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Announcing Drexel’s New Provost: Drexel University Provost Brian Blake

April 17, 2015

To the University Community,

It is my distinct privilege to announce that M. Brian Blake, PhD, will be Drexel University’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, beginning August 1. He comes to Drexel from the University of Miami, where he is vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School.

As provost, Dr. Blake will be Drexel’s highest ranking academic officer. No single role has more impact on Drexel’s core mission to prepare students for lives and careers of meaning, to foster research that addresses the challenges of our age and to build an academic enterprise that engages with and reflects the society we serve. Dr. Blake brings an inspiring vision for an agile, experiential, global form of education, honed in a variety of leadership roles at three of the nation’s best private research universities. He is also an outstanding researcher, teacher and engineer, and a graduate of a cooperative undergraduate program at Georgia Tech.

Drexel will look to Dr. Blake to create a unified, interdisciplinary academic environment that encourages innovative teaching and research for the benefit of our students, community and society. The University has spent considerable time and energy aligning its resources to support academic priorities including student retention, faculty growth, global reach and eventually a state-of-the-art research infrastructure. Dr. Blake will provide the leadership that makes those goals into reality.

During his career, Dr. Blake has worked at the department, college and provost level with responsibilities including research, instruction and faculty affairs. At the University of Miami, his position as vice provost for academic affairs involves faculty enhancement efforts university-wide in addition to advocating and setting policy for research programs in the disciplines on Miami’s Coral Gables campus — these include arts and sciences, business, communication, education, engineering, law, nursing and more. Dr. Blake also leads task forces that assess faculty recruitment efforts and the university climate in regards to diversity for both students and faculty, in addition to efforts to balance the engagements of tenured and non-tenure-track faculty. With support from a group of graduate student leaders, he oversaw the creation of the “Research Intersections” forum for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty to share their work with each other and pursue interdisciplinary research.

As dean of the Graduate School, he oversees more than 160 graduate programs in 12 schools and colleges (including the Miller School of Medicine) serving more than 5,700 students, with an overall tuition-based budget of approximately $73 million managed at the responsibility center level. Under his leadership, Miami has established first-of-their-kind interdisciplinary graduate programs across its three campuses, and launched graduate initiatives in China, Italy, Jamaica and Spain. Dr. Blake also leads development of the Distinction and Diversity initiative for graduate education and research, with goals including enhanced research outcomes for students and junior faculty, elevated visibility for graduate education and leveraging the diversity of the university’s programs and community.

Dr. Blake previously was associate dean for research and graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, overseeing programs in the College of Engineering that grew enrollment by more than 30 percent and doubled research awards and expenditures. Before that, he served as department chair and graduate studies director for computer science at Georgetown University. He has held a tenured faculty appointment and directed an active research lab in computer science at each institution, with his work focused on adaptive workflow for web-based services and applications. Before beginning his academic career he was a software engineer and architect for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and The MITRE Corporation. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech, Dr. Blake holds a master’s degree from Mercer University and his PhD from George Mason University.

Dr. Blake is married to Bridget Blake, a mechanical engineering graduate from Georgia Tech who has an MBA from Johns Hopkins. She works remotely for The MITRE Corporation based in Washington, DC. They have two sons, Brendan (10) and Bryce (3).

As I make this exciting announcement, I want to acknowledge the inspired leadership and invaluable service of Dr. James D. Herbert as interim provost. He has provided committed and thoughtful direction during a critical period for the University, and his work resulted in real advancement of our academic priorities. Drexel is deeply in his debt. I am also deeply grateful to the members of the search committee, chaired by Dr. John A. Rich, for their hard work and thorough approach to one of the most important hires a university can make.


John A. Fry