Ian Coxhead, University of Wisconsin–Madison professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, will serve as interim director of the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) for a 12-month period from August 2016. A development economist whose research includes, among other topics, the impacts of energy export booms, fossil fuel subsidies, and carbon taxes in the developing world, Coxhead will bring a diverse academic background and a long record of administrative experience to WEI.
“I’m excited to be associated with such a dynamic institution as WEI,” says Coxhead. “Energy, and especially its connections to sustainability and other societal concerns, is a topic of conversation in every corner of the world, every day. As a world-class research institute positioned within a globally outstanding university, WEI has the potential to make a great contribution to many of those conversations. I hope to advance that role in the coming months.”
Having served as chair of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics since 2012, chair of Development Studies for six years, and director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies for three years, Coxhead brings a “wealth of administrative experience and breadth and depth of knowledge about our campus,” says Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Madison.
Coxhead is filling a seat left by Michael Corradini, who retired as WEI director and professor of engineering physics in the College of Engineering in August.
“Coxhead’s leadership will be helpful as WEI works to build and strengthen collaborations with social scientists across campus, and while the WEI Executive Committee works with the campus leadership in the search for a permanent director,” says Corradini.
Timothy Donohue, Director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a major research center housed primarily at WEI, also welcomes Coxhead’s new perspective.
“Bringing other perspectives to this problem is something that can set WEI apart from other energy initiatives in the U.S. and elsewhere,” says Donohue. “Mike Corradini always worked hard to bring others into WEI, so Ian provides an opportunity for the institute to tap into expertise from other corners of the campus.”
Coxhead will work with Steve Ackerman, associate vice chancellor in the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and a committee of colleagues to conduct an ongoing appraisal of WEI activities and assist with the search for a permanent director.