Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education
Steve Nowicki is a Bass Fellow and Professor in the Departments of Biology and Psychology & Neuroscience in Trinity College, and Neurobiology in the medical school at Duke University. He received his doctorate from Cornell University in 1985 and both his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tufts University. After leaving Cornell, Nowicki did post-doctoral work and was appointed assistant professor at The Rockefeller University. He has been at Duke since 1989. Nowicki was appointed Dean of Natural Sciences in 2004 and has served as Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education since 2007. In that role, he is responsible for leading and coordinating the many facets of undergraduate life, spanning all undergraduate schools and programs, including programmatic innovations and facility improvements that affect undergraduates' academic, residential, and co-curricular experiences.
Nowicki's research explores proximate mechanisms underlying the evolution of behavior. He is especially interested in the structure, function, and evolution of animal communication systems, using birdsong as a model system. His current research includes work on the evolution of signal complexity, constraints on signal evolution, and mechanisms of signal production and perception. This work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and several private foundations including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Whitehall Foundation and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.
Nowicki is the author of numerous technical articles on neurobiology, evolutionary ecology and animal behavior and is co-author of The Evolution of Animal Communication (2005, Princeton). Nowicki also is author of The Science of Life (2004, The Teaching Company) and Biology, a best-selling textbook for high school students (2008, 2012 Holt-McDougal). In 1992, Nowicki was awarded the Robert B. Cox Distinguished Teaching Award at Duke. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999 and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010. Nowicki also plays trombone in the Duke University Pep Band, balancing his professional time between administration, teaching, research, and basketball games.