Phifer was at Duke University before joining the faculty in the Scholars’ College in 1988. A strong advocate of research, Phifer has obtained more than $500,000 in extramural grants. He has also published in leading scientific journals and made numerous presentations to state, national and international professional conferences.
In the Scholars’ College, Phifer has taught classes in general biology, biology labs, science, biological systems, neurobiology, Darwin and evolutionary theory, developmental biology, invertebrate zoology, human anatomy and Texts and Traditions. He has directed numerous senior thesis projects.
Phifer was president of Northwestern State’s Faculty Senate in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 and has served on a variety of university committees, including chair of the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board for two separate terms.
He earned a bachelor’s degree at North Carolina State University, master’s degrees at Florida State University and Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole and a doctorate at the University of Kentucky.
He was the 2012 recipient of the Fleming A. Thomas Faculty Information Literacy Award.