Bill Tracy named interim CALS dean

Agronomy professor and department chair William F. Tracy has been named interim dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“Chancellor Martin and I are delighted with Bill’s willingness to serve and are confident that the college will maintain and grow its forward momentum and success under Bill’s leadership,” says Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. “We’re fortunate to have someone with Bill’s background, skills and judgment to step in at this most critical juncture.”

Tracy will assume the post on Jan. 2, when CALS Dean Molly Jahn steps down.

“The college is very well positioned for the future. My primary goal will be to work with our faculty, staff, students and external partners to ensure that the position of CALS dean is an attractive and exciting opportunity that will attract the best possible leader and scholar,” Tracy says.

Tracy joined the Department of Agronomy in 1984 and has served as chair since 2004. He has a long record of service on campus committees and initiatives. He recently finished a term as chair of the University Committee, the executive committee of the Faculty Senate.

His research focuses on breeding and genetics of sweet corn, one of Wisconsin’s most important vegetable crops. Tracy has developed many new hybrid and inbred varieties with improved yield and resistance to insects and disease. He has taught a wide range of classes, from entry-level crop production to graduate instruction in plant breeding and plant genetics. He has also been very active in efforts to get the university involved in K-12 science education and in outreach and continuing education related to crop production, plant genetics, and the interaction between agriculture and society.

Tracy earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant and soil sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and earned a Ph.D. in plant breeding with a minor in agronomy and genetics from Cornell University in 1982.