UW-Madison: Seltzer Named Interim Director of Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

MADISON – Marsha Mailick Seltzer, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s
Waisman Center and an internationally recognized scholar of developmental
disabilities, has been named interim director of the new Wisconsin Institutes for
Discovery (WID).

Seltzer’s appointment was announced today (Aug. 8) by UW-Madison Graduate School
Dean Martin Cadwallader.

A veteran administrator who for four years has directed one of UW-Madison’s premier
interdisciplinary research centers, Seltzer brings a “wealth of experience,
expertise and leadership to the new Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery,” Cadwallader
said in announcing the appointment. “She is a thoughtful and accomplished leader,
perfectly positioned to set the tone for what promises to be one of the most
exciting research initiatives our campus has seen in a very long time.”

Seltzer will continue in her position as director of the Waisman Center, a complex
of 60 laboratories for basic and clinical biomedical and behavioral research,
clinical services, education and outreach. She will serve as interim director of WID
until a permanent director is named.

“This is an incredibly important initiative for our campus,” Seltzer says. “I look
forward to helping make WID a reality and to working with our faculty, whose
creative powers are essential to bring the WID vision to fruition, and with the
donors whose generous gifts have made the institutes possible.”

The new $150 million Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery is planned for the 1300
block of University Avenue. Funded by major gifts from John and Tashia Morgridge,
the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and by the state of Wisconsin, WID
is intended to be an innovative public/private crucible of interdisciplinary

“Marsha Seltzer is an excellent choice for interim director,” says WARF managing
director Carl Gulbrandsen. “She is devoted to UW-Madison and believes strongly in
the importance of interdisciplinary research and education. As director of the
Waisman Center, she has demonstrated that she is both a good listener and an
effective leader.”

Seltzer says that WID represents both an enormous challenge and an opportunity for
the university. As the institutes take shape, she says that it is critical to
consider the interplay between the new institutes and the larger research programs
of the university. A central issue, she says, will be ensuring that WID and its
programs have influence beyond the institutes themselves and add value to the

Still, she adds, WID will be unique. Its mission, she says, will reflect the visions
of its donors as it seeks to forge a model of interdisciplinary research that
fosters novel collaborations and practices that will amplify the creative powers of
the UW-Madison faculty.

Seltzer joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1988. She is Vaughan Bascom Professor in
the departments of Social Work and Pediatrics. She is an authority on families of
people with developmental disabilities and has authored or co-authored five books
and more than 120 scholarly papers. In addition to her many awards, Seltzer has been
named a fellow of the American Association on Mental Retardation and the
Gerontological Society of America.