UW-Madison's Maria Cancian nominated for federal post

Maria Cancian

UW-Madison photo

UW-Madison associate dean Maria Cancian has been nominated by President Obama to be assistant secretary for children and families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Cancian is the associate dean for fiscal initiatives and social sciences in the College of Letters & Science, and a professor in the La Follette School of Public Affairs and the School of Social Work.

"Maria is an outstanding administrator and scholar, and will bring this experience and leadership to Washington," said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank in a news release from UW-Madison Communications.

Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Once confirmed, Cancian will assist the Administration for Children and Families in administering more than 60 programs with a budget of more than $49 billion, to promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities.

Cancian has been on the UW-Madison faculty since 1993.

Her pending appointment would continue a tradition of UW-Madison luminaries serving at Health and Human Services.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who earned his B.S. in 1963 and his Law School degree in 1966, was secretary of the department from 2001 to 2005 under former Pres. George W. Bush, and former UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala was secretary from 1993 to 2001 under former Pres. Bill Clinton.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.