently ranks among the top five nationally. Despite flat research expenditures nationwide, the UW-Madison research portfolio grew by more than 5 percent in 2012 and inched up to number three in the rankings among all U.S. universities, according to statistics from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UW-Madison now ranks behind only Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan for sheer volume of research. In fiscal year 2012, research expenditures at UW-Madison neared the $1.2 billion mark.

“The Graduate School provides an extraordinarily collegial environment where the concept of a ‘team effort’ is paramount.”

Martin Cadwallader

As vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School, Cadwallader created the Office of Research Policy to help the university cope with the growing area of research compliance, and he worked with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to create the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. In addition, he bolstered the ability of the 17 cross-campus Graduate School centers to be competitive to the point where collectively they contribute about 20 percent of the university’s total research funding. The successful IceCube project, involving the construction of a more than $200 million neutrino telescope at the South Pole, is just one of the many achievements during his tenure.

On the educational side of the ledger, Cadwallader oversees programs with more than 9,400 graduate students in 150 master’s and 120 doctoral fields of study. Forty of UW-Madison’s graduate programs rank in the top 10 of their respective disciplines, according to the National Research Council, putting UW-Madison third nationally among all institutions.

Under Cadwallader’s watch, there has been a steady increase in graduate students of color, with more African-American, Hispanic and Native American graduate students than ever before. In addition, Cadwallader helped foster programs aimed at creating graduate student professional development opportunities for students seeking careers outside the academy.

“Martin Cadwallader deserves much credit for keeping our university at the forefront of scholarship internationally.”

Rebecca Blank

A native of Sussex, England, Cadwallader joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1974 as an assistant professor of geography. He was promoted to associate professor in 1978 and became a full professor in 1983. He has published three books and numerous articles on urban geography and migration. His work involves constructing structural equation models to explain patterns of interregional migration.

He was chair of the Department of Geography from 1989-1991, and in 1990 he was named associate dean for social sciences in the Graduate School. He served in this position until 2001, when he was named interim vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School.

In August 2002, after a national search, he was formally appointed to his current position by then-Chancellor John Wiley. He managed a $160 million school budget. The Graduate School also administers 17 cross-campus research and service centers. Cadwallader is a past president of the Association of American Universities Graduate School Deans and a past chair of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Senior Research Officers.

Cadwallader’s return to the faculty precedes possible changes to the structure of research administration at the university. The University Committee and Chancellor Blank have appointed a working group to explore the potential of a leadership structure within the research enterprise that involves two positions: a vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, and a dean of the Graduate School.