Dean of the College of Letters & Science
Gary Sandefur was named Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in August 2004.
Dean Sandefur is the chief academic and operating officer of Letters & Science, the liberal arts powerhouse for teaching and learning at UW-Madison. His responsibilities include policy development, academic program review, strategic planning, resource development and allocation, faculty recruitment and retention, and fundraising.
He is strongly committed to undergraduate education which is the foundation of the College of Letters and Science, the largest college at UW-Madison. The college enrolls more than half of all students at UW-Madison and L&S faculty, graduate students and staff teach nearly 650,000 credit hours every year.
In his role as dean, Sandefur oversees:
- 40 departments in the Humanities and Arts, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences
- 5 professional schools (Journalism & Mass Communication, LaFollette School of Public Affairs, Music, Social Work and Library and Information Studies)
- Over 60 interdisciplinary centers and programs
- 21,000 students (17,000 undergraduates and 4,100 graduate students)
- 3,000 employees with more than 800 faculty members
Sandefur is also the guardian of the college’s research enterprise including a state supported operating budget of $183 million and research expenditures topping $125 million.
Through his collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Foundation, the College strengthened relationships with alumni, donors and friends. Under his leadership, the College of Letters & Science Board of Visitors launched a successful campaign in 2010 to raise $1 million for need-based scholarships and the dean’s discretionary fund.
As a member of the Chickasaw Nation, Sandefur was the first American Indian to be named dean at UW-Madison. Prior to his deanship, he served as Professor of Sociology, Associate Vice Chancellor, Interim Provost, and Director of the American Indian Studies Program – all at UW-Madison.
Sandefur received his BA in sociology from the University of Oklahoma in 1974, and completed his Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University in 1978. He has two children and lives in Madison with his wife and two dogs.