Eric Watkins

headshot of Eric Watkins
Horticultural Science


Eric Watkins’s research focuses on the development of low-input, winter-hardy turfgrass cultivars for use in cold climates. Research activities involve germplasm improvement of several cool-season turfgrass species. He also evaluates grasses for use on roadsides in the northern United States.

Watkins received his PhD in plant biology from Rutgers University in 2004 and received a BSc in agriculture from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Watkins has been on the faculty of the Department of Horticultural Science since 2004. In 2022 he was named vice provost for distributed learning, a role in which he provides leadership for online and hybrid programs throughout the five-campus University of Minnesota system.