Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Tom Sullivan is the University of Minnesota's chief academic officer, with responsibility for managing the policies and practices that affect the academic life of the university as a whole. For example, the provost's office oversees:

* Faculty affairs, including promotion and tenure;
* Undergraduate and graduate education and student well-being;
* Interdisciplinary collaboration in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools;
* Colleges and academic units outside of the Academic Health Center;
* The academic side of the university's strategic positioning plan, "Transforming the University"; and
* The collegiate compact and budgeting process, which decides academic investments.

Tom Sullivan became Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in July 2004. Provost Sullivan is committed strongly to the pursuit of academic excellence at the University of Minnesota, advocates wider recognition for the role of the university as a “public good,” is a strong promoter of diversity at the university , and firmly supports the mission of a great research university in integrating knowledge through teaching and research, contending that teaching versus scholarship or research is a false dichotomy in that research and teaching (including public outreach) are mutually dependent.

Provost Sullivan has played a key role in the university’s strategic positioning and planning process, Transforming the U. He produced the report that launched the effort, and he served as chair of the Academic Task Force that produced a wide-ranging series of recommendations for consideration by President Robert H. Bruininks. The recommendations formed a key part of President Bruininks’s plan “Transforming the University of Minnesota”, which was adopted by the Board of Regents on June 10, 2005. Provost Sullivan currently oversees implementation of academic initiatives designed to help the University achieve its goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world.

Sullivan served as the eighth dean of the University of Minnesota Law School from 1995 to 2002. Shortly after his appointment as dean he played a pivotal university-wide role in resolving contentious issues and drafting a new policy relating to faculty tenure that was adopted by the Board of Regents in 1997. He also served as chair of the Twin Cities Deans’ Council. Upon finishing his term as dean, he returned to full-time research and teaching and was named the Irving Younger Professor of Law. In June of 2003, he received the J. William Elwin, Jr., Award from the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education for leadership and contributions to law school development. In 2005, he was appointed the Julius E. Davis Chair in Law. His teaching areas include antitrust, civil procedure, complex litigation, and regulation of business.

He is a nationally recognized authority on antitrust law and complex litigation, having authored ten books and over 50 articles. He is the co-author, with Professors Herbert Hovencamp and Howard Shelanksi , of Antitrust Law, Policy, and Procedure (6th ed., 2009) and co-author, with Professor Jeffrey Harrison, of Understanding Antitrust and Its Economic Implications (5th ed. , 2009). He and co-author Professor Richard Frase recently published Proportionality Principles in American Law: Controlling Excessive Government Actions (Oxford University Press, 2009).

At the Law School, he has received the Stanley V. Kinyon Teacher of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching. On two occasions he has been a visiting faculty member at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. He twice has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University in England. During the fall semester 2002, he was a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall).

Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Sullivan served for six years as dean of the University of Arizona College of Law and as associate dean at Washington University in St. Louis. He began his career in higher education as a faculty member at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Sullivan graduated magna cum laude from law school at Indiana University in 1973, where he served as an editor on the Law Review.