CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 17, 2015) – M. Brian Blake, Ph.D., who always had the best interests of students and faculty in mind during his three years as UM’s vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School, is stepping down to become the next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University beginning August 1.
“In his brief time at UM, Brian Blake has had a significant impact on several dimensions,” said UM Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc. “As dean of the Graduate School, he has been a prominent spokesperson for the role of graduate education, the quality of graduate programs, and for the interests of graduate students. As vice provost for academic affairs, he has led efforts to strengthen and diversify the faculty and train the next generation of academic leaders. He leaves the University of Miami stronger for his efforts, and we all wish him well in his new role as provost.”
Blake arrived at UM in the summer of 2012 from the University of Notre Dame, where he was a professor of computer science and engineering and associate dean of engineering, research, and graduate studies.
“Who could ask for more superb mentors and friends than President Shalala and Provost LeBlanc or a more exciting and rewarding community of students, faculty, and staff?” said Blake. “Our family will truly miss daily life at the U, but we do plan to keep our lifelong friendships. From a professional perspective, the decision to move is bittersweet and reflects my desire to help craft a narrative much like President Shalala at an institution like Drexel, for which I have natural affinities.”
As dean of UM’s Graduate School, he oversaw more than 160 graduate programs in 11 schools and colleges serving more than 5,700 students, with an overall tuition-based budget of approximately $73 million. Under his leadership, UM established first-of-their-kind interdisciplinary graduate programs across its three campuses and launched graduate initiatives in China, Italy, Jamaica, and Spain. Blake also led the 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 UM’s programs and community.
His UM position of vice provost for academic affairs involved University-wide faculty enhancement efforts. He set policy for research programs in many academic disciplines on the Coral Gables campus, including arts and sciences, business, communication, education, engineering, law, nursing, and more. Blake also led task forces that assessed faculty recruitment efforts and the University climate in regards to diversity for both students and faculty, and for 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.
At Drexel, Blake will be the institution’s highest-ranking academic officer.