The selection of Rafael L. Bras to serve as Tech’s next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs appears to be a significant step in improving the gap between students and faculty, and hopefully rings in a new era of transparency and openness within the upper levels of the administration.
During his on-campus presentation, Bras was extremely open and forthcoming about his plans and ideas for Tech. With his experience in both public and private universities, he is acutely aware of the challenges Tech faces as a state college as well as a flagship research institution. This will be especially important as the relationships between states and their public universities are rapidly devolving. There will be a need to find new funding models, and he understands this necessity coming from budget-crisis-riddled California.
With his selection should come greater accessibility to his office and the vast array of work that it does. His arrival also adds an outsider’s perspective to the discussion of Tech’s current affairs, something that is always welcome in these more uncertain times. Students will enjoy his student-friendly disposition on the relationship between researching and teaching. According to him, professors or other faculty only willing or wanting to research should be doing so in a national laboratory, and not at a school like Tech.
While Bras comes from a engineering and science background, he also provides valuable insight on how to have other fields work together, like the humanities and social sciences, to create better curricula that will help prepare the students at Tech to face modern problems.
For all that he has accomplished so far in his career and all of the promise that his views hold for the university’s future, Bras is a more-than-worthy successor to continue a strong line of Provosts and leadership at Tech.