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Blum Named Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activity

Mike Blum, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will serve as the next associate dean for research and creative activity in the UT College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am incredibly excited to work with faculty, students, and staff to support the amazing research and creative activities being pursued across the college,” Blum said. “I look forward to working in partnership with college leadership to advance college-wide priorities, with the aim of building greater strength in well-established and emerging areas of interest.”

Blum joined the university as an associate professor in 2017, after spending 10 years at Tulane University where he directed the ByWater Institute, overseeing interdisciplinary research and collaborative programs designed to enrich creative pursuits across the institution.

Since joining the UT faculty, Blum has received a series of federal awards to pursue multidisciplinary work on social-ecological outcomes of global change, leading to high profile publications in Science and other notable journals on topics like forecasting ecosystem resilience and ecological responses to COVID-19 lockdowns.

“As a member of the College of Arts and Sciences community, I have enjoyed working closely with colleagues to develop our institutional capacity for multidisciplinary research,” Blum said. “I am eager to continue working with peers to advance our college as an internationally recognized hub of scholarship and learning.”

The primary responsibility of the associate dean for research and creative activity is promoting and facilitating research, scholarship, and creative activity by the college’s faculty and students. In his new role, Associate Dean Blum will be charged with developing a college research office to support faculty and students.

In March, Interim Executive Dean RJ Hinde split the role of associate dean for research and facilities in the college into two associate dean positions. Larry McKay will continue to serve as associate dean for facilities and infrastructure while Blum will step into the role of associate dean of research and creative activity.

“Our college has a large space and facilities footprint, and our faculty and students pursue wide-ranging research and creative activities,” Hinde said. “Having more focused associate dean roles will better serve our college.”

About the College Leadership Changes

Blum is not the only the faculty member stepping into a new role. Liem Tran, professor of geography and sustainability, was appointed associate dean for academic programs.

Beauvais Lyons, Kate Jones, and Patrick Grzanka were named the inaugural divisional deans for arts and humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences, respectively.

Todd Moore will continue in his role of associate dean for faculty affairs through the fall semester, and will return to the psychology faculty beginning January 2024. Searches for Todd’s successor and for the associate dean for diversity will begin this fall.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

Internal searches pose a potential conflict of interest for almost every candidate and search committee member. For this search, committee members took several actions to ensure conflict of interest was avoided at each point in the process. Any member with a close conflict recused themselves from discussions. All committee members contributed to the writing and editing of submitted narrative summaries.