Dr. Rafael L. Bras, a distinguished professor and dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering of the University of California-Irvine, has accepted an offer from President G. P. "Bud" Peterson to serve as Georgia Tech's next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. He will start his new position on September 1, 2010.
"It is with great pleasure that I announce Rafael Bras will join Georgia Tech as its next provost," Peterson said. "Over the course of his career, he has developed an international reputation centered on service, teaching and learning. I believe the breadth of experience he brings to the Institute will be of enormous benefit to our students and our faculty."
A native of Puerto Rico, Bras is a civil engineer and hydrologist by training, earning each of his degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to his appointment at UC-Irvine, he was the Edward A. Abdun-Nur Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, and also held an appointment in the university's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. He is past chair of the MIT faculty, former head of its Civil and Environmental Engineering department and director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory.
At Georgia Tech, the provost reports directly to the president and is charged with the formulation, direction and oversight of all academic units including the colleges, the library and professional education. As chief academic officer, the provost oversees academic policy and priorities, establishes standards for the quality of the student body and maintains educational excellence. The provost has responsibility for recruitment and hiring of faculty and academic administrators, as well as administration of the Institute's promotion and tenure process.
"As a full spectrum university centered in engineering and science, Georgia Tech is in an excellent position to lead higher education in the 21st century. I am honored to become part of an extraordinary team that builds on a tradition of great institutional leadership. More importantly my wife, Pat, and I are thankful for the welcoming offered by what all accounts is a great family of students, staff, faculty and alumni(ae)."
Bras was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2001. He is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico and a corresponding member of the National Academy of Engineering of Mexico. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.
"I want to thank the members of the search committee, led by Steve Salbu, as well as those in our community who provided their comments on our finalists," Peterson said. "Participation of this kind is vital to maintaining a healthy campus discourse, ensuring that all have an opportunity to be heard on what makes sense for the future of Georgia Tech."