Martin Philbert, dean of the School of Public Health, has been named the University of Michigan’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
His appointment is effective Sept. 1, and was approved by the Board of Regents at its meeting Thursday.
“Dr. Philbert’s success in leading our world-class School of Public Health for the last six years and his track record of high-impact scientific research, academic leadership and public service makes him an outstanding choice to be our next provost,” said President Mark Schlissel, in recommending the appointment.
The provost is both the chief academic officer and chief budgetary officer of the Ann Arbor campus and is responsible for sustaining and enhancing the university’s academic excellence in teaching, research and creative endeavors.
The provost oversees the activities of the university’s 19 schools and colleges as well as the many interdisciplinary institutes and centers.
Philbert will follow former provost Martha Pollack, who left her position in January to become president of Cornell University, and Paul N. Courant, professor of public policy, economics and information, who has served as interim provost since February.
“The University of Michigan has a 200-year legacy as a local and global center of academic excellence and leadership. It has a fine tradition of scholarly engagement in the pressing issues of the day, and in the pursuit of new knowledge,” Philbert said.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with President Schlissel, university leaders, the faculty, students and staff in keeping Michigan at the forefront of higher education.”
Philbert earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Arts and Technology in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and his doctorate from the London University Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London.
He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neurotoxicology Laboratories at Rutgers University from 1988-90, followed by an appointment there as a research assistant professor.
In 1995, Philbert joined the U-M faculty in SPH as a research assistant professor. A promotion to associate professor followed in 2000, and to professor in 2004.
He served as associate chair for research and development in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences from 2000-03, and as both senior associate dean for research and interim director of the Center for Risk Science and Communication from 2004-10.
Philbert has maintained a continuously federally funded portfolio of basic research activities throughout his career, with his most recent work funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of the Air Force.
He is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed scholarly manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, and a member of the Division of Earth and Life Sciences of the National Academy of Science.
Philbert has a long history of public engagement in his area of research. He recently chaired a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee, providing peer review of risk assessments produced under the auspices of the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System. He also was a standing member of the Agency’s Science Advisory Board.
He served a four-year term on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and provides consultation to the federal agencies on a variety of issues surrounding emerging nanotechnologies, nanomedicine, health and safety.
As SPH dean since 2011, Philbert has engaged faculty in developing a clear vision for the school focused on collaboration, innovation and global public health. He also has been an advocate for building a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture at the school, promoting long-term programming under the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan.
Under his leadership, the school has launched new degree programs in emerging areas of public health, including a Master of Public Health degree in nutritional sciences, the school’s first undergraduate degree programs, and a master’s program in environmental health promotion and policy.
Update: This article has been updated from its original version to reflect approval by the Board of Regents.