Provost and Senior Vice President
Patrick C. Phillips is the provost and senior vice president of the University of Oregon. As chief academic officer, Phillips serves as steward of the university’s academic mission, working with faculty and staff members, students, and other stakeholders to ensure the university maintains the highest-possible quality of scholarly activity and educational programs.
A noted biologist, Phillips has a long history at the UO, beginning in 2000 when he became a faculty member in the Department of Biology. As a professor, he has conducted extensive research focusing on understanding how genetic information contained within DNA is translated into the complex suite of features that characterize all organisms. His work uses the model nematode C. elegans and its relatives to research the molecular genetic basis of natural variation in traits such as body size, reproductive success, and behavior, as well as seeking novel approaches to understand the biological basis of aging and to identify genes and environmental interventions that increase health span and longevity.
Phillips is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a past editor for the journals Genetics, G3 (Genes, Genetics and Genomes), Genetical Research, and Evolution, and has been a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellow, a Searle fellow, a UO Fund for Faculty Excellence Award recipient. He has been a visiting fellow at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal and professeur invité for the Laboratoires d’Excellence MemoLife program at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He began his career as an assistant and then associate professor of biology at the University of Texas at Arlington before coming to the UO.
At UO, he was the inaugural executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, where he led the design and construction process for several new scientific research buildings slated to open in spring 2020, for establishing governance and educational policies for the new campus, and for initiating and supporting new graduate internship and entrepreneurship programs. His past roles include: director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution; head of the Department of Biology; associate vice president for research; and special advisor to President Michael H. Schill.
He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Reed College in 1986, a master’s of science in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago in 1988, his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1991, and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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 reports to the president of the university and, in his absence, acts on behalf of the president. As chief academic officer, the provost serves as the spokesperson for academic matters at the university.