UW–Madison names Haddix new School of Education dean 

By Käri Knutson, University Communications  

Marcelle Haddix has been chosen as the next dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Haddix has held numerous leadership positions in her 16 years at Syracuse University and currently serves as associate provost for strategic initiatives. She also led for two terms as chair of the Department of Reading and Language Arts in the School of Education at Syracuse.

“Throughout my academic and professional career, I have been privileged to work and collaborate with many scholars in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin­–Madison,” says Haddix. “I know well the tradition of excellence and innovation that consistently positions the School of Education as one of the highest ranked in the nation and am excited by the academic strategic priorities that will further advance and sustain its commitment toward leading with excellence.” 

Marcelle Haddix

The move to UW–Madison will be a homecoming of sorts for Haddix: She was born in Madison — her parents met as students at UW–Madison — and she grew up in Milwaukee.

“I come from a family of Black woman educators who are beacons of fundamental change in their communities,” Haddix says. “While I appreciate the life and career I have built on the east coast, I look forward to this opportunity that connects me to the work being done in the place that I consider home.”

Haddix earned her doctorate in education from Boston College, a master’s degree in adult education from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

She is a leading scholar in literacy and teacher education, with a particular focus on the experiences of students and teachers of color. Haddix describes her work as “very interdisciplinary” and believes the School of Education’s focus on education, arts and health is aligned with her vision of what a holistic approach to education should be.

“I see so much power in the arts, health and education — as separate entities and together. The interconnectedness and collaboration within and across these areas is a point of distinction for the school,” she says.  “I am excited to lead in a way where we engage with these areas innovatively to address pressing issues in education.”

The arts, theater and dance are also personal passions for Haddix, who is also a 500-hour-trained yoga instructor and a reproductive health doula. Haddix also co-founded a wellness cooperative in the city of Syracuse.

“I live these things, so to be able to support and create more opportunities for students, faculty and staff to continue to lead in these spaces, that’s a dream and a real honor for me,” she adds.

At Syracuse University, Haddix has overseen university-wide arts and humanities affiliates and programs. She also facilitates literacy programs for adolescent and adult communities in Syracuse, including the award-winning Writing Our Lives project, and she is a past president of the Literacy Research Association.

As dean, she will serve as the School of Education’s chief academic and executive officer, with responsibilities in the areas of staffing, budget, curriculum, student academic affairs and physical space, as well as fundraising and alumni relations.

“We are thrilled to welcome Marcelle to UWMadison,” Provost Charles Isbell says. “Her passion for education is evident, demonstrated through her history of mentoring and advising generations of students. She also brings a record of exemplary scholarship in literacy and education research, as well as a strong commitment toward community engagement, social justice, equity and inclusion. Her leadership and experience will benefit the entire community.”  

Haddix will begin as dean at UWMadison on Aug. 11. Her faculty appointment will be in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

The School of Education has consistently been ranked as one of the best in the nation for years. In April, it was recognized as the No. 1 school of education in the United States, according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Education Graduate Schools rankings.

Haddix will succeed Diana Hess, who announced in October that she would return to the faculty in the summer after serving as dean since 2015. The committee that led the search was chaired by Carolyn Kelley, a professor of educational leadership and policy analysis in the School of Education.

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