Coltrane received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1988 and was a professor of Sociology at the University of California Riverside from 1988 to 2008. His research (Paternity, Stay-at-Home Dads) focuses on families, with special attention given to the ways that mothers and fathers divide parenting and housework. He is the author of four books and more than 100 articles and chapters. Coltrane received the Distinguished Teaching Award at UC Riverside, is past President of the Pacific Sociological Association, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Coltrane was named senior vice president and provost in February 2014 after serving in an interim role starting on July 1, 2013. From August 7, 2014, to June 30, 2015, Coltrane served as the interim president at the University of Oregon. Coltrane previously served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon (2008-2013) and as associate dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of California, Riverside (2004-2008).
As the chief academic officer for the university, the provost provides leadership for matters that affect academic programs, research, and outreach involving faculty members, students, and staff members. The provost oversees the quality of programs of instruction and research through collaborative work with vice presidents, academic deans, vice provosts, and numerous other units related to the university. Additionally, the provost is responsible for overseeing academic and budgetary planning and priorities.
The provost helps ensure the quality of the faculty by providing leadership in matters related to faculty appointments and promotions, working conditions, and tenure. The provost also works to ensure the quality of student learning by overseeing the curriculum and encouraging and coordinating initiatives in undergraduate education. The provost also coordinates recruiting and admissions for undergraduate and graduate programs.
The provost is accountable to the president of the university and, in his or her absence, acts on behalf of the president. As chief academic officer, the provost serves as the spokesperson for academic matters at the university.