Ira K. Blake
Ira Kincade Blake became University of Houston-Clear Lake’s fifth president in August 2017 following an extensive nationwide search.
Blake joined UH-Clear Lake after serving as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs since 2009 at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, one of 14 regional institutions in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. She established a strong reputation as a leader through her many accomplishments.
Blake provided strategic leadership for institutional visioning, enrollment planning, professional development, program development, accreditations, resource allocations and investments. She administered academic affairs for Bloomsburg’s four colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology, which included oversight of approximately 490 instructional faculty, 56 majors, 51 minors and 19 graduate programs.
She served the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education on many high-profile panels, including the Steering Committee of Community Colleges and PASSHE Universities, Special Committee on System Governance and Chief Academic Officers Group. She hosted the PASSHE Women’s Consortium Conference and the system’s Annual Diversity Summit.
At Bloomsburg University, she expanded and created programs for new learning opportunities and identified potential revenue sources while maintaining fiscal sustainability. In 2010, Blake established the Office of Planning and Assessment to meet the university’s accreditation, assessment and strategic planning needs. The office became certified by National College Testing Association in 2016 and was promoted regionally to universities and businesses.
Other Bloomsburg initiatives included a faculty-to-administrator development program. The program supports high-potential faculty with two years of non-instructional, administrative experience who are transitioning into long-term administrative career paths.
Blake launched a “grow-your-own” faculty-recruitment program in 2013 through which departments with a high workforce demand and low faculty availability could request to recruit master-level faculty who were committed to earning a terminal degree prior to tenure. The newly recruited faculty would then receive mentoring by senior faculty, professional development support and release time from full instructional workloads to support their success.
Under her watch, new concentrations and certifications were added in several degree programs. She worked with deans, faculty, staff and the university’s advancement division to create the Nicholas J. Giuffre Center for Supply Chain Management, Global Business Institute, Institute for Concussion Research and Services, Center for Financial Analysis, Center for Community Research and Consulting, Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinic, Center for Visual and Performing Arts and other centers of excellence.
From 2001 to 2009, Blake held high-level positions in PASSHE, first at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in Kutztown, then at Dixon University Center in Harrisburg. Previously, she served as a faculty member at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., and at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. She began her professional career as an instructor in language development at Marymount Manhattan College in New York.
Blake received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from George Washington University, a master’s degree in educational psychology from San Francisco State University, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in developmental psychology from Columbia University. She has spoken and published extensively on topics of language, literacy, ethnicity, culture, socialization and childhood development.