University of Houston-Clear Lake President Ira Blake has accepted an invitation from University of Houston System Chancellor Renu Khator to serve as special assistant to the chancellor. In her new role, Blake will develop student success initiatives across the University of Houston System’s four institutions.
To accept this challenging new assignment, Blake will be leaving her position as president of the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL), effective Oct. 8. Blake will draw on her extensive background in higher education and personal interest in students to inform and shape System-wide initiatives that bridge the gap between dreams and opportunity, tackling pressing issues ranging from improving access and degree attainment to creating innovative new programs that better prepare students for their future careers in the workplace.
“This is not a decision she had made lightly,” said Khator. “Since being named UHCL’s fifth president in 2017, she has forged many lasting relationships on campus and off while leading the university to gains in enrollment, increased diversity and inclusion and expanded civic and corporate partnerships.”
Blake grew UHCL in size, reaching record enrollment in 2019. She also expanded the footprint of the university with the opening of four new buildings that create more space for learning and engagement. Blake led the university's strategic plan implementation "Impact 2025 and Beyond," which focuses on opening doors to accessible education and was launched in spring 2020. She joined UHCL after serving as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania since 2009. Blake holds a master's degree in educational psychology from San Francisco State University and a second master's degree and a doctorate in developmental psychology from Columbia University.
“I want to offer my deep appreciation to President Blake for the energy and dedication she brought to UHCL, and I look forward to working with her as she undertakes this new assignment,” said Khator.
Richard Walker, vice chancellor and vice president for student affairs and enrollment services at UH System and UH, is to serve as interim president at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, beginning Oct. 9. Walker brings nearly four decades of valuable experience in higher education, at both public and private institutions.
“Dr. Walker’s many leadership roles, as a skilled administrator and stalwart educator, reflect his commitment to students and to higher education,” said Khator. “I am confident he will provide a steady hand at UHCL and continue the growth and progress the university has been enjoying.”
A national search for a new president of University of Houston-Clear Lake will begin in November.