Judith Ward has built a diverse executive search practice over the last decade by sharing the higher education leadership expertise she gained over a long career at the University of Wisconsin. She has served public and private universities and colleges, including research and doctoral granting-institutions, comprehensive universities offering masters degrees, liberal arts colleges and two-year colleges. While her search practice has specialized in the senior advancement and foundation positions, Ms. Ward brings a breadth of university leadership experience to searches for the presidency, provost and other senior academic leadership positions. Ms. Ward sees partnering with her clients-- tailoring search strategies to meet their needs -- as a crucial element in the search process.
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ms. Ward served six years as Executive Associate Director of the Waisman Center, a comprehensive multi-disciplinary academic center of the Graduate School focusing on human development, developmental disability and neurodegenerative diseases. Faculty members from over 25 departments advance the research, training and service mission of the Center. In addition to biological and behavioral research, the Center includes brain imaging and clinical biomanufacturing facilities, clinics serving people with disabilities and their families, and a model inclusive early childhood program. In addition to her responsibility for overseeing management functions and external relations, Ms. Ward served as a member of the senior leadership team partnering with the UW Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to raise private funds for a $26 million building addition to support gene therapy, stem cell, and brain imaging research as well as renovated facilities for the early childhood program.
Earlier, Ms. Ward served the University of Wisconsin System for eight years as Associate Vice President for Government Relations and two years as the Interim Vice President for University Relations. In her government relations role, she represented the Board of Regents and the President of the UW System in the Wisconsin Legislature and worked closely on the enactment of budgets and other legislation impacting higher education. As Interim Vice President, her responsibilities expanded to include federal relations, communications and media, business relations and advancement activities. In this role, she worked closely with the chancellors and chief academic officers of 14 institutions and had close connections to their chief budget, communications, alumni and foundation officers across the state. Her work for the UW System was enhanced by her earlier career as education team leader and policy analyst for the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau of the Wisconsin Legislature.
Ms. Ward’s roles at both the system and campus levels provide her with a breath of knowledge about the internal and external issues facing senior leaders in higher education. She is not alone in observing the growing importance of fundraising, communication and external relations to the success of both public and private universities and colleges. Her observation of differing leadership styles and team building efforts at a wide range of institutions also contributes to the value-added she brings to searches at the presidential and senior leadership levels.
In addition to her professional role, Ms. Ward has supported her spouse in the volunteer role of partner to the Chancellor of UW-Madison and President of the American Council on Education.
Ms. Ward earned her Bachelor of Science from the UW-Madison and her Master's degree in political science from the University of British Columbia, in Canada. She serves on the Board of Directors of National Guardian Life Insurance Company and Board of Visitors of the UW-Madison Waisman Center. In addition, she serves on the Women’s Advisory Board of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital.