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Dr. Erica Benson named executive director of Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

| Gary Johnson

Dr. Erica Benson has been named permanent executive director of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs after serving the past 18 months in the interim position.

Erica Benson

Dr. Erica Benson, executive director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

The executive director provides leadership and advocacy for research and creative activities throughout the university and directs the Universities of Wisconsin Center for Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research.

Benson, a professor of English, started in the permanent ORSP position on Dec. 17.

“As interim executive director the past 18 months, Dr. Benson has expertly led the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in its mission to champion research, scholarly and creative endeavors for UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff,” says Provost Patricia Kleine. “She has used her strong organizational and communication skills to effectively collaborate with myriad groups to promote the university’s national reputation for undergraduate research and provide enriching professional development activities for our outstanding faculty and staff.”

Benson says she is excited to become the ORSP executive director and looks forward to continuing her work with the dedicated staff.

Benson says ORSP and the Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research play important roles in “fostering, supporting and celebrating” the scholarly work and professional development of faculty and staff, as well as the research and creative activities of undergraduate and graduate students.

“The research and creative opportunities offered to UW-Eau Claire undergraduates through our dedicated faculty/staff and our community and industry partners, like the Mayo Clinic Health System, are truly distinctive,” Benson says, “and I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across campus to continue and enhance such opportunities for the benefit of our students, faculty, staff and UW-Eau Claire.”

Benson has been at UW-Eau Claire since 2003, when she joined the university’s English department as a faculty member. In addition to her interim role in ORSP, Benson has held leadership positions as English department chair and director of undergraduate studies in English.

Benson earned a bachelor’s degree in German from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of South Carolina. She earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from Michigan State University.