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Thumbnail of speaker Eric M. Wilcots.

Eric M. Wilcots

Dean of the College of Letters & Science and Mary C. Jacoby Professor of Astronomy, UW–Madison

Eric M. Wilcots is the dean of the College of Letters & Science and the Mary C. Jacoby Professor of Astronomy in the Department of Astronomy, his home department since 1995.

Dean Wilcots’ research focuses on the evolution and gas content of individual galaxies and galaxy groups through the lens of radio wavelengths. Prior to moving to Madison, he was a Karl Jansky Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, and he continues that line of research through leading the UW’s involvement in the South African Large Telescope (SALT) project, the largest single-aperture telescope in the southern hemisphere.

In addition to his academic research and classroom work – he’s won two teaching awards during his time at UW, including the Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Teaching Award – Dean Wilcots is dedicated to promoting outreach and the Wisconsin Idea. He’s the current co-chair of the statewide steering committee for the Wisconsin Science Festival and has led the Universe in the Park outreach program.

As dean of L&S, Dr. Wilcots is committed to creating an environment where all can succeed and thrive. In 2020, he launched the Dean’s Initiative for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and created the STEM Scholars program, which provides critical support for L&S students entering the university with an interest in science, technology, engineering or math. He also hired the first-ever Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the college and is launching new engagement efforts for L&S alumni of color.

Dean Wilcots received his undergraduate degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Washington.