UM Appoints New Dean of Graduate School

M. Brian Blake will also serve as vice provost for academic affairs.

Coral Gables (May 29, 2012) — M. Brian Blake, a computer scientist, software engineer, and experienced administrator, has been named vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami.  Blake, who is currently professor of computer science and engineering and associate dean of engineering, research, and graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, starts at UM on July 1.

As vice provost for academic affairs, Blake will have two areas of responsibility. First, he will serve as the primary advocate for research on the Coral Gables campus, including research administration, infrastructure, policies, training, and regulatory needs. Second, working in partnership with the deans of the schools and colleges and in consultation with the Faculty Senate Committee on Women and Minorities and the Woodson Williams Marshall Association, he will support and develop strategies for the University’s collective efforts to diversify the faculty.

As dean of the Graduate School, Blake will be the primary advocate for graduate education at UM, overseeing degree programs across 11 schools and colleges that enroll more than 5,200 graduate students each year. He replaces Terri A. Scandura, who is returning to the School of Business Administration full time as a faculty member.

“Brian Blake has been recognized on a national level for his many research contributions as well as his efforts to diversify the computing profession,” said Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost at the University of Miami. “His appointment as vice provost and dean of the Graduate School will help to unify our efforts to diversify our faculty and graduate students, focus attention on the research mission and needs of the faculty on the Coral Gables campus, and bring new perspectives to the critical role of graduate education at the University of Miami.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the University of Miami and its community of exceptional faculty, staff, and students,” said Blake. “I appreciate the confidence that the search committee has shown in me, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this role. I am delighted by the environment that Dean Scandura has created and humbled to play a part in the next chapter of the school. I have always seen UM as an excellent university with limitless potential. I could not imagine a more attractive place to define the future of graduate education.”

In his role as associate dean at Notre Dame, Blake has oversight of College of Engineering research activities and is the conduit for interdisciplinary research initiatives between the college and the university. He provides strategic guidance for the research enterprise and represents the college’s interaction with corporate and foundation partners on external initiatives. He developed and led a three-prong recruitment strategy to enhance the exposure and diversity of Notre Dame’s graduate programs.

Prior to joining Notre Dame, Blake was department chair and director of graduate studies in computer science at Georgetown University, where he created a program to attract computer science students from the Washington, D.C. metro area. He also initiated a new line of computer science courses called Computing Perspectives, with the intent to attract more students from other disciplines into computing careers.

Blake’s research investigates software engineering approaches for the integration of Web-based systems. He has authored or co-authored more than 135 publications, including journal articles, several books and book chapters, and many refereed conference/workshop papers in the domains of service-oriented architectures, agent and workflow systems, Web-based software engineering and education, and distributed data management. He is most known for his contributions to the areas of adaptive workflow and software-as-a-service on the Web.

He hopes to continue his research at UM. “For the last six years, while serving as either department chair or associate dean, I have continued my research and teaching,” said Blake. “Interestingly enough, some of my best research and teaching experiences have occurred during that time. I feel most effective when my plate is both broad and full.”

He is a highly sought after speaker for the recruitment of underrepresented minorities in computer science and information technology research careers. “Advocacy for the recruitment of underrepresented minorities has been organic to my being,” said Blake. “I am a first-generation college graduate, and I owe a great deal to the efforts, guidance, and access to information that was provided to me by an embarrassingly large number of mentors. In my various roles, I have worked hard to provide those same benefits to others. I believe the next major advancements in all fields will require a community of scholars with the broadest array of backgrounds that reflect diversity in every sense of the word.”

Blake earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1994, his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Mercer University in 1997, and his Ph.D. in Information and Software Engineering from George Mason University in 2000.

Six years prior to joining academia, he worked as a software architect, technical lead, and expert developer with companies such as General Electric, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and The MITRE Corporation.

He is married to Bridget Blake, a mechanical engineer who earned her M.B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and now serves as a consultant for The MITRE Corporation. They have two sons: 7-year-old Brendan and 9-month-old Bryce.

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