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About the Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs is the chief academic officer of the University and has responsibility for all of the University's academic functions. The Office oversees all academic programs of study as well as supporting academic and administrative offices.


During a career solidly grounded in private-industry experience, M. Brian Blake, PhD has held senior positions at four leading American universities, where he has fostered innovative approaches to learning, diversity, research and strategic planning.

Blake was appointed Drexel University’s highest ranking academic officer in July 2015 — a position in which he oversees all academic programs for more than 25,000 students across 14 schools and colleges. Among his signature initiatives are the development of an academically focused strategic vision entitled “Creating the 21st Century Academic Experience,” the hiring of over 70 tenured/tenure-track faculty and six deans, the creation of a new student advisory group (Dragon’24) to enhance the campus climate for all students, and a faculty-led grassroots set of initiatives to reimagine the academic experience at Drexel and promote experientially-influenced education.

As provost, Blake has overseen the establishment of three contemporary research centers, the Center for Functional Fabrics, The Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science Center, and a new Gaming Center. As a result, awards of sponsored research increased by 15 percent over a recent two-year period. Drexel, along with MIT, also received the collaborative award of the $75 million National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) grant, entitled Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). Blake oversaw establishment of a new Graduate College, with enrollments to master and professional graduate programs up by 10 percent. Blake also initiated a Provost’s Fellows program that created 10 positions in his office to work on strategic areas to enhance the academic mission.

Provost Blake continues to lead the academic strategy and vision that overlay Drexel’s urban renewal initiative and public-private partnership to bring innovation to West Philadelphia, with the ($3.5-billion, 14-acre) Schuylkill Yards development by Drexel. As a part of his efforts, Blake serves on the Science Center-Philadephia Advisory Board, Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC-Philadelphia) Advisory Board, Academy of Natural Sciences Trustee Board, the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) Advisory Board, Georgia Tech’s College of Computing Advisory Board, and George Mason’s Volgeneau School of Engineering Advisory Board.

Prior to coming to Drexel, Blake was vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami, where he had oversight and advocacy of university-wide graduate programs (including the medical campus) consisting of over 155 programs housed in 12 schools and colleges comprised of more than 5,700 students. As vice provost for academic affairs, Blake had special responsibilities for the advocacy, enhancement, and policy matters regarding research programs for disciplines on the Coral Gables campus, including architecture, arts and science, business, communication, education and human development, engineering, law, music, and nursing. Also as vice provost, he oversaw university-wide faculty enhancement and diversity efforts with respect to initiatives for faculty recruitment, hiring, retention and promotion, and equity. During his tenure in Miami, Blake was cited by a “Resolution of Tribute” issued by the Board of Trustees to have universally elevated the visibility of graduate education and significantly enhanced the environment for faculty success at the University of Miami.

Blake also institutionalized a new office at University of Miami, SEEDS, that focuses on faculty retention. In a three-year period, he oversaw the hiring of seven tenured/tenure track African American faculty which, at the time, was over 20 percent of the original population of black faculty. Blake oversaw the creation of the LeadershipU Academy, a year-long enrichment program to foster new academic leaders from the faculty ranks. Finally, Blake led a presidential task force in response to the campus challenges associated with the issues generally associated with the national #BlackLivesMatter movement, leading to University initiatives that increased the Black student population to the highest among private institutions.

At the University of Notre Dame, Blake was the associate dean for research & graduate studies and professor of Computer Science and Engineering from 2009-2012. He provided oversight for research programs and graduate studies in the College of Engineering. During his term, the College of Engineering had record increases (~100%) in research awards and expenditures and the graduate program grew by over 30 percent.

Prior to Notre Dame, Blake was on the faculty of Georgetown University where he served as chair of the Department of Computer Science, among other posts. His initiatives included orchestrating several STEM initiatives including a new professional Master program in Technology Management and collaborative efforts with the Departments of Biostatistics and Radiology, both in the Medical School.

As a distinguished university professor of systems and software engineering at Drexel, Blake has appointments in the Department of Computer Science, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Department of Neuroengineering. He has served as advisor or co-advisor to 15 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students and more than 30 undergraduate researchers; authored or co-authored over 200 journal articles, books/book chapters, and refereed conference/workshop papers, and he is most known for his contributions to the areas of adaptive, inter-organizational workflow for web-based services and systems. Blake has served on five National Academies’ studies or committees and on the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. He is Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Internet Computing, former Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Service Computing, and Editor-in-Chief of a Springer book series entitled Web-Scale Workflow and Analytics. In 2012, he co-authored the book entitled Semantic Web Services: Advancement through Evaluation that details experiences from all the service composition evaluation initiatives. Blake’s scholarly activities have been funded by more than $12 million in sponsored research.

In industry, Blake spent six years as a software architect, technical lead, and expert developer with General Electric, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and The MITRE Corporation. Concurrent with his faculty appointment, he has continued as an expert-level systems consultant in the intersection of information technology and software engineering supporting the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and several legal firms. Dr. Blake is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a Sr. Member of the IEEE.

Provost Blake has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Mercer University, and PhD in Information and Software Engineering from George Mason University. Blake and his wife, Bridget, also a Georgia Tech Engineer and MBA from Johns Hopkins, have two sons.

Download Complete CV for Provost Blake [PDF]