M. Brian Blake most recently was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University.
Students, faculty and staff of the George Washington University gathered to welcome new Provost M. Brian Blake with a reception Tuesday afternoon, enjoying snacks and brief remarks from Dr. Blake and from GW President Thomas J. LeBlanc.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Blake joining our community,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “He has a record of transformative academic leadership, and I have no doubt he will also be a tireless advocate for our undergraduate and graduate students and our faculty across all disciplines.”
Dr. Blake most recently was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Drexel University in Philadelphia. An electrical and software engineer by training, Dr. Blake has held faculty, dean and vice provost roles during his career, focusing on interdisciplinary research and education at Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami before becoming provost at Drexel.
“He brings vision and a collaborative approach that will help us in our strategic planning process this year, in our initiatives to strengthen our research ecosystem and student experience, and ultimately in our aspiration for preeminence as a comprehensive, global research university,” Dr. LeBlanc said.
Dr. Blake thanked Dr. LeBlanc, outgoing Provost Forrest Maltzman and the faculty-led provost search committee for their support as he transitions into his role at GW.
He named three specific starting priorities for his time as chief academic officer at GW, “a campus that is on a meteoric rise.” These were, first, to support the president during the integration of the strategic plan; second, to work closely with deans; and third, to engage broadly and deeply with the community as a whole.
“I look forward to engaging with students, with faculty, and I want to be as visible as possible,” Dr. Blake said. “So if you see me walking around, and I look really cold, it’s because I’m from Savannah. It doesn’t mean I don’t want you to stop me and speak.”
Dr. Blake also revealed some existing ties to GW. He judged a step show several years ago at Lisner, and his first date with his wife began in the Marvin Center, where the two renewed an undergraduate acquaintance at a meeting of the National Black MBA Association.
He encouraged community members to share their experiences and their needs and to reach out if they perceived him making missteps.
“I want to make sure I course-correct if there’s something you see that’s not quite right,” he said. “Make sure you let me know if there are certain things I can do better or more effectively for the George Washington community.”