Phil Trella

Phil Trella
Associate Vice Provost and Director
(434) 243-2018

Phil Trella, Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs leads and coordinates institutional efforts in graduate education and postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia.  He received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Anthropology.  Since 2011 Phil has led the University’s Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (OGPA) where his work has focused on the promotion of student and trainee centered education, including the academic, personal, and professional development of students and postdocs across all schools and fields. 

With leadership from the University’s Provost, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and in collaboration with partners in the schools and other offices, OGPA worked to develop, launch, and lead PhD Plus, a University-wide program intended to help students and postdocs identify, train for, and establish successful careers as leaders in research, the professoriate, public, and private enterprise.

During his time as Director, Phil has also been active in the development and support of a variety of interdisciplinary research and education initiatives including the Presidential Fellowships in Data Science; Presidential Fellowships in Collaborative Neuroscience, and fellowships and activities offered in collaboration with Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI).  Most recently Phil has worked in collaboration with ERI on a new venture funded through a grant from the Jefferson Trust to advance interdisciplinary readiness among graduate students and postdocs.

Phil serves as the institutional lead for the University’s membership in the Council of Graduate Schools, and project lead for the University’s participation in AAU PhD Education Initiative, a cohort of AAU affiliated universities working to make diverse careers within doctoral education more valued, visible, and viable.  He also serves as principal investigator on the University’s PhD Career Pathways project, a multi-year research program funded by NSF and the Mellon Foundation to better understand the career outcomes of PhD alumni and the career aspirations of current PhD students.  In conjunction with UVA Institutional Research and Analytics, he leads the University’s participation in the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science, serves as PI on the University’s gradSERU project, and is an active participant in the gradSERU Design and Content Workgroup.     

Phil’s academic research interests are in the archaeology of the ancient Near East, specifically southeastern Turkey and northern Syria where he has studied ancient food production systems, long-term environmental change, and the disintegration of complex societies. He has also conducted field research in Europe, northern Finland, and North America, and enjoys teaching a variety of courses in archaeology and anthropology. Prior to joining the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, Phil also completed a postdoc working in the area of digital humanities and social sciences with the Sciences Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) at UVA.