M. BRIAN BLAKE
Georgia State University
Dr. M. Brian Blake is President of Georgia State University, having been appointed to the position in June 2021. Prior to joining Georgia State, he was Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at George Washington University. As the highest-ranking academic officer, he oversaw academic programs across the 10 schools and colleges, three campuses and 28,000 students.
Dr. Blake was hired to lead the university’s new enrollment strategy to rescale and reconfigure the entering class in context of the changing student demographics in the Northeast and the nation. He led the academic enterprise of George Washington through the COVID-19 pandemic and spearheaded a university-wide plan to assess new innovations in pedagogy and teaching modalities in a post-COVID world.
Prior to joining George Washington University, Dr. Blake was Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Nina Henderson Provost at Drexel University, overseeing its 14 schools and colleges and more than 25,000 students. He led the implementation of a responsibility-centered management budget model across all schools and colleges and led the implementation of the university’s strategic plan. Dr. Blake also led the development of an academically focused strategic vision entitled “Creating the 21st Century Academic Experience.”
Under his academic oversight, Drexel maintained its Top 100 ranking by having its largest, most academically gifted freshman class, the university’s highest retention rate and the highest research activity in its history, leading to the university’s first-ever Carnegie Classification as a R1 Doctoral University: Very High Research Activity as well as a significant increase in the enrollment of professional master’s students.
During his first four years, he oversaw the hiring of 11 deans and more than 100 faculty while significantly increasing the diversity of administrative offices. Dr. Blake’s leadership of academic space planning resulted in new facilities for the College of Computing and Informatics, the School of Education, the College of Nursing and Health Profession and a new College of Medicine Branch Campus in Reading, Pa. Dr. Blake oversaw the creation of several contemporary centers, including the Fabric Discovery Center, the Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science Center and the university’s Teaching and Learning Center. In 2017, he was named the Nina Henderson Provost, which recognized and enabled his central programs that enhance interdisciplinary initiatives across the institution.
He conceived innovative interdisciplinary programs such as Drexel Areas of Research Excellence and Market-Driven Academic Program Ventures, which enhanced research and graduate education, respectively. These programs facilitated more than 65 interdisciplinary research teams and 25 new interdisciplinary degree program proposals. He oversaw the creation of the Drexel Business Solutions Institute and the Experiential Edge program, which extended Drexel’s mission for experiential learning. To involve students and faculty in strategic academic planning, Dr. Blake conceived and led the creation of a new student advisory group (Dragon’24) to enhance the campus climate for all students.
He also initiated a Provost’s Fellows program that created 18 positions in the Office of the Provost to work on strategic areas to enhance the academic mission. InsPIR (Innovations in Pedagogy: Implementation and Reflection) was another program that encourages grassroots planning activities to develop next-generation pedagogical approaches. Dr. Blake oversaw the establishment of a new graduate college and an initiative to increase and reposition the professional master’s programs in the evolving Northeast market.
Dr. Blake led the academic strategy and vision that overlays Drexel’’s urban renewal initiative and public-private partnerships to bring innovation to West Philadelphia, the $3.5 billion, 14-acre)Schuylkill Yards. He served on the Science Center-Philadelphia Advisory Board, Academy of Natural Sciences Trustee Board, the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors, Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing Advisory Board, George Mason University’s Volgeneau School of Engineering Advisory Board and as a trustee of the Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy. He formerly served on the advisory boards of Graduate Records Exam and the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Philadelphia.
Prior to joining Drexel, Dr. Blake was Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami. As Dean, he had oversight and advocacy of university-wide graduate programs (including the medical campus) consisting of more than 155 programs housed in 12 schools and colleges composed of more than 5,700 students. As Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Blake had responsibilities for the advocacy, enhancement and policy matters related to 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, Dr. Blake was cited by the Board of Trustees in a “Resolution of Tribute” to have universally elevated the visibility of graduate education and significantly enhanced the environment for faculty success at the university. In three years, the Graduate School reinvented its research-oriented and professional development programs. The creation of the Dean’s Prestigious Fellowship Program, First-Year Research Guide, Fellowship Writing and Review Initiative and Distinguished Scholar/Mentor Lecture Series helped to jumpstart students’ research careers and greatly increased applications to and awards of external fellowships and recognitions. A strategic initiative, Research Intersections, was created to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary research combining STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and the humanities and arts. UGrow, a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School, was created to help develop Ph.D. students in the humanities to be prepared for alternative careers beyond academia.
During his tenure as Vice Provost, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) institutionalized a new office, SEEDS, that focuses on climate and faculty retention. In three years, OVPAA oversaw the hiring of seven tenured/tenure track Black faculty which was more than 20 percent of the original population of Black faculty. Dr. Blake oversaw the creation of the LeadershipU Academy, a year-long enrichment program to foster new academic leaders within the faculty. Dr. Blake led the Presidential Task Force and university response to the challenges associated with the national issues associated with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Dr. Blake was the Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies and Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame from 2009-2012. He oversaw research programs and graduate studies in the College of Engineering. During his term, the College of Engineering had record increases (more than 100 percent) in research awards and expenditures and the graduate program grew by more than 30 percent. He led the creation of new recruitment programs, NDSynergy, NDConnect and NDConnection, that engaged potential Ph.D. applicants at a targeted group of peer and aspirational institutions. Prior to his tenure at Notre Dame, he was on the faculty of Georgetown University where he was Chair of the Department of Computer Science. He was Chair and Director of Graduate Studies during the inaugural years of the university’s graduate program in computer science. He also orchestrated several STEM initiatives, including a new professional master’s program in technology management and collaborative efforts with the departments of Biostatistics and Radiology in the Medical School.
As a professor, Dr. Blake had appointments in the Department of Computer Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Throughout his career, he has served as adviser or co-adviser to 15 postdoctoral Fellows and graduate students and more than 30 undergraduate researchers. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 journal articles, books/book chapters, and refereed conference/workshop papers. He is best known for his contributions to the areas of adaptive, inter-organizational workflow for Web-based services and systems. Dr. 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 Directorate.
Dr. Blake is Editor-in-Chief of Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (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. He has served as general/program chair/co-chair for more than 10 research conferences in his field. Dr. Blake’s scholarly activities have been funded by more than $12 million in research awards from various government and commercial organizations (for example, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of Sponsored Research, Defense Research Projects Agency, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Aviation Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, IBM, MITRE and Science Applications International Corporation). Dr. Blake spent six years in industry prior to joining academia working 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 systems consultant at the intersection of information technology and software engineering supporting the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Defense and several legal firms. Dr. Blake is an Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Scientist and a senior member of the IEEE.
Blake grew up in Savannah, Ga., and attended Benedictine Military Academy. He and his wife, Bridget, have two sons, Brendan and Bryce.