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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dean Bob Blouin to succeed Jim Dean as provost

Blouin to bring focus on innovation to post

Robert “Bob” Blouin

The University has named Robert “Bob” Blouin, longtime dean of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, to serve as provost and executive vice chancellor of the University.  Blouin will succeed Jim Dean, who will step down to return to the faculty of the Kenan-Flagler Business School in the fall of 2018 following a research leave.

“When I thought about who could fill this role, it was clear that we already had the best candidate at the University, Bob Blouin, who could begin working immediately to ensure we maintain momentum as we enter the new academic year,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt.  “As director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, Bob has led a cutting-edge effort to find creative ways to accelerate change in education and health care. This experience is exactly what Carolina needs as we implement the Blueprint for Next.  One of our core pillars is ‘Innovation made Fundamental,’ and I am confident that Bob will play a key role in leading our efforts across the University.”

The University’s Board of Trustees approved Chancellor Folt’s recommendation, effective Sept. 18. Dean will work closely with Blouin during a transition period for the rest of the fall semester. Dr. Dhiren Thakker, associate dean for entrepreneurial development, will serve as the interim dean of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

“I am honored to be the University’s next provost and to continue forward with the important work already underway for the Blueprint for Next and the launch of our capital campaign, among other priorities,”  Blouin said.  “I hope that I can apply what we’ve learned at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in finding creative ways to accelerate innovation in education and research.”

Blouin, the Vaughn and Nancy Bryson Distinguished Professor, is a well-respected educator, researcher, innovator and administrator across campus and throughout higher education. Under his leadership since 2003, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy has become an internationally recognized leader in pharmacy practice, education and research. The school rose to be ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  He also oversaw an impressive increase by school faculty in growing the research portfolio from $2 million in 2002 to $36 million in 2016, ranking second among the nation’s pharmacy schools. As director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, Blouin has led a cutting-edge effort to find creative ways to accelerate change in education and health care.

Before coming to UNC, Blouin was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy from 1978 to 2003. Blouin last served as professor and associate dean for research and graduate education from 1997 to 2003 at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. His responsibilities as associate dean included overseeing the development and expansion of the Center for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology, a multimillion-dollar cGMP drug formulation and manufacturing facility. As the executive director of the Office for Economic Development and Innovations Management, he served as the College of Pharmacy representative on all issues external to the University of Kentucky and those relating to economic development of the pharmaceutical sciences. He represented the college on several statewide biotechnology initiatives and has worked to advance faculty-based intellectual property.

“I look forward to continuing the close working relationship we have had with Provost Dean and moving forward with Dean Blouin in his new role,” said Leslie Parise, professor and chair of biochemistry and biophysics and faculty chair. “In my new role as faculty chair, we have many opportunities to work closely with the administration to improve the campus work-life environment and to serve as the voice of the faculty.”

James Dean

“I want to thank Jim for his service to Carolina and his wise counsel to me during my tenure as faculty chair when the University was addressing a number of critical issues,” said Bruce Cairns, John Stackhouse Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Microbiology and Immunology, medical director of the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center and Respiratory Care and former faculty chair. “As dean of the School of Pharmacy, Bob Blouin has demonstrated time and time again that he is an outstanding academic leader who truly understands what this University stands for and strives to achieve. Bob is a transformative leader, and there is no one better suited to be Provost at Carolina. He will help lead this great global public research University into the future.”

Dean was named provost after a highly successful 15-year tenure on the faculty and administration at Kenan-Flagler Business School; including serving five years as the dean from 2008 to 2013. He also served as senior associate dean from 2007 to 2008, associate dean of executive development from 2002 to 2007, and associate dean of the MBA Program from 1998 to 2002.

As the University’s chief academic officer, Dean hired seven deans, helping 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences chart a strong course for the future. He bolstered faculty retention efforts to ensure Carolina has the very best people teaching and conducting research. Dean recently led the campus-wide efforts for our 10-year review process for reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Along with other senior leaders, Dean has collaborated on a cross-campus effort to strengthen student advising to better meet the needs of our diverse campus. With administrators in Finance and Administration, he began work to develop a new budget model to modernize the ways we allocate resources across campus.

“Jim Dean and I began our tenures in South Building on the same day, July 1, 2013, and I am grateful for his leadership and unwavering commitment to Carolina. I know he put a great deal of time and reflection into his decision,” Chancellor Folt said.  “Above all else, Jim is warm and gracious and I know how much he cares about people.  I’ve seen him interacting with students and faculty all over campus, sharing his fascination for learning and a passion to experience life to its fullest.”