Search and screen committee appointed for next College of Letters & Science dean

December 13, 2012 By Susannah Brooks

A 17-member search and screen committee has been appointed to assist in identifying a successor to Gary Sandefur, dean of the College of Letters & Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Sandefur has led the college since 2004. He plans to step down at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year and spend the next year on research leave before returning to the faculty of the Department of Sociology.

Photo: Jeff Hardin


“We’re all grateful for Gary’s remarkable service and strong leadership,” says Jeff Hardin, professor and chair of zoology, who chairs the search and screen committee. “Without question, these will be big shoes to fill; the decision will be hugely important for the future of the college. We’re excited to begin this process with such a strong committee.”

The College of Letters & Science, UW–Madison’s largest academic unit, provides the liberal arts foundation for the university at all levels of study. It confers nearly half of all UW–Madison degrees (including 57 percent of undergraduate degrees in 2011-2012) and teaches over 60 percent of all UW–Madison credit hours, including 84 percent of all freshman and sophomore credits.

The dean oversees more than 3,100 faculty and staff positions across 39 departments, 22 interdisciplinary programs, 70 research centers and institutes, and five professional schools. In 2011-2012, the college received $105.1 million in federal research awards, second only to the School of Medicine and Public Health.

In addition to Hardin, the search and screen committee includes eight faculty members from the College of Letters & Science, two student representatives (one undergraduate and one graduate), two academic staff members, two classified staff members, one campus dean and one community representative.

Also serving:


  • Amy Barger, professor of astronomy
  • Leslie Bow, professor of English and Asian American studies
  • Kristin Eschenfelder, professor of library and information studies
  • Jo Ellen Fair, professor of journalism and mass communication
  • Bob Hamers, professor of chemistry
  • Ananth Seshadri, professor of economics
  • Scott Straus, professor of political science
  • Manon van de Water, professor of theatre and drama

Academic staff

  • Allison Kaplan, faculty associate in library and information studies
  • José J. Madera, assistant dean in Letters & Science Student Academic Affairs and assistant director of the Academic Advancement Program

Classified staff

  • Alice Halfen, financial specialist in atmospheric and oceanic sciences
  • Teresa Nealon, academic department specialist in East Asian languages and literature


  • Rubén Casas, doctoral candidate in English
  • Jacob Steiner, junior majoring in political science

Administration and community members

  • Michael Spector, former president of the UW System Board of Regents
  • Kathryn VandenBosch, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

The Office of the Secretary of the Faculty will provide administrative and logistical support to the committee.