“I only had a one-day honeymoon,” said Phyllis Wise, interim president of the University of Washington.
Wise has actually had a few great days.
The day before she started her job, the Seattle Times ran a positive front page story on her.
Her first day as president was Oct. 1. That day, she spent four hours in Olympia meeting with key players.
The same night, the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation honored her as one of its 13 Asian American Pioneers in Healthcare. Wise is a professor of biophysics, physiology, gynecology, and obstetrics. She is the first Asian American female university president for the UW and probably the whole country. Talk about a role model. The audience of 400, especially young women, could not stop snapping photos of Wise.
“A nice way to end the day,” said Wise as she was leaving the Pioneers event.
Then on Oct. 2, the Huskies won their football game against the University of Southern California by one point. That was another good day for Wise.
We all know the challenges that lie ahead. Her term technically ends in July 2011. The public is already deciding whether she should or should not apply for the permanent position.
Even with mountains of energy, finesse, and wisdom, it will be no easy task to solve the financial woes confronting the university. This is beyond one person’s capability. But it’s a test of Wise’s leadership abilities. If she can develop a strong team, build allies, and mobilize all her resources, she might convince naysayers that she is the best person for the job. Watch her first before you judge! ♦