Patricia Prelock, Ph.D., was named Provost and Senior Vice President of the University of Vermont effective November 18, 2019, after having been appointed Interim Provost the prior April. From 2009 to 2019, she served as Dean of the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Nursing and Health Sciences, which is home to her faculty appointment of Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is also a Professor of Pediatrics in the UVM Larner College of Medicine. Dr. Prelock served as Chair of the UVM Department of Communication Sciences from 2002 to 2009. She earned a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Kent State University, an M.A. in Speech Pathology also from Kent State, and a Ph.D. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. Prelock is a recognized expert in the nature and treatment of autism spectrum disorders and has been awarded more than $11.3 million dollars in university, state, and federal funding as a PI or Co-PI to develop innovations in interdisciplinary training supporting children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, to facilitate training in speech-language pathology, and to support her intervention work in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has over 188 publications and 535 peer-reviewed and invited presentations/keynotes in the areas of autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, collaboration, interprofessional education (IPE), leadership, and language learning disabilities. Dr. Prelock has received numerous teaching, research, and service awards including the University of Vermont’s Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000, and UVM’s University Scholar designation in 2003. She was named an American Speech-Language Hearing Association Fellow in 2000, was President of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association in 2013, and received Honors of the Association in 2016. In 2019, she was named Associate Editor for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Dr. Prelock is a Board-Certified Specialist in Child Language and a Fellow in the National Academies of Practice in speech-language pathology.
Areas of Expertise and Research
- The nature and treatment of autism in children, specifically addressing issues of social cognition and theory of mind using social cognitive interventions
- Identification of the neurological underpinnings of emotion recognition and theory of mind deficits in children with autism
- Interprofessional education and collaborative practice
- Family-centered care
Dr. Prelock’s current research investigates the nature and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) emphasizing the role of emotion regulation, social communication and perspective taking as important components of social cognition. She and her colleagues have developed both a parent informant and child measure of theory of mind that have been used as outcome measures for assessing intervention effects following the use of social stories and comic strip conversations. They have also been involved in developing parent training to support joint attention, social communication and emotion recognition in young children with ASD. Both in the past and currently, Dr. Prelock has been engaged in the applications of family-centered care to support the effective communication of individuals with significant disabilities and their families to increase their access to care and evidence-based interventions recognizing their unique communication needs. Dr. Prelock also been engaged in interdisciplinary research, examining best practice models for assessment and intervention planning that are family-centered and culturally competent. She has more than 20 years of experience mentoring students in clinically-applied research and has secured more than $11.3 million dollars as a PI or Co-PI in training and research grants to support the interdisciplinary education, leadership and research skills of master's, doctoral and post-doctoral students across the disciplines of speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, medicine, social work, nutrition and education. Dr. Prelock has a strong working relationship with her collaborators in neuroscience and psychiatry in the Larner College of Medicine, where she holds a secondary appointment in pediatrics. She is also developing a new focus on brain-behavior changes seen in children and adolescents with ASD following social cognitive interventions.