Sandy Fowler becomes assistant dean for research

In late September, Sandy Fowler formally assumed the position of assistant dean for research in the CALS Research Division – a role she served in on an interim basis since March 2023. Fowler reports to Troy Runge, the associate dean for research, and works with all CALS units that have sponsored projects, as well as working closely with the UW-Madison Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Her position was created following a restructuring, which includes moving post-award management to the Research Division from Business Services. Fowler will oversee both pre- and post-award management.

What are your main responsibilities?
Directing and coordinating the administrative aspects of sponsored project funding from proposal to closeout and audit (we usually get audited during and after a grant closeout). I will be one of the great division staff that serves as the liaison between the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) and unit staff and faculty. I see my role as a person who guides stakeholders (internal and external) through the complex research terms and conditions that come with receiving research dollars and the matrix of UW policies and procedures.

What is your educational/professional background, including your area(s) of specialization/focus?
My degree is in accounting. Oddly, the research administration profession doesn’t have a degree track at most institutions. Many of us that work in it ‘fell into it.” For me it started when a person from RSP called me when I worked in the Department of Forestry and told me to move an unallowable charge off of a DNR grant. I asked, “What is RSP,” and, “What makes it unallowable?” From there the love affair started.  

What attracted you to this position/the college?
I love research management. I started in the CALS Research Division back in 2006 as a post-award accountant and was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about the college’s pre-award activities.

What is your hometown? Where did you grow up?
I live in Madison in the Bay Creek neighborhood. Long story short, I started in Madison and then moved to a dairy farm near Black Earth, but my address was Mazomanie. Eventually, I landed in Cross Plains and graduated from Middleton High School.

What are your hobbies and other interests?
Road trips. I love to explore. I will hop in my car with my husband and aimlessly drive around Wisconsin. We try to find great hardly known places to hike and good supper clubs.

How should people contact you?
E-mail or Teams at