Founding Dean Magda Peck to Leave UWM’s Zilber School of Public Health


MILWAUKEE – Magda Peck, founding dean of the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, is leaving her position at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee effective July 1, 2015.

Since taking the helm in March 2012, Peck has helped transform the UWM Zilber School of Public Health from a young start-up into a well-established and respected institution for public health learning, research, and community engagement.

The school’s academic offerings have expanded to include master’s degrees in all five public health disciplines required of accredited public health schools.  The existing doctoral programs in environmental health sciences and community and behavioral health promotion will be joined by a third one in biostatistics by fall 2016.

More than 100 students will have enrolled in the Zilber School’s graduate programs by fall, and 25 alumni already are in the workforce, making a difference for the public’s health. Undergraduate courses have been added, and more than 300 UWM students have been introduced to the field of public health.  With Peck’s leadership, 10 more of the nation’s top scientists have been recruited as public health faculty at UWM.  Research funding has increased to over $7 million, and the school is well on its way to becoming Wisconsin’s first nationally accredited school of public health by spring 2017.

The Zilber School also has become a destination for learning and collaboration in Milwaukee, establishing a reputation for creating positive change in the region and beyond.  Most recently, the school was recognized for its community impact with a 2015 MANDI Award.

With the founding dean’s role of establishing the school successfully completed, future leadership will focus on academic administration and continuing to build on the solid foundation that has been set.

“Over the past three years, Dean Peck has served as an initiator and catalyst for growth at one of UWM’s newest schools,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the entire community are grateful for the great work she has done in laying the groundwork for what will undoubtedly continue to grow as a robust educational institution.”

“As founding dean, my main goal has been to establish supple and strong ‘bones’ for quality education and robust research, and position the Zilber School to be a valued asset in building healthier communities in Milwaukee and beyond,” Peck said.  “With the hard work of faculty, staff, students, and community partners, we have more than met that goal. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished together.”

Peck plans to remain in Milwaukee in the year ahead as she expands her consulting practice for health impact and leadership development.  She also looks forward to reengaging in expanded public health work on national and global stages, particularly for women, children, and families.

Ron Perez, interim associate dean for Academic Affairs, will manage UWM Zilber School of Public Health operations. The appointment of an interim dean for the school is forthcoming.

About UWM

As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, UWM has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. UWM educates more than 28,000 students on an operating budget of $546 million, an amount that does not include federal financial aid passed through to students. The Princeton Review named UWM a “2015 Best in the Midwest” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. An engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin, UWM’s economic impact is more than $1.5 billion per year in Wisconsin alone.