Willeke Wendrich, the Joan Silsbee Chair of African Cultural Archaeology and a professor of Egyptian archaeology in the UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, has been appointed director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. She succeeds UCLA professor of anthropology Charles Stanish, who as director of the Cotsen for 15 years led the institute's growth as one of the most important global research centers in archaeology, at the forefront of archaeological research, education, conservation and publication.

Wendrich is also the editorial director of the Cotsen Institute Press, editor-in-chief of the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, director of UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities and chair of the board of directors of the Institute for Field Research. She is co-director of the Fayum Project, Digital Karnak, Keck Program in Digital Cultural Mapping and Ancient Egypt Architecture Online.

Among her many research endeavors, Wendrich is directing the Ethiopia-Shire Archaeological Project and Field School. For the 2016 season, students in this program work at the site of Mai Adrasha in northern Ethiopia. The project research focus is on the interactions between this important sub-Saharan region and the Greco-Roman world, especially during the pre-Aksumite period (prior to 1st century CE).