Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Martini chosen as provost after nationwide search

Photo: UWO Flickr Edward Martini started July 5 as UW Oshkosh provost. His current priority is helping to determine how UWO will navigate the challenges of a $18 million deficit.

After a nationwide search in the spring 2023 semester, Edwin Martini was selected as the new provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs of UW Oshkosh and started on July 5.

“Higher education has the potential to change lives, families and communities, and that’s what gets me excited about going to work every day,” Martini said.

Martini is taking over the position after the retirement of Provost John Koker, who held the role since October 2018.

Martini has an extensive background in higher education. In his last position at Western Michigan University (WMU) as vice provost for teaching and learning, he had direct responsibility for a $9.6 million budget and additional operational and strategic duties.

“I always enjoyed learning and planned on being a teacher at some level, but in my undergraduate and graduate degree programs, I really fell in love with higher education,” Martini said. “I loved the feeling of being on a college campus everyday, I loved the exchange of ideas it provided for both in and out of the classroom and I loved being part of the creation and dissemination of knowledge.”

Martini’s academic history includes earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in American studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and a doctorate in American studies from the University of Maryland.\

His role at UWO includes leading colleges, faculty, instructional staff and academic programs. He said he loves the fact that there is no “normal” day on the job.

“Every day is different, and the diversity of issues that come across my desk on any given day helps me continue to learn new things and make connections between different areas of the university,” Martini said.

With UWO facing a budget deficit of $18 million this semester, the university will have to adapt to financial obstacles.

“Right now, most of my focus is on how we will navigate the significant challenges of the upcoming year,” Martini said. “All of that comes back to questions about our core teaching and learning mission and how we can best support student, faculty and staff success in a challenging and rapidly changing landscape for public education.”

Martini said UWO’s immediate goal is determining how it can be more efficient in responding to the needs of students and stakeholders, and removing obstacles to ensure students are still focused on their courses, degrees and careers.

“My hope for this year is that our faculty, chairs and deans will work together to reimagine what our academic enterprise needs to look like to be the university our region deserves for the decades ahead, and then make the hard choices that will get us there,” Martini said.

To counter an issue at hand, Martini said getting all the information and assembling the right people is the most effective method.

“Change is always hard, and the scope of changes we are considering can seem daunting, but if we do this right, UWO will not only reinvent itself but could really provide a viable playbook for the other schools facing similar challenges,” he said.

Martini said he’s an advocate and defender of public higher education institutions, such as UWO.

“Universities like ours are the unsung heroes of higher education, educating millions of students across the United States every year and particularly serving first-generation students and other historically under-served populations,” Martini said.

Outside of work, Martini’s family is his first priority. Some of his hobbies include music, books and sports.

“I love to play and listen to music,” Martini said. “I play the guitar, piano, drums and a little banjo and I am always reading multiple books. I love nonfiction and fiction, and am always looking for recommendations.”

He said he looks forward to getting involved with Titan athletics.

“I’m at an age now where I can’t really play sports anymore, but I still workout everyday to stay in shape and clear my mind,” Martini said. “I also still love to watch sports, and am excited to attend lots of Titan sporting events this year.”

Martini said he hopes to get more student input on things going on around campus.

“I am looking forward to getting student input on some of these larger issues we’re tackling this year, so we’ll be scheduling some events to make sure that happens,” Martini said.

Martini’s open office hours are every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m., and students are welcome to sign up for a time slot on UWO’s Academic Affairs website page.

“I’m incredibly excited to be at UWO and to continue to get to know all of our students, faculty and staff,” Martini said. “I encourage people to reach out and connect, and invite me to their meetings and events.”

Martini said he has ideas and a sense of where UWO can and should go, but he is currently focused on getting input from others – particularly from faculty, deans, students and other academic leaders so that they can see themselves as part of the future of UWO.

“Right now, UWO and schools like ours face an unprecedented set of challenges, and it’s critical that we develop innovative solutions to address them,” Martini said. “I enjoy a great challenge and love collaborating with creative, dedicated and hard-working people – all of which UWO has.”


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