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14: David Blackwell on Transitioning from Dean to Provost.

A peer-to-peer discussion with the former Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the University of Kentucky.









Show notes: On this episode of Deans Counsel, moderators Dave Ikenberry and Ken Kring speak with David Blackwell, Associate Dean for Professional Graduate Programs and Professor of Finance, Gatton College of Business and Economics at University of Kentucky. He previously served as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the University of Kentucky from 2018-2021, overseeing a budget of over $1 billion; enrollment of 31,000 students; 3,000 faculty members and 5,000 staff members.


In his conversation with Dave and Ken, David shares his perspective on transitioning from Dean to Provost (and, now, back again). We'll also gain his insights on a number of topics and ideas including:

  • the natural advantages of a business school dean transitioning to provost

  • contrasting the "inside vs outside" nature of the provost/dean role

  • the impact of athletics on academics

  • answering the question of whether deans need to be a provost before becoming a president

  • helpful advice to new deans


Dr. David Blackwell's Bio:

David W. Blackwell is a Professor in the Department of Finance and Quantitative Analysis at the University of Kentucky and Associate Dean for Professional Graduate Programs. He served as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the University of Kentucky (UK) from 2018-2021, overseeing a budget of over $1 billion; enrollment of 31,000 students; 3,000 faculty members and 5,000 staff members. As Provost, Dr. Blackwell oversaw record enrollment growth while maintaining academic preparation and increasing diversity. UK also saw record first-to-second year retention and graduation rates during his tenure. He oversaw the launch of UK Online, which created 26 new online degree programs and certificates in 2020. Since inception of UK Online, the number of online programs at UK has increased from 37 to 88 and online enrollments have increased by 132 percent—from 892 to 2,066 students.


Before being appointed as Provost in January 2018, Dr. Blackwell served as Dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics at UK from 2012 to 2018. Under his leadership, the college increased overall enrollment by 36 percent; increased freshman enrollment by 67 percent; and achieved record rates of retention and graduation. He led the fundraising efforts toward a $65 million expansion and renovation of the Gatton College facility, considered one of the premier business education facilities in the country. The initiative was funded completely with private dollars. The college raised over $100 million in new private funds during his tenure.


Before joining the University of Kentucky in 2012, he served as James W. Aston/RepublicBank Professor of Finance and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University from 2008 to 2012. Dr. Blackwell served as Head of the Department of Finance at Texas A&M from 2002 to 2008.





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