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Paul W. Ferguson – Biography

Dr. Paul W. Ferguson, 58, a native of Southern California, earned a B.A. in Biology at Whittier College with Highest Honors in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of California, Davis in 1981.  Prior to attending graduate school, he worked as a Research Specialist for the Department of Pathology at Women’s Hospital in the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center and as a Research Biologist for Pennwalt Corporation.  Dr. Ferguson has been certified continuously as a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology for the past 25 years.

Dr. Ferguson began his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Louisiana, Monroe (ULM) during which he worked to establish the Undergraduate Toxicology Program, the first of its kind in the South, and furthered the understanding of potential risks from chemical exposures throughout Louisiana by participation on state and regional task forces.  Following a five year employment as Senior Toxicologist for Unocal Corporation in Los Angeles, Dr. Ferguson returned to ULM where he served as Professor and Head of the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology earning a number of awards including Outstanding University Researcher.  In 1993, Dr. Ferguson was appointed Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and served as Vice Provost from 1995-1999.

Dr. Ferguson was appointed Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Toxicology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1999, named Senior Vice Provost in 2001, and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies from 2003-2006.  In this role, he contributed to UNLV realizing its vision of becoming a premier metropolitan research university by increasing annual extramural funding from $59 million to $95 million and increasing graduate programs from 74 to 108 (including 34 doctoral programs).

In 2006, Dr. Ferguson was appointed as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and as Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology.  Dr. Ferguson worked to implement major initiatives defined by five academic affairs imperatives including Academic Quality and Assessment, Student Success, Faculty Development, Educational Outreach, and Enrollment Management.  SIUE has received national recognition for its academic innovation, culture of assessment, and for its commitment to continuous quality improvement.

Dr. Ferguson’s professional scholarship has focused on relationships between metabolism and toxicity of drugs and environmental chemicals; curriculum development to further the understanding and communication of potential health risks from chemical exposures; and innovative programs and curricula to address manpower needs as well as defining professional standards in graduate and health sciences programs.  With his student and professional colleagues, Dr. Ferguson has published extensively in the professional literature and has obtained substantial funding from state, federal, and private sources to support biomedical research and teaching programs as well to catalyze university growth and development.

Dr. Ferguson and his wife, Grace, have been married for 36 years and have three children: David and his wife, Kayley, live in College Station, Texas, where he is a doctoral student in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University; Kathryn, engaged to fiancée Bobby Bowman, is a first year medical student at NYU School of Medicine; and, Jenny is currently a Political Science/History major at SIUE.


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