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Wilcots to serve as interim provost

March 30, 2023
A photo portrait of Eric Wilots. Wilcots is standing in a wood-paneled foyer. Wilcots is wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and a red tie. He has short, dark hair and a mustache. He is smiling to the camera.

Eric Wilcots, dean of the College of Letters & Science, will serve as interim provost of UW–Madison starting April 24.

College of Letters & Science Dean Eric Wilcots will serve as interim provost at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin announced today.

Wilcots will step into the role on April 24 and will stay until a permanent provost is appointed, which is expected to take place in late summer.

He will succeed John Karl Scholz, who has served as provost since August 2019 and who announced earlier this month that he is departing UW–Madison to take the position of president at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore.

“It is a remarkable benefit to UW–Madison to have a well-respected, talented administrator and leader like Eric Wilcots step into this critical role on an interim basis,” Mnookin says. “While we will certainly miss Karl’s leadership, Eric will do a tremendous job as interim provost through this transitional period, and I’m grateful for his willingness to serve.”

Wilcots was named interim dean of the College of Letters & Science, UW–Madison’s largest academic unit, in August 2019, and was named dean in May 2020.

The Mary C. Jacoby professor of astronomy, Wilcots received his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1992.

He was a Karl Jansky Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, from 1992-95 and came to UW–Madison in 1995 as a postdoctoral scholar and lecturer in introductory astronomy. After a year in that position, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor.

Four finalists for the role of provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs will visit campus and make in-person presentations next week. Information regarding each finalist will be posted 48 hours prior to their visit on the Provost Search website.